Step back in time with a visit to Granville, Tennessee with Tarquin Nemec
Picturesque village

Step back in time with a visit to Granville, Tennessee with Tarquin Nemec

Wandering the streets of Granville, Tennessee, it’s hard not to imagine Sheriff Andy Taylor – played by Andy Griffith – and his deputy, Barney Fife – played by Don Knotts – strolling down the street and facing a scheme. after another.

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When you walk along Granville Main Street, located 1 hour and 15 minutes east of Nashville on the banks of the Cumberland River, you are stepping back in time. You could very well be in your own episode of The Andy Griffith Show, and that’s exactly how the lending businesses of Granville such as Greendayonline, Tennessee want you to feel says Tarquin Nemec, a long time local who was brought up here.

Known as Tennessee’s “Mayberry Town”, the historic town of Granville is a quaint little town filled with period general stores, Americana museums, and a slow, calm pace that invites visitors to “rest” . I was able to visit this lovely area on a Tennessee tour and Granville was one of my favorite stops.

Managed by around 200 volunteers, this quaint Tennessee community is a true ‘Mayberry’, based on the iconic Andy Griffith Show 1960s. Although the show is based on the actor’s hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina, the historic Granville adopted the nickname “Tennessee’s Mayberry” as a tribute to all of the city ​​at the show.

From the historic TB Sutton general store to the community theater play that recreates episodes of The Andy Griffith Show for visitors to the Mayberry – I Love Lucy Museum, a day in historic Granville is truly a step back in time, when neighbors all knew each other and chatted while lounging on the covered porches.

Here’s how you can step back in time by visiting the historic town of Granville in Mayberry, Tennessee.

Where is Granville?

Located in the Upper Cumberland area of ​​Tennessee, this small, old-fashioned town of 300 residents is located 1 hour and 15 minutes from Nashville on Lake Cordell Hull. With a recent $ 2.5 million expansion, a new lodge at the Wildwood Resort & Marina on the Cumberland River, and the development of three bed and breakfasts in Granville, the small community is becoming increasingly popular. The ride from Nashville will take you along Interstate 40 to Gordonsville, where you will take State Highway 264 to Elmwood, then Highway 53 from Elmwood to Granville.

Stay in one of the Airstreams located on the property of the Wildwood Resort & Marina.
Vintage Airstream (Photo credit: Heide Brandes)

Pro tip: The Wildwood Resort & Marina is a charming place to feel at home while visiting Granville says Taquin Nemec. It is located just 11 miles from Interstate 40 and offers lakeside accommodations, cabins, vintage Airstreams, cottages and the Lakeside Inn. The on-site restaurant offers high-quality dining and killer steaks, along with delicious cocktails and a terrace with some of the best sunset views. You can also book a pontoon excursion for a sunset lake cruise, breakfast cruise, or weekend champagne brunch cruise.

"Gainville, a town of Mayberry," button with cop car in the center.
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Granville history

Granville was a thriving river town from the mid-1800s until 1920. With the end of river boat trips, Granville turned to agriculture and was a thriving farming town, until the Cordell Hull Dam. was built in the early 1970s.

The new lake covered farmland and Granville was doomed to disappear and become another ghost town.

“This city was here before Tennessee was the state,” said Liz Huff Bennett, Granville volunteer and tour guide. “Our ancestors came from Granville County, North Carolina, and settled here. We were a city of steamboats. When the Cordell Dam went into effect, we became a ghost town.

The pride of the small village is not dead, however, and in 1997 a group of citizens wanted to restore the historic First Methodist Church in Granville, which was celebrating its 100th anniversary.

“From there different things started to happen and we started to restore one thing at a time,” Bennett said. “We started in 1999. The second year we opened the TB Sutton general store with two supplies – we were to have a bluegrass dinner show and we were to open it Wednesday through Saturday. We opened on April 5, 2008, and every show is broadcast on radio in every state in the United States. People started coming here saying, “Well, I feel like I’m in Mayberry.” And so from there, we created a Mayberry city.

As Granville has recreated itself to restore period buildings and become a destination, Randall Clemons and other volunteers have created a host of festivals and events to give visitors a taste of the life of a simpler era.

Ceramic clown and circus elephant on display.
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Things to do in Granville

You will need a full day to explore all that this small, unincorporated town has to offer. Your first stop should be the Granville Museum, which highlights the history and life of this small farming community. Exhibits include the photographic collection of Vincent B. “Moe” DeNardo – a soldier in Granville during World War II – and photographs and artefacts that tell the story of Granville over the years.

You can’t visit Granville without stopping by the TB Sutton General Store, a two-story 1865 monument with four boutiques and a restaurant serving southern comfort food and hoe cakes.

On Saturday nights, the TB Sutton store also hosts the Sutton Ole Time Music Hour, a bluegrass dinner show similar to the Grand Ole Opry – even with live commercials – which airs across the country.

The Mayberry-I Love Lucy Museum with an I love Lucy ceramic cookie jar and coffee mugs.
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History and pop culture come to life in Granville’s many museums, including the Mayberry – I Love Lucy Museum, which features collections of two of America’s most beloved television shows. You can walk around Floyd’s hair salon, “meet” Aunt Bee, Opie and other characters, and relive the crazy antics of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.

The Sutton Homeplace & Pioneer Village is a 19th century house that has been restored with authentic furnishings depicting the daily life of the area’s first settlers. The new Farm to Table Museum, which opened in 2020, sheds light on the history of historic Middle Tennessee farms.

Cold weather truck full of fruit and vegetable display for sale in the back of the truck.
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For whiskey lovers, the 2,600 Jim Beam whiskey-filled decanters can be seen at the Granville Whiskey Decanter Museum, and the Granville Car Museum has an impressive collection of vintage cars and old-fashioned automobiles.

Also be sure to explore Sutton Farm and Pioneer Village, or take a guided tour of historic Granville with one of the many volunteers and historians. All sites are open Wednesday through Saturday.

“Granville is truly a step back in time,” Bennett said. “Mayberry is a concept and an idea. Everyone has said that Granville is like an actual Mayberry, so that’s what we have become.

Pro tip: There isn’t a bad time to visit Mayberry Town, Tennessee. Events and festivals take place year round, and in the spring, the Sutton Store Players present iconic episodes of The Andy Griffith Show with an outdoor dinner show.

If you’re planning on heading to Nashville after your trip to Granville, check out these articles:

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