Jonesborough is famous for its historic and incredibly charming downtown, and the quaint little restaurants and bistros that are found all along Main Street. One of those, the Cranberry Thistle, is especially fascinating in its own right.

First and foremost, its a local favorite (you might have expected that). The most popular dish is the Blue Plate Special (go figure), which is soup beans, fried potatoes, turnip greens, fried cornbread…served with onions and Tennessee chow chow. I also have it on good authority that the chicken salad (served with homemade cranberry chutney) and the pot roast are delicious.

HOWEVER, nearly everyone who comes in knows about the resident ghost, Margaret. (Don’t scream yet, she’s harmless, mostly…)

Story goes like this: around the turn of the century, a young lady named Margaret was killed, and her body washed up on the banks of the Nolichucky River. Years later, when two sisters named Jo and Nancy moved to Jonesborough, they moved into the residence where Margaret had lived. The sisters would see and hear Margaret quite frequently, though she never really presented a problem. But a few years later, the sisters decided to move out, and soon thereafter, started the Cranberry Thistle.

Well, it turns out the new residents didn’t appreciate having Margaret as a roommate, and had the building exorcised. With apparently nowhere else to go, Margaret took up residence at the Thistle, where she is seen frequently by customers and staff. She’s described as mischevious, and is known to call people by name, say “order up,” and even toss around bread slices!

But even with all the paranormal activity, the Cranberry Thistle is one of Jonesborough’s local gems, and definitely worth your while!

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