My husband and I have visited this heavenly place as often as possible since we were first married. Our wedding anniversary is in October and we often celebrate it in the Smokies when the leaves are at peak, or at least showing off with some bright and vibrant colors. The leaves are a bit late turningg this year, but are still beautiful.
Over the years, we have come across some really good places to eat in locations that are sometimes off the beaten path. We have also discovered a lot of fun and educational places to visit along the way. Oftentimes, we find a spot that offers a unique shopping experience. It is not often, however, that we stumble upon a place that has it all. Today, I am posting about just such a place. The place is Bush's Family Cafe and A.J. Bush & Co General Merchandise store, Visitor Center and Museum. It is located at 3901 U.S. Highway 411(Chestnut Hill), Danbridge, Tennessee. It is directly across the highway from the Bush's Bean factory, where the beans are still being canned today. Chestnut Hill, TN.(which is very close to the current factory location) is where Bush's Beans began in 1904. If you care to check out their site for the place I am posting about you can to to this site: http://www.bushbeans.com/en_US/about_us/visitor_center/.
Whenever possible, we allow ourselves a couple of hours to stop by, not only to eat, but to do a little shopping in the store and even visit the museum again. When we stopped by on Saturday afternoon, the first thing we did was to go straight to Bush's Best Family Cafe for one of their delicious meals.
|Bush's Best Family Cafe|
|Bush's Grillin' Beans|
Those of you who are health and diet conscious and order accordingly will probably be cringing when I tell you what we had to eat. My husband ordered the Chicken Tenders. We both had this the last time we stopped by the Cafe and we remembered how good it was. I knew that would be too much food for me this time. He ordered sweet potato fries and coleslaw as his two sides. I forgot to get a picture of the coleslaw, but you can see these are not any ordinary little chicken tenders. These are big, healthy pieces of boneless, tender, melt-in-the mouth delicious, perfectly crispy, fried chicken breasts!
|Chicken Tenders and Sweet Potato Fries|
I ordered the Chicken Strip Salad with tenderloins of, yes indeedy, fried chicken breasts. I considered taking the grilled option. After all, I figure I made up for having it fried because it was, after all, on top of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. Well, maybe it doesn't work that way, but it sounds good, in theory anyway. This chicken breast was also fried to just right crispy perfection. A good salad is one of my favorite things. This one was REALLY good!
|Chicken Strip Salad with Blue Cheese Salad Dressing|
Please humor me people, but I just had to share a picture I took in the restroom. I think this faucet(or maybe it should be called a pump) is the cutest thing. It is just what you would expect to find in this wonderful country establishment.
After our delicious dinner, we walked around the corner to A.J. Bush's General Merchandise store and Museum. We stopped along the way to take a picture or two.
|Bush Brothers Bean Factory Across the Highway from the Visitor's Center|
|Glenn Is Trying To Talk Duke Into Giving Him The Secret Family Recipe|
|A.J. Bush & Co. General Merchandise Store|
|Farm Style Kitchen Linens and Accessories|
|What Wonderful Aprons!|
|More Country Style Items|
|This Cherry Themed Kitchen Collection Would Look Perfect In A Kitschy Kitchen|
Some more great things, including some gourds, lamps, stoneware pitchers and so on.
Another great prop for some pots, crocks, cutting boards, cook books and wooden spoons. What a fabulous old stove!
They have a great collection of doggy items, including needlepoint and other pillows, socks, etc.
More beautiful dog items, for the canine lovers among us and for those who love cats, as well!
Here are just a few of the canned beans for sale in the store.
There is another large section of the store which contains more modern looking merchandise. I guess you might call it more "touristy." It has things like tee-shirts(I have one), key chains, etc., with the Bush's Best Beans logo. I didn't take any pictures of any of that because it is the kind of thing you would normally expect to be there.
Now, for a tour through the museum. The tour carries you through the many decades of change as the company grew and progressed to keep up with production and the changing times. The tour is FREE to the public and is quite interesting, entertaining and informative.
One of the first things you will see is the big bean can. This is open on each end and a person can walk through it.
|The Big Beautiful Bean Can|
Here you can find examples of the types of beans that are grown in different parts of the world. The sign and the map in the background are made of beans!
Duke's dog house. Note the beanstalk in the background.
It all started with this couple, A.J. and Sallie Bush.
A.J. and Sallie Bush and four of their six children are pictured here. There are some inserts at the bottom of the second picture, taken outside their home.
|The Original Store Building of A.J. Bush & Company General Merchandise|
In early times when items were purchased, they would have been wrapped in paper and tied with cotton string. Using this cotton string, Sallie created a lovely little coverlet. The actual blanket is exhibited in the museum, under glass, and this sign above it explains how she made the little cover, probably for a child, since it was not very large.
Here is a picture of the actual blanket. It is really intricate and truly lovely.
|Coverlet Made With Packaging String By Sallie Bush|
More pictures of the growing family:
A few pictures of how things progressed through the ages. There are replicas of the trucks used to deliver the product and some pictures of how the beans were labeled over the years.
1970's and 80's
A uniform worn by factory workers in the 1970's
|The Quotation Above Actually Reads "This Company Shall Continue Forever."|
As you leave the museum, you will see a couple of things from some of the old commercials from past years. You will be reminded that Duke, the Bush family dog, was trying to get the Secret Recipe and was told he could have it when "Pigs Fly." So Duke rigged up his flying pig.
I snapped this picture of the pig as it was flying around above our heads:
|When Pigs Fly|