Jonesboro, Arkansas

One of today’s most popular and prolific writers grew up in Jonesboro. John Grisham spent the first four years of his life in this small town, which was also home to one of music’s most iconic legends. Johnny Cash’s childhood home still stands in Jonesboro as part of the Dyess Colony, a federal agricultural resettlement community. Created in 1934, the Colony has been resurrected through the restoration of several historic buildings including the Cash home, whose restoration was completed in 2012; in 2013, the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas awarded the 2013 Award for Excellence in Preservation through Restoration to the Arkansas Heritage Sites Program of Arkansas State University for the Cash house restoration. One of the highlights each August is the Johnny Cash Music Festival, which raises funds for the restoration and draws country stars like Reba McEntire, Rosanne Cash, Bobby Bare and Loretta Lynn, who will all perform as part of the 2014 line-up.