Reasons to Discover Historic Jonesborough, Tennessee

Historic and Charming Jonesborough Tennessee

Jonesborough is the oldest town in Tennessee from what I learned doing a bit of reading before visiting.  This was a purposeful stop because my partner’s ancestor had a home in the town still standing from the 18th century so we figured this would be an interesting stop along the way from somewhere south of Roanoke, Virginia where we boondocked in the RV at a rest area.  Boondocking is an RV term apparently for dry camping – not having any hookups – like in a Wal-Mart parking lot or a rest area as opposed to a campground with electrical and sewer hookups.

A photo opp located on the grounds of the Visitors Center, Jonesborough, Tennessee.
A photo opp located on the grounds of the Visitors Center, Jonesborough, Tennessee.

There is a visitors center with ample parking on the way into the town.  So much so that I imagine in the summer it must get quite busy.  There is a small museum there with exhibits on Jonesborough’s history which we went through and found interesting.  It operates on donations.

A museum exhibit at the Visitors Center, Jonesborough, Tennessee.
A museum exhibit at the Visitors Center, Jonesborough, Tennessee.

The visitors center is stocked with a variety of merchandise including some very interesting books on  local history.  We found the staff there extremely helpful and very friendly.  They set the tone for the whole visit and do an incredible job helping all the guests to the town.

The desk at the Welcome Center ini Jonesborough, Tennessee.  A wide variety of historical books and items for purchase can be found here along with very friendly people ready to answer your questions.
The desk at the Welcome Center ini Jonesborough, Tennessee. A wide variety of historical books and items for purchase can be found here along with very friendly people ready to answer your questions.

We went to the Christopher Taylor House which is along the main street in the town and was moved there from a few miles away at one point.  It dates to 1788 when Christopher Taylor built it.  It was also the home of former American President Andrew Jackson for a time.  Our interest in it is that it is the home of my partner’s 6th great grandfather and he was particularly thrilled to walk around it.  It is not open to the public but you can walk around it.

The Christopher Taylor house dates to 1788 in Jonesborough, Tennessee.
The Christopher Taylor house dates to 1788 in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

Directly across the street we found a delightful place to eat – the Main Street Cafe & Catering.  The front window where we sat looks across the street to the Christopher Taylor House.  I had the clam chowder and a half a rustic chicken salad sandwich and both were nothing short of phenomenal.  It is a cozy little cafe and the food from what we could tell was terrific.

Main Street Cafe

We spent a good deal of time in the Jonesborough Antique Mart which was a hardware store about 150 years ago.  There was plenty to look at for sure.  The variety was pretty amazing.  There were other antiques stores in the town as well as crafts, candles, lotions, art glass, jewelery, locally made food and more.  For those that are interested there is an amazing quilting store too.

The Main Street in Jonesborough, Tennessee has a variety of shops to spend time in.
The Main Street in Jonesborough, Tennessee has a variety of shops to spend time in.

All in all, it is easy to spend the day here meandering around and discovering history in Tennessee’s oldest town.  We thoroughly enjoyed it and it was even raining most of the time we were there.  Most of the architecture dates to the late 18th century and the town has done an incredible job of preservation.

The Antiques Mart on Main Street interior in Jonesborough, Tennessee.
The Antiques Mart on Main Street interior in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

It is easy to see why this must be a regional draw for visitors.  But if you find yourself travelling the interstates anywhere near the Tri-Cities area of Tennessee (Johnson CityKingsportBristol) on the I-81 or I-26 you owe it to yourself to take a slight side trip and enjoy this treasure of American history.  Meander well!

Main Street scene in Jonesborough, Tennessee.
Main Street scene in Jonesborough, Tennessee.
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