The halls of Southern Living are all a flutter over the fantastic, oh-so-Southern moniker Reese Witherspoon has bestowed on her newborn son: Tennessee. That’s right, Tennessee James Toth (his father is Hollywood producer and Reese’s husband James Toth) arrived earlier this afternoon and will bear the name of his mother’s home state.
Nashville-native Reese could very well collectively be Southern Living’s favorite star. She’s given us unforgettable Southern characters from her debut role as Dani in the coming of age flick in The Man and the Moon to fashion designer Melanie in the blockbuster Sweet Home Alabama. Not to mention her Oscar winning performance as the iconic June Carter Cash in Walk the Line. (That gal sure can sing!) And then there’s her real-life classic style and elegant demeanor that so superbly personifies the grace and poise of a Southern woman. But today we’re tipping our hats to Reese for that super-Southern name.
In honor of Tennessee’s arrival we’ve come up with a list of the Top 5 Tennessee Experiences the little guy should have on his Southern Bucket List.
1. Hear a performance at the Ryman Auditorium, Nashville. As the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, this former tabernacle serves as the mother church of country music. Its stage has been graced with countless legends including Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline and Roy Acuff. And today it’s a sought after venue hosting everyone from Josh Turner to Mumford and Sons. No matter who is on the line-up, Tennessee will be in for some soul-stirring, toe-tapping music in his mother’s hometown.
2. Hike in the Great Smoky Mountains, Sevierville. The Smokies showcase the state of Tennessee’s natural beauty at its finest. To get the most out of his trek we recommend the Toth’s visit in October for out-of-this-world fall color and muster the energy (and courage!) to climb Clingman’s Dome the highest point in the state.
3. Visit Graceland, Memphis. It seems only fitting that the son of Southern royalty (yes, Reese, we’re bestowing you with that title) visit the home of the King of Rock n’ Roll. We have a feeling T.J. (cute nickname, right?) will get a kick out of the Jungle Room. And while he’s in Memphis, Reese should take him to see the Duck Parade at the Peabody Hotel.
4. Attend a football game at Neyland Stadium, Knoxville. Football is a Southern pastime that we’re certain young Tennessee will learn to love. Cheering on the Vols at scenic Neyland Stadium (the third largest in the US) on the banks of the Tennessee River will be a necessary rite of passage. Fingers-crossed one of the first songs he learns is “Rocky Top.”
5. Tour Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Lynchburg. Of course we don’t encourage this one until Tennessee turns 21, but what tour of the Volunteer State would be complete with a pilgrimage to the origin of Old No. 7? After sipping the Tennessee Whiskey straight from the source we recommend he head over to Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House for some of the best home cookin’ this side of the Mississippi.
What Tennessee must-see or must-do would you add to the list?