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.

priscilla-du-preez-244488

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

HauntedPlaces.org 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 DarleneReeves-Kline.com!

Two of the Coolest Bugs in East Tennessee

Plants, animals and bugs (and people!) of many varieties thrive in East Tennessee.

East Tennessee is a vibrant, lush place to live. Plants, animals and bugs (and people!) of many varieties thrive here. If you’re drawn to the outdoors, like many Tennessee residents are, you’ve probably noticed a few interesting species. On this week’s blog we’re featuring two species of bugs you’re sure to encounter soon, if you haven’t seen them already!

Fireflies

Fireflies, or lightning bugs, are not an unusual sight for anyone living in the southeast part of the United States. But, for those moving in from western states like Montana or Colorado, fireflies seem truly magical! We have lots of these glowy creatures. We have a great climate for them, as well as plenty of places for them to live, since they like the damp, rotting wood that’s found on the floors of our forests.

janus-clemmensen-52724
This is a great firefly habitat!

Here are a few fun facts about fireflies: it’s usually the males who fly around, signaling to find mates. The females are what we think of as “glow worms,” and they are usually very different from males. They don’t have wings, and instead look like grubs on the ground (similar to larvae, actually.) They glow their own kinds of signals to the males. In the Great Smoky Mountains, there is a special place where fireflies synchronize. It’s a pretty amazing sight! The woods go from very dark to completely lit up in pops of light. You have to buy tickets to reserve a spot to see these amazing creatures.

But, you can still enjoy your own lovely backyard firefly show during the summer months. They might not synchronize, but it’s still a magical sight.

Cicadas

These creatures are fascinating, because they have either 13- or 17-year life cycles. They have a distinct, rise-and-fall whine that tunes up at night during the spring months, lasting far into the summer. Usually, 17-year cicadas live in northern states and 13-year cicadas live in southern states. Because of Tennessee’s location, we get both 13 and 17-year cicadas.

The cicada life cycle is fascinating. The female lays eggs in slits in trees, which then hatch in six or seven weeks. The nymphs make their way into the soil to live and eat tree sap from roots for 13 or 17 years, before coming back up to the surface and morphing into adults. If you look for them, you can see the nymph skins left behind on tree trunks and sides of buildings. (Kids are great at spotting these!) Adults are colorful, with black-veined wings and bright red eyes. They don’t bite.

sunset-girl-399
Listen for cicadas tuning up after sunset!

You might be worried about cicadas harming your saplings, and you’d be right. Cicada nymphs under the soil don’t noticeably hurt trees, but adult females laying her eggs in trees can cause damage during this process. Check out this website for more information about how to protect your trees from cicada damage.

If you’re interested in finding about more about living in East Tennessee, please check out DarleneReeves-Kline.com.

The Encore Theatre Company

Today we’re spotlighting a community of artists in our neck of the woods.

Enjoying life in East Tennessee isn’t just about relaxing and taking in the sights. Many people who choose to live here work hard to make it a better place for themselves, their neighbors and their children. The Volunteer State was Tennessee’s nickname long, long before The University of Tennessee was ever dreamed up, and for good reason! People here aren’t afraid of hard work, and there are many communities that set out to prove it. Today we’re spotlighting a community of artists in our neck of the woods that helps bring together those with a love of the dramatic arts.

The Lakeway Area is known for many things: farms, lakes (of course), being the “back door” to the Smokies. But a local group of artists wanted the area to be known for more than that. They noticed that more and more artists and creative people were going out of town to practice their craft, and this was dismaying. They had a mission to provide a supportive environment for established and aspiring actors. This group of visionaries became the Encore Theatrical Company.

They believe that the economic health of an area correlates directly with quality of life, and quality of life is intricately linked to the state of arts in the area. So, in 2006, they set about to improve the quality of life in the Lakeway Area for everyone, with a thriving arts scene!

The ETC offers live, local performances throughout the year, as well as classes and workshops for kids and adults. Find out more about their mission, performances and classes here.

theatre.jpg

At the end of this month, ETC is performing a drama at the Rose Center in Morristown. Here’s the description of the play from ETC:

“Encore Theatrical Company’s newest play tells the story of a photojournalist and her war reporter boyfriend as they decide where to take their relationship after several tours of duty. From the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Donald Margulies, Time Stands Still is both funny and moving.

One of the masters of contemporary American theater brings us Time Stands Still. Donald Margulies’ outstanding script tells the story of Sarah, a photojournalist recuperating from a tour in the Middle East, and James, a foreign correspondent seeking a change of venue. Both are trying to find their happiness in a world that seems to have gone crazy. Telling tough stories about the world at large collides with the story they have to tell about themselves and their relationship to work and to each other. Now they face tough choices about their future. Can they live a conventional life and still keep a sense of right and wrong, not to mention their sanity?”

Performances will be on April 21-30 in Rose Center’s Prater Hall. You can order tickets at 423-318-8331 or find out more at etcplays.org. Don’t forget to check out Rose Center for more arts events and information.

Visit DarleneReeves-Kline.com if you’d like to learn more about relocating to the Lakeway Area.

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.

lwhzv_ht_zm-clem-onojeghuo.jpg

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.

9mxt_b87njk-john-hult

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.

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.

crockett-tavern-5
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.

morristown-cemetery
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.

 

 

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

jchs-patriots-logo

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

carson-newman_seal

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.

 

Arts in Morristown, Tennessee

If you’re an artist, or someone who appreciates the sense of community and creativity that artists bring to a town, Morristown, Tennessee might have more for you than you think.

Art!

You might expect to find a wide array of art in tourist areas like Sevierville or Pigeon Forge, or in a bigger metropolitan area like Knoxville.  But if you’re new to the Morristown, Tennessee area, I’ll let you in on a great secret that locals know: Morristown is a major hub for the area’s thriving arts community. Artists from surrounding counties display fine art at the Rose Center, which boasts the newly refurbished  Edith Davis Gallery, as well as a Local Artist Gallery. Rose Center hosts bigger community events, too, such as the Mountain Makins Festival. Morristown also has a lively Art Association, which puts on Arts in the Park every September. Read on to find out more:

 

rose-center
Photo from tngenweb.org

Rose Center

This historic center was built in 1892 as the town’s first coeducational public high school. Today it’s a “Designated Agency of the Tennessee Arts Commission.” In this beautiful building you can take anything from  an art or yoga class (or enroll your kids in one!), to one of the Center’s courses on writing grant proposals for arts programs in our area. There’s even a Children’s Touch Museum and a Historical Classroom! The Center’s classrooms and reception areas are available to rent for community programs, weddings and baby showers.

According to RoseCenter.org: “Classes currently available may include guitar, acrylic painting, jewelry making, children’s art, drama, Zumba, tai chi, cake decorating, clogging, and more!”

If you have a skill and some time, Rose Center’s volunteer staff is happy to hear from you.

Rose Center is open Monday through Friday, 9-5. Visit RoseCenter.org for more information about the history and programs of Morristown’s cultural arts center.

Mountain Makins Festival

mountain-makins-festival-at-rose-center-in-morristown
Photo courtesy of visitmorristowntn.com

This is the 41st year for this acclaimed festival, hosted by the Rose Center Council for the Arts.

RoseCenter.org describes the festival: “The award-winning festival, started in 1976 as a way to raise funds to save historic Rose School, celebrates the very best of Appalachian culture, from crafts to music. The festival is a delightful combination of crafts, food, music, dancing and fun.”

This is one venue where you can get a ride on a pony, snack on some delicious fair food, stop by to check out  a banjo-strumming virtuoso in period garb and ogle local arts and crafts. Fall is incomplete without a good festival, and this one certainly fits the bill!

Visit Mountain Makins FaceBook page here.

Morristown Art Association

This thriving community of artists hosts a juried art show at the Rose Center, as well as gatherings and workshops throughout the year. In September they put on Arts in the Park, a family-friendly art show with live performances, food and local arts and crafts available for sale. They even include a tent where kids can make art with the help of a professional artist.

Visit their FaceBook page for information about upcoming events and membership.

If you’re an artist, or someone who appreciates the sense of community and creativity that artists bring to a town, Morristown, Tennessee might have more for you than you think.

Don’t forget to visit darlenereeves-kline.com/ for more information about listings in Morristown.