I lived in Tennessee for 23 years. Though I was not a native of that state (having been born and raised in Maryland) I grew to love it. Tennessee became my home and it will always hold a special place in my heart. One of my favorite things to do was to visit Rugby, TN. during one of the first two weekends in December. Rugby was a good couple of hours from my home in Knoxville…but well worth the drive. Unless one knows about Rugby it is sort of difficult to find. As you wind your way through the mountains of east Tennessee, you head towards the Cumberland Plateau. I remember driving on a two lane road through a forest of trees, when suddenly it opens up and there you are in Rugby. Rugby is a town that was settled by European colonists in the 1880’s. Thomas Hughes was the founder and he had plans for Rugby to be a kind of Utopia. You can read all about the history of the village, here. You can click on the history, pictures, the Christmas activities page…just look around.
This village is very interesting and beautifully decorated for Christmas, just as it was in the 1880’s. One feels like they have been transported back in time to a Victorian village where ladies wore long dresses and carried hand muffs. The men had coats with tails, and stopped to wish you a Merry Christmas as they walked down the street. You might hear carolers in the distance, or stop by the lantern lit church to hear the Christmas story. Maybe you want to visit with friends while you sip some hot wassil.
Rugby is not just a historical museum, like Williamsburg, VA. There are actually houses that real people live in. The houses have to look the part, so to speak. But I think it would be quaint to live in such a place. There are no grocery stores near by, or movie theatres, or Walmarts. I supposed the residents have to drive if they need the more modern conveniences. The decision to live in a town that prides itself in its history would have to be weighed against being isolated from the more modern conveniences I mentioned. Still, to visit is a real treat for the senses. So, if you are ever in east or middle Tennessee during the first couple of weekends in December, why not take a trip back in time? You might just find out that you like it there!