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!



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.


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.




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!


Uncommon Attractions

If your ideal vacation includes the road less traveled, read on to find out more!

If you’re considering a move to East Tennessee, or you’re a recent transplant, you might be looking around with the question, “What is there to do around here?” This blog has lots of suggestions for close-to-home attractions in the area, but sometimes you’re in the mood for a day trip.

You’re probably well aware of Tennessee’s popular tourist destinations. Dollywood and all the bright lights of Sevierville and Pigeon Forge, music galore in Nashville, Chattanooga’s #1 ranked outdoor adventure culture … all these might sound familiar to you.

But there are a few lesser-known attractions in our fair state. We checked out this page on TNVacation.com and pulled out a few. If your ideal vacation includes the road less traveled, read on to find out more!

Tuckaleechee Caverns in Townsend

825 Caverns Rd.
Townsend, TN 37882
Phone: 865-448-2274
Townsend is considered by many to be the “back door” to the Smokies. Its pace is much quieter, but there are a few cool attractions there. Like the Tuckaleechee Caverns! These caverns, nicknamed the “Greatest Site Under the Smokies,” are reported to be 20 to 30 million years old. You can take a guided tour to view these caves on lighted walkways. Check out the website to find out more.
Back Door to the Smokies

Lost Sea in Sweetwater

140 Lost Sea Road
Sweetwater, TN 37874
Phone: 423-337-6616

Just in case you didn’t get enough of caves, Lost Sea in Sweetwater has you covered. The tour involves an underground boat-ride. If that doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will! The tour takes about and hour and fifteen minutes, and you can hang out in “Old Sweetwater Village” to get your above-ground legs back after. Visit their website for details.

The Salt and Pepper Shaker and Smoky Mountain Spices in Gatlinburg

461 Brookside Village Way Winery Sq.
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Contact Email:





20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers. There’s only one other place like it in the world: The Salt and Pepper Shaker sister museum in Spain! Give this place a try, even if you’re not a collector. The entertainment value might surprise you! To find out more, visit the website here.

Briarwood Ranch Safari Park in Bybee

A small, family-run affair, this drive-through safari is great entertainment for families with small kids. Though most of the time you’ll be in the car, collecting nose-prints on the windows from exotic beasts, there is an opportunity to get out at the end, to feed some of the animals, get a snack for yourself and let the kids play a little. It’s a cool opportunity to see exotic animals right here in East Tennessee! Check out the Facebook page to learn more: www.facebook.com/BriarwoodSafari.

You don’t need a jeep for the drive-through safari!

These are only a few of the lesser-known attractions in our area. Tennessee is full of unique and creative characters, so be prepared to bump into unusual things during your visit!

As always, contact us if you want to find out more about real estate in East Tennessee! The website is DarleneReeves-Kline.com, and we’re always happy to answer your questions.

Activities in Dandridge, Tennessee

Dandridge might have exactly the kind of entertainment you’re looking for.

TripAdvisor.com has a list of 16 must-do activities in Dandridge, Tennessee. The town of Dandridge is not very big, but it’s close to our area’s better-known tourist destination: Sevierville, Tennessee.

For locals, or those who want to take a step away from the more crowded attractions, a place like Dandridge might have exactly the kind of entertainment you’re looking for.

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If you’re checking out the list on TripAdvisor, one of the attractions (#15) is closed and the last one (#16) has no reviews, but 14 activities on the list give you a great itinerary for planning your vacation or staycation. I know, I know, it’s February, but summer is just around the corner. (Or maybe it’s just that our warm winter is making people antsy for real summer to come around!)

Almost half of the things to do on the list include water activities, and for good reason. Douglas Lake is beautiful. It’s accessible for free at several beaches and marinas (check this link for a list), and water recreation vehicles are available for rent at marinas in the area for an affordable day of fun. If the adrenaline-rush of speeding around on a watercraft gets old, take some time to sight-see on one of the marina sunset cruises, or slow way, way down and swim or fish. Just make sure you have your license. Fun fact: you can get a fishing license from your mobile phone, now! Check out this link from TWRA to find out how.

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Looking for things to enjoy in Dandridge during the cooler months?

You can still go shopping and eat at the historic homes-turned-shops (and restaurants) in quaint downtown Dandridge, or go for a meal at one of the lakeside restaurants. Tinsley-Bible Drugstore is always worth a visit for a relaxed ambience, some shopping and a bite to eat.

If you’re a golfer, check out Dandridge Golf and Country Club. It’s a nice way to spend a quiet afternoon.

Looking for a bit of history? Visit the Revolutionary War Graveyard.

If you’re looking for an unexpectedly quirky tour, check out the Bush’s Baked Beans Visitor Center for an authentic piece of Americana. There, you’ll find more interactive, family-friendly exhibits than you might expect involving beans, including a family photo op, a giant can of beans and the opportunity to check your weight in beans. The Bush family has been making their famous products here for more than a hundred years, and you can still see the original general store where it all began.

This attraction is also featured on RoadsideAmerica.com.

For the ultimate thrill-seeker, there’s always skydiving.

One of the most fun parts of Tennessee is how you never know what you’ll find if you step away from the beaten tourist path. This fun list of activities on the back porch of Sevierville is a great example of this.

As always, please visit DarleneReeves-Kline.com if you are interested in settling down in our beautiful area, or if you have any real estate questions.


Family Activities for Spring and Summer Breaks!

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

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


If you’re in Morristown:

Morristown Library

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

Boys and Girls Club

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

Rose Center

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

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

The Muse

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

Zoo Knoxville

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Savoring Fine Wines in East Tennessee

Whether or not you’re interested in growing your own grapes, you can sample East Tennessee’s delicious bounty in a wine tour.

The Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area is bursting with vacation ideas and entertainment for every member of the family. Dollywood and Splash Country, miniature golfing, the strip at Gatlinburg…all these offer hours (days!) of fun, especially if you’re making memories with your children.

For those who want to get away from the noisy tourist destinations, there is always The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with miles and miles of hiking and backcountry backpacking waiting quietly for your exploration. There are other natural attractions in the area, too; white water rafting on the Big Pigeon river is just minutes away from Gatlinburg. Ober Gatlinburg offers skiing and snowboarding in the winter and other fun attractions in the summer. (Visit obergatlinburg.com to find out more.)

But there’s another side to Sevier County that’s really coming into its own lately: fine wining!


Due to its humid and temperate climate, East Tennessee was once well known for its vineyards and wineries until Prohibition in 1919 (see www.tennesseewines.com/history for a brief history of wine culture in Tennessee.) Most people are familiar with moonshining that came after that, and the backwoods racing to outrun the revenuers that spawned the sport that is now known as NASCAR.

But now, wine is back on the menu in East Tennessee! Some of our vineyards have been back in business for decades, and many others are newly flourishing in our area so uniquely suited for growing grapes. See this informative publication from the University of Tennessee for information about growing grapes in our area.

Whether or not you’re interested in growing your own grapes, you can sample East Tennessee’s delicious bounty in a wine tour.

The Four Rivers Wine Trail includes Blue Slip Winery (in Knoxville), Eagle Springs Winery (in Kodak), Richland Vineyards, Spout Spring Estates, (both in Blaine) and The Grape Barn at Nolichucky Vineyards (in Russelville). Visit their website for more information.

The Rocky Top Wine Trail includes six wineries open for tastings and tours, all on hwy 66/441 between Kodak and Gatlinburg: Eagle Springs Winery (Kodak), Hillside Winery (Sevierville), Apple Barn Winery (Sevierville), Mountain Valley Winery (Pigeon Forge), Doc Collier Moonshine Distillery (Gatlinburg), and Sugarland Cellars (Gatlinburg). These wineries have even partnered with Elite Limo Tours if you need a designated driver.


Visit rockytopwineries.com/wine-trail for links and directions.

Once you have chosen your favorite bottle (or bottles!), take it home to savor the flavors of the warm sun, gentle breezes and nourishing summer storms. The Rocky Top Wineries participate in a wine club, with significant member discounts. Learn more by clicking here: rockytopwineries.com/wine-club.

If you’re not a local yet, you can always rent a chalet in Sevier County. Visit here or here to search for accommodations. And, of course, should you fall in love with the area and want to start looking for your own place to call home in East Tennessee, visit darlenereeves-kline.com for listings and information.