Ah, the Volunteer State. With the rollin’ Mississippi River to our left, the beauty of the Smoky’s to our right, and the world’s best country music serenading us smack dab in the middle, what is there not to love? We’ve got hot chicken, barbecue, country, and blues all at our fingertips, and we’re not afraid to insist we do them all better than the rest of you.
If you happen to be lucky enough to be from the great state of Tennessee, there are a few things you know to be true. And let’s be honest, some of it can be hard to explain.
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1. No, “hot chicken” does not mean warm.
It means brace yourself for a delicious blend of spices that might actually set your mouth on fire. Keep some refreshment handy.
2. 901 is a way of life.
3. Calling it “Nashvegas” isn’t necessarily a compliment.
Sure, you might not be able to flinch without bumping into a bachelorette party, and there may be more neon signs per capita on Broadway than Las Vegas itself, but there is so much more to Nashville than the touristy glitz and glamor. We’d be happy to show you.
4. It’s named the Scenic City for a reason, and yes, we’d all rather be outside.
Chattanooga is more than its choo choo. It’s breathtaking. With the Tennessee River and mountains right at our doorsteps, how could we not want to be outside 24/7?
5. We’re pretentious about barbecue. We’ve earned the right.
We can say with utmost certainty that there is nothing like Memphis BBQ. Whether you like your ribs wet or dry, we’ve not only got what you need, but we do it best. Though we all may tell you a different must-stop spot to get ‘em, no one can argue with classics like the Rendezvous.
6. Yes, we have our own Parthenon. Yes, we know we’re not Greece.
Don’t worry, we’ve got our own Eiffel Tower, too. Just take a trip to Paris, Tennessee.
7. We’re not all rooting for the Volunteers.
Sure, you’ll hear your fair share of ‘Rocky Top’ hootin’ and hollerin’, but some of us bleed Memphis tiger blue or Commodore black and gold.
8. But, for those of us who are Tennessee fans, Manning’s the man.
Peyton Manning, that is. And Peyton sightings are totally possible on Saturdays in Knoxville.
9. There aren’t many of us who don't remember a picturesque childhood trip to the Smoky’s.
That Gatlinburg trip definitely included a Smoky the Bear t-shirt, a few hikes, a trip to the Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum, and a stop by Dollywood. Add a tasting at Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine for the adults, and you’ve got yourself a true Tennessee family vacation.
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10. Yes, we know Ober Gatlinburg is pretty much straight ice, but where else are we going to learn to ski?
Come on. It’s really not that bad. How else will you learn how to "pizza" and "hot dog" before heading out west?
11. No, we haven’t all been to Graceland.
Not until our grandparents come into town and we’re looking for something to do, that is.
12. It’s a long state, people.
How long does it take to drive all the way across Tennessee? Just ask all of the people that grew up in west Tennessee why they didn’t end up at University of Tennessee in Knoxville for college. I’m pretty sure Ole Miss is practically considered the in-state school for west Tennessee kids.
13. Above all else, music is everything.
It's true. There is seriously good live music playing across our state every night, and you'll find the footsteps of country, blues, soul, and rock 'n' roll legends around every corner. Music is at the core of Tennessee’s character. If you’re from here, it’s part of you. The sounds of our cities are ingrained in us, and even if we don’t all listen to country or the blues, we all have a common respect for the rich history and future of Tennessee music.