Taking the Trolley

By Mike Steely Sometimes you don’t have to go far to discover something new and interesting. One cool summer morning, I parked at the Knoxville Coliseum garage and walked down to the trolley stop. Like most folks who don’t live downtown I had ridden the trolley line a couple of times for a few blocks […]

Gatlinburg ~ off the main road

By Mike Steely Just above the busy streets of Gatlinburg is a peaceful and memorable drive that takes you back in time and away from the tourist shops and crowds. If you go to Traffic Light #8 and follow the Historic Nature Trail Road to the Cherokee Orchard entrance, you’ll find the Roaring Fork Motor […]

Tennessee Ernie Ford’s Bristol Home

By Mike Steely Aside from Dolly Parton, there may be no better known Tennessean than a Bristol native. Even people who are not country music fans know of “Tennessee Ernie Ford.” If you’re up that way you should take a side trip into Bristol and visit one of our unique two-state cities. Both Virginia and […]

A Day Away: Looking for Chattanooga graves

By Mike Steely Last weekend my wife and I took a day trip to Chattanooga in search of two cemetery sites: one of Civil War soldiers who acted as spies in 1861 and the other of an almost forgotten national entertainment star. It took a while finding both as the city has grown so much […]

A Day in Monroe County

By Mike Steely Monroe County is known for many things. There’s Estes Kefauver’s home and grave, Fort Loudoun, Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, Tellico Blockhouse, Lake Tellico and Hiwassee College.  There’s also Bald River Falls, the Cherohala Skyway drive, Coker Creek, Tellico Plains, Sweetwater’s Duck Pond and antique stores, and the nearby Sweetwater Valley Farms with its […]


By Mike Steely steelym@knoxfocus.com Why are Knox County and East Tennessee so “Sevier?” The region can boast  Sevier neighborhoods, Sevierville Highway, the Sevier Homestead, Sevier County, various Sevier Avenues and Streets, Sevier Heights, and Sevier Fuels, just to name a few. You’d think the person that these Sevier places are named for must have signed […]

A Day Away: The Real ‘Walton’s Mountain’

By Mike Steely If you are a fan of The Waltons you may know that Ralph Waite, who played the father in the beloved series, died this past February at the age of 85. Before his long career in acting, Ralph Waite was a WWII Marine veteran, got a Master’s Degree from Yale, and was […]

Our Neighborhoods: Washington Pike

By Mike Steely steelym@knoxfocus.com Two routes are main arteries to the North Knox County region: one a main highway and one a local byway with a connection to history. One is Rutledge Pike, which shoots off of Magnolia and runs as Highway 11W through upper East Tennessee all the way to Bristol. The other, Washington […]

A Day Away: Watching Fireflies

By Mike Steely If you are lucky enough to get tickets to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park’s June  Synchronous Fireflies event you may find several surprises. Like most things in the Great Smoky Mountains the waiting lines are long, the expectations high, but the price is right. If you can get tickets! My wife […]

TVA Camping is a surprise

By Mike Steely Let’s take a mini-vacation locally this year. Take a long weekend or a week’s vacation, get the kids excited, and let’s go camping. There are so many commercial and public campgrounds in our area from which to choose, not even counting the Smokey Mountains. There are Tennessee State Parks here and there […]