Need tips for Knoxville, Stones River and Ft. Donelson

J C J Barefoot

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Joined
Sep 10, 2019
I'll be taking a trip to Knoxville, Stones River and Ft. Donelson next month. I'm flexible on the time at each spot..anywhere from a full day to a day and a half. The old post with tips here are many years back.
Your guidance would be of great help. I've been looking for a guide for Stones River--no luck yet.
What not to miss? What are the highlights? Good places for food? Other suggestions?

Many thanks.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
It would be helpful if you would tell me a bit about your interests. Do you intend to drive through the parks or do you prefer to bike & walk? Are you interested in historic houses? Just a little general info.
 

VMIKeydet

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Nov 6, 2020
In addition to the excellent recent posts about the Knoxville area, I'd recommend the McClung Museum on the campus of UT and the great East TN Historical Society museum downtown. The Historical Society also has a free walking tour map of CW sites around town. Plenty of great spots around there for lunch and libations as well!
 

James N.

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I discovered on my last trip to Fort Donelson that the NPS also owns an associated site nearby called Fort Hieman. Although we didn't have time to include it in our visit, it should probably also be visited and NPS personnel can give you directions. (Of course there's nothing left of Fort Henry.) Donelson itself can easily be seen in a half-day's visit or even shorter if pressed for time. A little south of Dover and straddling the Interstate between Memphis and Nashville is Parker's Crossroads State Historic Site, scene of one of Bedford Forrest's memorable battles, as is Old Johnsonville State Park, though I haven't been there.
 
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gjpratt

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Apr 14, 2019
I discovered on my last trip to Fort Donelson that the NPS also owns an associated site nearby called Fort Hieman. Although we didn't have time to include it in our visit, it should probably also be included and NPS personnel can give you directions. (Of course there's nothing left of Fort Henry.) Donelson itself can easily be seen in a half-day's visit or even shorter if pressed for time. A little south of Dover and straddling the Interstate between Memphis and Nashville is Parker's Crossroads State Historic Site, scene of one of Bedford Forrest's memorable battles, as is Old Johnsonville State Park, though I haven't been there.
The Fort Heiman site is on the opposite (west) bank of the Tennessee River, more or less across from the site of Fort Henry.
 

James N.

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The Fort Heiman site is on the opposite (west) bank of the Tennessee River, more or less across from the site of Fort Henry.
We got directions to it from a ranger at the Visitor Center but weren't able to work it into our schedule since it was already well into the afternoon and we had to head for Nashville for our early-next-morning flights out.
 

J C J Barefoot

Private
Joined
Sep 10, 2019
It would be helpful if you would tell me a bit about your interests. Do you intend to drive through the parks or do you prefer to bike & walk? Are you interested in historic houses? Just a little general info.
Thank you Rhea. I will have eight to ten hours available. I have a general knowledge of Stonesriver. I could bring my road bike along. I've done two tours of Gettysburg with a guide on Bike and it was a great. If walking/hiking gets one to special places that's a real option. If I could pick my ideal way to grasp the battle it would be to spend a few hours on a big overview of the movements, with the balance of the time getting into the most significant and interesting places.
I've had good results with a private tour guides at Shilo, Vicksburg, Chick and Gettysburg. A guide would be great.
 

J C J Barefoot

Private
Joined
Sep 10, 2019
We got directions to it from a ranger at the Visitor Center but weren't able to work it into our schedule since it was already well into the afternoon and we had to head for Nashville for our early-next-morning flights out.
In addition to the excellent recent posts about the Knoxville area, I'd recommend the McClung Museum on the campus of UT and the great East TN Historical Society museum downtown. The Historical Society also has a free walking tour map of CW sites around town. Plenty of great spots around there for lunch and libations as well!
Very good. I will have a full day in Knoxville and will use your suggestions. Thank you.
 

J C J Barefoot

Private
Joined
Sep 10, 2019
I discovered on my last trip to Fort Donelson that the NPS also owns an associated site nearby called Fort Hieman. Although we didn't have time to include it in our visit, it should probably also be visited and NPS personnel can give you directions. (Of course there's nothing left of Fort Henry.) Donelson itself can easily be seen in a half-day's visit or even shorter if pressed for time. A little south of Dover and straddling the Interstate between Memphis and Nashville is Parker's Crossroads State Historic Site, scene of one of Bedford Forrest's memorable battles, as is Old Johnsonville State Park, though I haven't been there.
Grate information. I'll do Parkers. I never would have known that. I was a Brices Crossroads three years ago. Much appreciated !
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I assume you will be coming into town on I-840. The exit onto Murfreesboro Road is next to Stones River. The Sylvan Park Restaurant is the perfect breakfast stop. Good lunch spots near the battlefield are Ichi Ban, Japanese food, Sylvan Park is a meat & three are lunch places. Buster’s is a real hamburger & real onion rings place open for lunch & supper.

STRI is the most bicycle friendly battlefield I know of. You can ride from McFadden’s Ford to Fortress Rosecrans on a paved greenway. It runs along Stones River & is a very pleasant ride. The greenway connects with the battlefield.

Your first stop should be the visitor center. The daily ranger programs include automotive & bicycle tours. The ranger talks are excellent.

Ranger Jim Lewis’ Blue & Gray Stones River mag is terrific. It is available at the VC bookstore. If there is something in particular you are interested in, let me know.
 

tmorr

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Joined
Sep 4, 2020
Make sure you check to make sure the VC is open at Stones River (and other NPS sites) before your trip. They are operating on a restricted schedule due to COVID. I stopped by Stones River on Wednesday (3/24/21) to leave something for Jim and the VC was closed - the battlefield itself was open/accessible, but not the VC and bookstore. I know that they're open on weekends...
 

J C J Barefoot

Private
Joined
Sep 10, 2019
I assume you will be coming into town on I-840. The exit onto Murfreesboro Road is next to Stones River. The Sylvan Park Restaurant is the perfect breakfast stop. Good lunch spots near the battlefield are Ichi Ban, Japanese food, Sylvan Park is a meat & three are lunch places. Buster’s is a real hamburger & real onion rings place open for lunch & supper.

STRI is the most bicycle friendly battlefield I know of. You can ride from McFadden’s Ford to Fortress Rosecrans on a paved greenway. It runs along Stones River & is a very pleasant ride. The greenway connects with the battlefield.

Your first stop should be the visitor center. The daily ranger programs include automotive & bicycle tours. The ranger talks are excellent.

Ranger Jim Lewis’ Blue & Gray Stones River mag is terrific. It is available at the VC bookstore. If there is something in particular you are interested in, let me know.
Rhea- Thank you for your valued and great tips. I will bring the road bike for sure and proceed on as you suggested. I know the Gettysburg tours on bikes really made a big difference in how one experienced the ground, the feel of the land and the feeling of being more "present" than in an air conditioned SUV. Much appreciated.
 

J C J Barefoot

Private
Joined
Sep 10, 2019
Make sure you check to make sure the VC is open at Stones River (and other NPS sites) before your trip. They are operating on a restricted schedule due to COVID. I stopped by Stones River on Wednesday (3/24/21) to leave something for Jim and the VC was closed - the battlefield itself was open/accessible, but not the VC and bookstore. I know that they're open on weekends...
tmorr- Thank you. That's great to know. For others that are on the thread most of the VC's of NPS are closed or very limited. The state run parks like Perryville and Sailors Creek have been open as usual.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Rhea- Thank you for your valued and great tips. I will bring the road bike for sure and proceed on as you suggested. I know the Gettysburg tours on bikes really made a big difference in how one experienced the ground, the feel of the land and the feeling of being more "present" than in an air conditioned SUV. Much appreciated.
Unlike our sister “black power parks” Stones River’s terrain is flat. There was little of the dominant hill or ridge that characterized the battlefields further south.

Depending on your time available, going north through the Land Between the Lakes above Dover is very scenic. The Lake Barkley Lodge is a splendid design, & very reasonably priced this time of year. The Buffalo & Elk range nearby has a 3 mile road loop. The calves are born this time of year & the herd is active toward the late afternoon. An end of the day supper at the Lodge restaurant would be a very nice way to cap off your day.
 

J C J Barefoot

Private
Joined
Sep 10, 2019
Unlike our sister “black power parks” Stones River’s terrain is flat. There was little of the dominant hill or ridge that characterized the battlefields further south.

Depending on your time available, going north through the Land Between the Lakes above Dover is very scenic. The Lake Barkley Lodge is a splendid design, & very reasonably priced this time of year. The Buffalo & Elk range nearby has a 3 mile road loop. The calves are born this time of year & the herd is active toward the late afternoon. An end of the day supper at the Lodge restaurant would be a very nice way to cap off your day.
Perfect. Many thanks.
 
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