Weekend in Knoxville

I started out Friday afternoon. The sky was cloud covered, which made me anticipate a rainy 7-hour drive.

Clouds to the east.

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Clouds to the west

I was behind the clock 2 hours when I left, so I couldn’t take back roads or stop to take in interesting views or historic markers and places.  There were people to see and things to do and fun to be had at the other end of the road, and time was ticking away. So I decided to do some sight-seeing on my way home.

After getting settled at the hotel, I decided to go downtown to Market Square (another link) and Gay Street, two of my most favorite places.

First Baptist Church near Market Square.

The Adventures of Tin Tin was showing in the open-air venue of Market Square. There were scads of people, yet the square didn’t feel crowded or too noisy. After gabbing some yummy Italian custard at Rita’s before visiting Bliss, I headed to Gay Street through Krutch Park. The park has a man-made brook that meanders through the stone and slate lining the walkways that connect the two historic streets.

The Tennessee Theatre, still in operation

The downtown area’s history is diverse and there are many placards describing what happened on certain spots.  Gay Street was founded in the late 1780s, but the Tennessee Theatre wasn’t built until the 1920s. My favorite place in Knoxville isn’t on Gay Street or Market Square at all, but on Hill Street.

Blount Mansion, once a mansion in its own time, by today’s standards is a respectable size house with beautiful landscape.

Backyard garden of Blount Mansion

I like this garden so much that I’m trying to talk my husband into replicating it in our own backyard.

And what is a trip to Knoxville without a visit to this shrine?

Neyland Stadium, home of the University of Tennessee Volunteers!

Since I didn’t have time to drive any back highways on the way to Knoxville, I took some on the way back to Memphis. I departed I-40 for Hwy 70 at Kingston, TN, and I was delighted with what I found. Not only is the drive the quintessential mountain drive with high climbs, steep dips and near hairpin turns, but Kingston is a wonderfully quaint town with a wonderfully quaint lake and family area, also.

Small trail that leads to opening along the lake.

There are tiny hidden trails all around the lake from the sidewalk that runs along side Hwy 70 through Kingston.

Another small foot trail along the lake

From the Northeastern shore of Watts Bar Lake looking Northwest.

Kingston is nestled on the northeastern shores of Watts Bar Lake, a long meandering lake that stretches approximately 73 miles southwest from Kingston to Chattanooga.  Travelers on Hwy 70 only experience a small sampling of Watts Bar Lake.

Kingston, TN lake

The Smokey Mountain foothills are a magnificent backdrop for this drive.

Smokey Mountain foot hills along Hwy 70.

I couldn’t help but notice the odd juxtaposition of the beautiful mountain covered in lush pre-autumn foliage and the graveyard of demolished rust-ridden cars.

I jumped on I-40 right after taking this picture and that was the end of my trip’s photo-journal. I do enjoy driving across Tennessee, especially through the mountains. There seems to be a new site around each turn, and it is usually beautiful.

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