There is a town in Tennessee. It is called Wartburg. Yup, that is the name of the town. And people do live there. Granted there is one motel, two restaurants, and a small supermarket. Also a furniture store and a second-hand store and of course a courthouse and a huge post office. Not really sure what the courthouse and post office are for, but it seems like everyone in town works there. Unless they drive an ambulance or fire truck. And if they do, then they sit around the courthouse and post office and wait for a call to come in. That is Wartburg in a nutshell.
There is a reason that Wartburg is on the map, though. It is actually very close to the junction of the Obed River and Clear Creek, both of which are protected scenic waterways by the National Park Service. There is a lonely visitor center located behind the courthouse with some helpful information about the area, but mostly it is staffed with a couple of sleepy volunteers whose main functions are unknown even to them.
Anyone going hiking, kayaking, climbing, or hunting in the Obed wilderness is forced to pass through town and reflect on the livelihood of its residents. To get an idea of life in Wartburg, pop into Angie’s, the only restaurant in the center of town (it is open for breakfast and lunch every day of the week, but dinner is served only on Thursday and Friday nights). The food is a bit bland and the hot sauce is not so hot, but the personal attention each customer receives is unbeatable. Thursday nights bring in the old-timers to listen to live Bluegrass and Gospel music (the band is made up of the old-timers), and Friday nights are even more of a hit with fun Karaoke for all ages. Anyone is welcome, residents and strangers alike, but it does seem like Angie’s is the sort of place where everybody must know your name.
For a more relaxed and private experience, head to El Patron, the only other sit-down restaurant in town. It is a little farther away from the center, in a residential neighborhood, and is open for dinner every night of the week. Serving authentic Mexican dishes and having no competitors for miles around, it is hard to beat the experience and prices at El Patron. The plates are huge, the salsa homemade, and the guacamole is mouthwatering, just to name a few pluses. Actually, the place has no minuses. El Patron is certainly a gem in the middle of nowhere, Tennessee.
Aside for the places mentioned above where one could go Wartburg-resident-spotting, there is also a gas station and a couple of fast food joints one can wonder into. Not much else, though. The nearest movie theater, for instance, is a drive-in thirty minutes away, and it is closed in winter. Once again, not so sure what people do around Wartburg when the sun goes down and the air turns cooler. They must bundle under the covers at home with a good book. Although the nearest library is also about thirty minutes away!