For the ultimate American distillery road trip, look no further than the middle Southern states of Tennessee and Kentucky. Both states, respectively famous for their whiskey and bourbon production, are dotted with distilleries that boast strong spirits and natural beauty that lingers. Prepare to take in rolling pastures, remote hollers and scenic mountain ranges that seem to be frozen in a different time and place. This part of the lower Appalachian Mountains is an often misunderstood and underrated part of the American historical, cultural and geographic landscape. In these parts, you’ll find yourself getting lost down winding country roads that slice through some of America’s richest layers.
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It was the Monday before Memorial Day in 2018, and I had just scored a last-minute campsite in Arches National Park for that Friday. I was 8 months into a solo cross-country road trip, and Utah was my 34th state. By that point, I had learned that little-to-moderate research was my travel style.