Tennessee Fitness Spa Offers Health, Wellness and Natural Beauty

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Tennessee Fitness Spa

Tennessee Fitness Spa near Waynesboro opened a little over 25 years ago because Joe Shaw wanted a new adventure. He needed something meaningful to do after retirement. The Lawrenceburg native and entrepreneur had moved from Alaska to Florida with his wife, Nancy, and children, Rachel and Dan, “but you can golf only so much,” Nancy. She was always up for a challenge and agreed to give his plan a try.

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“When we started the spa, we had no idea how long we were going to do it,” Nancy Shaw says. The spa that she and her late husband, Joe, started is still going strong. To mark the occasion, the family has compiled Tennessee Fitness Spa: A Gathering of Memories. The book includes fitness and healthy eating tips, a history of the bridge and spa, and testimonials from staff and longtime guests.

Joe passed away in 2007, but his family still operates the spa they began a quarter of a century ago. The spa sits on 13 acres of a plush 100 acres, featuring trails, gardens, waterfalls, Rainbow Lake, 48 Creek and the Ice Cave, a cavern that stays 58 degrees year round. The spa’s crown jewel is the historic Natural Bridge.

“It’s amazing that the bridge and this property were allowed to be privately owned,” says Rachel Miller, Joe’s daughter and general manager. “It’s the only double-span natural bridge formation that we’re aware of in the world.”

Spa guests can visit the bridge any time, and the public (over 16 years old) is welcome between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Sundays when the spa is open.

The beloved bridge served as the site where David Crockett allegedly gave his very first political speech, outlaw Jesse James hid out from lawmen and tribal council meetings were held. Prior to the spa, the property was a resort, a fishing camp and even a musical venue that hosted such stars as George Jones, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Ronnie Milsap and Bill Monroe.

Pool at Tennessee Fitness Spa

Photo courtesy of Tennessee Fitness Spa

A Working Spa

“We wanted to have a place that was affordable and a casual down-to-earth place where people would feel comfortable,” says Nancy.

The spa can accommodate up to 58 guests and draws from all over the country and even internationally.

“Some of them have been coming since we opened,” says Nancy, who enjoys eating, exercising and mingling with spa visitors.

Guests range in age from 16 to 90 except during two family week sessions, where children 10 and above are allowed accompanied by a guardian. “There are a lot of spas that charge $7,000 to $8,000 a week, geared more to pampering services,” Rachel says. Tennessee Fitness Spa offers some of those services, but Nancy calls the place more of “a working spa” where people come to lose weight, get fit or rejuvenate.

“Our most popular room is the standard double at $1,165 plus tax per person, per week,” Rachel says. If rented privately, the same room runs $1,490. “Most people stay for one or two weeks.”

The spa offers a 5,000-square-foot gym, a heated, enclosed 60-by-30-foot pool, a racquetball court and healthy activities ranging from brisk daily walks to aerobics to stretching. Educational sessions are also available, from cooking demonstrations to healthy gardening.

“Guests can pick and choose and do as much or as little as they like,” says Rachel. “Our staff is very motivating, but no one is going to go to a guest room and say, ‘Where were you?’ ”

Each low-sodium, low-sugar meal is an occasion.

“The food is really good,” Nancy says, praising head chef Belinda Jones and her staff. “People say they don’t feel as if they’re being starved.” Currently, the spa sells three cookbooks and supplements.

Tennessee Fitness Spa

In addition, the friendly staff offers movie nights, musical performances and bingo. Also, within driving distance are places to canoe, kayak, ride horseback and shop antiques. There’s also Shiloh Battlefield, the Natchez Trace and Amish country.

The spa’s purpose hasn’t veered far from Joe Shaw’s original intentions.

“We’re not focusing so much on how many pounds and how many inches guests lose,” says Nancy. “We really want people to be healthy, fit, satisfied and like themselves. Our purpose is to give them the tools to continue having a good healthy lifestyle.”

Tennessee Fitness Spa

If You Go...

Regular rates are based on a week’s stay, but “May Madness,” “Step into Summer,” and “Walk into Winter” feature three-night stays for a reduced rate of $455. Room rates are discounted 20 percent on “Super Slam” weeks during August and September. “Experience Tennessee” week includes such Volunteer State activities as a Shiloh Battlefield visit, a Bluegrass Music Festival outing and a performance by local cloggers. Tennessee Fitness Spa closes Dec. 6 for winter and reopens Feb. 28. For calendar dates and more, see tfspa.com or call (800) 235-8365.


  1. kim

    October 17, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    What airport is suggested, and what would you suggest from the airport to you. Also, do you have an opening Oct 25, week? Traveling alone. Thank you in advance.
    Kim Dunham

    • Teena Fuller

      May 27, 2016 at 12:34 am

      The nearest large airport is Nashville. We do have a shuttle service that picks ups guests on Sunday’s by 2:00 p.m. and returns them to the airport on Sundays by noon. Please feel free to call us for additional information. 800-235-8365.

  2. Mitzi Greenblatt

    August 11, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    TFS is heaven on earth and you become part of the family as soon as you arrive. It is so much fun and I confirm my next reservation before I leave each time and always want to stay longer… They can’t get rid of me at times!!
    The entire Staff is awesome all the time and will do whatever they can to make you feel like it’s all about You no matter what and ALWAYS with a smile
    I love them all and can’t wait to get back each time I leave .
    Love to all of you!!
    Heaven on Earth all the time!

    Mitzi Greenblatt
    Atlanta, GA

  3. ina sky

    December 23, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    I would like to know when the fall foliage color change is in your area. I am 81 and have promised a trip like this to myself since I moved to Florida! It seems like a perfect combination to me and friends.

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