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Driving down Interstate 26 last weekend, my mind resonated with everything I had ever heard (or learned) about Unicoi County and the town of Erwin.

Of course, there’s the incredible scenery…where you can see the ghosted peaks of the Unaka Mountain Range separating Tennessee and North Carolina. There’s the “Grand Canyon of the East,” a vastly deep gorge carved by thousands of years worth of flowing waters from the Nolichucky River. There’s that good old story of “Murderous Mary,” the crazed elephant that was hung from a railroad derrick…

And I wandered through every recollection I’d ever had about this place, there was one thing I just couldn’t seem to figure out: “What the heck is so special about apples anyway?” Read the rest of this entry »

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We’ve all heard stories about mobsters during the Prohibition era, about bootlegging, speakeasies, and rings of organized crime. And from those stories, no figure is more notorious than Chicago’s Al Capone.

But here’s what you may not have heard: in those days, Chicago wasn’t the only center of vice in the United States. In fact, one little town in Northeast Tennessee was gaining plenty of notoriety for debauchery.

And that little town—was our very own Johnson City.

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The first weekend in October is held dear to me as I sit and listen to tales from all over the globe. Some inspire me, some make me laugh and some are meant to frighten, but they all touch my soul. If you have never experienced the true art of Storytelling now is your chance. The National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough still has tickets available – http://www.storytellingcenter.net/festival/.

I just made it back down the mountain and had to share this! Today I visited the beautiful Rhododendron Gardens at Roan Mountain State Park. And for those who don’t know, this is the LARGEST natural stand of Catawba Rhododendron on the planet!


As we drove up the winding roads that lead to this gorgeous hidden wonder it felt like we were traveling to another world! Everything is so much greener with life. It’s like our own little Rain Forest in Carter County.

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Well, not really THE Civil War…it’s actually The Sullivan County Civil War Days, an annual event commemorating the Battle of Blountville.

And if you’ve never heard of the Battle of Blountville, here’s what you’ve missed:
In 1863, Union General Ambrose Burnside undertook an expedition into East Tennessee to clear the roads and gaps to Virginia, and to secure the saltworks just beyond Abingdon (modern-day Saltville). Because of its proximity to the railroad, Blountville became one of his targets. Read the rest of this entry »

Hanging out last night with lots of folks taking in some great music and fun times at Border Bash on State Street in Bristol. If you missed the fun don’t fret. You can join in the fun June 18, July 2, July 16, August 6, August 27 and September 3. Don’t miss out on the great music, fun and friends – cause in Bristol there are no strangers.

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