This cabin-like gem has been here since the earliest days of Rugby and even gave shelter to Rugby’s founder, Thomas Hughes. He wrote about his 1880 stay here in his book “Rugby, Tennessee,” and in a letter to a British periodical: “The katydids are making delightful music in the trees, and the summer lightning is playing over the Western heaven, while a gentle breeze, cool and refreshing as if it came straight off a Western sea, is just lifting, every now and then, the corner of my paper.”

Modern improvements include, of course, indoor plumbing (the downstairs bath was remodeled in 2012) and a homey kitchen. Its three bedrooms, parlor, kitchen and porches (rear one screened) capture the atmosphere of a relaxed past. Historic Rugby has welcomed lodgers here since shortly after acquiring it in 1981. It’s conveniently located right on what used to be Rugby’s Central Avenue, but is now State Scenic Highway 52.

The downstairs bedroom is where Hughes stayed when he praised Rugby’s night sky as “studded with stars as bright as though they were all Venuses.”

Pioneer Cottage is self-catering, but Historic Rugby’s Harrow Road Café is in walking distance if guests choose not to bring their own provisions. Pets are allowed (with $20 per pet fee) and children are welcomed here.

Smoking is not allowed inside Pioneer, but is permitted on the front and rear porches.


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Fall Operating Hours
Oct. 28 - Dec. 15

The Visitor Centre is open Thursday-Saturday from 10am until 5pm. Tours are held at 10am, Noon, 2pm, and 4pm. Sunday hours are from 11am to 5pm, with tours at noon, 2pm and 3:30pm.

The Commissary is open Thursday-Saturday 10am-6pm. Sunday hours are noon-6pm.

The Harrow Road Cafe is closed until January 5, 2019.

The Spirit of Red Hill Shop in the Village (nature art, vintage goods, oddities) is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10:30am to 5:30pm; and on Sunday from noon to 5:30pm. It is closed on Wednesday. The Missions Matter Shop in the village is open selective hours.

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