When you Tennesseans cast your votes in this year's Readers' Choice contest, you kept your own state in mind.
Tennessee's Readers' Choice Awards
Visitors and locals take to the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, one of the most popular spots to get away from it all.

Most of Southern Living readers--including me--love experiencing all the wonders of Tennessee. It's easy to see why after reading through the huge number of locations that Tennesseans proudly voted for in this year's Southern Living Readers' Choice Awards. Loyal Volunteers claim bragging rights to fabulous barbecue, natural beauty, and a big dose of small-town charm.

Food, Glorious Food
There's more to Tennessee cuisine than barbecue, but the Volunteer State certainly claims more than its fair share of saucy standouts. Betty Johnson of Germantown swears by Corky's. "Corky's is the best barbecue anywhere," she declares. "We send it to our friends out of state. Whenever our business has lunches for our customers, Corky's is what we serve." Betty's favorite meal? "It's their beef and spaghetti plate," she says. "It's not barbecuey at all." Cynthia Blackwell of Harrison proclaims Interstate Bar-B-Que in Memphis to be her family's pick. "We love the good old sliced pork plate," she says.

On the other end of the spectrum, The Orangery in Knoxville is a perennial favorite. Its upscale menu and romantic ambience make it a popular fine-dining spot.

Outdoor Wonderlands
Tennessee features fabulous gardens, waterparks, rivers, and mountains, just right for fresh-air exploring. Our voters are also proud of their cities and towns. Readers especially love Chattanooga. Cynthia raves about its family atmosphere. "I love the aquarium, the parks, and the restaurants," she says. Others praise charming Franklin, with its quaint, walkable streets filled with shops and restaurants.

Many readers enjoy wandering the grounds of Nashville's Cheekwood, with its beautiful landscaping. Joy Noblit of Hermitage says, "I love going there and walking the grounds in the spring." Others head for the shopping mecca of Opry Mills, with its seemingly endless selection of outlet opportunities. Joy prefers the small town of Fayetteville for her shopping pleasure. "It has a fabulous fabric store," she says. "You can get real deals on the remnant tables. And there are a few antiques malls on the square."

Our readers love talking about Tennessee, and we love writing about it. Thanks for your votes. Here's to 2008. Click here to enter 2008 Readers' Choice awards.