Still Winter, But Spring’s Coming!

What’s your favorite part about springtime in Tennessee?


It’s not quite March yet, but we in East Tennessee are starting to see the telltale signs of spring!

We know that one of the biggest reasons for people to relocate to our beautiful corner of the state is our four distinct seasons. Spring isn’t just a pass-through season here; it lasts long enough for us to really savor it.

Spring ain’t no wallflower in these parts. When she shows up, we know it! Spring around here blows in with vibrant flowers and moody weather, ecstatic frogs, singing bugs and happy people. We decided to celebrate the coming season by listing a few of our favorite East Tennessean signs of spring. Read on to hear what they are!


Flowers Blooming

Buttery yellow daffodils are already springing open, and irises will come soon. Fall is famous for showing lovely red, yellow and orange leaves, but it’s not the only colorful season here! Spring in East Tennessee brings a riot of blooming color! You can visit this website to find out more about wildflowers in the Smokies, including rhododendron and trillium.

Gorgeous Sunrises

The days have steadily been getting longer since the winter solstice, and we’re finally getting to head off to work and school with the rosy glow of the sunrise! We know we’re about to have long, lovely days when we’re no longer bundling the kids into the family vehicle while it’s still dark.

Birds chirping, vibrant sunrise colors splashing across the sky … what a great way to start the day! No wonder spring puts people in a better mood!

Warmer Days (and nights!)

Some East Tennessee springs are chilly, it’s true. But so far we’re having 70-degree days and 50-degree nights, and that suits us fine! We know, we know, we’ve been around these parts long enough to remember that winter often comes roaring back in to give us at least one more solid freeze before the warm weather sets in for good. But that promise of spring feels soooo nice in a gentle, warm breeze in February!

Frogs Croaking

Frogs all over the place are coming out of hibernation and calling out to each other. Anyone who lives near a stream, pond or heck, even a puddle, gets the sweet, rhythmic serenade of springtime frogs.


Late-Season Snowstorms!

We know that sometimes the sweet weather is too good to be true, and often the temperature soars up into the 70s, only to plunge back down within a day or two. It’s not at all unusual for at least one good snowstorm to blow through in March, dumping a few inches of wet snow on us. Luckily, all that snow is usually melted away within a couple of days.

Windy Weather

One thing all our springtimes in East Tennessee have in common: windy weather! Chilly or warm, snowy or sunny, the wind heralds the coming change of seasons. Make the most of it, and break out the kites!

If you want to see spring from the front porch of your new East Tennessee home, start at

It’s Time for Spring Redecorating!

Get ready for Spring in East Tennessee with these decorating trends!

Winter is still here, but warmer weather is creeping in. Here in East Tennessee, we’re having a few days of balmy temperatures mixed in with soggy, wet and windy days. It’s just enough to get that Spring Fever fired up.

Maybe we’d freeze if we tried to go out and enjoy the weather, but we can do the next best thing in preparation for the sweet spring that’s just around the corner: redecorate!

purple spring flowers

Country Living predicted some great decorating trend changes for 2018. Here are a few of our favorites:

Colorful Kitchens

White-on-white-on-white has been pretty popular in kitchens for a while, but the folks at Country Living think people are craving color in their lives again. Set off your warm, inviting tones with wood accents. Also keep an eye out for darker, more daring sink options, like concrete.

No More Accent Walls

While they’re colorful and eye-catching, other trends are moving in, like wainscotting and “accent ceilings.”

Jewel Tones

Channel your inner East Tennessean Empress for this trend. Darker, subdued walls have been popular, but trends now are leaning toward Pantone’s selected Ultra Violet and Sherwin William’s Oceanside. If those tones are too overwhelming for your taste, try furniture, throw pillows or even walls painted in several shades lighter of the same palate.

Brass Fixtures

Farmhouse-industrial especially looks great with a brass finish. It’s a fun alternative to brighter gold or more subdued nickel finishes.

three pots for darlene


This fun term is Japanese, and it’s the name of a simplistic, hand-made movement. Wabi-Sabi is all about making do with what you have, and living simply. It’s a nice way to think about decluttering and streamlining your home’s style. It fits really well with a lot of our East Tennessean cabins in the mountains; Wabi-Sabi celebrates handmade pottery and rough-spun linens. If you can’t really see yourself paring down to the extreme minimalism that some people still find intriguing, then consider using hand-thrown pottery with Oceanside-hued walls in your dining room.

Move Over, Tupperware Bins

Beautiful furniture that functions as storage is getting more popular. Sideboards, storage benches, hollow ottomans … we need our stuff to do more than just sit there!


Remember those great lima-bean-shaped couches in gold or orange velvet? Well, don’t worry, those aren’t back. But more modern, subdued versions of shapely furniture are rising in popularity. Think curved backs and seats.

flowers for darlene


Florals are in, especially if you like the Bohemian flare. (Really, florals are never out if you’re into Bohemian style!) You can incorporate bright, bold prints with an accent chair or bedding for a pop that’s not overwhelming.

Black and White

Set off your jewel tones and bright florals with some simple, retiring black-and-white patterns.

As you can see, trends have become so eclectic that you’ll be able to find inspiration no matter what your personal aesthetic is!

If you’re feeling inspired to decorate your home for spring, check out some of the cool, local shops in downtown Morristown or Dandridge. You might find that perfect antique sideboard or bright piece of art to set the tone you’re looking for.

And, if you’re looking for a new home (or to sell your current home) in East Tennessee, check out


Things We Love About Christmas in Tennessee

Things we love about our Tennessee Christmas.

Christmas in Tennessee is pretty special. Gone are the days when Southern Appalachia was isolated from the bigger, more modern world. Even those of us who live up in the hollers and hills have high-speed internet and satellite television! Our Great-Mamaws and Papaws might have cut an old cedar down and decorated it with strings of popcorn, and stuffed old, rough-spun stockings with horehound candy and the occasional coveted orange, but we’re all spoiled with ready-made decorations and treats these days.

Even with our modern ways of celebrating, there are still some mighty special things about this time of year in Tennessee. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite things about Christmas in Tennessee.  Read on to rev up your holiday spirit!

Sparkling Frost

Sometimes we have snow on Christmas, and sometimes it’s warm enough to drink our eggnog out in the sun! But, usually, Christmastime in Tennessee is a time to wake up to frost covering grass and trees, bursting into sparkling brilliance in the sunshine. It’s gorgeous and brisk, and it makes cuddling by the fire so much better.


Old-Time Christmas

We have our share of modern life: malls, shopping, even laser light shows! You can tech it up as much as you’d like this holiday season, but if you ever want to slow down just a bit and enjoy the simpler things in life, we do that, too. We have old-fashioned parades and candlelight celebrations. You can go to the Museum of Appalachia in Clinton, Tennessee, to see how folks ‘round here used to spend their holidays. You can enjoy the pleasures of a live choir concert at Walters State and Carson Newman—and, of course, at local schools and churches, too!


It’s big, and it’s flashy, but there’s no denying you’ll feel that festive tingle as soon as you get there! Dollywood does the holiday season to the max, with tons of live stage shows, millions of bright lights, locally made crafts and seasonal snacks and drinks. It’s worth a visit for the whole family!


Tennessee is the birthplace of country music, and here is where you’ll find all the banjo, mandolin, dobro, dulcimer and any other down-home style music you can cut a rug to! Christmas music is even sweeter with that Appalachian twang.


Family Time

Don’t get us wrong; right up until Christmas we’re running around like chickens with our heads cut off! Church and school plays and concerts, gift shopping, parties and get-togethers, cooking, wrapping, decorating … we know how to do it up, just like any other part of the world this time of year! But when it comes to the special day, we spend it with our cherished family and community. We reflect on what matters most to us, and even though we love to give bountifully, we understand it’s not all about the stuff.


Interested in finding a new home in East Tennessee for the holidays? Get started at

A Tennessean Thanksgiving History

Thanksgiving wasn’t widely celebrated in Tennessee until the late-1800s.

Our lovely corner of Tennessee (in case you’re wondering, our corner is the upper East one) is full of transplants from all over the country. People move in for the beauty, the usually pleasant weather, the comfortable cost of living and the laid-back lifestyle. It’s a great place for families, too, with our country traditions.

But some of our most cherished traditions are transplanted here, just like many of our citizens. It might surprise you, but Thanksgiving was considered a Yankee holiday until pretty recently in our country’s history!

Even when the rest of the country—Michigan, New York, Ohio territories—were digging in to turkey dinners each fall in celebration of the early Massachusetts settlers, Tennessee didn’t join in. (Volunteers we might be, but Tennesseans have always marched to the beat of their own, mountain-made drum.) In fact, most of the South shunned Thanksgiving.


According to the website, an author by the name of Sara Josepha Hale launched a personal crusade in the 1800s to nationalize Thanksgiving as a holiday, to be set at one, unified date each November.

It’s difficult to imagine a country divided over a holiday like Thanksgiving, but in the mid-1800s, we were in a period of political, religious and cultural turmoil. Many Southerners considered Thanksgiving to be bound up in the push for Abolitionist views, and rebelled against the holiday. (Remember when we said Tennesseans march to our own beat? Many will be surprised to learn that a Quaker in Jonesborough, Tennessee published the first newspaper in the country devoted to the Abolitionist movement. It was called The Emancipator.)

Adding to the alienation most Southerners felt in regard to the holiday was the Thanksgiving feast itself, full of cranberries and pumpkin pie and generally fare that wasn’t typically seen on a Southern table.

Thanksgiving didn’t become universally accepted in America until after the Civil War. In fact, Abraham Lincoln himself tipped his hat (metaphorically) to the tenacious Sara Josepha Hale and ultimately declared Thanksgiving to be a national holiday. As a result of the political tumult surrounding the War Between the States, Thanksgiving was only patchily observed, at best, in the South. Eventually, though, the lure of turkey dinners and the sweet homecoming that Thanksgiving offers to many families won out.


The traditional Southern Thanksgiving meal still includes recipes original to New England, like cranberry sauce and even oyster stuffing. Many Southerners still rebel a bit, though, adding in cornbread and pimiento wherever they can. Few things can bring people together like good food, and remembering that even us mountain-southerners wouldn’t be here without the first Yankees surviving their harrowing first winter makes us enjoy that second piece of pie even more.

So the next time you think your family talks about politics too much around the Thanksgiving dinner table, remember this fine holiday was adopted nationally during the Civil War! Political arguments are as American as pumpkin pie.

Check out to find your perfect home for the holidays. And Happy Thanksgiving!

Eclipse Madness (and Other Natural Phenomena)!

As locals know, Tennessee is no stranger to awe-inspiring natural events and features.

The total eclipse of the sun, visible at totality in many locations here in East Tennessee, is just three days away!

People from around the country are flocking to our area to view this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. We’re hoping for good weather to view the eclipse. If you’re planning to get a glimpse of the eclipse, please keep in mind that not all eclipse glasses are equal. Get NASA-approved lenses if you’re going to stare up into the sky on August 21!

Also, be aware that interstates and highways are going to be choked with traffic. Between out-of-town eclipse-chasers and locals trying to get the best view, there is an extremely high volume of vehicles expected to be out and about over the next several days. You don’t want to be stuck in a wreck instead of witnessing one of the most noteworthy scientific events of our time!

As locals know, Tennessee is no stranger to awe-inspiring natural events and features. To prove it, we’ve listed a few below.


Synchronized Fireflies

Every summer, in a specific location in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a breed of fireflies get together for a unique light show. These little guys glow frenetically for several seconds before total darkness descends in the woods, almost like a firefly switch getting flicked off. Then they start back up again! You can witness the synchronized fireflies yourself, but you have to get on a waiting list. After all, if everybody went tramping around in the woods after these little glowy guys, they’d probably be crushed into extinction. Check out the Great Smoky Mountains National Park website to find out more.


Black bears, white-tailed deer, owls, skunks, coyote, turkey, bobcats and painters (mountain lions) … even though the great herds of buffalo and elk were moved on when people moved in generations ago, Tennessee is still home to an amazingly diverse roster of wildlife. Even in neighborhoods closer to urban areas, turkey, deer and even bear sightings aren’t at all unusual!

New Madrid Earthquakes

Reelfoot Lake, which stretches into Arkansas, Missouri and about as far into western Tennessee as you can get, is relatively young for a natural lake: only about 206 years old. The New Madrid quakes (named for a town on the Mississippi River that took the brunt of the damage) were the strongest quakes in recorded history east of the Rockies. Although it’s pretty to see now, the site of Reelfoot Lake was terrifying on the night of December 16, 1811, when the Reelfoot Rift gave a mighty heave!


With natural wonders like blinking fireflies, glowing foxfire, bobcat cries that sound like distressed women, and drifting, eerie fog, it’s no wonder our lovely valleys and ridges are fertile ground for ghost stories and superstitions. You can’t learn Tennessee history without hearing a ghost story or two! Click here to read more haint recollections.


We hope you’ve enjoyed reading a little bit about the wonder of our lovely state! If you’re looking to settle here, check out for current listings.

Pickin’ in East Tennessee

People around here buy and sell anything from lamps to antique mason jars…

Rural East Tennesseans are no strangers to the “gettin’ it done” mentality. Only a few short generations ago, it took hours—even days, for those living way up in the hills—of arduous travel just to get to the nearest town of any size. So, if you needed farm implements, kitchen staples or even clothes, you made very certain you loaded up on all you could in that semi-annual trip to town.

As a result of living so remotely, people in East Tennessee made do with what they had. They learned to make just about everything with what was available: barrels, boats, furniture, homes, clothes, preserves … you name it, it could pretty much be conjured with some hard work and creativity. And, people didn’t throw away anything that had some kind of use left in it!

These days, of course, just about anything a body could need is a short drive into town or a decisive click of the computer mouse away. But that creative philosophy of life never quite left folks in this part of the world. One of the best results of this is a thriving flea market economy. People around here buy and sell anything from lamps to antique mason jars, and if you’re willing to spend the time hunting, you can find what you need. (Or what you didn’t even know you needed!) And, of course, the hunt is most of the fun!


Some flea markets, like the Porter Flea in Nashville, are an annual event, worth the pilgrimage if you want to combine a vacation with a pickin’ trip. Others are closer to our neck of the woods, like the Centre Brick Indoor Flea Market in New Tazewell or the Green Acres Flea Market in Louisville (near the airport, just outside of Knoxville.)

If yard sales get your creative gears cranking, there are plenty of events in Tennessee for you. Every weekend in the summer, sometimes starting as early as Thursday morning, you can find yard sales. If it’s a big event you’re looking for, Tennessee has annual yard sale events that stretch for miles along our highways! A little bit west of here, in Fentress County, there is the annual 127 Corridor yard sale. This one’s coming up: August 3-6, 2017. It actually stretches from Addison, Michigan, to Chattanooga, Tennessee! Next spring, plan for the U.S. 11 Antique Alley and Yard Sale, which runs from Meridian, Missouri to Bristol, Virginia.


Need a little inspiration for what to do with your newfound trash-to-treasure? Check out this article from Good Housekeeping. You can turn out-of-date end tables into a Lego brick paradise, colanders into planters, and jars and cans into anything from candle holders to terrariums. If something has “good bones,” you can find a fantastic use for it! And, really, nothing makes a house into a home more than the hand-made touch.

So, get pickin’! And, if you see a property you like while you’re out searching for antiques and up-cycle projects, visit We’ll be happy to help you find your East Tennessee home!

Campfire Ghost Tales

Check out a few local “haunted” places!

Every year there comes a season for telling tales to make your short hairs stand up, for giving you the shivers, for making the friendly light of a bonfire turn trees and shadows into dancing ghosts … if you think I’m talking about Halloween, think again!

It’s camping season, and the weather has been great for it! Aside from all this rain from Tropical Storm Cindy, we’ve had days and nights of mild weather and even relatively low humidity here in pleasant East Tennessee. All this sweet summer weather makes it just right to pitch a tent in the backyard, roast hot dogs over a camp fire and chase fireflies in the twilight.

But, when the moon is out and the fire gets low, the time for telling tales is just right. Locals know that East Tennessee is famous for storytelling! With misty apparitions, magical fireflies and mysterious late-night animal noises, the background is perfect for some old-fashioned yarn-spinning! And, something about a good campfire brings out the best ghost stories.


Here are a few infamously haunted places in our area to get your campfire tales started:

Bethesda Church and Cemetery in Morristown, Tennessee

Reportedly, Confederate soldiers buried here at the cemetery don’t take kindly to visitors with *ahem* Yankee accents coming around. Stories of women weeping, misty, foggy shapes and general creepy feelings surround this historic site when the sun goes down and the moon comes out. If you find yourself wandering outside the cemetery at night, you’d best starting whistling Dixie!

Greeneville, Tennessee: General Morgan Inn lists historic General Morgan Inn as one of its haunted places. Green Room Grace, a waitress in times of yore, is supposedly playful and fun. Her favorite prank is snatching spoons from the hotel restaurant! Maybe they’ll renovate the hotel someday and find a whole stash of tarnished spoons behind a wall!

Jonesboro, Tennessee

The oldest official town of Tennessee, this place has two reportedly haunted hotels! The Hawley House Bed and Breakfast and the Historic Eureka Inn have given guests the heebie-jeebies with late-night whispers, unexplained footsteps and shadowy figures,  thought to be the spirits of women who once worked in the hotels.

Glenmore Mansion in Jefferson City, Tennessee

It’s rare that a ghost announces he’ll be a ghost before he passes, but that’s what witnesses say happened at the famous Glenmore Mansion! This Victorian gem, restored and maintained by diligent locals, is reportedly a favorite spot for now-deceased historian Thomas Roach. Witnesses have seen a friendly, misty figure roaming the property. There have also been sightings of an apparition of a woman in white in the upper windows at night.

Looking for more ghost stories? Check out these haunted tours by Appalachian Ghost Walks!

If you like to hear a masterful tale spinner, then Jonesboro, Tennessee is the place for you. The International Storytelling Center there has events year-round for audiences and participants alike! You have plenty of time to plan to attend this year’s National Storytelling Festival, October 6-8, 2017.

Interested in looking for the perfect backyard to tell your own campfire tales? Check out!