Bristol is more than a tale of two cities, it's really a story of one city in two states and it offers the best of each state. With history dating back to the 1700s, Bristol's unique position, astride the border of Virginia and Tennessee, adds to the city's distinctive character. Bristol is surrounded by the beautiful Appalachian Mountains and has one of the largest man-made lakes in the nation, South Holston.
In 1927, Ralph Peer, with the Victor Talking Machine Company, first traveled to Bristol to organize the first commercial country music recordings. These historic "Bristol Sessions" launched the careers of the famed Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest Stoneman, Flatt and Scruggs, Mac Wiseman and others. In 1998 the U. S. Congress recognized Bristol as the "Official Birthplace of Country Music."
The Birthplace of Country Music keeps local music traditions alive today through the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Festival, and a number of other concert events, educational outreach and programming offered year-round.
Bristol Motor Speedway is known as the "World's Fastest Half Mile Track" and its August night race is known as the "toughest ticket to get in sports." NASCAR's circuit comes to town every spring and late summer and with it comes 160,000 fans.
South Holston Lake
If you live at The Virginian, you can almost fish off of your back porch. South Holston is less than a ten minute drive away and if it swims in fresh water, it can be caught here. Great fishing, boating, skiing and miles of pristine coastline; this TVA Lake offers an array of activities.
The Paramount Center for the Arts features nationally known singers and musicians. It also hosts Broadway touring shows and Theatre Bristol, a local community theatre group. Ballet companies and dance ensembles also perform on the Paramount Center Stage.
In 1910, the two cities of Bristol (Tennessee and Virginia) erected a lighted sign that spans across State Street declaring Bristol "A Good Place to Live." The sign still glows every night, but maybe the wording should be changed to "Bristol, a GREAT place to Live."