Sunday, August 12, 2007

Winchester, Tennessee

Winchester, Tennessee (One of two Chester’s) by Leigh Bratina

Known for its friendliness and hospitality, Winchester, Tennessee is Dinah Shore’s hometown and its main thoroughfare – The Boulevard – carries her name. For those of you who are strangers to Winchester, it is located about 90 minutes southeast of Nashville, 60 minutes northwest of Chattanooga, and 45 minutes away from Huntsville, Alabama. The city was first occupied by Confederate and then by Union troops during the Civil War. Settled in 1810, Winchester was named for General James Winchester, a veteran of the Revolutionary and Indian Wars. The city was incorporated in 1822 and is the county seat of Franklin County. Surrounded by majestic mountains, lakes, and rolling farmlands, Winchester is blessed by natural beauty that is the envy of every visitor.

There was a definite and defining reason and purpose for our stop in Winchester, although the city is home to Hundred Oaks Castle, our reason was to shop Hammers Mercantile. At Hammers you can find just about everything and anything from tools, men, women and children’s clothing, shoes to books fabric, toys and even some jarred foods. The prices are unbelievable.

Although I have never had the pleasure of visiting Hundred Oaks, I found the following information interesting. If you plan to go to Winchester for a full day, not only plan a shopping exertion at Hammers but also one to Hundred Oaks for some interesting history.

Hundred Oaks is one of thirteen historic castles in America and is listed in the Smithsonian Guide to Historic America. And, more importantly, Hundred Oaks Castle has ties to Huntsville, Alabama. The Castle is open for tours, luncheons (with a minimum of 20) or special occasions by appointment. Many weddings, candlelight dinners, receptions, and other events are held annually in the castle on in the grounds. You can contact the Hundred Oaks Castle at 931-967-8583 from noon until 4:00 p.m. for more information. You can leave a message if no one answers. If you want to feel like a princess, visit this castle just a short drive from Huntsville.

*Do not be confused by the name of Winchester, as we are always forgetful as to what town is home to this Hammer’s location. The city of Manchester is about a 20-minute drive from Winchester and the likeness of the names can be the cause of a wrong turn or two.

**To visit Sewanee (The University of the South) from Hammers store’s main entrance on the square, turn right on the left side of the store. This road will take you up the mountain to Sewanee (follow the signs to turn into campus). Be sure to stop at the natural rock overlook halfway up the mountain.

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