Summer Family Fun in East Tennessee!

Looking for family fun in East Tennessee this summer?

It’s after Memorial Day, and officially June, which means it’s summer vacation time! What will your kids be doing during these sunny, fun days? Our area has some fabulous, family-oriented activities to keep your kids’ brains and bodies busy this season.

Local Libraries

Our local libraries in Morristown, Jefferson City, Blaine and Dandridge offer summer reading programs for kids of all ages. Big kids who participate in the reading challenges can win prizes! Toddler story times are a fun opportunity for parents to get out of the house with little ones, and get the love of reading started at an early age! Contact your local library to get the weekly program schedule, and get reading!

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Public Pools

The public pool at Panther Creek State Park in Morristown is a fun place to swim, and you can enjoy the park while you’re at it! There is a playground for younger kids, and miles of trails for biking, running, hiking and even horseback riding. If you ask one of the staff members, they can point you to a good place to take a dip in the lake, as well; the park includes lots of lake shore access. Jefferson City has a pool at their community center, too. Public pools are a great (and affordable!) way to get out, get wet and get some exercise!

 

Splash Pads

Morristown has some great splash pads for kids small and big (and don’t be surprised if you see adults turn into big kids at the splash pad!) If you’ve never visited one of these, be prepared for lots of giggles: the water spouts up from holes in the “pad” to surprise and douse anyone brave enough to play. The Rotary Splash Pad is in Fred Miller Park and the Kiwanis Splash Pad is in Cherokee Park. Bring your towels and sunscreen and they’ll provide the fun!

Parks

We’ve posted about our great parks in the past! In addition to the splash pad, Cherokee Park has fun playgrounds for the little ones and a first-class disc golf course for the bigger kids (and grown-ups!) Public lake beaches in Hamblen and Jefferson Counties make you feel like you’re on vacation practically in your own backyard.

Summer Programs

Many of our area’s community centers and kid-centered programs offer safe, educational and fun summer day programs. Here are a few examples: the Boys & Girls Club of Morristown has a great summer program for kids. The Rose Center and Encore Theatre Company also offer affordable summer camps. Carson-Newman University offers a kids’ summer program.

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Events

Looking for theatre events, concerts, tournaments and more? Check out Morristown’s official events website for all kinds of family-friendly summer entertainment!

With all these great options for family entertainment in our area, the challenge is no longer “what is there to do?” Now, it’s “how can we fit it all in!”

Of course, if you’re looking to buy a home in our beautiful part of Tennessee, please check us out at DarleneReeves-Kline.com. Have a happy, healthy summer!

Historic Skymart in Morristown, Tennessee

The historic Main Street part of Morristown feels tucked away and hidden, but it’s conveniently central.

Winter temperatures in Tennessee fluctuate dramatically. This week it’s in the 50s and 60s, which is downright balmy! With the mild temps, right now might be the ideal time to check out a unique feature of the Morristown, Tennessee landscape: the historic “Skymart District.”

Originally, this overhead system of sidewalks that connect the upper floors of Morristown’s historic downtown buildings to pedestrian traffic, as well as serving as concrete umbrellas for the street-level traffic, was conceived as a novel way to lure in shoppers from the newly built shopping mall. This sounds like a modern story of battling urban sprawl, and it is: it’s a “mid-century modern” story. The soaring sidewalks were built in the 1960s with a multi-million dollar investment from both business owners and the city. Read more about the project here.

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Most of the business and property owners from that revitalization era have sold the properties. They left their mark, though. Iconic store names and distinctive architectural styles are still visible in the tile entrances and facades of the buildings on Main Street. Painted advertisements on the brick walls are beacons of history. Today there is an eclectic mix of residential and commercial use in these historic buildings.

The elevated sidewalks really are cool, and they offer perspectives of the town you might not otherwise get to see. They’re worth a visit all by themselves.

But historic Main Street in Morristown has other charms, too. If antiques are your thing, you’ll find something worth browsing. There are fun restaurants and event venues, as well as local art and boutiques. Some businesses have been there long enough to become Morristown cultural icons, like Trinkets and Treasures. Wedding dresses, prom dresses and formal gowns are just the beginning: the joint East/West high schools’ spring musical brings budding actors in for costumes as well.

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High end jewelry, paint-your-own pottery, quirky gifts … the unique backdrop of Historic Downtown attracts all kinds.

Java Garden, also in the Main Street district, has earned a reputation as a great place to see local acts while enjoying, you guessed it, a good cup of java. During the warmer months there is a garden space for al fresco dining, but grabbing an inside table is just as nice. It’s arguably one of the best parts of winter that we can go inside a cozy, warm café and coffee joint to warm up after the abuse of a cold, wet winter day.

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In the summer months there are outdoors events, like free concerts, on the Skymart sidewalks, as well as other local food and family-friendly events. Go to the Historic Downtown Morristown official blog for schedules and event descriptions, here.

The historic Main Street part of Morristown feels tucked away and hidden, but it’s conveniently central, between East Morris Boulevard and Andrew Johnson Highway. It combines the best of two worlds: shopping and browsing with a walk in the sunshine. Definitely worth a look.

Interested in real estate in the Morristown area? Check out DarleneReeves-Kline.com to browse listings or contact Darlene Reeves-Kline.

 

Winter Morristown Activities

Nothing makes a place feel more like home than having a community.

Tennessee is pretty much middle-of-the-road for seasonal surprises. We’re mild for the  most part, with the occasional drought (like this year’s) or hot or cold year thrown in, just in case we were getting too used to the status quo. People moving in from further south think it’s shockingly frigid this time of year, while those coming from further west or north think it’s downright balmy. Either way, it doesn’t take long to get used to the rule of the season: either wear or have layers at the ready. It’s not uncommon to start the day freezing but have an afternoon with temperatures in the 60s, even in January!

Tennessee has a stark beauty in the middle of winter. The water in Cherokee lake recedes, showing red-orange clay and veins of rock normally hidden the rest of the year. Trees shed their leaves to reveal undulating hills. Though the days are shorter, sunsets and rises are brilliant this time of year. Even the stars are amazing in the crisp, freezing night air.

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If you like to hike, winter is a great time for it. Trails are less crowded and visibility is increased by miles because of the dryer air and naked trees.

It might not be the best weather to enjoy our parks or sit on the porch, but there is still plenty to do in Morristown! Rose Center has a full list of classes available for you to expand your mind and learn new skills this winter. Join the choir, learn to paint, draw or dance, even hone your creative writing skills! Check out RoseCenter.org for more details.

Rose Center in Morristown also hosts events all year, even during these soggy, gloomy winter months. Come in and warm up at one of the art exhibitions or concerts on the schedule. Check their website to find out more.

If you don’t like to sweat under a winter coat, head indoors. Exercise is one of the best ways to beat the winter blues. Get fit and make some friends at the free Zumba class held every Monday and Thursday in the community room of the Morristown-Hamblen library. See their website for more information.

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The Theatre Guild in Morristown, at 314 S Hill St, has a busy performance season in the works. Enjoy an evening’s entertainment in the audience, or get involved for weeks of camaraderie and behind-the-scenes entertainment. Visit their website for upcoming plays and contact information.  Even if you don’t have a craving for the limelight, you can feel the pride of helping a show come together in dozens of important ways.

Nothing makes a place feel more like home than having a community. Get involved and love where you live!

If you’re interested in the real estate market in Morristown, visit DarleneReeves-Kline.com.

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you need a little holiday motivation, there are plenty of things going on in our fair part of the country to help you out.

This year is pretty warm for an East Tennessee Thanksgiving. Usually around this time we’re waking up to frosty mornings, laying by stockpiles of firewood for the cold winter ahead and snuggling down with a cup of hot cocoa, trying to enjoy the calm before the storm of cooking our turkey dinner feast.

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We’re trying not to let our warm weather dampen the holiday spirits, though. If you need a little holiday motivation, there are plenty of things going on in our fair part of the country to help you out. Here are a few:

Dollywood Lights

It’s not quite Bob Segar’s “Hollywood Nights,” but this time of year is illuminated to the max at our favorite regional theme park. Local artisans practice their crafts, musicians perform in the theatres and outside and everywhere you look you see vibrant Christmas decorations. It’s worth a visit if you’ve never been, and your out-of-town guests will appreciate the experience, too.

Visit Dollywood.com to get visiting hours and ticket prices.

Speaking of Lights

Take a trolley ride in Gatlinburg to see the decorations of the season! The balmy weather makes for comfortable strolling, too. Be sure to check out the artists’ guild and the huge cowboy boot store. If you’d like a little taste of Tennessee shine, there are moonshine tastings available to those of age on the famous strip.

Rolling on the River

Tnvacation.com has some fun activities to help you with your festive spirit, especially if you are allergic to cooking. They recommend the Thanksgiving cruise on Knoxville’s river boat, Star of Knoxville or the Southern Belle in Chattanooga. The cruises include food, entertainment and, of course, lovely Tennessee scenery.

Get Local

The Rose Center in Morristown has a great lineup of entertainment, arts and crafts events, and classes. It’s a good time to get started making this year’s Christmas gifts! Or, you can support local artists and give pottery, paintings or other unique gifts this year.

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#Opt Out!

REI is among the growing number of retailers who shun the anxiety and general bad sportsmanship of Black Friday, instead encouraging folks to enjoy the natural beauty of our mountain home. Go for a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or walk your dog at the local park. Ride your bike, sit outside with your relatives on the porch swing, play corn hole in the back yard. Take a minute to breathe and enjoy this holiday before plunging into the gift-buying frenzy of Christmas!

 

 

Easing Retirement Concerns

Retirement brings with it dramatic life changes. Those approaching this milestone have concerns.

Real estate is about more than just location, location, location! It’s about investing in a life of security and comfort, and it’s even about having something solid to leave as a legacy. Many people choose to relocate (or stay put!) in Tennessee because land is affordable and the cost of living/standard of living ratio is among the very best in this country.

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from retiretennessee.org

Retirement brings with it dramatic life changes. Those approaching this milestone have concerns, about finding stability, financial safety and finding a life of fulfillment after a lifetime of focusing on a career. CBS Money Watch addressed a few of those concerns in this article.

We took a few points and tailored them to fit those recent or pending retirees who might be looking to move to Northeast Tennessee.

Concern: running out of money.

“Between saving enough, being able to spend efficiently, affording your desired lifestyle and the possibility of outliving your money, running out of funds is likely your top retirement concern.”

You can outrun your budget no matter where you live, but if you stick to your limits, this upper right corner of Tennessee is a great place to stretch the value of your dollars. Hiking, swimming, sight-seeing…all this greatly increases quality of life and costs almost nothing. Home costs and energy bills are very low in comparison to other states, in part due to milder weather and in part due to lower prices.

Concern: feeling empty.

“Consider taking up some hobbies more seriously, joining a local group, spending more time with friends and family or planning a trip to kick off your retirement.”

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friendsofthesmokies.org

Thriving arts communities in Morristown and Rogersville, golf clubs, Friends of the Smokies, volunteer opportunities…our area is built on community. Leaving your career can make you feel unmoored, but the solution is to find a new tribe, a new purpose and like-minded group of people to help anchor you in this new stage of life.

Concern:  healthcare.

“Just one reason it’s important to maintain an emergency fund into retirement.”

Moving to a rural area doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of your care. Overall lower living costs in Tennessee are a boon to those needing to pad their emergency fund, or pay for prescriptions and other ongoing medical treatments. Also, the medical community in Hamblen, Jefferson, Grainger and surrounding counties includes a wide variety of professionals, ranging from medical doctors and nurses to chiropractors and osteopaths. This means a wide range of care is available to you, close to home.

Concern: falling home values.

“If you planned your retirement timing and total savings taking in the factor of home appreciation, it’s a good idea to allow that to be a bump up in lifestyle but not the money you need to live.”

If you plan to sell your home in a state with higher home prices, you might be pleasantly surprised at how much house your money will buy in Tennessee. With what you have left over, you’ll be able to pad out your emergency fund or pay for a trip to Dollywood when your grandchildren come to visit!

If you’re interested in listings available in Northeast Tennessee, please visit my website at darlenenereeves-kline.com.

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Schools in Morristown, Tennessee

Who knew you’d be the one doing homework to send your kid to school?

Morristown has a lot to offer any family: beautiful parks, fabulous lake access, convenient shopping and restaurants, a vibrant art scene…but there are practical things to think about when moving to Hamblen County, too. Daily life (and livelihood) details matter a lot, like jobs, cost of living, and availability and quality of schools. Once you decide to make the move, starting early on school enrollment is a must. In fact, you should arguably check on the best schools in your new area before you choose a house, as it might affect the neighborhood you need to live in for school zoning. Check out this article for tips on moving your kids to a new school.

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From Clipartpanda.com

As we’ve said, one of the most important things for parents to consider when moving to a new area is the quality of schools, so let’s consider the many options Morristown has to offer in that department. There are more options than you might think for private education in addition to the public school system for kids in kindergarten through high school in Hamblen County.

There are 18 public schools in the Morristown public school system. That number includes one alternative school and two high schools (Morristown East and Morristown West are football rivals from way back!) Visit the public school website for Hamblen County here.

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Morristown East High

According to GreatSchools.com, the top schools in Hamblen county are Alpha Elementary (K-5), West View Middle (6-8), John Hay Elementary (K-5), and Witt Elementary (K-5). These schools are chosen based on comparison of standardized testing scores.To learn more about these schools’ rankings, visit here.

Niche.com rates Hamblen County public schools overall at #14 for the whole state of Tennessee for the year 2016. That’s based on a slew of categories, including test scores, college readiness and graduation rates. That’s 14 out of 100. Not bad! Check out the website for more information.

Some parents disagree with public school policies or feel strongly about private school education because of personal beliefs. Many families are choosing to go an alternate route in educating their children.  If you’re one of those parents, Morristown has you covered, too. Hamblen County is home to six private Christian schools. Visit PrivateSchoolReview.com for more information.

The two biggest private Christian schools in Morristown are All Saints Episcopal School, with over 100 students enrolled in  Pre-K through 8th grade, and Cornerstone Academy with over 100 students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade.

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All Saints is poised to celebrate their 50th anniversary next year (2017). Visit their website to learn more about the school. Cornerstone, founded in 2006, has broken ground on a brand-new addition to their campus. They’re expanding! Visit their website to find out more about Cornerstone Academy.

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There’s a lot to consider when choosing the best school for your child! This article in Time has some good tips about what makes a good school.

This article from The Washington Post also has some great tips on making the school choice.

Who knew you’d be the one doing homework to send your kid to school?

Please visit my website for information about listings in Morristown, Tennessee!

 

Arts in Morristown, Tennessee

If you’re an artist, or someone who appreciates the sense of community and creativity that artists bring to a town, Morristown, Tennessee might have more for you than you think.

Art!

You might expect to find a wide array of art in tourist areas like Sevierville or Pigeon Forge, or in a bigger metropolitan area like Knoxville.  But if you’re new to the Morristown, Tennessee area, I’ll let you in on a great secret that locals know: Morristown is a major hub for the area’s thriving arts community. Artists from surrounding counties display fine art at the Rose Center, which boasts the newly refurbished  Edith Davis Gallery, as well as a Local Artist Gallery. Rose Center hosts bigger community events, too, such as the Mountain Makins Festival. Morristown also has a lively Art Association, which puts on Arts in the Park every September. Read on to find out more:

 

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Photo from tngenweb.org

Rose Center

This historic center was built in 1892 as the town’s first coeducational public high school. Today it’s a “Designated Agency of the Tennessee Arts Commission.” In this beautiful building you can take anything from  an art or yoga class (or enroll your kids in one!), to one of the Center’s courses on writing grant proposals for arts programs in our area. There’s even a Children’s Touch Museum and a Historical Classroom! The Center’s classrooms and reception areas are available to rent for community programs, weddings and baby showers.

According to RoseCenter.org: “Classes currently available may include guitar, acrylic painting, jewelry making, children’s art, drama, Zumba, tai chi, cake decorating, clogging, and more!”

If you have a skill and some time, Rose Center’s volunteer staff is happy to hear from you.

Rose Center is open Monday through Friday, 9-5. Visit RoseCenter.org for more information about the history and programs of Morristown’s cultural arts center.

Mountain Makins Festival

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Photo courtesy of visitmorristowntn.com

This is the 41st year for this acclaimed festival, hosted by the Rose Center Council for the Arts.

RoseCenter.org describes the festival: “The award-winning festival, started in 1976 as a way to raise funds to save historic Rose School, celebrates the very best of Appalachian culture, from crafts to music. The festival is a delightful combination of crafts, food, music, dancing and fun.”

This is one venue where you can get a ride on a pony, snack on some delicious fair food, stop by to check out  a banjo-strumming virtuoso in period garb and ogle local arts and crafts. Fall is incomplete without a good festival, and this one certainly fits the bill!

Visit Mountain Makins FaceBook page here.

Morristown Art Association

This thriving community of artists hosts a juried art show at the Rose Center, as well as gatherings and workshops throughout the year. In September they put on Arts in the Park, a family-friendly art show with live performances, food and local arts and crafts available for sale. They even include a tent where kids can make art with the help of a professional artist.

Visit their FaceBook page for information about upcoming events and membership.

If you’re an artist, or someone who appreciates the sense of community and creativity that artists bring to a town, Morristown, Tennessee might have more for you than you think.

Don’t forget to visit darlenereeves-kline.com/ for more information about listings in Morristown.