Bybee is one of those unique sleepy small towns well known for friendly residents, beautiful rolling-hill farmland, and the corner grocery store. If you like country cooking or some of the finest international cuisine, Bybee has two restaurants definitely worth a visit. The town has a long history including historic Bybee Methodist Church off Highway 160. Slow down and take in the countryside and stop to ask about horseback riding, stables, crafts stores, Bybee’s exotic animal farm off Briar Thicket Road, and other things that make Bybee unlike any other community.
Cosby is nestled in a valley and is home to arts and crafts shops, quilt shops, quaint restaurants, and friendly Smoky Mountain folks. Cosby is well known as the Moonshine Capital of the World and the movie Thunder Road (1958) is the story of what was once a wild and wide open Tennessee tradition. Moonshining was, in fact, the income producer for many families here and many of the locals can tell you what it was like to “run shine” to Knoxville and Asheville, North Carolina. Cosby Campground is also the Cocke County entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Camp here to escape the crowds. It’s beautiful.
Del Rio is the jewel of Cocke County. It’s home to many old time mountain families and its hollers are flowing with clear water streams. Appalachian bluegrass music is right at home here and if you’re a banjo picker…you’ll be at home too. Del Rio is the last “settlement” before the North Carolina line, just a hop-skip up the road. You’ll travel Highway 25/70 which, before the construction of Interstate 40, was the main road between Newport and Asheville, North Carolina. It’s also home of “Christy”…the story of a North Carolina girl who came to teach mountain children nearly one hundred years ago. She has been the star of a Broadway musical, a movie and television series. Christy Mission, her home, is located just outside Del Rio and makes an important family stop to learn about the folks who call the Smoky Mountains their home.
Hartford is best known as the gateway to Tennessee on Interstate 40 from Asheville, North Carolina. You’ll find Tennessee log cabins tucked against the steep sided mountains, winding mountain roads that never end, and Cocke County’s fastest growing “industry”, white water rafting on the Pigeon River. Hold on to your hat…it’s a wild ride down the raging river and your professional guides will do their best to keep you afloat! There are a dozen outfitters at Hartford who offer river trips, ziplining and more.
Newport is the seat of Cocke County and a quiet southern town. You’ll find shopping, hiking, scenic wilderness, fine dining and a low cost of living. Broadway, Newport’s downtown, is narrow and you’ll want to watch the single traffic signals above the intersections, but the folks are friendly and want to meet you. The Pigeon River runs through downtown Newport. The City Park, Cocke County Museum, and the Community Center are popular family destinations. You’ll find hotel/motel accommodations, camping areas, churches, restaurants, service stations, County and City government and your Chamber of Commerce in Newport all waiting to make your stop in Cocke County pleasant and enjoyable. From here you’ll travel all of East Tennessee. In fact 75 percent of the nation’s population is within a day’s drive of Newport.
Parrottsville, named after one of the early founders-Parrott- is an incorporated township located along Highway 321 between Newport and Greeneville. The land features rolling hills and to the east the vista of the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. This rural community settled in the late 18th century by Germans lays claim to being the third oldest community in Tennessee. The traditional farming includes dairy, beef cattle, tobacco, and grains. Also of interest are many historical homes and churches including century old Salem Lutheran just north of Parrottsville. A unique geological feature nearby is the Natural Bridge. Also of interest are many historical homes and churches including century old Salem Lutheran just north of Parrottsville.