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!

Activities in Dandridge, Tennessee

Dandridge might have exactly the kind of entertainment you’re looking for.

TripAdvisor.com has a list of 16 must-do activities in Dandridge, Tennessee. The town of Dandridge is not very big, but it’s close to our area’s better-known tourist destination: Sevierville, Tennessee.

For locals, or those who want to take a step away from the more crowded attractions, a place like Dandridge might have exactly the kind of entertainment you’re looking for.

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If you’re checking out the list on TripAdvisor, one of the attractions (#15) is closed and the last one (#16) has no reviews, but 14 activities on the list give you a great itinerary for planning your vacation or staycation. I know, I know, it’s February, but summer is just around the corner. (Or maybe it’s just that our warm winter is making people antsy for real summer to come around!)

Almost half of the things to do on the list include water activities, and for good reason. Douglas Lake is beautiful. It’s accessible for free at several beaches and marinas (check this link for a list), and water recreation vehicles are available for rent at marinas in the area for an affordable day of fun. If the adrenaline-rush of speeding around on a watercraft gets old, take some time to sight-see on one of the marina sunset cruises, or slow way, way down and swim or fish. Just make sure you have your license. Fun fact: you can get a fishing license from your mobile phone, now! Check out this link from TWRA to find out how.

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Looking for things to enjoy in Dandridge during the cooler months?

You can still go shopping and eat at the historic homes-turned-shops (and restaurants) in quaint downtown Dandridge, or go for a meal at one of the lakeside restaurants. Tinsley-Bible Drugstore is always worth a visit for a relaxed ambience, some shopping and a bite to eat.

If you’re a golfer, check out Dandridge Golf and Country Club. It’s a nice way to spend a quiet afternoon.

Looking for a bit of history? Visit the Revolutionary War Graveyard.

If you’re looking for an unexpectedly quirky tour, check out the Bush’s Baked Beans Visitor Center for an authentic piece of Americana. There, you’ll find more interactive, family-friendly exhibits than you might expect involving beans, including a family photo op, a giant can of beans and the opportunity to check your weight in beans. The Bush family has been making their famous products here for more than a hundred years, and you can still see the original general store where it all began.

This attraction is also featured on RoadsideAmerica.com.

For the ultimate thrill-seeker, there’s always skydiving.

One of the most fun parts of Tennessee is how you never know what you’ll find if you step away from the beaten tourist path. This fun list of activities on the back porch of Sevierville is a great example of this.

As always, please visit DarleneReeves-Kline.com if you are interested in settling down in our beautiful area, or if you have any real estate questions.

 

Old Jefferson City Hall

Saving and restoring this building would go a long way toward boosting the renaissance of the beloved Mossy Creek area.

The Mossy Creek District of Jefferson City was once the most happening part of town…because it was the only part of town! The first recorded settlers arrived at the creek, which was characterized by (what else?) green moss growing in the creek bed, in 1788. They weren’t the first to actually live there; apart from the Native Americans who inhabited the area, these settlers found a small abandoned fort or blockhouse near the creek, where they lived until their own house was built.  

Mossy Creek (now known as Jefferson City) was the home of diverse stores and businesses, including grist mills, a cotton-spinning factory for thread and outfitters for the lumber operations thriving in the area. Read more about this colorful history here 

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The Old Jefferson City Hall has its own place in the history of Mossy Creek. Knox Heritage, an organization committed to preserving historic buildings and places in our area, added this building to its “East Tennessee Endangered Eight” list for 2016, marking it as an endangered building that is significant and worth saving. Knox Heritage posted this on their website:

“The Old Jefferson City Hall was built in 1868 by John Roper Branner, one of Jefferson City’s most influential citizens, about the same time as his nearby home known as the Historic Glenmore Mansion. The structure was home to the Masonic girl’s school and local lodge. In 1882, the site became the community’s first public school after the young ladies were moved to the Mossy Creek Baptist College campus – a precursor to today’s Carson-Newman University. In 1904, space was provided to the City for offices and a two-story addition was added to the front of the building. In 1930, the City and Lodge divided the space and added a wing for the City Hall and its fire department (and first fire truck). City government used the site until 1989. From 1868 until recently, local Masonic Lodge #353 continuously held sessions in the building. It holds a prominent position as an anchor on the southeast end of downtown.”

 The Old City Hall stands testament to the history of commerce and progress in Jefferson City. The bricks were fired locally, as was the custom of that time, and hauled by wagon to the site.  

The Old City Hall is located near its contemporary, Glenmore house, which was built between the years of 1867 to 1869. The oldest part of the building does need extensive love and repairs. Saving and restoring this building would go a long way toward boosting the renaissance of the beloved Mossy Creek area, which is already well on its way to revitalization. Conversely, the vibrancy of the surrounding area make this building a solid investment. The space would be great as office suites, a boutique bed-and-breakfast, even a restaurant.  

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Simply put, this building is ready for its next chapter in a 148-year story.  

If you’d like to learn more about this building, visit DarleneReeves-Kline.com.

 

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.

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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Education in Jefferson County, Tennessee

Check out Jefferson County! It might be the perfect “fringe-rural” spot for you and your family.

Fringe-Rural

Jefferson County is termed “fringe-rural,” which means it has both urban and rural attributes. With a hop and a skip in one direction you can be in dense woods, hunting deer or turkey without another soul in sight for miles. Take a jump in the other direction and you’re in Knoxville, Morristown or Sevierville. The biggest appeal of Jefferson County is its lovely rural land situated close enough for an easy commute to one of these bigger cities. Population here isn’t very dense, but there are many resources and cultural sites in the area. Carson-Newman University, a pre-Civil War institution, is one such cultural beacon. For a family who might be on the lookout for someplace close to the bigger city of Knoxville (a little over or under 30 minutes away, depending on your in-town destination) yet rich with country charms, making a home in Jefferson County just might be ideal.

The public school system is made up of 12 schools, one of which is an alternative school and one of which is the Jefferson County High School. Find out more about the Jefferson County public school system here.

Resources

The public school system also has supplementary family resources, from information about babies and very young childhood to resources on free kids’ books. ( Did you know Dolly Parton founded a statewide early reading program called the Imagination Library, which sends free children’s books to preschool-aged kids?) If you’re new to parenting, or just looking for a bit of information, go here to find out more.

Jefferson County High School

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Jefferson County High School is the system’s only high school. According to U.S.News.com, student enrollment for 2016 is 2,102. Boy-girl ratio is pretty even, at 51 percent male to 49 percent female. Student-teacher ratio is 16:1, and there are opportunities for Advanced Placement courses and exams, which give college-bound students a real leg-up. In fact, many high schools in Tennessee are pushing to improve the availability and passing rate of their AP programs. Overall high school graduation rate is 90%.

Jefferson County Private Schools

There are two options for private schooling of little ones in the area.

Jefferson Montessori School is a very small school for little ones. Fans of Montessori say it’s a great way to give kids a jump-start on a love of learning, especially in the important early formative years. You can contact them at:

Phone: (865) 475-5250

Po Box 489, Jefferson City, TN 37760

Blue Springs Christian Academy is a Pentecostal School run by volunteers. It’s a very small, private school for kids K-12. Reach them at:

3265 Blue Springs Rd, Strawberry Plains, TN 37871

Phone: (865) 932-7603

Carson-Newman University

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Of course, for post-secondary education in Jefferson County there is Carson-Newman University, the historic liberal arts Christian school that has been an important part of life in Jefferson City since 1851. They offer fifty different majors in on-campus and online courses in fields such as art, education and health pre-majors (to name just a few). It’s a small campus, with 2,528 students are enrolled there as of 2016. Visit their website to find out more about the school.

Check out Jefferson County! It might be the perfect “fringe-rural” spot for you and your family. Visit my website at darlenereeves-kline.com to view listings.