Don’t Miss The Tobacco Farm on the Natchez Trace Parkway

December 3, 2011 · 0 comments

in The Natchez Trace Parkway

Two things make this a “MUST SEE” stop; The Tobacco Farm and The Old Trace. Both are things you can only see and appreciate on The Trace.

In the road trips I have taken around the southeastern states, I have driven past hundreds of Tobacco fields. There is still quite a bit of tobacco grown; mostly in the southern states where the climate is favorable to the crop. These fields are mostly on back roads and are privately owned. In short, I have never seen a place as unique as The Tobacco Barn on the Natchez Trace Parkway. It is a piece of the past preserved very artfully for the present day.

The Tobacco Farm is Unique, even to the Natchez Trace

Growing a Crop of Tobacco

Growing a Crop of Tobacco

Tobacco Drying in Shed

At mile marker 401 on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee, you approach one of the most unique adventures into the past anywhere in the South. Here, you will see here a typical, early 1900’s tobacco farm. At The Tobacco Farm, a pictorial description illustrates the steps which workers took to prepare and market tobacco. A ten minute walk leads you through the Tobacco field, into the barn where you see Tobacco hanging to dry.

At the back of the barn, you can link up with one of only two stretches of the Old Trace that can be driven in your car. You will be forced to drive a slower pace, but will be rewarded by fantastic views of the valley below. It isn’t advised to drive this road in an RV. It is dirt, narrow and one way. Should two RV’s somehow meet in the middle there is virtually no way either of them could back out; nor is any place on this two mile stretch of historical passageway that either could pass the other.

This treasure is located just 43 miles from the north end of the trace in Tennessee. Few people will ever be privileged to see an actual Tobacco Crop and an actual barn in which the tobacco is being dried for consumption.

A Triple Treat in the Fall

A Mountain View Behind the Barn

First treat: In September, the tobacco crop is still in the ground and green. But the surrounding foliage is in full transition from Summer to Fall colors. You can see the crop in the ground, and read the legends inside the barn which describe how the crop is harvested and handled.

In October, the fall colors are spectacular in this area. There is a overlook at the rear of the old tobacco  barn which provides a breathtaking view. I have stopped at this location in all seasons. There isn’t a bad time to pull over and look.

Original Trace Entrance Behind Tobacco Barn

Third Treat: You can actually drive the “Old Trace” which runs behind the Tobacco barn and continues north about two miles. I get goosebumps each time I drive this road, which has been in use for hundreds of years. There are spectacular views out the passenger side, but on the driver’s side you only see the hill or dense trees. Once in the Winter, my wife and I drove this path to the north exit and just as we made the final turn to enter the Trace, there was a herd of deer congregated there in the clearing. There might have been 50 or 60 deer. I have never seen that many deer in one place.

You don’t have to be from the South to appreciate the South.

Once when we stopped at the Tobacco Farm, I struck up a conversation with another road-trip fanatic. He happened to be from Michigan. I was curious why he was traveling The Trace. He told me: “Years before, I stumbled upon The Trace and I was awestruck with the hundreds of beautiful overlooks, historical sites and the natural beauty of this parkway. Every year since, I have driven to Nashville, TN and entered the Natchez Trace Parkway at its northernmost boundary and driven in leisurely fashion down its entire length.” He said: “I never get tired of driving and seeing the sites on this great piece of American history.” I couldn’t have said it better, and couldn’t agree more.

Unexpected Pleasures

Wild Turkey Flock a Rare Sight

You never know what you will see as you travel the Trace. Just a short distance south of The Tobacco Farm we came across a flock of wild Turkey. The pictures never do justice to such a spectacle, but I’m going to put up one of the best snapshots I could take. The real difficulty here was the number of birds that were present. We quickly counted 35+ birds. I think there may have been as many as fifty or sixty. It is difficult to get an accurate count while the birds are moving about. One of the good things about grazing turkey is that they are not shy. They will not let you walk up to them, but they don’t hasten away when you stop to gander  (play on words) at them.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. I know you will enjoy a visit to The Tobacco Farm on The Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee.

Until next time, you keep rolling up the miles and dialing up the smiles. Road trips are meant for fun, that’s why we don’t count miles, we count smiles.

Keep on tripping,

Bill Taylor

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