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


Winter House Shopping: Why?

Read our favorite reasons for buying a home in the winter!

We’ve posted before about the advantages of buying a home in the wintertime. It’s still a great idea, and we thought it was worth another look. Read on to find out some excellent reasons to go home shopping during the chilliest time of year!

Yup, it’s cold. But the frosty weather is probably in your favor!

1. The seller is probably highly motivated.

Homes that stay (or show up) on the market in the winter are usually there because the owner really, really wants to sell. Reasons for this can range from someone relocating for work to getting married or divorced, or any other major life change you can think of! With this in mind, you (as the buyer) might have a couple of real advantages:

  • You may get a better deal.
  • Negotiations may be shorter.

Someone who just wants to sell and move will be far more willing to shave a little off the price, and won’t dither over small details in the contract. Just be careful that you get a thorough house inspection, and know for sure this is the house for you! You want to do some gentle probing of the seller’s agent to find out whether the seller’s motivation comes from a life change, or from something seriously wrong with the house. Don’t let your excitement for the house blind you!

2. There is less competition from other buyers.

There are good reasons winter is a less popular house-shopping season. It’s often cold and dreary, and many families have kids already settled into school. It’s much more comfortable to snuggle up at home and wait until the weather gets more cheerful to pound the house-shopping pavement. But this is great news for you! It means you’ll have a more leisurely shopping experience, and you’ll get more attention from realtors, who are possibly slowing down in the cold season. You’ll also have less competition in the form of other offers on your dream home.

Just be sure to bundle up while you’re house hunting! A warm cup of coffee helps, too!

3. You get to see how well the house stands up to winter.

Poor insulation, leaky windows and roofs and inadequate heat pumps can make living in a house almost unbearable in the cold winter—not to mention extremely expensive. When you tour the home, you’ll be able to see how the heating keeps up, and check for leaks and drafts during the coldest part of the year.

Did you know you can contact the local utility company and ask for an average heating and electric bill for the house before you buy? That kind of information can be key in deciding whether to take the (polar) plunge on buying a home in the winter. Also, review our article about options for heating your home, and cost comparison on the different types, in East Tennessee.

4. You’ll love your house even more in the spring!

It’s true. If you find the perfect house when the weather is dreary and the back yard is barren, just imagine how delightful it will all be when the spring flowers bloom and the leaves fill out in the warmer months! And, since you’ll be all moved in already, you’ll have that much more time to work in the garden when spring is finally sprung.

Ready to layer up and get house shopping in East Tennessee? Start at

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.


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.


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!


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

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!


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.


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

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

Fall Gardening in Tennessee

There’s a lot to be done in your East Tennessee garden during the cold-weather months.

It’s certainly no secret that four of our most attractive reasons for folks transplanting to East Tennessee is our four, distinct, lovely seasons. Each one brings a unique beauty: the abundance and cheerfulness of spring, the lush, warm summers, the crisp, colorful autumns and the starkly beautiful winters with sparkling frost and occasional blanketing snows.

For those folks who love to experience nature from the soil of their own gardens, November is no time to stay inside.


We’re in full-on fall now, and although you won’t see the bright, cheery blossoms and buds we usually associate with Tennessee gardens in about five more months or so, there’s a lot to be done in your garden during the cold-weather months. Read on to find out more!

Trim the Trees

We haven’t had our first hard frost yet, but take note when we do. After that is when you should get out the clippers and chain saw and get to pruning. The sap has retreated from the outer branches, so now is the healthiest time for your trees to get trimmed. This will help your lovely spring bloomers to be even more beautiful when warm weather swings back around.

Tip: Some tree-trimmers go a little nuts, pruning all the smaller branches way back. The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture calls this a no-no. Be gentle with how much you cut. A little bit stimulates the tree; too much traumatizes it.

Plant Bulbs

Willow Ridge, a Knoxville-based landscaping company, gives this information about spring-flowering bulbs:

Crocus, hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips are all bulbs that we plant in the fall in East Tennessee. They need the cool of winter in order to bloom and also need time to establish a healthy root system. Plant them when temperatures are below 65 degrees either in the ground or in containers.


Edible Garden Maintenance

Now is the time to cover your tender strawberry plants with straw and cover your cool-weather garden with frost blankets—if you want to extend their growing time. This year, you may have a few more weeks until you really need to get after these tasks; it’s been fairly warm so far.

Basic Maintenance

Now is the time to trim back dead plants and cover beds with three inches of mulch. Don’t pile the mulch up on the bases of your trees and crowns of plants. They don’t really like it, and the mulch gives pests the perfect cover to nibble away at them.

Feathered Friends

We have an abundance of lovely birds here in East Tennessee! Brighten your dreary winter days with a colorful garden show: keep your bird feeders filled with seed all winter. Keep water in the bird baths, too; birds will continue to need it throughout the upcoming winter months. You can also put out some fruit slices for an extra treat.

For more details about maintaining your garden through the fall and winter, check out this article from Tennessee Home & Farm.

Looking for your new home in East Tennessee? Check out Happy Fall, Y’All!