Interested in strange places in East Tennessee?

By Mike Steely I was going through my photo files recently and ran across several photos of unusual places in our region. With the COVID-19 pandemic clustering many families inside except for needed food shopping I thought I’d share some of the places with you You can easily drive to most of the strange places […]

Pondering Appalachian words

Pondering Appalachian words

By Mike Steely Appalachia is a curious place to many people with its own language of sorts. Being somewhat isolated from the rest of the nation mostly because of topography the region’s dialect developed somewhat unchanged among the Scotch-Irish settlers. You don’t have to travel very far out of Knoxville to hear words that “harking […]

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. […]