Let’s go hiking at Norris Dam, Part Two

By Mike Steely Norris Dam, the first project of the Tennessee Valley Administration, has a large number of trails and walking paths not only inside the large state park but also along its perimeters. The paths and trails offer a wide variety of difficulties, from Wheelchair Accessible to very hard. If you’re headed to the […]

Let’s go hiking at Norris Dam, part one

By Mike Steely Norris Dam State Park may be a favorite of Knox County residents as it’s nearby—only a short drive up Norris Freeway—and has lots of interesting things to do. The park offers unique places to visit, camping at two sites, rental cabins, the historic first TVA dam in history, a visitor center, museum, […]

Plenty to see at Rock Island

By Mike Steely If you’ve never been to Rock Island State Park, you’ve missed a very different park that has just about everything you’d expect plus some very special sites. Rock Island is located between Cookeville and McMinnville in the mountains along the Caney Fork and Collins Rivers. It’s best reached west of Knoxville off […]

Don’t overlook Panther Creek State Park

By Mike Steely If you’re looking for a surprising park and a great overlook you might think of the Great Smoky Mountains but there’s a 1,444-acre state park near Morristown that’s not as crowded and a nice place to visit within an hour’s drive. Panther Creek State Park might be one the most over-looked parks […]

Middlesboro’s strange history

By Mike Steely Anyone visiting Cumberland Gap National Park may be missing an interesting side trip to the little Kentucky town next door. Middlesboro has a long and very odd history and is well worth a visit. Just beyond the Cumberland Gap highway tunnel going north on Highway 25 W is the main entrance to […]

Go to Jail, Go Directly to Jail…

By Mike Steely If you’ve played Monopoly you know that card well. Drawing it sends you to jail in the game and you sit there and miss two turns unless you roll doubles or have a “Get Out of Jail” card. If you’re a law or history buff you might like to take a drive […]

Land of Arches at Pickett State Park

By Mike Steely One of the most rustic and wondrous areas within a couple of hours drive from Knoxville can be found at Pickett CCC Memorial State Park. The CCC stands for the Civilian Conservation Corps which worked to create the park, as the Depression Era federal work project did for many of our parks. […]

Our neighbor to the east, Jefferson City

Our neighbor to the east, Jefferson City

By Mike Steely Did you know our neighbor to the east was once known as Mossy Creek? Yep, until 1901 that’s what Jefferson City was called but was renamed in honor of President Thomas Jefferson. The city has about 8,000 residents, is the home of Carson-Newman College and is located between Knoxville and Morristown along […]

Taking the Rockwood Loop

By Mike Steely Want to visit a town that was founded along a pre-historic trail? If you begin in Knoxville and take Interstate 40 west you’ll come to Kingston. The next town is Harriman. If you take that exit you can turn left off the exit and head southwest to Rockwood. Rockwood is located south […]

Remembering Alex Haley

  By Mike Steely Ever look for something you’ve prized over the years and have no idea what you’ve done with it? I once had letters from several people like Jimmy Carter before he was president, Alex Haley when he lived in our area, author Stephen King and other correspondence. The one letter I’ve kept […]