Spring Road Trip, Part I

Jump in the car and let’s go check out some great, local road trip destinations in East Tennessee!

Now that March is here, spring is just around the corner. You can probably tell by all our spring-themed posts that we’ve got spring fever! Now that we’re officially out of hibernation mode, it’s time to plan for some fun.

One of the most fun things to do around here in the springtime is go road-tripping. We’ve put together a few short day-trip itineraries for East Tennessee. Read on to plan your next local adventure!

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Morristown

Panther Creek Park Overlook

Even if the weather is bad, taking the drive to Panther Creek and getting a look at the magnificent vista at the overlook is worth it. Trees are already budding out, and bulbs are popping into bloom all over, which is all just icing on the cake. The view will still be lovely in the summer, but right now is a great time to get up there, because the bare trees mean you’ll get a much better view of the lake below.

And, as an added bonus: if the weather is good, be sure to take a walk in the woods on one of the many trails in the park!

Downtown Skywalk

Downtown Morristown’s Skywalk is in good company: Paris and New York have also recently put time and effort into fixing up similar pedestrian structures. This article in The Architects Newspaper offers a nice discussion on the history and significance of this famous structure—famous, at least, around here! Take an hour or two to wander the elevated sidewalks that rendered downtown Morristown a 1960s utopian dream.

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Tinsley-Bible Drug Co.

This old pharmacy has been in business since 1911. The lunch counter (and old-fashioned soda fountain!) is open Monday through Friday, and it’s a great place to rustle up a burger and dipped ice cream cone.

Douglas Dam

Even if you’re not a civil engineer buff, Douglas Dam (and Lake) is definitely worth a visit. Wildlife around the dam and water is prolific, including fish, birds, deer, turkey and more! And, of course, you can spend a great afternoon on a rental jetski or boat on the water.

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Knoxville

Sunsphere

The famous World’s Fair Park Sunsphere forever changed the Knoxville skyline in 1982. Today, its observation deck is open and free to visit, offering pretty spectacular views of the park and surrounding cityscape. Note: there has been an operational restaurant at the top of the Sunsphere at different times over the years, but it’s currently only available for special events. If you’re getting hungry, you can always picnic in the park or take a walk over to Market Square for a bite.

Market Square

In May, the seasonal Farmer’s Market gets underway, but until then, Market Square in Knoxville is still worth an afternoon of your time. There are lots of local boutiques and artisans with wares to sell, public art and great food—much of it local! Don’t forget to walk over to Gay Street and check out Mast General Store and all the gourmet restaurants there.

Ready to get a whole new home base in East Tennessee? Check out DarleneReeves-Kline.com to get started!

 

Valentine’s Day Events in East Tennessee!

Here are some Valentine’s Day events coming up in East Tennessee!

Valentine’s Day is next week!

If you haven’t made plans yet, there are lots of great, local options for celebrating this day of love. We did a little digging to find some events in the area, whether you’ll be looking for a date locale or just enjoying a little “me” time. Since Valentine’s Day falls during the work week, some of our events actually happen a couple of days after the official holiday. Don’t worry, you could always bring your sweetheart a traditional box of chocolates and surprise them with an I.O.U. for a great event on the upcoming weekend!

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Read on to put a little love in your social schedule!

Rose Center in Morristown

We write a lot about The Rose Center in Morristown. Their ongoing, dynamic schedule of classes, exhibits and performances always gives us something fun to do! If you’re in the mood for an eclectic blend of music, then check out this event:

The John Myers Band: Friday, February 16th

This performance is sure to be packed with fans, because frontman John Myers consistently packs his shows full of personality and talent!

Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville

The Knoxville Symphony: Thursday, February 15th

The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra will be performing their Russian Passion concert for an audience of lovebirds. If you haven’t experienced a KSO performance yet, the historic and beautiful Tennessee Theatre is definitely the perfect venue for your first time!

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Valentine’s Dance: Saturday, February 10th

If you’re so excited for the big day of love that you just can’t wait, the New Market Fire and Rescue is putting on a dance the Saturday before Valentine’s! Featuring live country music and roses for the first 25 ladies, this might just be the perfect event to bring OR find a date!

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Knoxville Convention Center

Dogwood Arts House & Garden Show: February 16-18 (Friday – Sunday)

If home shows really get your motor revving, then check this out: the 40th Anniversary Dogwood Arts House & Garden Show! Get inspired for spring with designers and landscapers. Go shopping to freshen your home’s décor. Stroll around with your sweetheart and enjoy the displays!

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Love Rocks Party: Wednesday, February 14th

Looking for a family-friendly event? Check out the Love Rocks party at the Dandridge Memorial Library, where you can paint a rock for a loved one. There will be refreshments, too.

Tennessee River

Romantic Cruises: Evenings in February

Why not take a cruise this Valentine’s Day? The Tennessee River Boat offers romantic cruise packages with the backdrop of city and mountain scenery slipping by, all while you float along the Tennessee River. Dinner and treats are available for purchase, too.

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Weiner Dog Races: Saturday, February 17th

Ok, so this isn’t really a Valentine’s Day event, but it still seems like a ton of fun! The Knoxville Ice Bears, our local hockey team, is putting on Weiner Dog Races, Part 2! If you’re looking for a little bit (pun intended) of good fun, come out to witness dozens of weiner dogs racing on ice!

Interested in buying or selling a home in East Tennessee? Stop in at DarleneReeves-Kline.com to get started! We’d love to help.

 

Brighten Up the Winter Blues

Read some of our favorite ways to brighten up winter days.

The holidays are over, and most of us have put away all our festive decorations. It feels nice to clean up the house, and tuck away the bright décor that seems, well … cluttery after the presents are opened and the New Year is ushered in. But this is also the time of year when the winter blues really set in.

The days are getting longer, but only a teeny bit at a time. The days are cold and the nights are downright brutal, so it’s easy to start feeling cooped up. Oh, and we’ve all probably fallen off the healthy eating wagon a looong time ago. It’s just so much easier to hibernate and snack and generally sink into the couch until we feel like one of the cushions! But none of that makes us feel better about ourselves.

 

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Don’t be sad! You’ll feel better if you share that pie with a friend.

 

So, maybe it’s time we dug ourselves out of the couch cushions and set out to beat the winter blues. Here’s how!

Go Outside!

Yes, we know, it’s been 8 degrees some mornings lately. That might be too cold for most of us, but when it warms up enough to feel bearable (with lots of layers on!) then go for a brisk walk. Sunshine and fresh air are very healthy and very uplifting! You don’t even have to stay out for all that long: twenty minutes or so should be enough to get your heart pumping.

Don’t forget about indoor exercise, too. Search for some at-home workouts if you don’t go to the gym. There are tons of easy (or difficult, if you want!) exercise routines on YouTube. And they’re free! And, if you do belong to the gym, then GO! Exercise releases those feel-good chemicals: endorphins. There, doesn’t that feel better?

Get Dressed Up

It’s easy to fall into the old, “Well, nobody can see my snazzy outfit under my winter coat, so why bother?” mindset. But you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how good you feel about yourself if you put on those new earrings you got for Christmas, make a little effort with your makeup and fix your hair when you go to work, or even just Wal-Mart. Even if nobody else can see your cute outfit, you know what you have on! And your opinion is the one that counts.

Decorate

Just because Christmas has come and gone doesn’t mean your house should be bleak. Splurge on a cozy, snowflake-themed throw blanket. Get out some special winter mugs. Switch out the art on your walls. Make the cold season something to celebrate!

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Treat Yourself

Get a massage or a facial. Plan a weekend getaway to Gatlinburg with your best friend. Go to lunch at Blackberry Farms. Do something really nice for yourself, but with this challenge: make your treat an experience, and not just something to buy. It will feel a lot more meaningful, and your good feelings will keep coming every time you remember the experience.

Looking to buy (or sell!) your home this winter? Get started at DarleneReeves-Kline.com.

Beat Cabin Fever in East Tennessee!

Read about turning snow days into quality family time.

We’ve had a break from the bitter cold this week. We had a warm snap, true to the typical Tennessee weather pattern, where if you don’t like it, just wait a while. ‘Cause it’ll change. We’ve had darn-near tropical weather for a couple of days! Temperatures reached almost 70 degrees at one point. That’s a vast difference from last week, where lows dipped into the single digits!

But cold weather is blowing through again, and we’re predicting snow starting around Saturday or so. While the warm weather stretches are pretty nice, the bitter cold and even that mean, in-between weather, where everything is just slushy and slick, can keep us indoors. And you know what that means … cabin fever!

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We know that keeping kids home from school can get us all feeling pretty squirrelly, so we rounded up some great ideas to beat that itchy, cabin-fevery feeling. Read on to see some of our favorites!

1. Board Games

Snowed in? It’s time to break out Monopoly. Put the phones down and spend some quality time on the boardwalk.

2. Movie Marathon

Don’t just veg out in front of your smartphone or tablet. Get the family together and watch the whole Die Hard franchise, or all of Harry Potter. Make popcorn and hot chocolate, and spend a little family time with some classic entertainment. Bonus points if you make a game out of how many times a shoot-out happens or the word “Cowboy” is spoken in Die Hard! Or, for Harry Potter, keep score of how many times someone says “Harry.” You get the picture.

3. Clean Up

When you’re feeling cooped up, sometimes cleaning out the clutter can get you zen-ed out. Go through the kids’ clothes, go through your own closet, get rid of things that you don’t want or have outgrown. Hey, it’s a new year! Out with the old, in with the new!

4. Get Crafty

Start a scrapbook, or sew a blanket. Make a castle out of old cereal boxes. Attempt all those Pinterest ideas you’ve been saving for a … well, a snowy day! Get your kids in on it!

5. Get Cooking

If you’re like lots of families, your schedule is a tightly wound nightmare! Between school, after-school activities, work, grocery shopping … you barely have time to get a hot meal on the table at the end of the day. Take this enforced slow-down as a blessing, and do some things the slow, old-fashioned way. Roast a chicken. Try a new recipe you’ve had your eye on. Sit down with the family and enjoy a meal together.

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And, really, don’t sweat it. After all, we typically don’t stay cooped up for long here in East Tennessee. It’s one of the perks about living here: the weather is very rarely extreme! And if you are worried about the cold snaps, just remember: the really cold days bring down the annoying bug population. So a few cold spells here and there equal much more pleasant summer days!

If you’re in the market for your own East Tennessean cabin (without the fever, of course!) then check out DarleneReeves-Kline.com.

Happy Halloween!

If you’re looking for some family-friendly Halloween activities, we’ve got you covered!

Halloween is fast approaching! East Tennessee loves its ghosts and goblins. (We wrote here about some popular local haunts.)

Many neighborhoods still gear up for trick-or-treating, turning on those porch lights and decking out the house in spooky decorations. There are many other fun ways to celebrate this creepy time of year, too! If you’re looking for some family-friendly Halloween activities, we’ve got you covered! Read on to find out more.

Trunk or Treat

This spooky tradition is a fun, safe way to dress up and trick-or-treat … with cars! Locals dress themselves and their cars up in silly or spooky ways and hand out treats to little princesses, super heroes and any other kids who come out in costume! 2017’s event details for local Trunk or Treat events are as follows:

Morristown: 5 p.m., October 31, Trunk or Treat at the Farmer’s Market. (There’s also Trick or Treating downtown at the same time.)

Rogersville:  5 p.m. October 31, Trunk or Treat in the Historic District. Call 423-272-2186 for more information.

Jefferson City: Saturday, October 28, Trunk or Treat at the Fair Grounds. Call 423-312-1081 to find out more!

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Boo at the Zoo!

This annual favorite at Zoo Knoxville is geared toward little ones, from infants through elementary age. This activity is a fun way to see some of your favorite animal friends while loading up on candy, donated by local businesses. Proceeds from the event go toward zoo programs like the Species Survival Program, helping endangered animals survive extinction. Expect to see some of your favorite book and movie characters throughout the zoo, and lots of smiling faces!

Boo at the Zoo: Three weekends in October, from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Admission is $9 per person over 4 years old (free for kids under 4) and parking is free for this event.

Dates: October 12 – 15, 19 – 22, 26 – 29

Corn Mazes

Here’s a trade secret you probably didn’t know: maze creators use GPS equipment on their tractors to carve out mazes in the corn fields. I bet corn mazes look pretty amazing from the sky!

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This corn maze, in Sevierville, is celebrating its 10th season. The maze will be open through October 29, so get out and get lost!

Echo Valley

In Jefferson City, this maze is great for groups and families. Admission is $15, but that covers a lot: even a free pumpkin for the kids! The maze stays open until November 4.

Oakes Farm

In Corryton, this family-friendly attraction is a whole lot more than just a corn maze. Check them out for pumpkins, food, games and tons of activities.

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Weather this time of year can be pretty unpredictable; an 80-degree day can plunge quickly into a 40-degree night! So make sure you check the forecast and dress accordingly. Layers are always a good idea during the fall in East Tennessee. And be sure to use safety lights, like flash lights and glow sticks, and have a safety plan in place with your kids whether you’re out trick-or-treating or getting lost in the corn!

 

Looking for a (not haunted) house? Check out DarleneReeves-Kline.com! Happy Halloween!

 

Underground Tour of Tennessee, Part II

There’s more to the ground around here than just what you can see on top of it.

Welcome back to the view of our great state from the underground! As we mentioned in last week’s post, Tennessee is home to gorgeous above-ground features: lovely mountains, dense forests, majestic wildlife. Rivers, waterfalls and lakes abound, here. Sunrises and sunsets dazzle the eye.

But there’s more to the ground around here than just what you can see on top of it. Tennessee is home to a network of caves and caverns that play a very rich part in our great state’s history, from the time when only Native Americans wandered their vast, stony rooms to eras of war, when soldiers would take refuge in the protection of the hidden caves and use their resources, like bat guano for gunpowder and fresh water to drink.

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Read on to find out where you can descend into the earth for a glimpse of history and geological wonders!

Forbidden Caverns

Located in Sevierville, Forbidden Caverns is a great attraction to spice up your Smoky Mountain vacation (or, for us locals to spend a day trip exploring underground!) As all our amazing caves do, Forbidden Caverns is full of unique geological features and clear, underwater streams. They have a worthwhile presentation and light effects in the cave, as well as guides to augment your trip.

Racoon Mountain Caverns

Head southwest to Chattanooga, where Racoon Mountain boasts of the state’s most popular Wild Cave Tours! As the name suggests, these caves are anything but tame. Open to the public since 1931, Racoon Mountain Caverns are home to some incredible underground scenery, fantastic geological formations and fascinating fossils. It’s a great place for adventure and education.

Tours can be physically demanding, though; part of the cave is considered “wild,” with no artificial light installations. Those wanting to explore on a guided tour of this part of the cave will need sturdy shoes and clothes (that you don’t mind getting filthy), a helmet with headlamp and knee pads and gloves. Racoon Mountain tour guides provide the gear.

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Ruby Falls

A tourist favorite, Ruby Falls is just outside Chattanooga, below famous Lookout Mountain. It was discovered in 1930, and has been fascinating locals and tourists alike ever since. This is one of the few places on our list where you can check out a breathtaking, bird’s eye view of Chattanooga and see an incredible underground vista—all in the same attraction! The underground falls are worth seeing. They’re lit up with a dazzling light show.

Cherokee Caverns

Cherokee Caverns is located on Oak Ridge Highway in Knoxville, Tennessee. This family-friendly cave hosts year-round events, such as “Movie in the Cave.” Are you a Harry Potter fan? Just wait until you see it surrounded by stone walls, stalactites and the occasional bat! Talk about ambience! Be sure to bring a light jacket and blanket, though; the constant 58 degrees can feel a little chilly if you’re not up and moving around.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our blog tour of area caves! Honestly, the list we featured is not nearly all of the caves under our feet here in Tennessee; we have the most (known) caves of any of these United States! But many of the other caves require advanced skills to explore. It’s just one more thing that makes Tennessee special.

As always, if you’re interested in finding the right real estate for your needs above-ground, please visit DarleneReeves-Kline.com. We’d love to help.

Underground Tour of Tennessee, Part I

Tennessee has a lot going on beneath your feet!

As you might imagine, much of the day-to-day living in Tennessee takes place above the ground. Hiking, swimming and boating, disc golf, shopping, school and work … all this stuff happens with the sky up above, or at least a typical ceiling and roof.

But Tennessee, no stranger to wondrous natural phenomena, has a whole lot going underneath your feet, too! Read on to find out what lies beneath the surface:

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Tuckaleechee Caverns

Tuckaleechee Caverns, located in (well, under) Townsend, Tennessee, is only 45 minutes from Sevierville and less than 20 minutes from the famed Institute at Tremont, located inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tagged as “The Greatest Site Under the Smokies,” these caverns are pretty popular.

Inside, you can see a chamber almost big enough to fit a football stadium, and the tallest subterranean waterfalls. The whole underground tour is about a mile and a quarter, round trip. With gorgeous cave formations and a rich history, Tuckaleechee Caverns is well worth the day-trip.

And, when you’re done touring the cave, you can go for a walk, bike and camp in the gorgeous Smokies!

Cumberland Caverns

Cumberland Caverns, a U.S. National Landmark, are located in middle Tennessee, about an hour and 40 minutes from Nashville. Your experience here could last for days, with everything from short explorations to overnight trips and even live, underground bluegrass concerts available! We think the bluegrass tickets are the best value; you get a day pass to tour the caves before watching the show.

Like most caves, the temperature is just under 60 degrees Fahrenheit, year-round, so it feels warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Constant temperatures also mean these cave attractions are open pretty much every day!

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The Lost Sea Adventure

The Lost Sea, located in Sweetwater, is America’s largest underground lake. Here, you can take a boat trip … underground! You can also take more traditional, walking tours in the caverns. These are worth the trip: some of the most rare cave formations can be found here, including 50% of the world’s known “cave flowers.”

If you’re hungry and still up for some adventure after your tour, there is food and a little bit of souvenir shopping available at the Lost Sea Adventure, as well as nature walks through the woods.

Appalachian Caverns

Way up in the northeast corner of Tennessee is Appalachian Caverns, in Blountville. Here, you can take guided tours of the caverns and kick around in the campground, gift shop and “gem mining” shop. This is a fantastic location for history: the Appalachian Caverns have been important to the residents of the area since the 675 A.D. In more recent eras, the bat dung found inside the caves played an important role in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars: it was a key ingredient for gunpowder!

Each of these amazing, underground natural wonders is an absolutely unique experience that can (and should!) be shared with the whole family. Formations like this are just one more reason that Tennessee is a great place to call home.

Check in next week to find out about  more famous Tennessee caves!

If you’re looking for real estate above ground, check out DarleneReeves-Kline.com. We’ll be happy to help.

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.

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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.

Wildlife

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!

Haints

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.

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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 DarleneReeves-Kline.com for current listings.

Historic Appalachia: Resort Hot Spot!

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

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.

Summer Bucket List

Here’s a list of fun, family-friendly summer activities right here in East Tennessee!

There’s so much great stuff to do with your family here in East Tennessee, sometimes it can be hard to keep it all straight! We’ve compiled a list of things you should check out before the days start to get shorter, the nights get that crisp edge and the fireflies fade away for the season. Read on!

Visit the Zoo!

Easily accessible of I40 in East Knoxville, the zoo has lots to see and do. They recently revamped their tiger habitat, bringing you up close and personal to their gorgeous, endangered Malayan tigers! Asian Trek, where the tigers now live, is also home to rare cranes, and primates.

We’ve had thunder-stormy weather lately, but when the skies dry out you can have fun on the splash pad. The zoo has changing rooms and lockers available for your dry stuff, so you can still see the rest of the animals without feeling too soggy.

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Check out Dollywood!

This theme park in Sevierville is a local and national favorite! Dolly is always changing up the performances, so each visit is a whole new experience. In the summer, the park lights up the sky with fireworks each night. There are roller coaster rides, local artists and artisans giving live performances, and lots of food to try. Don’t forget Splash Country, as long as you’re headed that way!

Picnic at the Park

We can’t say enough about our wonderful parks. A low-key afternoon playing on the swings and slides, a competitive game of disc golf, splashing at the edge of the lake … it’s a classic summer day! Bring a cooler with some sandwiches and Popsicles (and sunscreen) and you’re all set.

We also have some great splash pads at our parks, so pack your swimsuits and towels!

Take a Hike

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is in our backyard, and it’s spectacular. You can choose anything from a stroll to a rigorous day hike, to even backpacking into the backcountry—but be sure to check with the Park’s rangers to find out about permitting.

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We have lots of wildlife in the mountains, including bears, so be cautious. Never, ever attempt to feed the bears! When you feed bears, you’re giving them a death sentence. Rangers can’t keep bears away from people once they’ve figured out that humans are a food source, so sometimes the only answer is to euthanize them.

Cade’s Cove

This settlement, located in the Smokies, is accessible by car. It’s a glimpse back in time, to when communities had to be self-reliant. You can park and take one of the many day hikes just off the paved loop, or just walk up to one of the cabins, or even the old mill. Cade’s Cove is a living history lesson!

White Water Rafting

Our area is full of natural wonders, and the beautiful mountains can’t get all the credit! The Big Pigeon River, in Hartford, Tennessee and the Ocoee River, about an hour east of Chattanooga, offer thrills you can’t experience anywhere else! Take a guided raft tour of the rivers and stay the night in a nearby cabin, or head back home in time to grill out for supper.

Interested in finding out more about the lifestyle here in East Tennessee? Check out DarleneReeves-Kline.com.