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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Off the beaten path in West Tennessee

From Elvis and country music to Jack Daniels whiskey and the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee is full of major attractions. But here's a list of five off-the-beaten path spots, specifically in West Tennessee, worth considering.

The Bird Dog Foundation Inc.

The Bird Dog Foundation Inc. in Grand Junction, about an hour east of Memphis, is home to the National Bird Dog Museum, National Retriever Museum and the Field Trial Hall of Fame. Visitors to the center can learn about more than 40 breeds of bird dogs, the area’s annual Field Trial’s champions and enjoy exhibits on some of the sport’s most famous dogs.

The center is open every day but Monday. There is no admission charge but donations are accepted.

Buford Pusser Home and Museum

McNairy County Sheriff Buford Pusser’s exploits in cleaning up crime with his “big stick” have been lifted to legendary heights, thanks to a series of “Walking Tall” movies.

The museum in Adamsville, about an hour south of Jackson, is open daily. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for students. A tour includes a short video and guided tour of the museum.

Alex Haley House Museum

Were you one of the millions of TV viewers in 1977 who made “Roots” the most watched event in TV history? The miniseries was an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by the same name, written by Alex Haley. You can learn about Haley and his books at the Alex Haley House Museum.

The house, about an hour north of Memphis, was home to Haley’s grandparents, where he lived for eight years. The property is also Haley’s final resting place.

The museum is open daily except Mondays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and children.

National Ornamental Museum

Memphis is home to the nation’s only center devoted to the preservation of metalwork. The museum, overlooking the Mississippi River, displays exhibits and a working blacksmith on the grounds.

The museum is open daily except Mondays. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for students and children ages 5 and up.

Ghost River Brewing

Memphis’ lone brewery is also a charitable organization that donates a percentage of all sales to the Wolf River Conservancy, a group dedicated to protecting the river that flows through southern Tennessee and the Memphis area’s famous drinking water.

Learn about the brewing techniques and taste a few beers at this relatively new operation at 827 S. Main St. Free tours are offered every Saturday at 1 p.m. Reservations are required.

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