Roadside Attractions – Bush’s Best Beans Visitor Center
What: Bush Brothers Visitors Center, Home of Bush’s Baked Beans
Where: In Chestnut Hill, TN off Exit 415 on I-40 between Knoxville, TN and Asheville, NC; 30 minutes outside of Knoxville, about 13 miles off of I-40 (visit the website above for directions)
Time Spent: About an hour and a half including lunch at the cafe, and a walk through the museum and general store.
Why you should stop: This is a sweet little piece of Americana. This family owned business has been thriving since it started canning tomatoes in Chestnut Hill in 1908. Bush’s currently claims 80% of the world’s canned bean market. Lunch at the cafe is tasty and easy (no bean eating required). Get your picture taken with Duke or a giant can of beans, learn your weight in beans, see the canning process in the factory and peruse the rebuild of the old general store originally started by the Bush Family in the late 1800s. It has a great selection of goodies and dry goods, including every kind of canned Bush’s product you can imagine. I picked-up a can of Mayacoba (Canary) Beans that supposedly cause a less gassy reaction in most people (anything is worth a try).
Where you should go if you have more time: Dandridge, TN, the second oldest town in the state, is less than ten miles away and has some nice antique shops, a small revolutionary war graveyard and historic homes. The food in this town was sparse and lacking. People speak highly of Angelo’s on the Point which sits on Douglas Lake, though I haven’t tried it myself. I made the mistake of eating at Southern Comforts Cafe which I do not recommend. The food was heavy and bland and sat like a rock in my stomach for two days. There isn’t a lot to see in this sleepy little town, but the people are amazingly friendly and you can see most of the shops in under an hour.