Sunday, May 14, 2017

BUSH BEANS VISITOR CENTER, CHESTNUT, TN



In case you haven’t figured out already Gary and I are weird people.  We consider amusement parks fun, but not the be all, end all of vacationing and traveling.  Nor are we big on casinos.  We are easy to entertain and enjoy simple pleasures.  We also like to learn things in our travels.

So when we realized we were in the area of Bush Beans and they had a visitor center that told how the manufacturing of our favorite canned baked beans was done we wanted to go.  Especially when we learned our educational visit would be free.  Free works well with our shoestring travel budget. 

Even better is when the free is well done, and this location was well done.
The drive took a little longer to get there than we expected, but the countryside we drove through was beautiful, so we had no complaints.  As we rounded the curve going into to Chestnut we smelled, then saw the huge canning plant on the left side of the road and the visitor center on the right side.

We already knew we would not be allowed into the actual plant, that our “tour”  would be in the visitor center.  Following the road around to the guest parking lot we were pleased to see they were all decked out for fall with harvest decorations.




The visitor center has actually three sections, a restaurant, a gift shop and the “tour” area.

We were told by various people in the area that the restaurant is good, but alas we were too late for service that day.  We have got to quit being so slow in the mornings getting around. Perhaps another time.


The gift shop was interesting with a variety of items, but wonders of wonders I did refrain from buying a “Bush Beans” brag rag.  I was already feeling the need to thin out my travel wardrobe and we weren’t scheduled to be back at the ranch for nearly six weeks. 


From the very beginning we enjoyed the self-guided tour through the museum.  At the very beginning there is a display for “children of all ages”  to pick up a game of sorts to help you learn as you go through the displays.  A treasure hunt so to speak, you watch for questions and answers and then fill those in on a your playing page with a provided pencil.  The answers have numbers and letters associated with them.  You match the letters with the numbers on your playing page and put the appropriate letter in that spot to spell out a phrase.

Being a child at heart, I played the game.  Don’t worry I won’t spill the beans on the answer and spoil your fun.

Instead we followed the route through the tour starting at a spilled can of beans, sort of.


As you walk through the large can display you not only gather a clue, but you can watch a series of videos that tells you something on the history of the company, how the beans are grown, processed and delivered to you.  The videos are short and well done.

From this and other displays I learned that while Bush only cans beans at this time at one time they canned a large variety of vegetables.

I also learned that Showboat Pork n Beans were canned by Bush Beans.  Something I previously did not know.

There are interactive displays throughout the large display area that help you load delivery trucks, learn the history of food canning, the part played by Bush Beans during the war via videos, and a plethora of other interesting things.


















At the end you turn in your completed game page and win a reward.  Of course I won’t tell you what the reward was, but here’s a hint.

The fun continued outside where you can view the Bush Bean truck from some of the commercials and take a photo with you “in” the truck via a mock-up of it.




I know the burning question is “Did we get the secret recipe from Duke”.  The answer is….
video





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