There’s a reason Athens has earned the nickname, “The Friendly City.” Athens is located in McMinn County in Tennessee and part of the reason is the size. With a population of around 13,500 people, it’s large enough for citizens and visitors to feel like something is always going on, but small enough that it feels intimate and welcoming. Athens is also the home of three colleges, Cleveland State Community College, Tennessee Wesleyan University, and Tennessee College of Applied Technology. As an educational hub, there are frequently art shows, concerts, and other cultural happenings in and around the area.
If you’ve got small kids you’re looking to keep busy, Mayfield Dairy Farm is the perfect place. An affordable hour long tour shows you milk and ice cream production, and your reward for completing the tour is an ice cream cone. The McMinn County Living Heritage Museum is another can’t-miss destination. For the reasonable entry fee, you’ll see artifacts from the 1800’s to the present, and ever-changing exhibits mean that visitors always encounter something new.
For those looking to soak up the great outdoors, Athens is located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Camping, hiking, hunting, and fishing are minutes away. But if you prefer your outdoor experience to be a little more refined, the Gardens of Sunshine Hollow is the place to be. Relax on 2 acres of serene paths winding past terraced beds and forest. You can indulge your green thumb with hundreds of varieties of Hosta and Daylilies for sale, and you can indulge your sweet tooth at the Sunshine Hollow Bakery with the famous pecan fruitcake.
Ultimately, while exploring the Great Smokies, viewing the historic homes cared for through the city, or browsing the quaint downtown business area, you’ll get a glimpse of yesteryear. A time that wasn’t so rushed, and a place where visitors and new residents are greeted with a friendly smile.