Cherokee Indian Name meaning “village”
Nickname: Volunteer State
State bird: Mockingbird
State flower: Iris
Time: Eastern (GMT – 5) in the eastern part of the State; Central (GMT – 6)
The State: Located in the southeast region of the USA, Tennessee is unique in that it shares a border with eight States. Tennessee has always been a melting pot of musical styles. From the eastern mountains came Appalachian folk songs and Bluegrass, while Country music flowered in Nashville. Gospel, Blues, Rockabilly, and ultimately, Rock ’n’ Roll, all stemmed from the Mississippi belt. As well as being able to investigate the roots of major popular music traditions, travellers will also find the world’s largest Bible-producing business.
Nashville is a major music performance and recording centre and also boasts a host of fine colleges and churches. To the southwest is Memphis, home of the blues and the birthplace of Rock ’n’ Roll, near the Mississippi border. Tennessee’s largest city and a major trading centre, Memphis is known chiefly for being the location of Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. Historic Beale Street, featured in so many blues songs, is also in Memphis. Barbecues reign supreme in this city, and the annual World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest takes place here every May.
Over on the southeastern side of the State, perched next to the Tennessee River, is Chattanooga. This bustling city, with its train made famous by Glenn Miller’s song ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’, is also home to the Hunter Museum of Art, and the Tennessee Aquarium (one of the world’s largest freshwater aquariums).
More than half of Tennessee is forested, and great tracts have been set aside as State and National parks, forests, wilderness areas and game preserves. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are the starting points for trips into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as is the pleasant city of Knoxville, a former State capital.