By Rachel Golias
Use the remaining weeks in the semester to explore the culture and activities around Jackson. Here are 14 must-see places to start your adventures. Send photos of your experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sept. 13-19: Head out for a time of excitement and adventure at the West Tennessee State Fair, Sept. 14-19. To shake up this 155-year-old event, plan a scavenger hunt with friends to find the weirdest food, craziest ride, largest pig or heaviest vegetable. The fairgrounds are located at 800 S. Highland Ave. in Jackson. Ticket information can be found at www.wtsfair.com.
Sept. 20-26: Enjoy a day on the water canoeing or tubing down Buffalo River. Flatwoods (Tenn.) Canoe Base offers several itineraries for beginners through enthusiasts. Shuttles to and from the starting or ending points are provided with canoe or tube rental. Reservations can be made at www.flatwoodscanoe.com or by calling 931-589-5661.
Sept. 27-Oct. 3: Travel back in time at the Carriage House Antique Market and Café to search for a lost treasure. The market has a wide variety of true antiques and eclectic treasures. The adjoining café is a perfect lunch destination for soups, salads and sandwiches. The market is located at 295 Carriage House Drive in Jackson. Details are available at www.carriagehouseantiquemarket.com.
Oct. 4-10: Escape from the business of school for a drive through the country to Bolivar, Tenn. Stroll through the farmers market and enjoy a picnic lunch in the town square. The market, located on the corner of LaFayette and Washington streets, is open Tuesdays and Saturdays. Call 731-659-1711 with questions.
Oct. 11-17: From the road, Rhodes’ Diner may not look like a throw-back, but once inside, diners are greeted with a diverse menu complete with traditional, Southern favorites. The food is simple but filling, and no meal is complete without trying one of the 25 different flavors of soft-serve ice cream. The diner is at 213 S. Main St., Medina, Tenn., and can be reached at 731-783-3306.
Oct. 18-24: Embrace the last of the summer weather by visiting Chickasaw State Park. Spend the day or camp for the weekend, and enjoy hiking, biking or fishing. Hour-long, guided trail rides by horseback are available for a small fee. Visitor information for the park in Henderson, Tenn., is available by calling 731-989-5141 or visiting www.tn.gov/environment/parks.
Oct. 25-31: Carve out some time to create special fall memories with roommates at the pumpkin patch on Green Acres Farm. Once the perfect orange globes are found, have fun creating jack-o-lanterns and pumpkins pies. The farm is located at 158 Medina Highway in Milan, Tenn. Call 731-686-1403 for the latest picking details.
Nov. 1-7: Get a group of friends to step outside of the ordinary and go tailgating at the Jackson Dragway. For those with a need for speed, anyone can enter in the amateur race. For those with less horsepower in their engine, being a spectator can be just as much fun. The track is at 79 Ranger Road in Jackson. The latest race details can be found at www.outlawten5.com.
Nov. 8-14: Experience “Lovin’ from the oven” at Muddy’s Bake Shop in Memphis, while trying what some say are the best cupcakes in the state. Check out www.muddysbakeshop.com to find out the flavors of the week, ranging from “Monkey Around,” a banana cake with pecans and banana frosting, to the “White Tie,” a chocolate cake covered with old-fashioned boiled icing and coconut. The charming bake shop can be found in Suite 114 at 5101 Sanderlin Ave.
Nov. 15-21: Grab a partner and go line dancing at the Rock-a-Billy Hall of Fame on Fridays from 7-9:30 p.m. An active group of seniors remain on-hand to charm the younger crowd and teach some basic steps. The hall is located at 105 N. Church St. in downtown Jackson. Call 731-427-6262 with questions.
Nov. 22-28: Dress up for a dinner out with friends at Picasso Bistro and Pizzeria. Try their master pizzas and finish with the classic campfire s’mores. The restaurant is located at 10 Stonebridge Blvd. in Jackson. Visit www.picassopizzeria.com for the menu and specials.
Nov. 29-Dec. 5: Christmas is not complete without a trip to see the two million twinkling lights at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville. The hotel, which was severely damaged in flooding last spring, is scheduled to reopen in time for its 27th annual “A Country Christmas” event, Nov. 19 through Jan. 2. Information about event activities can be found at www.gaylordhotels.com.
Dec. 6-12: Fuel-up for finals week with locally roasted coffee from Gusta Java, the newest coffee shop in Jackson. In addition to quality drinks, the drive-through serves donuts, pastries and bagels with specialty cream cheeses. Gusta Java, at 669 Carriage House Drive, is hard to miss: just look for the six-foot coffee cup sign.