Rogersville, Tennessee, is rich with history, things to do, and a growing locally owned restaurant scene. We’ve put together a two day trip to this timeless town full of fun for any history buff with a side of foodie inspiration.
Check in at Hale Springs Inn
Downtown Rogersville’s Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it’s no wonder with an abundance of places that have you traveling back in time.
Book a stay in history at the downtown Hale Springs Inn, built in 1824. Throughout the nineteenth century, the Inn hosted legendary figures including three presidents, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, and James K. Polk. During the Civil War, the Inn became the Union headquarters due to it facing north. When the Confederates took over Rogersville in 1863 during the Battle of Big Creek, they used the Kyle House across the street as their headquarters since it faces south.
In 1998, the Inn closed down as the state’s longest running inn and was reopened in June 2009 under ownership of the Rogersville Heritage Association.
“Miss Molly” was the last of four generations to occupy the Rosemont prior to living her final days at the Hale Springs Inn. Her Irish ancestor had travelled “The Wilderness Road” to Rogersville, where his horse died and thus he decided to settle.
The Inn’s Molly Gray room is laced with an antique feel, starting at the corner cupboard that belonged to Molly herself. Cozy up with book loads of history available in the lobby, and enjoy the complimentary, locally made cinnamon buns that will melt the moment they hit your lips.
Have Coffee & Brunch at The Kyle
Don’t miss a cup of joe at this one-of-a-kind coffee house, where you walk in and instantly feel welcomed. Directly across the street from Hale Springs Inn to the most artsy coffee joint around, Coffee at The Kyle is a must visit. Conversation here is easy to come by, and the employees feel more like family.
Stephanie and Randy Lord bought the building in 2017 after settling nearby. There is an unusual, artsy vibe with no particular theme in mind. Much of the art hung on the walls was donated locally or found in the attic upon renovations. During their travels, part of the adventure was always scoping out local coffee joints. In addition to the custom roasted coffee born from Doe River Roasters, Coffee at the Kyle serves bagel sandwiches, oatmeal, and freshly-made smoothies. There are four rooms upstairs with future renovation plans to become an eclectic bed and breakfast.
Walk the Dogs at Crockett Spring Park
Stretch your legs after brunch and take a walk where David Crockett and his wife, Elizabeth Hedge Crockett, built their log cabin home near what would be known as Crockett Spring. Crockett Spring Park is a Certified Tennessee Arboretum and has 36 varieties of trees.
Dinner at Red Dog on Main Taproom & Eatery
Red Dog on Main opened its doors in October 2019. Rogersville had a need for good food and a hub to unite the community, and Red Dog does just that. The name comes from a very special red dog that belonged to a very loving family.
Red Dog accepts and matches donations for the local Hawkins County Humane Society. Dogs are allowed on the patio area, where staff will serve a cool bowl of water and pet snacks. Service dogs are permitted inside. The focus of this taproom and eatery is all about bringing the community together. They serve brick oven pizza, mouthwatering chicken wings, fish tacos, and more. Try the Blackberry BBQ chicken wings paired with the Blackhorse Lager. Cheers to Josh, one of the community’s favorite bartenders!
Dinner reservations are recommended on Fridays and Saturdays, and there is live music every Sunday evening.
Grab Breakfast at Bull Babies
Walk down Main Street and just around the corner, you find this adorable southern breakfast spot. They serve “high end southern comfort food,” and fair warning–you might get addicted to the cat head biscuits. The hashbrowns are sweet and savory with just the perfect blend of cheese and hints of cream.
Sisters, Mattie and Amanda, joined together to create this modern farmhouse upscale restaurant. They learned how to can and make scratch biscuits, among other recipes, from their Aunt Ethel. Their goal is to take it back to their southern roots and provide foods that are rich and comforting. The community has shown much support to Bull Babies. Currently, they are open 6 days a week during the day while also hosting and catering smaller events.
Hike to Laurel Run Falls via Laurel Run Park
After indulging over a delicious breakfast, take a half hour drive to Laurel Run Park for some nature therapy. Hike two miles round trip to this stunning waterfall nestled in the woods of Appalachia. The 440- acre park was in the backdrop for a 1984 movie starring Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek- The River.
Grab Lunch at Amis Mill Eatery
The Thomas Amis Historic Site was established circa 1780. It is known as “Tennessee’s Oldest Stone Home,” as well as the site of the oldest stone dam in the state. Thomas Amis (pronounced Amy) was given the rank of Captain during the Revolutionary War. After hiding his group of soldiers at his mill on Drowning Creek in North Carolina, Amis became a direct target for British troops. In the late 1700s, he and his family crossed the Appalachian Mountains and settled on Big Creek. He opened a mercantile among the wilderness to outfit Carolina Troops who were seeking land grants. He often greeted wayside travelers at the Amis Inn.
A meal at Amis Mill Eatery is a treat! This 240+ year old dam is a sight to behold, living and breathing with history, as the water cascades over the stone. The dam was built to feed the Amis mill right downstream. There was an effort to Save the Dam after heavy floodwaters in 2019.
The sweet and spicy savory glazed Atlantic salmon takes your taste buds on a wild journey just outside Downtown Rogersville. The Amis Mill is a popular local spot for lunch dates, as you sit on the patio and take on the views and listen to the sounds of the water.
Evening Shopping & Antique Hunting
Walk down Main Street and check out the Local Artists Gallery. Here, you will find booths featuring the Rogersville arts and culture scene of local art and handmade crafts. The Olde Towne Emporium, LuElla’s, among other sweet shops are welcoming and invite you to shop and support locally in this sweet town.
Dinner & Jams at The Hollywood Hillbilly
Wrap up your second day with dinner and live music at the one and only The Hollywood Hillbilly.
More Fun & History to See in Rogersville:
OH Henry’s Restaurant – 201 E. Main St. – Old fashioned home cooking .
Rogersville Post Office, est. 1931 – 203 West Main St. – Visit the only depression-era post office still in use in Tennessee.
Rogers Tavern (Big Tavern House), est. 1810 – 205 South Rogers St. – Built by Joseph Rogers constructed of logs under the exterior.
Rogers Cemetery – Rogan Rd. – The founder of Rogersville, Joseph Rogers, and his wife Mary Amis, are buried here along with the grandparents of David Crockett who settled the land in 1775.
Tennessee Newspaper & Printing Museum – 415 South Depot St. The site of the first newspaper printed in the state of Tennessee.
Article & Photography By:
Alicia Bynum, AdventurePickle.com