Historic Appalachia: Resort Hot Spot!

Appalachia was the vacation spot of choice for droves of travelers in the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

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Travel is so easy nowadays. All we have to do to get out of town is hop in the car, gas it up and drive down the interstate. Or, we can head to the McGee-Tyson Airport in Alcoa (just outside Knoxville) and hop on a two-hour flight to Florida for palm trees and sandy beaches. It wasn’t so long ago—less than two generations—that travel was very difficult, time-consuming and expensive! In that era of days-long train travel, the upper-middle-class of America came by the car-load (train car, that is) to Appalachia.

You read right: Appalachia was the vacation spot of choice for droves of travelers in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Many leisure travelers lived inside cities, where industry was concentrated, so to get outside the brick-and-cobble jungle was a real treat for body and soul. In fact, during our country’s Industrial Revolution, medical doctors prescribed trips to the green, coal-smokeless hills of North Carolina and Tennessee on a regular basis. (That’s how the Vanderbilts ended up in Asheville: a trip for clean air away from railway smoke.)

The little towns of Dandridge, Morristown and Bean Station all had their tourist spots. Oh, they’d never give Dollywood a run for their money, but in their heyday the rural hot springs and bed-and-breakfasts did a pretty good business. Some of these places still retain a glint of their former allure. You can go there and walk, or sit awhile and see a glimpse of what it might have been like to enjoy the finest of rural American vacations at the turn of last century.

Dandridge

This gem of a town still retains its hardy brick buildings, some over a hundred and fifty years old. Although the TVA dammed the river nearby to flood most of the richest farmland, changing the landscape surrounding the town, many historic homes and businesses remain intact.

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Bean Station

Not much remains of the Tate House Springhouse resort these days; the 500-guest hotel was demolished years ago. There is still a lovely spring, though, and the pavilion is a local favorite spot for prom and wedding photo shoots. Its close proximity to the lake makes this a sweet little spot to stop by for a picnic.

Clinton

Part of the “White Lighting Trail,” this little town just outside Knoxville has a great, historic downtown ripe for strolling and enjoying a meal. Plus, if you like antiquing, this place holds some fabulous treasures.

Morristown

The General Longstreet Museum, Crockett Tavern Museum and Rose Center for the Arts all hold turn-of-last-century allure, giving a glimpse into the life and times of those who lived, loved and made a life in Morristown pre- and post-civil war.

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Modern vacation tastes often run to bright lights and rich foods, exciting rides and never-seen-before entertainment. We could take a page from vacationers of yore, who took a prescription for cleaner, Appalachian air and headed away from the overstimulating city for the noise of cicadas and crickets, the gentle breezes and distractions of a good game of lawn croquet.

Interested in owning your own little piece of history? Go to DarleneReeves-Kline.com to find properties for sale in lovely East Tennessee.

Uncommon Attractions

If your ideal vacation includes the road less traveled, read on to find out more!

If you’re considering a move to East Tennessee, or you’re a recent transplant, you might be looking around with the question, “What is there to do around here?” This blog has lots of suggestions for close-to-home attractions in the area, but sometimes you’re in the mood for a day trip.

You’re probably well aware of Tennessee’s popular tourist destinations. Dollywood and all the bright lights of Sevierville and Pigeon Forge, music galore in Nashville, Chattanooga’s #1 ranked outdoor adventure culture … all these might sound familiar to you.

But there are a few lesser-known attractions in our fair state. We checked out this page on TNVacation.com and pulled out a few. If your ideal vacation includes the road less traveled, read on to find out more!

Tuckaleechee Caverns in Townsend

825 Caverns Rd.
Townsend, TN 37882
Phone: 865-448-2274
Townsend is considered by many to be the “back door” to the Smokies. Its pace is much quieter, but there are a few cool attractions there. Like the Tuckaleechee Caverns! These caverns, nicknamed the “Greatest Site Under the Smokies,” are reported to be 20 to 30 million years old. You can take a guided tour to view these caves on lighted walkways. Check out the website to find out more.
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Back Door to the Smokies

Lost Sea in Sweetwater

140 Lost Sea Road
Sweetwater, TN 37874
Phone: 423-337-6616

Just in case you didn’t get enough of caves, Lost Sea in Sweetwater has you covered. The tour involves an underground boat-ride. If that doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will! The tour takes about and hour and fifteen minutes, and you can hang out in “Old Sweetwater Village” to get your above-ground legs back after. Visit their website for details.

The Salt and Pepper Shaker and Smoky Mountain Spices in Gatlinburg

461 Brookside Village Way Winery Sq.
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Contact Email:

andrea@ludden.com

Phone:

865-430-5515

Toll-free:

20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers. There’s only one other place like it in the world: The Salt and Pepper Shaker sister museum in Spain! Give this place a try, even if you’re not a collector. The entertainment value might surprise you! To find out more, visit the website here.

Briarwood Ranch Safari Park in Bybee

A small, family-run affair, this drive-through safari is great entertainment for families with small kids. Though most of the time you’ll be in the car, collecting nose-prints on the windows from exotic beasts, there is an opportunity to get out at the end, to feed some of the animals, get a snack for yourself and let the kids play a little. It’s a cool opportunity to see exotic animals right here in East Tennessee! Check out the Facebook page to learn more: www.facebook.com/BriarwoodSafari.

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You don’t need a jeep for the drive-through safari!

These are only a few of the lesser-known attractions in our area. Tennessee is full of unique and creative characters, so be prepared to bump into unusual things during your visit!

As always, contact us if you want to find out more about real estate in East Tennessee! The website is DarleneReeves-Kline.com, and we’re always happy to answer your questions.