A trip to the bean factory

We recently returned from a family vacation to the Wyndham Great Smokies Lodge in Sevierville, TN. It was fun, and I could happily write paragraph after paragraph about the three days we spent going down water slides, playing in the wave pools, and getting lost in the arcade – but instead, let’s talk about something else that’s near and dear to my heart: Beans.

On the drive there, we passed the Bush’s Baked Bean factory. It was Sunday, so the visitor’s center was closed, but we decided we had to stop on our way back home.

We wondered what they would have: bean factory tours, bean tastings? Would we get a glimpse of the secret recipe?

No tours, tastings, or secret recipes – however, they did have a museum about the history of the company and a display about the canning process. They also have a gift shop and a cafe. We did not have time to eat at the cafe (although, we will plan to on a return trip). We did, however, buy my mother-in-law a gift basket of baked beans and my father-in-law some Bush’s logo golf balls.

Entering the can o' beans!

Entering the can o’ beans!

An interactive display shows the major steps of the process. It has moving parts, spinning and jumping beans, and lots of excitement for the little ones.

An interactive display shows the major steps of the process. It has moving parts, spinning and jumping beans, and lots of excitement for the little ones.

Here's a fun scale-your weight in beans.

Here’s a number you can share and not be embarrassed about.

I love the “stick your head in” pictures, so we had to take our picture with Duke (the dog) and Jay. Inside the museum, there is a custom postcard booth, where you have your picture taken with a choice of backgrounds. (Note to self: Learn how to do green-screen pictures for party activities.)

Ike, Duke and Jay hanging out

Ike, Duke and Jay hanging out

six cans of beans wrapped up with a bow

Nothing shares the love better than a bean gift box.

There was a display showing the family cookbook. It was marked top secret, and had a laser security system, so risking the wrath of the guards that surely must have been watching from some hidden room, I didn’t even dare take a picture. I guess I’ll never know how their recipe compares to my not-so-secret recipe.

Overall, this was a fun break on our road trip. If you’re passing through the region, I’d suggest a quick stop. Next time, we’ll plan ahead and eat the restaurant.

** To read more of our adventures, see here and here.