Blake Walsh

16 Best Things to Do in Monterey, TN

  • Published 2022/09/14

The town of Monterey sits across the mighty Putnam County in Tennessee.

Its history stems from “Standing Stone,” a landmark found along Cherokee lands.

It was in 1805 when Tennessee bought the said marker through a treaty.

From hereon, the said stone remarked the existence of a community in the area.

Incorporated in December 1893, it has a land area of 7.85 square kilometers.

Within the town’s perimeters lies a downtown life experience one shouldn’t miss.

Warm locals, delectable food selection, and historical sites await its visitors.

For those who are curious, here is a list of the best things to do in Monterey, Tennessee:

Take a Beguiling View at Bee Rock Overlook

Bee Rock Overlook is one of the most iconic spots for visitors to the town.

Head to Bee Rock Road to see this awesome trail yourself.

With a total length of 1.1 kilometers and an elevation of 12 meters, it’s one of the great spots around town for hiking.

A complete trip to Bee Rock Overlook takes about 14 minutes on average.

At the top, you may enjoy a panoramic view of the state’s Upper Cumberland region.

Revisit the Past at the Monterey Depot Museum

Along East Depot Avenue is the Monterey Depot Museum, which houses the iconic history of the town.

This attraction offers a detailed timeline of the transformation that took place in the town.

It tells the story of prehistoric Indians who resided in town to hunt animals and survive.

The museum features the area’s rich mountain heritage and why it is the “mountain town” of the county today.

It also shows the natural spots preserved by locals to boost the area’s tourism.

The Monterey Depot Museum has a design like that of a depot—far from being typical of its kind.

Move around at Meadow Creek Park

Drop by Meadow Creek Park if you want a fun-filled adventure with nature.

This 300-acre park sits on Clarkrange Highway.

Located in the park is a 90-acre lake perfect for fishing or boating activities.

Meadow Creek Park also offers a loop trail for those who want to do some hiking or mountain biking.

This trail has a length of 2.6 kilometers and received a conservation grant from the US government.

A challenging trip around this trail takes about an estimated travel time of 33 minutes.

Camp Out at Spacious Skies Belle Ridge Campground

Considered a premier recreational spot, Spacious Skies Belle Ridge Campground is perfect for outdoor adventures.

Head to Crossville Highway and join the fun within this camping site.

This attraction is an RV park, campground, retreat site, and adventure park all rolled into one.

The spacious RV site can accommodate trailers of any size.

For those who don’t have RV themselves, you can rent one with the campground’s partner, RVShare.

There are also regular and glamping cabins for those who prefer indoor lodging for their trip.

Check out the gazebo and pavilion, which are up for rent, if you want to celebrate big occasions around the area.

Hiking trails and golf cart rentals are available at Spacious Skies Belle Ridge Campground.

This site is also close to other local attractions like the town’s depot museum, lakes, and state parks.

Find Essentials at Landers Trade

At Landers Trade, you’ll find all the supplies you need to get by daily.

Situated on East Stratton Avenue, this store makes life easier for locals.

Landers Trade provides you with a wide array of items to improve all the areas of your home.

Check out its flooring and insulation services for a more relaxing bedroom.

If you have a renovation project in mind, drop by the store and look for building materials you may find useful.

The approachable staff will give you a pleasurable shopping experience.

Fuel up at The Country Porch

Head to The Country Porch if you want to energize yourself after a long day.

Located on Muddy Pond Road, this restaurant offers quality baked goods.

The Country Porch serves homemade soups, cheeses, and sandwiches.

You should also try its ice cream recipe, which has remained strong for over four decades.

Check out its tiny gift shop and other adorable items if you want to bring home a souvenir.

With its warm staff, a pleasurable dining experience awaits you at The Country Porch.

Enjoy Hunting at Wilderness Hunting Lodge

An exotic hunting experience awaits you at Wilderness Hunting Lodge.

Head to Cedar Chapel Road if you want to stay at a peculiar lodge and catch species in the wild.

Around the site, you can spot Russian and Razorback boars.

You can also see other forms of wildlife, such as axis deer, fallow deer, elk, black buck, and the like.

Relax at the spacious porches of Wilderness Hunting Lodge after a long day of adventure.

Other services provided by the hunting lodge include hunting dogs and field dressing.

Stay at The Garden Inn Bed and Breakfast

Book a reservation at The Garden Inn Bed and Breakfast for an exhilarating view of the town.

Found along Bee Rock Road, this inn sits across the top of the Cumberland Plateau.

Enjoy a wide view of the famous Stamos Hollow and Calfkiller Valley in the area.

The Garden Inn Bed and Breakfast offers 11 rooms for its guests.

Drop by the inn if you want to take a sip of its locally blended ground coffee in the morning.

It also has a spacious conference room accommodating up to 30 visitors.

For those who plan to arrange and host corporate events at the inn, guest rooms are also available.

Since it is close to Middle Tennessee, you can easily reach other local spots if you opt to stay in the inn.

Taste the Syrup from Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill

Sorghum syrup is a must-try, and Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill produces the most aromatic one in town.

Located on Muddy Pond Road, this facility is close to other attractive spots.

Making sorghum syrup became a community-wide activity as early as the 1960s.

The Guenther family has led the production of such a syrup in the area since the 1980s.

They used to cut the cane manually but opted to use machinery when the demand for the syrup spiked.

By dropping by Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill, you’ll see the elaborative process of making the syrup.

After some taste tests, you can buy as many syrups as you want at the site.

Host Your Big Event at The Meadows in Monterey

Check out The Meadows in Monterey, the perfect venue for your next big event.

You can reach this spectacular event place on Hanging Limb Highway.

With a land area of over 67 acres, The Meadows in Monterey has rolling hills, a lake, and two ponds within its perimeters.

It’s also home to The Barn, a 4,900-square feet facility that mainly hosts weddings.

Ornamented with chandeliers and ceiling fans, The Barn takes on a vintage style in its facade.

The entire scenery at The Meadows in Monterey depicts a wondrous life in the countryside.

Find Saddles at Jay’s Custom Leather

You must check out Jay’s Custom Leather if you go horseback riding as a hobby or a profession.

Along Muddy Pond Road, this leather shop specializes in making saddles.

Its founder, Jay, was a Tennessee resident who started making trail saddles at 17.

He dreamt of making saddles and promoting a great riding experience.

Coming from a family of leather craftsmen, he decided to open a store at 21—and the rest is history.

Jay’s Custom Leathers also started making other leather goods like purses and wallets.

Join the Crowd at The Old Gray

Drop by The Old Gray and see the next big event in town.

You may find this entertainment venue along Monterey Highway.

It derived its name from the legendary “Standing Stone,” which appeared to be shaped like an animal from afar.

Early accounts described the monolith as a “big, gray dog in a sitting position, looking at the west.”

Over the years, this anecdote has been erased from the generations of residents living in the town.

But with the efforts of Nannie Ellen Buckner, a state park was established with that landmark.

Thus, the story behind the standing stone lived on, and free space for the community was named after it.

Spanning 75 acres, The Old Gray is perfect for town-wide celebrations and hosts musical performances.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Watch a Performance at The Historic Palace Theatre

Entrance of the Palace Theatre

Brian Stansberry, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Head to the historic Palace Theatre and watch state-of-the-art performances.

This theater lies in Crossville, a 25-minute drive from Monterey.

Opened in November 1938, the theater used to serve as the area’s main entertainment center.

It hosted jazz, country, rock, and other musical performances through the decades.

After some renovations, the fully restored Palace Theatre functions as a community auditorium.

Prestigious events and shows are still held here.

Take a Breather at Grinder House Coffee Shop

Visit Grinder House Coffee Shop if you want a place to hang out and relax.

It is along North Main Street in Crossville, 23 minutes from Monterey.

The coffee shop’s owners, Angela and Asa, aspire to share a space with the community where a calming atmosphere prevails.

Several years after its humble beginnings, Grinder House Coffee Shop now serves more than 155,000 guests a year.

Its breakfast and lunch meals pair perfectly with its coffee brewed to perfection.

Artists also serenade the coffee shop’s customers, so don’t waste the chance to hear top hits in the place.

Read and Learn at the Art Circle Public Library

Include the Art Circle Public Library in your list if you want to get your hands on insightful resources.

Located in Crossville, it’s only 23 minutes from Monterey.

It got its name from the Art Circle, a group of women in 1898 who began collecting books for the love of knowledge.

The Art Circle Public Library opened its doors to the public in 2010.

It spans 34,000 square feet and has enough space for 300 visitors and several amenities.

For students, a free WiFi connection and a conducive working space await them at the library.

The conference room has audio-visual technology installed for presentation purposes.

The Art Circle Public Library also arranges various programs to bring the community closer together.

Play at Chuckles Fun Center

You and your friends can relive your childhood experiences at Chuckles Fun Center.

You can visit this spot on Chuckles Parkway in Crossville, 20 minutes from Monterey.

Its history dates back to July 2004, when it opened a family entertainment center at its current site.

This seven-acre activity center provides a laser tag arena, party rooms, and arcade games.

It also designed a mini 18-hole golf course where adults may swing their clubs.

For a more actionable activity, try driving a go-kart over its 700-feet long racetrack.

Visit Chuckles Fun Center’s treetop cafe to fuel up after spending the day joining various activities.

Final Thoughts

Referred to as the place “where the hilltops kiss the sky,” Monterey is well-loved for its vibrant natural attractions.

In this town, you can get a taste of what countryside life feels like.

If you want to unwind here, take note of the best things to do in Monterey, Tennessee, and plan your trip to the town at once!

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