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Jonesborough is the oldest town in Tennessee; consequently, it draws people from all over the world. The town is known for its great amount of visitors during the story telling festival, Jonesborough Days, and during the fall, when some just like to roam the streets to check out the many interesting shops.
For the first-time visitor, I recommend that your first stop to be to the Visitors Center. There are so many things to do in this small town you really need a plan to get you started. The Visitors Center offers several brochures and maps of local attractions and festivals in the area. For $1.00 you can also purchase a map that gives a brief description of each of the shops and cafes. The map also gives the location and description of the downtown inns and bed and breakfasts in the area. The Visitors Center also offers several gift items and souvenirs, such as postcards and books written about the town’s rich history. Several different types of tours of the town are offered, including a horse drawn carriage ride throughout the town. Individual or group tours are also available at varying rates. An individual tour can cost between ten to twelve dollars per person and a large group tour cost as high as three hundred dollars per person. Jonesborough.http://www.historicJonesborough.com/index.html.
Another place to visit is the Lollipop Shop. This store is quite unique because it offers over 400 different types of candy. If you have a sweet tooth, this is the shop for you. The kinds of candy they offer are the old-fashion candy sticks I used to buy for a dime, different flavored hard candies, several types of gummy candies, gum, and of course lollipops. While we were there, my wife and I inquired about services the Lollipop Shop offers, such as birthday party packages available through the shop. The bear parties are very unique, and we hadn’t tried them before. The children are given a choice of one of about twenty different choices of stuffed animals. They then go to stuff the animal and fluff it. They also offer to give their creation, which comes with adoption papers, a name. This party is offered for fourteen dollars per child. With another package, for eighteen dollars per person, in addition to stuffing their animal of choice, they get to decorate a cookie, and they get a slushie.
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If you are visiting from out of town you may not be interested in such things as birthday parties for children and enormous selections of candy. You might just want to stroll along the street and check out the many shops. One of the shops we stopped in was The Celtic Cupboard. This shop offers gift items such as clothing, literature, music, and jewelry with an Irish, Celtic, or Scottish look. If you like the colors green and blue, and you love Scottie dogs, this is the store for you. The items range from simple inexpensive $2.99 key chains, postcards, and books to more elaborate gift items like a monogrammed throw in the traditional navy and kelly colors, of course.
Another great attraction of the Town of Jonesborough is the dining selections. We chose to have lunch at the Old Sweet Shop, where you could get a BLT along with cole slaw and chips, for around $3.00. You can also get the typical café item such as hamburgers, cheeseburgers, rubens, French fries, baked potatoes, various salads, and dipped ice cream, all at very reasonable prices.
The Old Sweet Shop is not the only place to dine in Jonesborough. Other types of restaurants are available; for example, Jonesborough Pizza Parlor, McDonald’s, Arby’s, Amigo’s, and Burger King are some of the fast food restaurants. The Main Street Café offers café style items and homemade desserts; for example, a club sandwich is around $3.50 and a piece of blackberry cheesecake sells for $1.95. The Main Street Café also has a catering business that can accommodate large groups. Another option for food is the Harmony Grocery. Located on Highway 81 North, Harmony Grocery offers very unique homemade New Orleans style foods such as Crawfish and Alligator tails. I thought it was bit pricey, but where else in East Tennessee can you find Fried Alligator prepared fresh daily? A dinner entrée costs anywhere from $10.95 for a simple chicken dish to $23.95 for more elaborate items. As you can see, the town of Jonesborough has just about any kind of food you could want with a variety of prices to match any budget.
No trip to the Historic Town of Jonesborough would be complete without stopping by the International Storytelling Center. Located right in the heart of downtown, the International Storytelling Center is a beautiful new building across from the Main Street Café. Anything pertaining to storytelling and the history of the art can be found here. Books, tapes, information about the storytellers themselves, and other storytelling merchandise can be purchased in the gift shop located in the International Storytelling Center.
In conclusion, if you are in the area and can spend a couple of hours, a tour of the town and lunch at one of the cafes will cost around twenty dollar per person. However, if you have several days to spend and are touring with a group, you can spend around three hundred dollars and get the complete four-day, three night tour which includes accommodations, some meals, and tours of the downtown area and some other local attractions. Jonesborough offers a variety of activities, great places to eat, and unique places to visit at very reasonable rates for individuals, families, or large groups.