Scenic Byways and Small Towns in Tennessee

A Road Less Traveled: US 412: Hampshire, Hohenwald and Linden Tennessee

If you want a journey that is filled with scenery, small towns, countryside and no typical chain restaurant food, gas and shopping that you can easily find at any exit around the entire country, this is a route you may want to consider. It takes you through plenty of options for places to stop, including Columbia, Tennessee which we ended up by-passing.  You will also find accommodations along the way or, like us, a place to camp at the end of the road.

On the Hampshire Pike in rural Tennessee.
On the Hampshire Pike in rural Tennessee.

Hampshire

A very small town with a market and deli next to an incredibly interesting antiques store is about the extent of this place. You’ll find bicycles, flags, statues and all sorts of things here. While we didn’t go into the market and deli it just seemed like the perfect local stop along the way if you want a bite to eat or just pick something for the road.

Always interesting shops along the road, this one is in Hampshire, an unincorporated town in rural Tennessee.
Always interesting shops along the road, this one is in Hampshire, an unincorporated town in rural Tennessee.

Hohenwald

Hohenwald is the county seat for Lewis County and offers an easy stop along the way to stretch your legs, perhaps grab a bite at one of the local options and soak up some small town pleasures.

Lewis County's seat is Hohenwald, Tennessee and features a number of unique buildings and businesses in the town center.
Lewis County’s seat is Hohenwald, Tennessee and features a number of unique buildings and businesses in the town center.

There is a local museum which we didn’t visit and there’s sufficient shops to warrant a stop if this where you wanted to stretch your legs. The Strand Art Gallery shows works by artists of the region and there are a few local restaurants in the town. Main Street at Maple is a good place to start your exploration.  The town has all the makings of a good Main Street USA experience.

Hohenwald, Tennessee's downtown.
Hohenwald, Tennessee’s downtown.

One of the more interesting things isn’t open to the public and we didn’t visit but its worth mentioning because it is such a fascinating place. The Elephant Sanctuary is located nearby with over 2700 acres of space dedicated to elephants. At some point it would be nice to have visits to this place open to the public as it would surely help tourism and spread the word for the cause and increase donations for the non-profit facility.

The road less traveled always has interesting buildings to see, including this abandoned one on US 412 outside of Hohenwald.
The road less traveled always has interesting buildings to see, including this abandoned one on US 412 outside of Hohenwald.

Linden

Linden is a beautiful little town with all the charms you would expect from a quaint Main Street that has quite a few historic brick buildings. The stately Commodore Hotel was recently restored and was built in 1939.  The roads between these small towns is nice but also gives you plenty to think about in between the odd abandoned structures and roadside buildings that time has flown by.

Dontown Linden, Tennessee with the Commodore Hotel, recently restored, on the left.
Dontown Linden, Tennessee with the Commodore Hotel, recently restored, on the left.

It has a cafe and 12 rooms and dominates the small town’s Main Street.  It has made a considerable effort to brand itself as a historic and arts district and has a number of public art projects in the town center, including murals and interesting trash cans.

The Commodore Hotel in downtown Linden, Tennessee's Arts and Historic District.
The Commodore Hotel in downtown Linden, Tennessee’s Arts and Historic District.

It just goes to show what a small town can do with its downtown to really make it special and inviting to visitors.  The banners along the main street also help tie the whole town together as a destination.  The point of visiting all these small towns is all about the journey of going from one point to another and enjoying the drive.  It is well worth getting off the interstate and taking some of these back roads to really see the country.  For information on visiting Tennessee, you can go to their website and order a vacation guide.

One of the murals in downtown Linden, Tennessee.
One of the murals in downtown Linden, Tennessee.

Beech Bend Recreation Area – Decaturville

If you’re driving in the same direction as this blog story is laid out you will find yourself ready to rest for the night.  If you are not in an RV, certainly the Commodore Hotel in Linden works or you can go up the highway a bit more and find yourself in a perfect camping location.  What a gorgeous location for a park this is. We pulled in here at dark and when the sun rose we were blown away with the beauty of nature. The Tennessee River is right here and there are camp sites directly on the river with excellent views.

Our rented RV from Cruise America at the campsite along the Tennessee River at Beech Bend.
Our rented RV from Cruise America at the campsite along the Tennessee River at Beech Bend.

Duck hunters were out in full force and there were places to launch a boat right in the camping area as well as a playground for kids and full showers/toilets that were clean.  It is woodsy and really quite charming.  If you’re interested here is their information:

Beech Bend Campground
22 Beech Bend Park Ln.
Decaturville, TN, 38329
731-847-4252

The Tennessee River from the Beech Bend Campground.
The Tennessee River from the Beech Bend Campground.

Thanks for following along and your interest in small town Tennessee with this blog.  We enjoy visiting places that are well known as well as the lesser known destinations.  It is all about discovery.  Happy discovering.

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