Dates Of Stay: May 26 – June 1, 2016
Sixteen years ago, on vacation in Tennessee, I drove from Nashville to Memphis. Just west of Nashville, the roadside signs started: Loretta Lynn’s Kitchen, Ranch, and Campground. I stopped at Loretta’s Kitchen in the middle of Tennessee and bought a few souvenirs, but I did not make the additional six-mile journey to the ranch.
Years later, recounting that experience to a friend, it dawned on me that I could stay at Loretta’s ranch in the RV! A few minutes on the Internet revealed that Loretta performs in concert there during the summer holiday weekends of Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. I booked a spot for the Memorial Day weekend and bought a concert ticket.
Back in the 1970’s, Loretta and Doo bought an old antebellum mansion in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. They did not know they were also buying the town. The old mill is in the center of town, which is very picturesque:
The town now houses Loretta’s museum, gift shops, a replica of her childhood home in Butcher Hollow, and many other fun things to explore. Loretta no longer lives in a mansion, and it is available for tours. There are lots of outdoor activities, like fishing and boating and tubing on the creek which runs through the property, and horseback riding.
The ranch is quite large. The campgrounds are two miles away from the mansion, down this beautiful road:
The lower campground is by the concert stage and the pool. There is a motocross track and a horse arena, and people park their horse trailers there, so things can smell a bit horsey down there. Be warned, especially if you intend on tent camping. There is only 30 amp service in that area, although some larger RVs boondock.
I camped on Stagecoach Hill, where most of the large RVs stay. Each evening on Stagecoach Hill there was a concert by a local man on guitar. I don’t know if that occurs all summer long or only during the three-day weekends.
Stagecoach Hill has small cabins, all named after Loretta’s songs. (There is another area across from Stagecoach Hill with larger cabins.)
There is a general store:
and 50 amp service at narrow paved sites in the front and larger gravel sites at the back. Most of the paved sites come with a seating area:
But if I had it to do over, I would choose one of the gravel sites in the back where there is more room to spread out.
I read some reviews on Trip Advisor. It’s amazing what people complain about. One person said the trees in the campground should be cut down because they interfere with larger rigs. Well lady, not if you know how to drive one. Others complained that the RV sites are narrow, and on that I must agree. My neighbor’s awning was inches from my slide out, and I was unable to open my awning on the opposite side. Still others complained about satellite reception and poor data reception. They are also right about that. This is the woods.
Another reviewer complained that everything was so spread out. She said she was disabled and could not walk from her rig to the concert. I guess that could be a problem if your rig is your only mode of transportation. If you have a car or bike with you, all important sites including the mansion, the town, and the concert area, have large, free parking lots. They also rent golf carts, but they’re not cheap, at about $90 per day. I found my electric bike to be the perfect mode of transportation to buzz around the ranch.
Even during the holiday weekend, the daily rate was less than $40. And it was so peaceful there. I can see why Loretta and her family love the ranch. I stayed an additional day.
There is a snack bar near the mansion, and you can order below-average pizzas at the general store. Otherwise, there’s nothing to eat at the ranch itself. Loretta’s Kitchen is six miles away by the interstate, together with several other restaurants and fast food joints. There is a Walmart in the small town of Waverly, about seven miles in the other direction. You can buy beer in the general store, and during the concerts they sell beer, but forget about mixed drinks or wine. Be sure to bring your own supplies if you want to imbibe, and keep it on the down low. This is definitely a family-friendly park, and no one is walking around with a wine glass or an exposed beer can.
Tammy’s Tip: The ranch is the site of an ATV Motocross competition each August. Apparently the race is the oldest on the ATV circuit, so if you don’t have interest in motocross you probably want to avoid the ranch altogether at that time.