The annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival certainly put Manchester, Tennessee, on the map, but this small town has plenty of appeal on its own. From a unique state park to al fresco music at a local winery, Manchester makes for a peaceful weekend away, just an hour’s drive from both Nashville and Chattanooga.
Every June, some 80,000 people descend on a 700-acre farm in Manchester for Bonnaroo, a four-day music festival featuring artists representing every genre imaginable. Big names this year include Pearl Jam, Kanye West, and Metallica, while past years have brought Radiohead, The Police, and Neil Young to town.
If huge crowds or loud music aren’t your thing, avoid Bonnaroo weekend and come when you can enjoy Manchester’s quieter attractions. Within Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park’s 876 acres, visitors will find a 2,000-year-old Native American ceremonial site comprised of earthen mounds and a dramatic set of parallel walls oriented to within a degree of the summer solstice sunrise. There are also plenty of fishing and hiking possibilities, as well as a nine-hole golf course.
Beans Creek Winery puts on monthly Music on the Lawn events, free concerts held outside under the summer sky. Acts range from jazz to blues to Americana, and the series lasts from April through October.
For more information on visiting Manchester, check the city of Manchester’s tourism website.
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