Welcome to the Fork Inn of Big East Fork Valley! We are a private collection of are 11 individual homes containing some 51 beautiful rooms to choose from. Most are within walking, horse riding or biking distance to each other. Contact us today for more details and we very much look forward to welcoming you. “The soul longs for the heartland of nature, when we connect with nature we are in turn both nurtured and renewed.” 615 - 266 - 3414 or fill out form below.
Don’t take our word for it. Check out some of the videos filmed at Big East Fork:
Paramore “Ain’t It Fun“ https://youtu.be/EFEmTsfFL5A at Pond House
David Archuleta“Numb” https://youtu.be/S_CSviGy74s at Big East Fork Retreat
Dan and Shay “When I Pray for You” https://youtu.be/F6GgZMY0YkY at Big East Fork Retreat
The Black Keys “Go” https://youtu.be/TCYsY5B8hcQ at Circle Lodge / Mansion in the Woods /Farm
Seinabo Sey and Jill Johnson “Go Rest High on that Mountain” https://youtu.be/DBEkUCEVAHU
at Barn-by-the Creek
Annika Norlin and Jill Johnson “Anna” https://youtu.be/61KNkZpHDd4
at the Log House
Lodgings for rent are in the circled in red. Please note that the Lodgings are privately owned and made available through The Fork Inn.
Whether you decide to rent an entire house, an apartment within a house, or a room within a shared house, consider visiting the nearby non-profit Center of Sustainable Stewardship (401(c)3) and Big East Fork Retreat and Farm.
The Colorful History of Big East Fork Valley and The Fork Inn (McPherson Farmhouse): According to McPherson family lore, Cornelius McPherson (b. 1780 in Pasquotank, NC; d. Williamson County; son of Joseph Macpherson , b. ca. 1750, Kingussie, Scotland), was one of four brothers who left Scotland as indentured servants in 1765. Cornelius’ three sons moved moved to the valley in 1809. One of the three brothers owned three thousand acres along Little East Fork Creek (now along Hwy 96) by the Natchez Trace. He couldn’t read or write but loaned money to individuals by using different colored jars with beans or corn kernels to represent the amount borrowed and repaid. Another brother settled along Big East Fork Creek where a natural spring emerged from the side of a hill, the Indian Spring. A sawmill was located across the creek (near the present day Fork Inn Covered Bridge Farmhouse). In November 1864 the McPhersons could hear the cannons from the Battle of Franklin echoing over the hills behind their back porch. It was one of the worst disasters of the Civil War for the South. The battle resulted in devastating losses to the men and the leadership of the Army of Tennessee.
At the McPherson’s 600 acre homestead, hay gathering, hog killing, and corn harvesting were seasonal activities shared by the local community. Fifty pigs were slaughtered around Christmas time. Smoked, they would get the locals through the winter. Farm work was done by hand or the labor of mules; tractors were unheard of. Corn cribs, shaped with broad axes, were built out of poplar logs, some 30 feet long. Fields were separated by split rail fencing made from huge chestnut trees that were once the dominant species in the eastern hardwood forest, before they were wiped out by the great chestnut blight of the early 1900’s.
In 1926, during the Great Depression, the farm was auctioned off and bought by Eric, who purchased the land with a no-interest loan from his father-in-law. Eric ran one of the McPherson stores in Fernvale from age 13 to age 62 and married McPherson’s daughter. He managed the farm, raising hogs and letting them fatten themselves in the fall on fallen chestnuts and acorns they foraged from the forest. Time were tough during the depression, and after the banks foreclosed on all but 50 acres of the homestead, everyone (two families) moved into the now dilapidated house still falling down in front of the Fork Inn Barn. That’s where Sally died and she was buried in front of the Harrisons. The headstone, however, is still across the creek resting by the Covered Bridge Farmhouse, awaiting payment (Now there’s a story!).
The farm raised corn and hay to feed its pigs, cows, goats, and chickens. Eric lost his leg (buried in the McPherson cemetery) in an accident when he was 32. His daughter became his legs and he harvested his corn from atop his horse. The McPhersons knew that the surrounding hollows were used by moonshiners, but the family ignored and avoided them. Old Joe and his grandfather picked apples from the orchard located by the cemetery and garden area, distributing them to neighbors.
The historic Natchez Trace, a backbone of north-south mountainous ridge, has long served native Americans and traders as a frontier trail. It is a natural barrier, protecting Big East Fork Valley from too much culture and civilization. Because of its isolation, our valley has several colorful associations with music legends. We have long been a haven for inspiration as well as a hide-out for those trying to avoiding the federal “revenuers” (whiskey tax collectors and enforcers of Prohibition). Singer songwriter Johnny Sheay, wrote “Willie’s Drunk and Nellie’s Dying”, the sad ballad of Willie York of Big East Fork who lived in front of the Pond Cottage. Life Magazine did a feature article on him in 1970. Willie or his brother (no one knows which brother did the deed, but one wouldn’t tell on the other so both were imprisoned) had killed the local deputy who had come upon their whiskey still. After serving his time, he returned to his wife and children, living by the Pond Cabin. Poor drunk Willie was visited on occasion by Canadian poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen(“Hallelujah”, “I’m Your Man”, “Everybody Knows”) who lived next door on the Bryant property from 1971 to 1972. Cohen lived in the cabin of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant (songwriters for the Everly Brothers “All I have to do is Dream” , “Bye Bye Love” , “Wake Up Little Susie” as well as songwriters of “Rocky Top.”). Cohen’s elegy for Janis Joplin, “Chelsea Hotel #2,” was written here and mentions “Willie York of Big East Fork.” In 1973, Joe’s great grandfather sold 600 acres (currently Southern Hospitality Ranch and the Huddleston Property) to George Foster (founder of Monument Records, who signed Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton).
Just upstream, Mike Utley, keyboardist for Jimmy Buffet’s Coral Reefer Band (“Margaritaville”, “Cheeseburger in Paradise”), bought the old Willie York homestead (now the site of the Pond Cottage and Parrot House). The Barn-by-the Creek used by Willie York was refurbished by Mike and his wife Eva, and many a raucous party was had there in the seventies. Their friends, country singer-songwriter John Hiatt (“Thing Called Love”, “Have a Little Faith in Me”) and his wife Nancy, moved into Joe Mcpherson’s uncle’s 1920 farmhouse (the Fork Inn Covered Bridge Farmhouse) and adjacent 1810 log cabin which was brought over the creek by local legend Jim Leason. Jim had previously brought the covered bridge from New Jersey in the ‘60’s. John Kay (“Born to be Wild”), lead guitarist of Steppenwolf lived on the ridge behind the McPherson farm (on Firetower Road). Joe Scaife, Billy-Ray Cyrus’ publisher (“Achy-Breaky Heart”, “Old Town Road”), bought the land around Stevens Lake, site of the 1950’s Boys Industrial Camp and 1970’s Girls Ranch from the Rotary Club. The area around this 7-acre lake is now the home of the Center for Sustainable Stewardship’s Retreat Center. Rusted remains of long-abandoned whiskey stills quietly keep their secrets in the back hollows. So there’s a whole lotta music (as well as moonshine) in our hills of the Big East Fork!