Moving on from Nashville, heading to Huntsville, AL. We may have been through with the Bourbon Trail, but we weren’t through with distilleries. Jack Daniel’s is located in Lynchburg, TN, about 75 miles south of Nashville, on our way, so of course we stopped.Unfortunately, we stopped on a Sunday, so there was no sampling allowed aside from what we could absorb through our nostrils. Jack Daniel’s is located in a dry county. They can distill the product there, but can’t sell it. There is an exception: you can purchase one commemorative product from the distillery. Still, not on a Sunday.
Jack Daniel was born sometime between 1846 and 1850. His mother died when he was very young, and his father died in the Civil War. Jack didn’t like his stepmother and ran away from home at a young age. He was taken in by a local preacher and distiller, from whom he learned the moonshine trade. When the preacher was told by local prohibitionists that he must choose between preaching and distilling, he chose preaching. Jack purchased the distillery from him for $25. According to the story, Jack was only 13 when he acquired the distillery. By the 1880’s, Jack’s was one of fifteen distilleries operating in Moore County, and the second most productive of them all.
Jack’s whiskey received the gold medal for the finest whiskey at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, and his product took off.
The distillery makes its own charcoal on site, which is used in the filtering process. Fresh spring water comes from their grounds as well.
You can purchase your own barrel of bourbon for only $9,000 – $12,000. Forty cases of whiskey (6 bottles per case) will be delivered to your home along with the empty barrel. If you can’t afford that, you can purchase a used barrel at the local Jack Daniel’s Market Store.
Our next stop was the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL, where Mark spent several hours studying Werner von Braun’s and other German scientists’ accomplishments at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, and examining the various rockets on display.
The center was opened in 1970, after the second manned mission to the lunar surface, and houses more than 1,500 rocketry and space exploration artifacts. The largest space spaceflight museum in the world, they offer Space Camp for children of all ages, as well as for adults and families. They also offer Aviation Challenge Camp geared toward fighter pilot training and survival skills. We may have to sign up. It’s never too late to start a new career.