Discover Dickson
By Erin Taylor

“Our county roads have many tales to tell,” reads the text underneath the giant “Greetings from Dickson County” postcard painted on the side of an old brick building on the edge of downtown Dickson.

If the roads donâ€TMt, its people will share their pride for the county that boasts rich tradition among its rolling hills. With the majority of the population settled in Dickson proper, followed by White Bluff and Charlotte, these small towns just outside the big city showcase an appreciation for agriculture, family values, and the local economy.

Where else in America can you still find a volunteer group of neighbors like the “Welcome to Dickson Greeters”?

“Itâ€TMs easy to promote something that you can be passionate about,” says Rhonda Adams, Dickson County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Director. She adds, “We are a community that stands behind what it says. We have Southern hospitality with livability. Just thirty minutes from Nashville and one hour from Jackson, we arenâ€TMt too far from anything, but live far enough out to farm and maintain a close-knit community.”

With festivals for celebrating everything from apple butter to “grillinâ€TM â€~nâ€TM greens,” Dickson Countyâ€TMs residents know how to draw a crowd. Just visit the Dickson County Fair, held the first week in September, which brought out 22,000 people, or nearly half of the countyâ€TMs population, to its demolition derby last Labor Day.

“The derby really put our small market fair on the map,” Rhonda says, noting that the event includes several heats, including a “powder puff” category.

The fair is one of few left in the state that maintains a large focus on agriculture. The midway of amusement rides and food on a stick doesnâ€TMt overshadow the cattle barn, crops, and mule pulls.

Supporting its local farmers and agritourism is a part of the Dickson County way of life and its economyâ€TMs livelihood. In October, families head to Kellerâ€TMs Corny Country to pick their own pumpkins, enjoy the hayride, and wander through the corn maze. Similarly, Berry Farms Harvest on Hayshed offers a pumpkin patch and farm tours in addition to seasonal produce and frequent appearances at the farmersâ€TM market.

Need to brush up on your goat-herding skills? Three Creeks Farm in Charlotte offers a New Shepherd/Goat Herder 101 class that teaches students the basics of sheep and goat care. The farm also offers tours, wool-spinning demonstrations and classes, blacksmithing demonstrations, and guides dressed in period clothing. The farm is home to Tennessee ainting goats, as well as several other breeds, plus sheep and chickens. The farm also harvests dye plants, herbs, and flowers. Goods can be purchased in the farmâ€TMs Little Shop of Fiber.

Downtown Dickson paints a quaint town square, complete with striped awnings and glass storefronts. Here youâ€TMll find long-established hardware, appliance, and antique stores next door to modern boutiques filled with contemporary clothing and home goods.

“The people who own these shops have a great pride for their business and products,” Aspen Anderson, Director of Membership Services at the Dickson Chamber, explains.

Hungry shoppers can grab a bite to eat at Ace Diner, which serves breakfast all day in addition to burgers and grilled cheese. On Saturday nights, live bluegrass and country music can be heard from the house band at Vance Smithâ€TMs Grand Old Hatchery. The all-ages show, held from 7–9:30 p.m., offers a “no smoking or alcohol” atmosphere, which, albeit different, is certainly refreshing considering its downtown Nashville counterparts.

The friendly local spirit seems to be contagious for bigger businesses that have landed in Dickson. “New industries that come here choose Dickson because they want a community for their business and for their employees,” Aspen says.

The Clement Railroad Hotel Museum, also downtown, serves as an existing example of a small Tennessee town railroad hotel, and offers a history lesson in railroading, the iron ore industry, and the Clement family, along with exhibits on how the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement impacted Dickson County.

Though many parts of the county seem to take you back in time, the Renaissance Center in Dickson brings the latest in fine arts and technology through a series of educational opportunities, concerts, theater productions, and exhibitions. The center is home to the Tennessee Artisan Market, which features art, jewelry, crafts, and handmade goods from Tennessee artists, in addition to “Pick Tennessee” products. Dance, music, theater, and art classes allow children and adults to express their creativity through a variety of outlets.

Montgomery Bell State Park offers recreational activities for those who want to get outdoors. With campgrounds and cabins for rent, visitors enjoy seeing the sights of the park through hiking, kayaking, and getting close-up views of wildlife. Additionally, Jewel Cave in Dickson will satisfy your sense of adventure as you experience the mystery and history of this world-renowned spot.

If youâ€TMre still not sure where the county roads should take you, download the new Discover Dickson app, available for Apple devices. This app provides a calendar of upcoming events, attractions, restaurants, accommodations, and a map. Itâ€TMs more proof that Dickson County is very much focused on the future.

Dickson County is a lesson in living simply. Itâ€TMs a place where people donâ€TMt get lost in the crowd, but are very much a part of the community. If you visit, be prepared to practice your two-finger steering wheel wave on those country roads, because you can be sure youâ€TMll be greeted with smiling faces and warm welcomes.

“Our sense of pride is above and beyond,” Rhonda says. “When you visit Dickson, you donâ€TMt get a bad feeling. And if you do, you better tell somebody.”

Dickson Fall Happenings:

Apple Butter Festival
October 5
White Bluff
www.townofwhitebluff.com

Grillinâ€TM â€~nâ€TM Greens Festival
October 19
White Bluff Community Center
www.townofwhitebluff.com

Kellerâ€TMs Corny Country
Open Saturdays in October, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Dickson
www.kellerscornercountry.com

Three Creeks Farm
By appointment only.
www.3creeksfarm.com

Grand Old Hatchery
Open Saturday 7–9:30 p.m.
Dickson

Old Spencer Mill
Call for seasonal hours.
www.oldspencermill.com
Burns

Clement Railroad Hotel Museum
Open Tuesday–Friday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Dickson
www.clementrailroadmuseum.org

Renaissance Center
Dickson
www.rcenter.org

[use bio from summer issue]