Exploring East Tennessee: Norris Dam

 It's been a while since I've written a post about places in East Tennessee that are "off the beaten path", mostly because we haven't been anywhere. Mid- to late- May is a good time to go camping: it's not too hot & humid yet and the nights are still cool. The problem we have is that we usually decide at the last minute to go, and with COVID, camping sites are hard to come by. I looked at our usual campgrounds but every place was full at the beginning of the week. There was a campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that we hadn't been to but there is no electricity at National Park Campgrounds (at least around here). My next step was to look for state parks around us. I found Norris Dam State Park, which is just north of Knoxville. At the beginning of the week, there were plenty of spots available. So that made me a little nervous. I figured it was either going to be a hidden gem or a really crappy campground. I'm not going to get into our campsite or the campground here. If you're interested, visit Flyin' the Coop.

CH said it is just unbelievable that I grew up about an hour away from this state park and had never been. If I've been, I don't remember it. The State Park itself has some cool history: Norris Dam was the first dam built through FDR's New Deal. It was built by the CCC. 

Parts of the CCC camp are still standing and in use by the Tennessee State Park System. The cabins are available for rent. 

The "Tea Room" is available as a venue for weddings or other events. The day we were there, people were setting up for a wedding reception.

We also visited a grist mill and saw the threshing barn. The mill was a little cool.
The inside of the mill.
There were several millstones in the sidewalk.
Call me crazy, but if you've seen 1 threshing barn, you've seen them all! 
Just up the hill from the mill, there is a small museum. It had some pretty cool things in it.

Can you imagine walking around in these all day? No wonder the ladies in old photographs aren't smiling!

Just around the dam area, there is an "Orchard Trail". I'm not real sure that's what it's called, but there are trails winding through different orchards. There are signs designating what orchard you're in.
But the best part of the day was lunch. Between the dam and the grist mill there is a little microbrewery called Clinch River Brewing. We almost missed it.
The menu is rather small, but with a Louisiana flair. The young lady we spoke with said that a couple owned it, and he was from Louisiana. It's crazy how we unknowingly keep running into people with a LA connection. (Just in case you forgot/didn't know, MS lives in Louisiana.)
The beverage was really tasty, and the food was pretty good:
The atmosphere wasn't bad, either. There were rainbow trout swimming in the pond.
The obligatory selfie:
We thought the area was pretty nice. I don't know if we'll go back (been there, done that), unless it's to go to the Museum of Appalachia, which is just around the corner from the little museum we visited. If you're looking for a little piece of history (and need a little something to eat or drink!) then this is the spot.
Coming to East Tennessee for a visit and looking for some "off the beaten path" places to explore? You'll want to check out the posts in my Exploring East Tennessee series. Oh, and check back from time to time...we'll do more exploring (which means more posts!).

A Patriotic Hodgepodge

 Head over to Joyce's to add your post and see how everyone else answered this week's questions.

1. We're approaching Memorial Day Weekend in the US of A...will you mark this in some way? If so tell us how. According to a list found here some things you might do in honor of Memorial Day would be-shop in a Veteran owned business, learn to play a patriotic song, watch the Memorial Day concert, take a virtual tour of the White House, write a letter to a soldier or a soldier's family, fly a flag, attend a Memorial Day parade, donate flowers for a soldier's grave, put together a care package for a soldier, and take a moment of silence at 3 PM (the National Moment of Remembrance)....of the ideas mentioned are there any you will try? 

Take a moment of silence at 3:00 PM. I don't know that there are any Memorial Day parades around here, which is really sad. After being a marching band member for high school & college, I don't love a parade!

2. What's something recently that made you 'come to attention?'

Oh, absolutely! I had an extremely rough end of the year; one that really made me think that it may be time to retire. But I'm still laughing, so maybe it's not time.

3. In what area of your life do you need to 'soldier on?'

See #2! 

4. As a long weekend approaches and summer draws near, what's a favorite food from your childhood you think about adding to the menu? 


5. Your favorite patriotic movie? 

The Patriot. Part of that movie was filmed in the SC town where we lived, and Mel Gibson (before he lost it) showed up to Mass one Sunday. However, CH saw him & didn't let me know so I didn't see him. I just have to take CH's word for it.

This may not be considered a patriotic movie, but The American President is one of my all-time favorite movies.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

CH & I had a lovely getaway weekend. We went camping at a State Park we haven't tried out. Watch for a post on Friday!

Here are a few pictures I snapped over the past few days:

A hawk sitting on the top of the church.
Who can resist sidewalk chalk? I caught this "senior" man (who is one of our former city commissioners) stop, pick up some chalk, and make a contribution to the sidewalk in the park where I walk Gurl Dogg.
Speaking of GD...I walked out of my home office and caught my guard dog napping.
This squirrel was perched on the knot of a tree for a long time. I thought his position was quite interesting.

Planning Out the Summer with the Hodgepodge

Head over to Joyce's to add your post and see how everyone else answered this week's questions.

1. Realist, idealist, optimist, pessimist...which one are you? Elaborate. 

I'm each one at different times. Sometimes I can be a realist, although most of the time I'm an idealist. I look at the world a lot through rose-colored glasses and choose to not allow things that are happening rob me of my joy. I'm an optimist...except when I'm being a pessimist. I like to think the best of everyone until I have a reason not to.

2. What's something currently on your wish list? 

The main thing is to just relax. That may not be what Joyce was looking for here, but that's all I've got right now!

3. Three things on this week's shopping list? 

Well...since I haven't made out my shopping list for the next couple of weeks yet, I'm winging this one. We're camping this weekend so I'll definitely have some items we need on the list.

4. According to Trip Advisor here's a list of the top ten things to do in the US this summer-

Chicago Architecture River CruiseSkip the Line Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour, New York In A Day guided sightseeing tour, Charleston's Old South Historic Horse and Carriage tourGrand Canyon helicopter tourFull day iconic sights of LA, Beverly Hills, Beaches and more, D.C. at Dusk guided night tour, Beneath the Streets Underground History tour (Seattle)New Orleans Swamp and Bayou Boat tour, Gangsters and Ghosts tour in Chicago...read more about each excursion in the link here. 

Of the ten attractions listed which do you find most appealing? Have you already experienced anything on this list?

I've done the horse & carriage tour in Charleston and have been in DC at dusk (dusk is the only time to see the Korean War Memorial) but that's it. The Beneath the Streets Underground History Tour in Seattle sounds appealing. We're having to ditch our original plans of going to Banff, Canada, so this has given me an idea of what we can possibly do for vacation! Thanks, Joyce!

5. Besides home and work where do you spend the most time? 

Not to sound like a "Church Lady", but...church. I love going and sitting in the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel for a bit of time. It's so amazing to just sit and be still. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

 Summer vacation is HERE! Even though I have a somewhat busy summer with our Council of Catholic Women Convention at the beginning of June and surgery at the end of June with some appointments in between, I'm so looking forward to not worrying about meetings, paperwork, and planning therapy. I also have a huge decision to make before June 14. Next year is the first year I'm eligible to retire, so I'll be spending time in the Adoration Chapel asking God what He wants me to do. I don't want to leave too early, but I don't want to wait too long to make my exit. This decision is a lot harder than I expected it to be.

Mother May I Hodgepodge


I completely missed last week! Tuesdays seem to be creeping up on me rather quickly. Head over to Joyce's to see how everyone else answered the questions and to link in!

1. It's like my mama always said, "_______________________________________." 

The good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise. That makes my mama sound like a backwoods country girl (which she wasn't)! 

2. May 11th is National Eat What You Want Day. What will you be having by way of celebration?

Well, that day is today & I had no idea until 3:45 pm. I did have some trail mix with little pieces of chocolate in it. Not exactly what I should be eating so I guess that can count. 

3. Describe your idea of a perfect spring day.

Sitting on the back porch with the wind blowing, the smell of honeysuckle in the air. And me with a book in my hand watching the birds.

4. Success, fulfillment, growth, achievement...pick one and tell us how it relates to your life in some way, either currently or in days gone by. 

Growth. When things aren't perfect I know they are put there so I can grow. 

5. I saw this going around on various social media sites and thought it would be fun to answer here. The last thing you bought on Amazon is your weapon in battle. How will you wield it?  (if you're not an Amazon shopper, then the last thing you bought online anywhere)

The last thing I bought was a book. All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel   I honestly don't know what it's about since I bought it for a summer book club that I"m participating in with some ladies from church. So I have no idea how I'd use it!

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

This is the last full week of the school year. Tuesday is our last day. I'm so looking forward to just relaxing and not giving another thought to school. This has been a rough year with COVID and not knowing from 1 week to the next if we would be in school. My school system did (in my opinion) a pretty good job of keeping things as "normal" as possible. We weren't virtual for any length of time and the teachers at my schools tried their hardest to keep the kids on track. I'm just hoping next year will be more like it should be.

Popular Posts