Take a Shine to Moonshine in Tennessee
For a spirited getaway closer to home, check out the wildly popular honeymoon destination Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where legal moonshine distilleries are abundant and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is ripe with spectacular scenery. The city also has more than a dozen wedding chapels, which is one reason it’s such a hit with honeymooners. Visitors score with affordable hotels and restaurants (southern barbecue, anyone?), fun attractions, abundant shopping and warm hospitality — all served, of course, with a chaser of fiery Appalachian moonshine.
Where to Taste: Try some white lightning at the Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Distillery. Here the unaged corn whiskey liquor is crafted using century-old recipes. In addition to tastings, the distillery hosts live bluegrass music. Pick up some samples to bring home: You can choose from the original 100-proof deal or slightly less lethal flavored versions (peach, watermelon, apple pie, sweet tea). All are packaged in Mason jars. A visitor-friendly trolley makes imbibing easier.
Photo Credit: Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine
Other Activities: The area’s crisp mountain air, trickling Little Pigeon River, cascading waterfalls and even a picturesque covered bridge are perfect for day-tripping. If outdoor activities are your thing, you can hike the Gatlinburg Trail, an easy two-hour trek that winds past old homesteads and across pretty waterways. Or go whitewater rafting or ziplining. Couples with a sweet tooth might want to taste-test the pecan brittle at Aunt Mahalia’s Candies and the Bavarian pillows at The Donut Friar. And don’t miss the local barbecue, which offers hefty servings of ribs, grits and corn bread. Bennett’s, Calhoun’s and the Hungry Bear are popular joints.
Where to Stay: The Lodge at Buckberry Creek offers upscale rustic decor in pretty, roomy suites with private balconies, many with mountain views (room rates start at $180 a night; buckberrylodge.com). Set at the edge of Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the charming Christopher Place offers canopy beds and whirlpool tubs in some suites (room rates start at $150 a night and include breakfast; christopherplace.com).