Because of concentrating my time on my SoFoBoMo project lately, I’m way behind on my Tennessee trip posts. I can’t believe it has been a month since I was there.
Our first objective for Monday was to take it easy in the morning. Funny thing about vacations–we often need a vacation after our vacations. When we’re in a new or different place, it seems like a waste if we’re not off exploring or doing something. After a few days going non-stop, you need a break, though. So we didn’t rush off on Monday. When we did get going we decided to check out a sign saying “Covered Bridge” that we’d noticed. We followed the sign several miles out of town until we came to… the Covered Bridge Housing Development. Oh.
Then we headed out to the UT Medical Center. I was currently reading the fascinating book “Death’s Acre” by Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson about the research facility where human decomposition is studied. Just because it was in Knoxville and I was interested in it, we wanted to locate it, and that we did. Well, we found the double fence surrounding it, anyway. That was close enough for me.
From there we headed back across the Tennessee River, through the University of Tennessee campus, and located a historic house, the Blount Mansion, but found it closed on Mondays. It was already getting close to lunch time, so we drove to old town Knoxville and ate at Patrick Sullivan’s. It’s in a charming old building and the place was still pretty empty when we got there, in fact we first thought they were still closed. Their hamburgers were huge and very good. We walked off some of the calories around the old downtown area at bit. The Mast General Store was fun and I bought a couple of little souvenirs there. It has been there since 1898. Down Gay Street we walked into the restored Tennessee Theater. We weren’t sure we were supposed to be inside or not, but the doors were open and nobody stopped us. The place is an ornately decorated old style theater. Gorgeous! It was fun to see.
Coming out of the theater we came across a Barney Fife look-a-like and his Mayberry RFD police car. We never did find out what that was about. (Mayberry was in North Carolina.) After a little more exploring, we were back in the car to head towards the mountains. We got lucky and saw a AAA office, so stopped for some local maps. From there we headed east on highway 40, which continues over the Appalachian Mountains. We crossed the Appalachian Trail (but didn’t see any sign of it) into the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and North Carolina. Taking a turnoff, we got on highway 19 which goes through Maggie Valley. Maggie Valley is well-known to cloggers and is sometimes referred to as the clogging capital of the world. They have a large dance hall in town built specifically for clogging. How cool is that? We didn’t have time to stop but continued on through town to Cherokee, NC, and then back into the Great Smokey Mountains National Park again. Jennifer allowed me only a very few and very short stops for pictures because we had reservations for a dinner show in Pigeon Forge. Our detour through the mountains was taking longer than we expected and it was starting to look like we might not make it in time.
This was one stream that she “allowed” me a quick stop. A bit further down the mountains was another pretty scene we had to walk a few hundred feet to. Most of the drive was a bit drizzly, so it wasn’t good for scenery. Because of that and our limited time, I didn’t get very many pictures in the Great Smokey Mountains. Next time we’ll spend more time in the park. We did make it to the show in time, dashed through the rain from the far end of the parking lot, and found our table at the indoor arena. The show was Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede and involved trick horseback riding, roping, stories, games with the audience and a dinner eaten with no utensils. It was fun, although not something I feel I need to go back to.