Don’t miss the tobacco farm on the Natchez Trace parkway.
The Tobacco Farm and The Old Trace are the two attractions that make this location a “MUST SEE” stop. Both are things that can only be seen and appreciated to their full potential while hiking The Trace.
Throughout the course of my travels through the southeastern states by car, I must have passed hundreds of tobacco fields. There is still a significant amount of tobacco production, the majority of which takes place in the southern states, where the climate is more amenable to the cultivation of the crop. These fields are located primarily along secondary roads, and the majority of them are privately owned. In a nutshell, I have never been to a location that was quite as extraordinary as The Tobacco Barn, which is located on the Natchez Trace Parkway. It is a piece of history that has been very skillfully preserved for use in the modern day.
The Tobacco Farm is Unique, even to the Natchez Trace
You are getting close to one of the most extraordinary journeys into the past that can be found anywhere in the South when you reach mile marker 401 on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee. You will find an example of a typical tobacco farm from the early 1900s here. At The Tobacco Farm, there is a pictorial description that illustrates the processes that employees went through in order to prepare and sell tobacco. After a short walk of about ten minutes, you will arrive at the barn where the tobacco is hanging to dry after having passed through the tobacco field.
At the back of the barn, there is a connection that can be made with one of the only two stretches of the Old Trace that are accessible by car. You won’t have a choice but to drive at a more leisurely pace, but your patience will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramas of the valley below. It is strongly recommended that you avoid driving an RV on this road. This path is muddy, and it’s only one way. Should it be possible for two RVs to collide in the middle, there is almost no way for either of them to reverse out of the situation. Furthermore, there is no place along this two-mile stretch of historical passageway where either RV could get around the other.
This treasure can be found in Tennessee not more than 43 miles away from the northern terminus of the trace. Only a select few people will ever have the opportunity to witness a real tobacco crop and an actual barn in which tobacco is being dried in preparation for human consumption.
A Triple Treat in the Fall
First, the tobacco crop is still in the ground and still green in September. This is a real treat. The surrounding vegetation, on the other hand, has completed the transformation from summer to fall colors. You are able to examine the crop while it is still in the ground and read the legends that are housed within the barn. Those legends explain how the crop is harvested and processed.
The fall foliage in this region is breathtaking in the month of October. There is a lookout point at the back of the old tobacco barn that offers a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding area. I have visited this location during each of the four seasons. It is never a bad idea to pull over and take a look at something.
The third and final treat is that you are able to drive along the “Old Trace,” which begins behind the tobacco barn and continues for approximately two miles further north. When I drive on this road, which has been in use for hundreds of years, I can’t help but feel a chill down my spine. On the driver’s side, the only thing you can see is the hill or the dense trees, but the passenger side has some of the most breathtaking views. Once, during the winter, my family and I drove along this path to the north exit, and just as we were making the final turn to enter the Trace, there was a herd of deer congregated there in the clearing. There might have been 50 or 60 deer. I have never seen that many deer in one place.
You don’t have to be from the South to appreciate the South.
During one of our pit stops at the Tobacco Farm, I struck up a conversation with another person who was equally enthusiastic about road trips. It just so happened that he was originally from Michigan. I couldn’t help but wonder what compelled him to walk The Trace. He explained to me, “Years ago, I happened upon The Trace by accident, and I was astounded by the hundreds of beautiful overlooks, historical sites, and natural beauty of this parkway.” Since then, I have made it a point to travel to Nashville, Tennessee, where I enter the Natchez Trace Parkway at its most northern point and proceed to take my time driving the entire length of the parkway. He stated that “driving and seeing the sites on this great piece of American history never gets old for me.” It couldn’t have been stated any more eloquently, and I couldn’t agree with you more.
As you travel along the Trace, you never know what you will come across. We came across a flock of wild turkeys a short distance to the south of The Tobacco Farm. The number of birds that were around was the primary source of difficulty in this situation. We quickly counted more than 35 different birds. My best guess is that there were between fifty and sixty of them altogether. Because the birds are constantly moving around, it is difficult to get an accurate count of them. The fact that grazing turkeys are not timid is one of the species’ many positive qualities. They will not allow you to walk up to them, but if you stop to take a look at them, they will not rush away from you.
I have no doubt that you will have a good time during your excursion to The Tobacco Farm, which is located on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee.