Family Activities for Spring and Summer Breaks!

If you’re planning to stick close to home and you need a way to keep your kids occupied, here are a few ideas.

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It’s just a hair past Valentine’s Day. You know what that means: time to start thinking about what to do with your kids for spring and summer break! You may think it’s way too early, but some of the most popular summer activities can fill up pretty quickly. Lots of families like to enjoy spring and summer breaks out of town, on a family vacation, but if you’re planning to stick close to home and you need a way to keep your school-aged kids occupied, here are a few ideas. (Note: East Tennessee is actually packed with great family activities, so this isn’t even close to a complete list!)

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If you’re in Morristown:

Morristown Library

The library is always a great activity staple: it’s educational, relaxed and fun for the kids. Wednesday morning story time for the little ones starts at 10:30. Remember the summer reading program from when you were a kid? Relive the magic with your kids, now! They can win cool prizes for completing reading challenges. See the website for more details.

Boys and Girls Club

Morristown is lucky to have a thriving Boys and Girls Club to serve its youth. Offering after-school activities and school holiday hours, this is a place where kids can go to interact with peers, get help with schoolwork, learn skills in physical education, arts and more! It’s a community-minded facility, and many kids who start out at the Boys and Girls Club grow up to volunteer here. See the website for more details.

Rose Center

Rose Center Summer Academy of the Arts and Rose Center Summer Players are two time-honored traditions for this historic school building. Visit the website to learn more.

If you’re near Knoxville (or willing to drive about an hour to get there):

The Muse

The Muse is a fun hands-on kids’ museum in Knoxville. Worth the day trip, there are themed activities and even a planetarium on site. It’s only $7 per person for admission, and $2 for a planetarium show. Check out their schedule for more information.

Zoo Knoxville

The zoo offers spring and fall break camps for kids aged 6-10. The price for members is $155, and for non-members is $175. Kids have a learning theme to go with their week. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9-3. You’ll need to pack their sack lunches, but drinks are provided. See the zoo’s camp page for more details.

Summer week camps are the same prices, but the age range is wider: ages 4 all the way to 13, grouped appropriately. These are also learning themed, with many topics and dates to choose from. As in the spring/fall break camps, kids bring their own lunches and drinks are provided.

Here’s a bigger list of free and inexpensive Knoxville activities to give you more ideas.

To see great Morristown family events at a glance, see the calendar at this site. 2017 has a great lineup of free music, sports activities and holiday events coming up.

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Of course, don’t forget our area’s great public spaces! City parks, state parks and national parks are all close by for a healthy way to connect with our lovely Tennessee environment.

Many local churches also plan great spring break and summer activities for kids, so look into those, too!

If you’re interested in real estate in beautiful East Tennessee, go to DarleneReeves-Kline.com to browse and contact us with any questions you might have.

 

Community and Beauty: Why We Love East Tennessee!

Our eastern corner of Tennessee is full of places like that: local secrets, where the authenticity hasn’t been polished off by the tourism industry.

Ask anyone who has made East Tennessee their home what their favorite things about living here are, and sense of community is bound to make the list.

During our 2016 wildfires in the Great Smoky Mountains, local businesses, churches, schools and groups of private individuals banded together to provide relief in the form of food, clothing (including pajamas and teddy bears for displaced kids), Power Bars, water and Gatorade for fire fighters, and money. The support was so immediate and overwhelming that, at one point during the crisis, aid workers in Sevier County couldn’t find space to put all the supplies! It’s exactly this spirit that makes Tennessee the Volunteer State.

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Our smaller communities have this amazing “helping out” attitude, too. It’s evident in the revitalization of the Mossy Creek district in Jefferson City, the organizations that provide help to homeless families in Morristown, the knowledgeable folks at Clinch-Powell RC&D in Rutledge who help local families become first-time homeowners and veterans get help paying off their mortgages.

Remember that list of reasons why people love to call East Tennessee home? The beauty of our natural environment is high on that list, too.

Clinch-Powell RC&D combines its mission for benefiting local communities with benefiting the environment in Hancock County. There, they have revitalized an old general store into a hub for ecotourism. Kyles Ford in Hancock County is remote, but it’s this secluded quality that makes it ripe for a great family vacation experience. There are cabins for rent and space to pitch a tent if that’s more your pace. There’s a great restaurant in the old store, and the porch doubles as a stage for regular local and regional live music performances.

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It’s called River Place on the Clinch, and it overlooks (you guessed it!) the sleepy Clinch River, which is home to an amazingly diverse ecosystem. There is more diversity of mussels in the Clinch River than can be found in the entirety of Europe! So, don’t be surprised if you see scientists wading through the water to study its residents. In fact, you might see lots of things you’d never catch sight of in town, like turkey and deer wandering in the grass down below the back deck.

River Place offers tube rentals and shuttles during the hot summer months. You could spend a whole weekend just floating on the river, listening to live music, chowing down on food, spotting wild deer and turkey, catching twilight fireflies, and generally enjoying the natural bounty of East Tennessee. With spring peeking around the corner, this kind of vacation sounds just about perfect.

Kyles Ford is about an hour from Morristown on Highway 31, making it a great weekend escape location. Lots of repeat visitors found it originally while wandering on the backroads, or traveling via motorcycle on Highway 70. Our eastern corner of Tennessee is full of places like that: local secrets, where the authenticity hasn’t been polished off by the tourism industry.

If you’re interested in learning more about real estate in Morristown, Jefferson City, or even Hancock County, go to DarleneReeves-Kline.com. We’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Moving Tips

We’re familiar with moving; we’ve done it tons of times and we know how stressful it can be.

Selling your old home and finding your new one are only two important steps in your relocation journey! We’re familiar with moving; we’ve done it tons of times and we know how stressful it can be. We found an article on Buzzfeed with some pretty great tips to help you feel less crazy during this chaotic time. Read on to learn about some of our favorite tips from the article:

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  1. Use clothes to pad dishes. It will save packing space and the need to find extra newspapers or bubble wrap to protect your breakables. You can use your socks to pad wine glasses.
  2. Stack dishes upright (with padding between-try Styrofoam plates) instead of flat in the box. They’ll be less likely to break that way.
  3. Make sure you pack an overnight bag with a few sets of clothes, pajamas and toiletries. Chances are that no matter how carefully you move and unpack your things, you’ll be so tired by the end of the day you won’t feel like searching for those essentials. Give your future tired self a hand!
  4. If you can, clean your new bathroom and stock it with towels, soap, toilet paper and a shower curtain ahead of time. You’ll want the luxury of easy-to-reach bathroom essentials and a hot shower at the end of your moving day!
  5. Pack a designated “stuff I need” box. Or, better yet, use a clear bin. Put in tape, markers, a box cutter, hammer and nails, measuring tape … stuff you’ll need to get the house set up over the next few days.kw_zqbachws-ashim-d-silva.jpg
  6. Turn your drawers into moving boxes! Use plastic wrap or “press-n-seal” wrap to seal your clothes in.
  7. Label the boxes optimally. Write what’s in it, and which room they belong in on both the lid and sides, so you can still see the label if the boxes are stacked.
  8. If you need to defrost the fridge, do it a couple of days ahead of time to give you a chance to clean it and wipe up any drips.
  9. If you have a lot of valuable antiques and art to move, hire a moving company. They’ll have the specialty supplies for packing and moving that stuff, and are insured. It’s much better for your personal relationships if put a professional in charge of taking care of valuables/breakables. For all the other stuff, sure! Pay your brother-in-law and best friend in pizza to help you out.
  10. This might be the cardinal rule of moving: get packed and completely ready to go BEFORE everyone shows up to help you! Don’t make people wait as you pack. They’re bound to get annoyed and you’ll be more anxious.

 

Visit DarleneReeves-Kline.com for more information about real estate in East Tennessee, and happy moving!

 

History Field Trip: Morristown, Tennessee

Read on to see where you can soak up some local history.

During a recent visit to VisitMorristownTN.com, I noticed a great section of the site called “History and Heritage.” When I clicked on the link to see what historic gems the fair city of Morristown has to offer, I noticed the site’s list format of historic locations makes it perfect for planning a field trip! Read on to see where you can soak up some local history. Who knows! Maybe you’ll be inspired to get out of the house.

1. Crockett Tavern Museum

2002 Morningside Dr.

423-587-9900

www.crocketttavernmuseum.org

We wrote about the Crockett Tavern Museum on the blog, here. It’s a replica of the Crockett family home and a venue for special events throughout the year. Visit the website for information about visiting hours, and the volunteers, who are always happy to teach the curious about one of our local historical heroes.

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Crockett Tavern Museum

2. Bethesda Church & Cemetery

4990 Bethesda Road

423-438-0968

The Bethesda Church was used as a makeshift hospital for wounded soldiers during the civil war, and there are 82 unknown soldiers buried here. It’s designated as a stop on the Tennessee Civil War Trail.

3. General Longstreet’s Headquarters Museum

5915 E. Andrew Johnson Highway

423-438-0968

www.longstreetmuseum.com

In the winter of 1863-64, this house saw history being made. General Longstreet of the Confederate army used the building as his headquarters during that time. The house is now a museum, and a featured stop on the Civil War Tour in East Tennessee.

4. Historic Main Street and Crossroads Downtown Partnership

PO Box 1893

423-312-1476

www.crossroadspartnership.com

We featured Morristown’s Skymart and historic Main Street district on the blog, here. The elevated sidewalks are pretty cool, and throughout the year there are free family events worth checking out.

5.The Meeting Place Museum and Old Country Store

138 W. Main St.

865-250-2397

www.themeetingplacecountrystore.com

Hungry? This is a great place to grab a wrap and see some intriguing Tennessee history at the same time. It’s also available as a venue. See their website for more details.

6. Morristown Cemetery

601 E. Sixth North St.

Many of Morristown’s own residents may not realize that places they pass by every day are the sites of vicious Civil War battles. The Battle of Morristown was fought by mostly East Tennesseans on both sides of the divide, making it one of many battles in that bloody war where family fought against family. Visit this site to learn more about this historic battle. For a real-life experience, visit the Morristown Cemetery, high ground that was used by both Union and Confederate forces as a camp site. Both Union and Confederate soldiers are buried there.

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Morristown Cemetery

Morristown, agricultural and industrial hub that it is, was touched directly by the Civil War. It played an important role in nurturing the people who went on to settle the Wild West, and was itself part of the Frontier for a brief time in history. It’s a pretty comfortable place to live now, but that wasn’t always the case! It’s amazing to think about how different our lives are compared to what our ancestors experienced.

 

Visit DarleneReeves-Kline.com for information about real estate in Morristown, Tennessee.

 

 

Staging Your Home to Sell

Have the potential buyer imagining hosting dinner parties or just spending quiet evenings with friends and family.

 

FoxNews.com has this great article about staging your home to sell it fast. Some of the ideas are a little extreme, such as replacing the bathroom sink, but others might be just what you need to spark interest in the perfect buyer. Let’s look at a few of their tips.

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  1. Boost curb appeal.

The outside of your home is the first thing any prospective buyer will see. You don’t have to go all out on landscaping. Even simple maintenance, like pulling weeds from the flower bed and power-washing your siding can send a welcoming message. You might have to spend a little extra time and money if, for example, the porch needs repainting or repair. Set out a nice welcome mat and a potted plant, but don’t go overboard: the idea is to welcome the potential buyer, not overwhelm them.

  1. Clean house!

Do a really good job with this step; you don’t want potential buyers to miss out on your great home because they were grossed out by the dust bunnies and grimy bathroom. Put your house’s best foot forward.

  1. Join the minimalist movement.

This is actually a great idea for your moving strategy, too. Clear out the clutter. Put it in storage if you have to. Better yet, get rid of it! Have a yard sale, post it on Craig’s List, donate it to an area charity. Your potential buyer will be better able to see their stuff in your house if it’s not full of your stuff.

  1. Don’t get rid of everything.

Keep a couple of tables, chairs, lamps, even a couple of framed pictures. Check out your favorite home goods catalogs and imitate some of the inviting pictures. Put a vase of flowers or basket of apples out on the counter. There’s a tricky balance between showing a buyer what your house looks like and what their house would look like (if they bought it!) Completely blank rooms are uninspiring.

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  1. Stage your rooms.

Arrange furniture into a little conversation nook in the living room. Spruce up the dining room table with flowers. You can even set the table with pretty china. Have the potential buyer imagining hosting dinner parties or just spending quiet evenings with friends and family in these inviting spaces.

  1. Don’t neglect the bedrooms.

You might absolutely love shabby chic flowers in the master bedroom, but if your prospective buyers are into modernism they could be turned off by your décor. It’s not a bad idea to paint the bedrooms neutral colors (you don’t have to stick with white, unless you want to.) Clean out the closets, too. (See number 3!) Buyers care a lot about closets, so showcase yours.

  1. Clean up toys and pet gear.

Yes, kids and pets make a house warm and loving, but having their stuff everywhere might seem cluttered or even dirty to a potential buyer. At least corral your little and/or furry residents’ stuff in bins. And if your dog’s favorite bed is a little, well … stinky, then consider getting a new one or banishing it to the garage until the house sells.

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The full article has lots more ideas. Check it out to learn more. And, as always, visit DarleneReeves-Kline.com for listings in upper East Tennessee!

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.