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Fun on the Farm in the East Tennessee River Valley

  (October 02, 2012)

(PRWEB) October 02, 2012

With agricultural-based tourism now one of the fastest growing segments in the U.S. travel industry, fall in the East Tennessee River Valley offers visitors a cornucopia of experiences in the apple orchards, vineyards, dairy farms, corn mazes, and more.

Nowhere is the bounty of the harvest more evident than in the family-owned Apple Valley Orchard in Cleveland, TN and Carvers Apple Orchard in Cosby, TN, where visitors can purchase a wide variety of apples, tour the orchard, enjoy a glass of apple cider, and feast on the always favorite homemade fried apple pies and fritters. Apples, pumpkins, squash and other fall produce abound at the many local farm stands and farmers markets.

Fall is harvest time for grapes as well, and the East Tennessee River Valley boasts several celebrated, family-owned wineries, with medals for several of their wines. The Tennessee Valley Winery in Loudon, TN produces over 20 different types of wine, using French hybrids as well as Native American grapes. The Winery offers tastings daily and tours during the harvest season and an Oktoberfest pig roast. The Georgia Winery and Vineyards in Ringgold, GA also produces over 20 wines and hosts wine tastings and vineyard tours. The Winery is organic certified, growing native muscadine grapes using the organic waste as composted fertilizer and using other sustainability practices.

Dairy farms are prevalent in southeast Tennessees Sweetwater Valley. Sweetwater Valley Farm in Philadelphia, TN is renowned for producing cheese in a state of the art facility while preserving the fine art and craft of making cheese in the traditional farmstead manner in which it controls the process from cow to consumer in order to create high-quality cheddar cheese. The Udder Story Barn houses an exhibit explaining the past, present, and future of dairying. Walking tours are available March through October. Mayfield Dairy Farms, producing high quality milk and ice cream, started as a family owned business, but has expanded to a multi-state operation. The Mayfield Dairy Farms Visitors Center in Athens, TN provides a fascinating tour of the process of making ice cream followed by a visit to the ice cream parlor.

Fall adventures await children of all ages at Rock Citys Enchanted MAiZE in Lookout Mountain, GA and the CornMaze and Pumpkin Patch at Oakes Farm in Corryton, TN. Both offer hayrides, opportunities to interact with animals, eat funnel cakes, get lost in the corn maze, play games, and more. These venues are open through the end of October.

The East Tennessee River Valley also includes many unique agri-businesses. Bentons Smoky Mountain Country Hams in Madisonville, TN uses the traditional dry-curing process to produce renowned country hams and bacon. Hampton Hall Farm in Jefferson City, TN is a small organic farm featuring a historic Reconstruction era Italianate mansion and ten acres of gardens, lawns, habitat area and walking trail. It offers organic vegetables, cooking classes, and other artistic and food-related activities. The Mountain Hollow Farm is a Cashmere goat farm located in Tazewell, TN. Visitors may take a farm tour, see the animals, and visit the country store to purchase yarn and other goat products and sit awhile to knit, crochet, spin or simply chat. Classes are offered.

The East Tennessee River Valley Geotourism MapGuide, a partnership with National Geographic Society, provides a unique online travel planning guide to exploring agritourism adventures and other distinctive heritage, culture, and outdoor adventure opportunities in this region.

Visitors may use the East Tennessee River Valley Geotourism MapGuide to find geotourism adventures, develop a travel itinerary, nominate their favorite places, and share their great experiences to help others plan their trips says Jane Fowler, Project Coordinator. Click here for a link to the MapGuide. A Mobile App is available for free download to guide visitors as they journey throughout the region.

The MapGuide, a partnership with National Geographic Society, is one of only 13 online geotourism MapGuides in the world. It gives the visitor a real understanding of the rich, diverse heritage, sites and experiences of the East Tennessee River Valley.

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