What is it about backroads that are so special? Is it because of the way they wind and curve and wind and curve and wind and curve? Or is it the peaceful silence of being surrounded by nature and mountains? Or is it because the speed limit is a little higher than it should be so it calls for fast pace driving with the windows down and wind in your hair? Maybe it is all of that. It is the experience. You experience an adventure. You never know what is around that bend. Is there a farm? A mansion? A turtle crossing the road? A baby deer? Lord forbid a stop sign. Sometimes those roads go on and on and on and on and on and you think they will never end. You want it to end, but at the same time you don’t because once you hit the main drag you know the adventure is over.
That is the great thing about the Appalachian Quilt Trail. So many stops are on these backroads! A visitor, especially maybe someone who is new to country backroads, will have an adventure. Even for us locals, the backroads and AQT will always have an adventure in store. Every time I have cruise the quilt trail in search of my next stop, I always end up on a backroad in a beautiful, unfamiliar, yet homey place. Picturesque mountains and fields surround my car and I feel the wind passing through the car as I drive and drive and drive and drive till I find my waypoint or trail stop.
This is exactly what happened the other day. My adventure was to find Canaanland Park in Washburn, TN to get a picture for the AQT website. Lets just say my GPS definitely took me on a super huge rabbit trail. While on this rabbit trail I got on a “main” back road (a lovely thing in the rural South, a back road that is actually a main road, no stoplights), and found a variety of quilt squares that I didn’t plan on seeing. What lovely surprises! Around each bend was a new adventure on the AQT. There were moments I was so wrapped up in the scenery that a few quilt barns popped up and I missed them and couldn’t take a picture. I guess that gives new meaning to pay attention to your surroundings!
I did happen to stumble across a barn mural, Not Barn Yesterday. This is a very special stop on the AQT. While not exactly a quilt square, it does depict the heritage of this area and everything the trail stands for. It was painted by local high school kids from the Washburn area. It is definitely something to see!
Then right down the road, about 5 minutes, BAM! There on the left was Canaanland. Again, it was one of those I wasn’t expecting so soon so I had to turn around and get to it. Their quilt square is called Windmills All Around. It is a stunning piece, large enough, and purple enough to see from the road. A beautiful long driveway with trees is a grand entrance. Canaanland is available for community events and parties. It seems like a great venue to do a country wedding or outdoorsy/southern inspired birthday party. You will even get greeted by a sheep that is at the road.
After a few pictures there I continued my backroad journey all the way back to the Bryan House. Following those twists and turns all the way to my next adventure…
Stop 12: Not Barn Yesterday, Washburn, TN
Stop 13: Caananland Land Park, Washburn, TN