Happy Halloween!

If you’re looking for some family-friendly Halloween activities, we’ve got you covered!

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Halloween is fast approaching! East Tennessee loves its ghosts and goblins. (We wrote here about some popular local haunts.)

Many neighborhoods still gear up for trick-or-treating, turning on those porch lights and decking out the house in spooky decorations. There are many other fun ways to celebrate this creepy time of year, too! If you’re looking for some family-friendly Halloween activities, we’ve got you covered! Read on to find out more.

Trunk or Treat

This spooky tradition is a fun, safe way to dress up and trick-or-treat … with cars! Locals dress themselves and their cars up in silly or spooky ways and hand out treats to little princesses, super heroes and any other kids who come out in costume! 2017’s event details for local Trunk or Treat events are as follows:

Morristown: 5 p.m., October 31, Trunk or Treat at the Farmer’s Market. (There’s also Trick or Treating downtown at the same time.)

Rogersville:  5 p.m. October 31, Trunk or Treat in the Historic District. Call 423-272-2186 for more information.

Jefferson City: Saturday, October 28, Trunk or Treat at the Fair Grounds. Call 423-312-1081 to find out more!

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Boo at the Zoo!

This annual favorite at Zoo Knoxville is geared toward little ones, from infants through elementary age. This activity is a fun way to see some of your favorite animal friends while loading up on candy, donated by local businesses. Proceeds from the event go toward zoo programs like the Species Survival Program, helping endangered animals survive extinction. Expect to see some of your favorite book and movie characters throughout the zoo, and lots of smiling faces!

Boo at the Zoo: Three weekends in October, from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Admission is $9 per person over 4 years old (free for kids under 4) and parking is free for this event.

Dates: October 12 – 15, 19 – 22, 26 – 29

Corn Mazes

Here’s a trade secret you probably didn’t know: maze creators use GPS equipment on their tractors to carve out mazes in the corn fields. I bet corn mazes look pretty amazing from the sky!

Kyker Farms

This corn maze, in Sevierville, is celebrating its 10th season. The maze will be open through October 29, so get out and get lost!

Echo Valley

In Jefferson City, this maze is great for groups and families. Admission is $15, but that covers a lot: even a free pumpkin for the kids! The maze stays open until November 4.

Oakes Farm

In Corryton, this family-friendly attraction is a whole lot more than just a corn maze. Check them out for pumpkins, food, games and tons of activities.

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Weather this time of year can be pretty unpredictable; an 80-degree day can plunge quickly into a 40-degree night! So make sure you check the forecast and dress accordingly. Layers are always a good idea during the fall in East Tennessee. And be sure to use safety lights, like flash lights and glow sticks, and have a safety plan in place with your kids whether you’re out trick-or-treating or getting lost in the corn!

 

Looking for a (not haunted) house? Check out DarleneReeves-Kline.com! Happy Halloween!

 

Merry Christmas 2016

The tradition of the Volunteer State still lives. The Smokies Strong movement proves it.

With Christmas just hours away, we thought it was time to reflect on the year and send our warm wishes. Traditionally, the year-in-review is more of a New Year’s thing, but guys, this one’s been a heck of a year.

2016 has been tumultuous, but it’s important to remember the good things along with the bad. It was a year of divisive politics, but also of the Olympics. Our own corner of this great country was ripped apart by devastating wildfires in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the small tourist town of Gatlinburg. Lives, homes, businesses and jobs were lost. It was the worst natural disaster in East Tennessee in generations.

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But our community rose up to support the survivors, some of whom are without homes this Christmas. Organizations like The Red Cross helped to shelter and feed fire refugees, but that’s only one small part of the story: hundreds of individuals and small businesses across East Tennessee chipped in to provide water and Power Bars to firefighters. They rounded up and donated pajamas, food, toiletries and sundries to survivors.

The movement started small but, supported by our own Dolly Parton, it grew to hundreds of thousands of dollars in relief. It’s called Smokies Strong. You can still participate by buying t-shirts, and all the proceeds go to wildfire relief and rebuilding efforts.

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We call Tennessee the Volunteer State, and most people think that means football. The nickname started in the War of 1812 or the Mexican-American War, depending on which historian you ask. Thousands of Tennesseans stepped up to defend the country. The tradition of Tennessee Volunteers shows the bravery and “get the job done” attitude of our state’s sons and daughters and today, the tradition of the Volunteer State still lives. The Smokies Strong movement proves it.

This time of year, we reflect on our bounty with gifts and generosity, the wonder in our children’s eyes and good food in our bellies. We also hope it’s a time of love, of peace, of goodwill toward men. Enjoy your families, rejoice in fellowship and eat one more piece of pie.

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Merry Christmas, East Tennessee!

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Christmas Shopping in Dandridge, Tennessee

It’s easy to see the friendly personality of the area with a trip into downtown, with its history on full display on the face of every store.

This small town is the only town in our great country named after Martha Dandridge Washington: the first First Lady! Thriving by dint of its location on the French Broad River (now Douglas Lake) and the busy stage road, this small settlement grew into a bustling town, full of hospitality. It’s easy to see the friendly personality of the area with a trip into downtown, with its history on full display on the face of every store. This is a town full of surprises: fun shops, delicious restaurants, and lovely mountain and lake vistas. It’s worth a trip for sightseeing, and while you’re here, we have a few shopping suggestions! Read on:

Maxwell House

139 E. Main Street, Dandridge, TN 37725

As the website describes, this shop with the cheery yellow exterior is actually a collection of gift shops located inside. Clothing, home décor, food and holiday cheer are all available in one place, in this historic building!

Call 865-397-0101 or visit shopdandridge.com to find out more.

The Shoppes at Roper Mansion

218 W. Main Street, Dandridge, TN 37725

For a more upscale shopping experience, visit the restored Federal style Roper Mansion. Here, you’ll find antiques, jewelry, gourmet food and even a gallery of original oil paintings from the 19th to 21st centuries. This is one house worth visiting for a sense of historic Dandridge. Even the restored kitchen is part of the store!

Call 865) 484-1237 or visit ropermansion.com for more information.

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Steamer Trunk

106 W. Meeting Street, Dandridge, TN 37725

An eclectic shop full of girlfriend gifts: wine accessories and trinkets to make you laugh. This is a fun stop for Secret Santa gifts or stocking stuffers.

Call (865) 397-7500 for more information.

Tinsley-Bible Drug Co.

1224 Gay Street Dandridge, TN 37725

This is a local landmark, founded in 1911. With an old-fashioned drug store fountain , complete with ice cream and the famous Bible burger, you can enjoy a break in the shopping day. There are seasonal items and treats for sale, too. Pick up your souvenir Dandridge hats and shirts on the way out!

Call 865-397-3444 or visit tinsleybibledrugs.com to find out more.

Rachel’s Attic

149 E Main Street, Dandridge, TN 37725

This store is more than a quick in-and-out; it’s a more eclectic experience for antiques and collectibles. This might be the place to find a gift for that person who just has everything … or for yourself!

Call (865) 484-0222 to find out more.

 Bucks ‘N’ Bass

664 E Meeting Street, Dandridge, TN 37725

It’s no secret that Dandridge is a lake town. And no lake town would be complete without a great fishing outfitter. For the fishermen and women in your life, check out this store. They have all the practical necessities for fishing (like live bait!) but they also have a selection of hats, shirts and other accessories.

Call (865) 397-6455 or visit bucksnbass.net for more information.

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Just a little over a half an hour to Knoxville and just under a half hour to Sevierville, Dandridge is just enough out-of-the-way to feel like a vacation when you come to town. The people who live here are very proud of their heritage. We hope you enjoy your visit.

 

As always, if you’re interested in learning more about living in Dandridge, visit Darlenereeves-kline.com.

Christmas Shopping in Jefferson City, Tennessee

Second-hand and thrift stores, small boutiques and well-known chain stores offer a full day of shopping pleasure here.

This week we’re continuing our small-town Christmas shopping blog theme with Jefferson City, Tennessee. The Mossy Creek District is undergoing a renaissance, as we’ve written about here, and it’s worth a browse. Plus, there are many small boutique stores worth checking out around town.

There are also a couple of big box stores like Goody’s and Big Lots in Jefferson City (not to mention WalMart and Lowe’s…) but we’ll keep this week’s discussion focused on the more unique locations.

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Tractor Supply

Wood-burning stoves, truck and equipment parts and accessories, farm needs and…fashion? You’d be surprised how many gifts you can get at Tractor Supply for those who just seem to have everything they want and need. This store is only a hop and skip away from the Mossy Creek district, and although it’s a chain retailer, it’s full of the stuff of our rural Appalachian culture, from rugged gear all the way to hot pink cowgirl boots.

Mossy Creek Wines and Spirits

A bottle of cheer is always a good choice for a host or hostess gift. Mossy Creek Wines and Spirits has high gravity beers, fine wines and spirits for the discerning palate on your Christmas list! The staff is helpful and the selection is good. Visit mossycreekwinesandspirits.com for store information.

The Creek Café

Rest your tired feet and delight your empty stomach with lunch and treats from The Creek Café. Salads, sandwiches and gourmet local ice cream will revive you in your quest for exceptional Christmas gifts! Visit thecreekcafe.com for more information.

The Red Door Gallery

Located at 1417 George Avenue, this gallery features work by local artists and custom framing. If you’re looking for a deeply personal, heirloom-quality gift, this is a great place to look. Visit reddoorgallerytn.com for more information.

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Tickle Me Turquoise

Monograms and vibrant colors adorn the sweet keepsakes out of this shop. Located at 274 W Old Andrew Johnson Hwy, they also have an Etsy shop here.

Formal Approach

Most people consider Formal Approach a go-to prom or homecoming dress store, but it’s also a high-fashion gown paradise if you need something for an upcoming swanky Christmas or New Year’s party. They’ll help you with dress fittings and alterations, and if they don’t have exactly what you need on site they can help you order it. Visit formalapproach.com for more information.

Rowena’s

If you’re on the lookout for home decor, check out Rowena’s. They also have an upscale array of ladies’ brands such as Lilly Pulitzer and Kate Spade. Visit their Facebook page here.

The Rusty Door

As the name suggests, this store is full of rustic and farmhouse-themed stuff! Visit their Facebook page, here,  for a more detailed look at what they offer.

There are many more fun and unique places to choose from in Jefferson City! I just don’t have room to list them all. Second-hand and thrift stores, small boutiques and well-known chain stores offer a full day of shopping pleasure here. It’s one of the best ways to get to know your new area if you just recently became an East Tennessean. Shopping close to home is also a great way to keep your local economy robust, bringing in more unique and creative businesses and keeping tax dollars in your community, where it will do the most good for you and your neighbors!

Merry Christmas shopping! And, as always, if you want to learn more about finding a new home in Jefferson City or any other East Tennessean location, visit Darlenereeves-kline.com.

Christmas Shopping in Blaine, Tenn.

Take a step away from the big crowds and see what the little, local places have to offer.

It’s all too easy to get fed up with holiday shopping before you even start: the crowds, the anxiousness (What if she doesn’t like this?! What if I’m paying way too much…didn’t that store at the other end of the mall say they’d throw in a free electric bread-butterer?!)

Fortunately, although our area is full of convenient chain and big-box stores, we are built upon the legacy of homemade and cherished, not to mention quirky, things. Take a step away from the big crowds and see what the little, local places have to offer. Your gift recipients will get something unusual and you’ll have a happier shopping experience. In these weeks before Christmas we’ll look at small-town shopping in a few little-known places.

Hey, while you’re cruising the highways and byways of upper East Tennessee on a quest for holiday shopping cheer, remember: the scenery is free!

 

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Photo courtesy of Leigh

Let’s get started with a day in Blaine, Tennessee. Blaine is located just Northeast of Knoxville, and we recommend starting your Blaine shopping pilgrimage from just north of the town, heading toward Knoxville on Highway 11W, also known as Rutledge Pike.

Blaine Antiques

On the right hand side, at 1945 Rutledge Pike, this unassuming little store is worth the drive. It’s truly a treasure hunt, so don’t expect to be in and out in five minutes. Be on the lookout for unusual dinnerware, vintage and collectable toys, jewelry and antique furniture. If you’re an upcycler, this is definitely your kind of muse.

Contact Blaine Antiques at (865) 933-0021

Boots, Lace & Southern Grace

New in 2016 is this store for the fancy, fashionable Appalachian lady. Located just a few minutes west on Rutledge Pike from Blaine Antiques, this is a great girlfriends’ destination. The place is full of lacy tunics, jewelry and a general cowgirl flare. You’ll recognize it by the bright turquoise bench just outside the door.  Visit their Facebook page or give them a call at (865) 401-4168.

Little Dipper

Need a burger and ice cream break? Walk next door for lunch. Little Dipper is small and friendly, and they serve up lunch specials with big portions and Mayfield treats that bring in hungry folks from miles around. Visit their Facebook page or call (865) 932-4886.

Okie’s

Okie’s Pharmacy offers “Cures and Curiosities” in both locations, at Blaine and Maynardville. Locals pick up prescriptions here, but while they’re waiting they peruse tie-dyed reading glasses, old-fashioned greeting cards, luxurious lotions by J.R. Watkins and Burt’s Bees and seasonal sundries like scarves, socks and costume jewelry. Looking for stocking stuffers? Okie’s has a big assortment of old-fashioned hard candies.

Call (865) 932-7775 or visit www.okiespharmacy.com.

The Southern Belle Boutique

Headed out of town, on the right side of Rutledge Pike, is another new source for mountain fashion with attitude: The Southern Belle Boutique. Part of the Southern Elegance Salon, this new store is where Blaine ladies can go for a one-stop complete makeover.

Call (865) 228-9405 or visit their Facebook page for more information.

There you have it: a day of shopping in less than a three mile stretch of highway!

If you want to find out more about living in rural Northeast Tennessee, visit my website at 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!

 

 

Decorating for Christmas, Safely!

Protect your family and your home so your biggest memories are all about the wonder and joy of the season.

It may not be Thanksgiving yet, but Halloween is officially over. While you’re picking through the dregs of leftover candy in search of the last mini Snickers after the kids go to bed, you might start thinking about the next major holiday decorating tradition. I’m talking lights everywhere, sparkles, red and green on anything that will stand still, Santa, reindeer, snowmen…that’s right, pretty soon will be Christmas decoration time!

Since all the major stores are festooning the aisles in anticipation of yuletide frenzy, we figured we’d take a moment to think about protecting your home during the holidays.

HGTV.com has a great article about avoiding decorating disasters over the holidays.

Tree Matters

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If you’re going with a live tree, keep in mind that the furnace-circulated indoor air in winter dries out more than just your sinuses. Trees turn into tinder quickly if not regularly watered. Further protect your tree (and your home) by placing it far from any fireplaces or stoves, and try to avoid setting it up over registers.

Lights, Camera … Action!

Light-hanging mishaps have spawned generations of comedic entertainment, but we still think it’s best to avoid opening presents on Christmas morning with your teeth because the rest of you is in a cast. The worst offenders of light-related accidents are ladders! Rickety ladders, poorly placed ladders, even ladders doing their jobs perfectly well turn dangerous when an over-leaner perches atop. Take the extra time to climb down, re-position the ladder and climb back up. The effort is well worth preserving your limbs.

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Lights can overheat, too. In addition to making sure you’ve purchased the right lights for the conditions (indoor vs. outdoor, for example), consider a routine of always turning off the outside and tree decorations at bedtime. To make this easier, set up a timer to turn your lights on and off. They are easy to find and operate, and will save you money in energy bills in the long run. Light timers are also a good way to deter burglars who might be casing your home when you go out of town. Read more about that, and other ways to secure your home from burglars, in this article.

Fireplace Safety

Creosote buildup is more than just dirty, it’s extremely flammable! It’s worth the time and effort to clean your fireplace at the beginning of each cold season to protect your family and your home from a devastating fire. Also…really, Santa doesn’t want to shimmy down a chimney covered in gunk. Help the old guy out.

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It might seem like an easy clean-up solution to toss your used wrapping paper into the fire, but it might cause a flash fire, burning too quickly and hot, causing things near the flames to ignite. Plus, inks and chemicals in the glossy paper could be released into your living environment, lowering air quality for your guests and family.

Never leave candles burning unattended, even when you’re just in the other room. A flaw in the glass holder could burst with the heat of the melted wax or a curious pet or kid could knock it over or–worse–get burned. You could even end up with a little smoke damage from an untrimmed wick. Nobody wants to add painting to the list of post-holiday cleanup.

Be safe this holiday decorating season! Protect your family and your home so your biggest memories are all about the wonder and joy of the season.

If you’re in the market for a new home to decorate this season, remember to visit darlenereeves-kline.com.