Spring Road Trip, Part II

Hop in the car for another road trip in East Tennessee!

Advertisements

We wrote last week about a few great things to do on a day-trip in East Tennessee. We could go on and on for days about all the great stuff there is to do and see in our area (check out our old posts for more information!)

But we thought we’d shorten it up, at least for now, and keep this series to just two. So join us for Part II of our East Tennessee Spring Road Trip blogs!

Knoxville

The East Tennessee History Center opened its exhibit, “In the Footsteps of Sergeant York,” in January of this year. It’s an experience not soon forgotten. Walk through the history of this remarkably courageous young man, including a replica of the trenches American soldiers dug and hunkered in during World War I.

The Museum is open 9-4, Monday-Friday, 10-4 Saturday, and 1-5 Sunday. Weekly admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, free for children under 16 and free for all on Sundays. And, if you’re a member of the ETHS, admission is always free.

grant-ritchie-564035-unsplash

High Ground Park

This beautifully maintained park commemorates the location of Fort Higley, a Union fort built in 1863. Knoxville is working on a project, called the Battlefield Loop, to connect the Civil War battlefields by walking trail. Even if you’re not a Civil War history expert, this lovely park built on top of a ridge, just off Cherokee Trail, is a peaceful place to take a walk and a picnic. (If the weather cooperates!)

Oak Ridge

A little further away if you live in the five lakes region, but Oak Ridge is worth the drive!

Haw Ridge Park

This outdoor recreation paradise has it all: trails for bikers, hikers, runners and equestrians, miles of waterfront access for fishers and boaters, all the wildlife you could hope to see and even geocaching! It’s a beautiful outdoor experience!

American Museum of Science and Energy

For those fascinated by Oak Ridge’s important role in developing atomic energy, this museum is a great way to spend the day! Exhibits include a history of Oak Ridge, a more hands-on science section, and much more.

The museum is open 9-5, Monday-Friday and 1-5 on Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children 6-17, $4 for seniors.

Jefferson City

This smaller town is known for Carson-Newman University, but it has some great historic sites worth a visit. Glenmore Mansion, for example, is pretty cool! The house, built in 1868, is open for tours from May through October. If you visit, try this: count all the windows you can find on the outside, and all the windows you can see on the inside, and see if your numbers match up. Legend has it they won’t! Kinda creepy, huh?

Price of admission during the tour season is $5 for adults and $2 for children under 12.

ian-keefe-341568-unsplash

Mossy Creek

This historic district in Jefferson City is an inspiring example of how people with big hearts and big goals can come together to improve their town. Visit this area for its great food, boutiques and a nice stroll down the sidewalk, but be sure to notice that it’s looking better all the time because the people who live here are working hard to make it happen!

Are you ready to buy or sell your home in East Tennessee? Start at DarleneReeves-Kline.com.

 

 

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!

annie-spratt-217549-unsplash

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.

Dandridge

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.

peter-hershey-229269-unsplash

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!

 

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.

christian-joudrey-27093

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.

evan-kirby-90543

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:

ksenia-kudelkina-7103

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!

luis-tosta-248147

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.

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!

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.
jordan-whitt-54479.jpg
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:

andrea@ludden.com

Phone:

865-430-5515

Toll-free:

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.

samantha-stone-7020
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.

Displaying IMG_0082.jpg

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.

Inline image 2

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.