JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) — According to one traveler and the publication she writes for, Jonesborough tops all others when it comes to small-town scenes.
KC Dermody writes for Trips To Discover, a digital magazine focused on travel and life on the road. When she stopped at Jonesborough, she said it made quite an impression. Impressed enough, in fact, to award the city the title of Most charming little town in Tennessee.
“Having traveled extensively through Tennessee, the town I remember the most is Jonesborough,” Dermody said. “It has so much charm with an old fashioned feel and historic character as the oldest town in the state.”
Chuck Vest, the town mayor, agrees. He saw the city grow over the years and was more than happy to see it gain recognition.
“We always say Jonesborough might be a small town, but we’re doing a lot of great things and we’re doing a lot of good things,” Vest said. “And we will continue that. We have a diverse population and we like to make sure we fly the American flags, but also looking at the arts and history of our city is just as important as flying those American flags for us.
A major draw for KC was the stories and tales of the city, and not just those of the International Storytelling Center.
“There are lots of fun local boutiques and antique stores,” Dermody said. “But the story is what stood out to me the most because it really brings the past to life, not to mention the intriguing ghost stories.”
As the oldest town in Tennessee, the BMA of Jonesborough is more than aware of the heritage it protects. Vest said it was an important part of every decision they made.
“There aren’t many towns around 243 like Jonesborough that have been groomed like Jonesborough,” Vest said. “So it’s been decades of work that has gone into that, that has created this lovely town. It’s kind of up to us to protect it.
Besides the history, Dermody also highlighted some notable institutions in the region:
- The Jonesborough Repertory Theater
- The Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts
- The McKinney Center
- Jimmy Neil Smith Park
At its core, KC said the city’s vibe goes far beyond any attraction or business. A friendly welcome was an important part of his choice.
“The surrounding landscape is picturesque and the people are warm and welcoming – without that it wouldn’t have made my list,” Dermody said. “It has all the ingredients for what, in my opinion, makes for a most charming city.”
The publication’s ranking is sure to attract tourism to the area, and Vest said it won’t be long before the old-school main street can easily handle the flow of traffic and commerce to the heart from the city.
“It’s a balancing act right now because we’ve really created something so good that a lot of people want to visit,” Vest said. “And that creates traffic and motor vehicle problems. So being able to move traffic around town without disrupting our downtown is something we’re focused on now, and hopefully in a year or two you’ll see changes in our traffic patterns. traffic.
While Jonesborough has no plans to be the next NYC, Vest said the BMA is always looking to tap into new segments of the population as potential visitors or residents.
“There are still segments of our population in our country that we don’t target as aggressively and I think that’s something we’re going to do more of,” Vest said. “Young professionals are probably a good area for us to improve, I think we’ve always been successful in attracting an older clientele with storytelling, antiques and history. But there’s a lot of other things we have to offer to a more diverse audience.