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  • Writer's pictureJenny Lynn Keller

The Rugby Experiment

If you want to spend the day seeing fall leaf colors and a place where truth is stranger than fiction, visit the historic community of Rugby, Tennessee. On the Cumberland Plateau in 1880 the British author Thomas Hughes established a town for the second sons of England’s wealthy families. As a social reformer, he envisioned a new opportunity for these educated young men who inherited nothing because of their birth order. Within a few years the town boasted tennis courts, a public library, weekly newspaper, schoolhouse, church, cultural societies, and a large hotel. But problems developed when more effort was devoted to leisure activities than life essentials—like growing food to eat and chopping wood for heat.

While the social experiment failed, a number of the buildings remain and are open for weekend tours, shopping, food, and overnight stays. Close by is the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, a true national treasure filled with 125,000 acres of scenic gorges and outdoor adventure activities. You all come and visit for a day or two.

What activities do you enjoy during the fall?


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