Discover Historic Dandridge

August 29, 2012 in Editorials

Whether it’s the Civil War, antiques or milkshakes, you can find what peaks your interests in the historic little town of Dandridge. The second oldest town in Tennessee, Dandridge, is named after Martha Dandridge Washington, the wife of George Washington. Many of the charming old buildings that originally housed inns and taverns still entice visitors to stroll the streets and all just a stone’s throw from beautiful Douglas Lake. With the recent addition of Krista’s Korner, there are now four antique stores in strolling distance of each other, and each one is housed in a carefully restored piece of history.

On the corner of Main and Gay Streets, the Dandridge General Store and Rachel’s Attic, located on the second floor of the historic Gass building, combine antiques, collectibles, and a large variety of handmade-in-the-USA items. Be sure to spend some time browsing through their collection of postcards – it’s enormous and quite interesting. On the opposite corner, located in the Vance Building, circa 1825, you’ll find the newest antique store in Dandridge, Krista’s Korner. Krista has a variety of collectibles, vintage, antique items and handmade items. Half a block down Main Street there’s Kim’s Little Shanty, located in the Old Bank Building, circa 1855, which still has the original bank vault intact. Kim has a large selection of unique items including antiques, primitives and handmade barnwood furniture. There you will find Angela Bohanan, hand-torched bead artist, on site making beautiful glass beads and giving classes on bead-making.

In the Shoppes at Roper Mansion, you can find one of the most eclectic shopping experiences in Dandridge:  antiques, vintage jewelry, collectibles, gifts and even a pet boutique. The beautiful restored Federal Manor, circa 1820, also houses the Edward James Gallery, located in the upstairs ballroom, where you can find an extraordinary variety of antique paintings, fine art, photography and prints by local artists.

Other shops are located in the historic district as well. On Gay Street you will find lovely floral arrangements, candles and birdhouses at Laura’s Flowers and browse the paintings, prints and gifts at the Red Door Gallery. On the corner of Meeting and Gay you will find Thomas Tavern, one of the four original historic taverns, where you can purchase fine cigars, pipes and gifts for everyone in the family. On the way there, stop at the famous Tinsley-Bible Drug Store for a homemade bible burger or a great milkshake at the soda fountain, which dates back to the 1940s. You know this is a great place when you see that it’s packed with locals and tourists alike. And back over on Main Street, across from the Revolutionary War Graveyard, you will find the ‘1882 building’ – the blue and yellow treasure with a series of boutiques called the Maxwell House.

Other dining options include the Southern Comfort Café (back to the Gass building), serving comfort food in a casual atmosphere or on the front porch, or Leia’s Wrap Café, with homemade wraps, sweets and specialty coffees (indoor and outdoor seating). Cross the bridge and dine at Angelo’s at the Point, where you can join the boating scene and enjoy a lovely view of Douglas Lake, offering happy hour specials and casual dining as well.

Be sure to check out the local B & Bs in the area as well. Rent a boat, take the historic walking tour, or even a ghostwalk tour and you’ll be sure to return to Dandridge again and again. For more information stop by the Dandridge Visitors Center located in the old coach house on Main Street or go to www.mainstreetdandridge.com to find out about events and activities taking place year-round. Located just off I-40, exit 417, Dandridge is just a short trip from Knoxville, Asheville and the Great Smoky Mountains.