Discover Tennessee Charm at Gracehill Bed & Breakfast

October 24, 2017   -   0 comments

For those who are looking for the ultimate place to spend a quiet weekend or vacation where you wake up every morning with a spectacular view of the Smoky Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Gracehill Bed & Breakfast may be just what you are looking for. The Gracehill Bed & Breakfast is the highest home in the county and is the brainchild of owner/innkeeper Kathleen Janke.

Years in the Making

Gracehill Bed & Breakfast began as Kathleen’s dream to build a home high on a mountain that would give her an amazing view of the surrounding mountains. For many months Kathleen hiked through the hills in search of the perfect piece of property upon which she could bring her dreams to reality. It took two years to find the right place and eventually she found 11 acres that suited her needs perfectly.

The Adventure Begins

Now that Kathleen had the perfect piece of property to build on, the adventure truly began. When you stop to look at the road leading up to the B&B, you get a sense of how hard it must have been for the various contractors to haul the required building materials into the site of Kathleen’s new home. The final result is a home where guests are spoiled beyond their wildest imaginations with a whirlpool tub, spectacular views, romantic candlelit dinners, and gourmet meals.

It took Kathleen over 2 1/2 years to go from concept to opening the doors at Gracehill Bed & Breakfast. The B&B opened just in time for Thanksgiving in 2000 with the vast majority of all building materials sourced locally. This includes the cedar shake siding, the mountain dry stack stone walls, and more.

Something Tasty and Unique

One of the more unique features of the Gracehill Bed & Breakfast is their ability to provide their guests with a picnic meal they can take on the go. The picnic can be packed in a cooler, a backpack, or packaged so that you can eat it on your way home. Your picnic meal comes with your choice of turkey, ham, or beef, a range of popular cheeses, plenty of fruit, your choice of French or French multigrain bread, summer salads right out of the garden, crunchy foods, and of course beverages. There are also vegan options available both for the picnic and in the dining room.

The Perfect Getaway

Whether you desire a quiet place to relax, a romantic place for your honeymoon, or a place to stay that offers a spectacular view, Gracehill Bed & Breakfast is just what you are looking for. Among the more unique features they offer is distilled water for those guests who use a CPAP machine to help them sleep at night. All rooms are beautifully furnished with antiques and feature amenities such as flat screen televisions, fireplaces, Blu-Ray DVD players, more.

If Gracehill Bed & Breakfast sounds like the perfect place for your next vacation, contact them today to make your reservations. Book early as vacancies tend to fill very quickly. You can call (866) 448-3070 to check availability and make your reservations.

BBQ to Die For: Dead-End BBQ in Knoxville

October 19, 2017   -   0 comments

Most of us have friends or family members who claim to either make BBQ to die for or claim to know a restaurant that serves it. While this is a wonderful way to describe anyone’s food, more often than not it is a bit of an exaggeration. But when it comes to the Dead-End BBQ, their award-winning menu truly contains some of the finest barbecue dishes you are likely to ever have the pleasure of eating. Anytime you are in the Knoxville area, be sure to make the Dead-End BBQ restaurant your first stop for a meal you won’t soon forget.

The Backstory Behind Dead-End BBQ

For over a decade the guys behind Dead-End BBQ practiced and honed their barbecue skills at the end of a dead-end street. During this time, the Dead-End Society fed friends and neighbors alike with an incredible array of the finest barbecue meats you have ever tasted. More than just feeding the locals, the Dead-End Society participated in and won a number of national barbecue competitions that garnered the crew plenty of national recognition.

These successes led to the creation of the Dead-End BBQ restaurant and catering services.  Every aspect of their extensive menu is based around their award-winning barbecued meats including beef, pork, and chicken.

No Frozen Meat – Ever

One of the main reasons why Dead-End BBQ is so successful could be the fact that none of the meat they serve has ever been frozen, it is purchased locally and is kept fresh until it is ready to be cooked and served. While buying fresh local meat is more expensive than frozen meats, they are chosen for their flavor, texture, and ability to retain more of their natural moisture during the cooking process. All beef served is certified Black Angus, while the pork and ribs come directly from Hormel, and the chicken is locally sourced from Homestead Inc.

Dead-End BBQ Caters

Whether you are planning a wedding, putting together a company picnic, or hosting a birthday party, the Dead-End BBQ catering service can help. Equipped to handle formal events as well casual outdoor barbecues, your guests are guaranteed to enjoy themselves and never leave the party with an empty stomach. With more than 25-years worth of experience in both the food and event industry, you can count on Dead-End BBQ to provide you and your guests with barbecued and smoked meats that will virtually melt in your mouth.

It’s easy for any restaurant to make claims like this, but the best way to find out just how fantastic the food tastes is to see for yourself the next time you are in the Knoxville, TN. Your search for the finest barbecue in the country is over the minute you step into Dead-End BBQ located at 3621 Sutherland Ave, Knoxville, TN 37919. You can see their entire menu online. Stop in for cooking lessons and learn to cook barbecued foods like the pros.

Camping Adventures: Big Meadow Family Campground

October 17, 2017   -   0 comments

Are you looking for a great place to take your family where they can enjoy an amazing camping experience in the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains? Can you imagine anything better than camping right outside the gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Townsend, TN? Neither could Malcolm, Barbara, and Greg Johnson, which is why they decided to open Big Meadow Family Campground on the 22nd of May in 1995.

More than Just Another Campground

With so many campgrounds near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Johnson family’s goal was to create a campground out of what was once part of a large local farm. They wanted to make it a cut above the rest. As proof of their success, you have only to look at the number of guests who come back time and time again rather than trying one of the other local campgrounds. Along with this, in 2013 Big Meadow Family Campground was named 2013 Winner of the title National Campground of the Year.

Room to Roam

Big Meadow Family Campground offers campers more than 14 acres of prime Tennessee land to camp on and enjoy the “peaceful side of the Smokies.” But this is only the beginning of what this amazing campground has to offer. All of the RV spaces have been designed for ease of access. Here you will find a wide selection of pull-through RV sites many of which are designed to be “big rig friendly”.

The RV sites offer both 30 and 50-amp services along with cable television. There is propane available on site along with an on-site laundry facility. The park is gated to help keep those who don’t belong out and to help protect guests and their property. The bathhouse is climate controlled for your enjoyment, and more importantly, there is a fenced in dog park for your four-legged furry friend to play in and meet new friends.

A Reputation for Peace and Quiet

So many campgrounds tend to be noisy and suffer from less than spectacular upkeep. One of the reasons why so many campers come back to Big Meadow is the warm and inviting peaceful atmosphere here. The owners and staff work hard to keep the entire campground looking its best all year long, making the campground the perfect place bring your family for a Great Smoky Mountains National Park vacation. The campground is only two miles from the entrance to the park and the towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are both approximately 15 to 17 miles down the road.

For those who come to the area with fishing on their mind, there is a cool, clear mountain stream running along the front of Big Meadow Campground that is re-stocked with Brown and Rainbow Trout bi-weekly to ensure there is plenty for guests to catch and eat.

No matter why or when you plan to visit the Great Smoky Mountains, the National Park, or the surrounding towns and the many attractions they have to offer, reserve your space at Big Meadow Family Campground at 8215 Cedar Creek Rd. Townsend, TN 37882. Contact them at (888) 497-0625 or visit them online to make your reservations.

Pamper Your Pet at Brewster’s Bark & Bed

October 12, 2017   -   0 comments

There are boarding kennels in the Maryville, TN and the surrounding area and then there is Brewster’s Bark & Bed, the ultimate in spa and grooming for your pet. Brewster’s offers pet owners a 5,700-square foot state-of-the-art spa and boarding facility designed specifically to provide your pet with the ultimate in happiness and comfort during their time with us. The goal of everyone at Brewster’s is to provide your pet with individualized attention and care and to ensure they have a superior experience whether you are bringing your pet in for a spa day or to stay and play.

A Luxury Hotel for Your Pup

No one ever said that a boarding kennel had to be a boring place for your dog complete with little more than concrete floors and a small play yard. When Brewster’s was being designed, top experts in the field were consulted. This resulted in a boarding facility that is on par with a Five Star hotel such as you might expect to stay in.

There are two different suite packages offered for your pup. The Signature Suite offers a private suite with 26 square feet of indoor space and 35 square feet of private yard space that features K-9 grass. Your pup will get three potty breaks and one individual walk each day. Along with plenty of love, we also offer fleece blankets for added comfort and warmth.

The Luxury Suite ups the ante by increasing the size of your pup’s suite to 49 sq. ft. complete with a glass front and a 45-sq. ft. outdoor play area. You can see what your pup is up to 24 hours a day via webcam and your pup can watch his or her favorite shows on their own private flat screen television. They also get a Pampered Pet session, a Daily Yappy Hour Treat and tucked in at night.

A Deluxe Townhouse for Your Cat

In order to make sure your cat doesn’t feel left out, Brewster’s offers their luxurious multi-level cat townhouses. Each townhouse offers several levels complete with private beds and litter boxes that are cleaned twice daily. In the kitty playroom, your cat can enjoy watching their favorite show on the flat screen TV or sit back and watch the fish playing in the aquarium.

A La Carte Pampering Services

Brewster’s also offers a full range of grooming and spa services for both dogs and cats from simple nail trimming, baths, and flea treatments to hair coloring, nail polish, and more using the finest boutique products available to ensure your pet always looks and feels their best. Choose from custom packages to individual services from the A La Carte menu based on your pet’s individual needs and desires.

In the spa, we offer therapeutic mud treatments, blueberry facials, deep conditioning wraps, a complete “pawdicure” service and so much more. Why not treat your furry friend to a spa day while you go out to your favorite spa and let them take care of you? Your pet is sure to enjoy being pampered and fussed over. Contact Brewster’s Bark & Bed today to schedule an appointment for your pet’s relaxing day at the spa or mini-vacation!

Townsend Artisan Guild: Connecting Fine Arts & Crafts to the People of East Tennessee

October 10, 2017   -   0 comments

Founded in 2007, the mission of the Townsend Artisan Guild is dedicated to keeping the arts alive in East Tennessee by bringing together many of finest artists in the area to help promote their particular form of art. With so many schools no longer able to afford art programs, some local residents have missed out on the opportunity to explore their interests and work with a mentor to help them achieve their desired level of success. Sound familiar? If so, you should read on to learn more about what the Guild has to offer.

Helping Members to Achieve Greater Success

No matter how good you are at your particular form of art, if no one but you and maybe your family gets to see it, you are missing out on what may be a golden opportunity. As a member of the guild, you will have access to a wide range of community activities, exhibits, and art shows that provide you with avenues to display and at times, sell your works.

Anyone can join the Townsend Artisan Guild, from the aspiring artist to those who are actively working in their chosen field and of course those who simply wish to become a sponsor of the arts here in the local community. The Guild is always on the lookout for new artisans and fine craftspeople to join in and provide support for the Guild and for aspiring artists throughout the region.

Becoming a Member of the Guild

There are three different ways in which you can become a member of the Townsend Artisan Guild. Remember anyone can become a member, no matter how advanced your skills happen to be. Aspiring artists can join and take advantage of the many different workshops, training programs, and practice their craft until they are ready to become active members along with all of the privileges this brings with it.

Juried members are those who have submitted up to three pieces of their original works to the jury for approval. Once you have become an active member, you gain voting rights, the ability to hang your works in the Gallery, and to have your works shown in the various TAG exhibits and festivals the Guild participates in each year. In fact, once you become a Juried Member, you will be encouraged to participate in these events in order to help improve your skills.

Finally, there are the supporting members. These are the people and organizations who provide things like financial support, assistance with local activities, and expertise in their fields. Typically this group includes local businesses and business leaders, those who support the local community and the arts, and many other local professionals.

The Townsend Artisan Guild is dedicated to bringing the local artisan community together to help support each other, the arts, education, and a wide range of community activities. For more information, contact the Townsend Artisan Guild online or via U.S. Mail at P.O. Box 406, Townsend, TN 37882.

Learn How You Can Support Susan G. Komen of East Tennessee

October 5, 2017   -   0 comments

Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer affecting women today. Yet, despite the constant reminders for preventative care such as annual mammograms, the number of breast cancer patients seems to be on the rise in most areas. The good news is that thanks in part to efforts of organizations like Susan B. Komen, breast cancer mortality rates here in the U.S. have decreased by 38 percent from 1969 to 2014 and continue to go down. The big question is how can you get involved and what can you do to support Susan G. Komen in East Tennessee?

Start by Getting Involved

Like any organization dedicated to helping others, Susan G. Komen is always looking for volunteers. You don’t need any special skills or education to be a volunteer. All you need is a desire to get involved and help. Your services can come in handy as a runner, a volunteer who can take on a wide range of duties, including being present at the many events Susan G. Komen supports. Your services may also be needed as an activist whose job it is to help make others aware of the organization and the needs of those suffering from breast cancer.

The organization is always looking for help with the many fundraisers they hold throughout the year. And of course, your help is always going to be needed to raise awareness and to show support for the various legislative actions introduced to the Tennessee Legislature over the course of the year.

Host a Fundraiser

Hosting a fundraiser is another great way you can help the Susan G. Komen organization. There are two ways you can go about this. You can hold a fundraiser and let people know any donations you collect are being donated to a local organization for breast health, breast cancer, and breast cancer research and then donate the proceeds to the organization.

Alternatively, you can put together a “Rally for the Cure®” at a variety of sporting events such as golf and tennis outings, or host a dinner with the proceeds going to help the many services the organization offers.  

Other Ways to Help Raise Funds

You may not realize that when you go shopping on, you can choose a non-profit to support via the Amazon Smile program which helps to support Susan G. Komen East Tennessee.

You can use your Kroger Plus Card to help support the organization by visiting their Community Rewards page. You must enter either Susan G. Komen or the special support code 20555.

Next time you plan to visit the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies or any of their other locations, be sure to order your tickets online using the promo code pink0516. This code will save you $2 on each adult ticket and $1 on each child ticket. Ripley’s will then donate this money back to the organization while you and your family get to enjoy these spectacular attractions at a discounted price.

There are so many things you can do to show your support for Susan B. Komen in East Tennessee. The best way to find out more about how you can help is to contact the organization and let them tell you what you can do and what they need.

See How the Knoxville Area Urban League Empowers Communities and Changes Lives

October 3, 2017   -   0 comments

The Knoxville Area Urban League, founded in 1968, is a civil rights, economic development, and social services organization that came into being at the height of the Civil Rights movement. In the early days, the League’s main focus was to ensure equal employment opportunities for the area’s African-American residents. Today, the organization’s focus has spread far beyond its humble yet vital beginnings and now covers an incredibly diverse range of clients in Anderson, Blount, and Knox counties.

Starting at the Beginning

The Knoxville Area Urban League helps our communities to grow in so many different ways, including with its Shoes for School program, that provides new shoes along with much-needed supplies for over 1,200 children. This vital program helps kids over the age of 5 get off to a good start in their lives. This program ensures every child has the same chance to start off the school year ready to go and to feel comfortable among their peers.

Helping Our Locals to Find Work

One of the biggest contributors to poverty in this area is not the lack of jobs, it is the lack of people who have the skills needed to fill the vacancies.  One of the goals of the League is to provide counseling to area residents designed to help them find jobs to support their families. With access to more than 1,200 job openings and more than 650 employers, the League has helped add over $2 million in earned income revenue to our communities.

Helping Our Neighbors to Realize the American Dream

Homeownership is the great American dream, but for many it seems to be one that is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. The Knoxville Area Urban League has helped dozens of local families purchase their own homes. They have helped even more of our neighbors learn how to successfully manage their finances so that they can put themselves in a better position to buy a home in the future.

Boosting Local Businesses and Our Economy

The League continues to support the growth of local businesses and in doing so helps to put millions of dollars back into the local economy every year. For example, in 2014 the League invested over $2 million into helping new businesses get off to a good start or to expand so that they could be more successful. Their goal is to continue helping local residents invest in their communities by starting their own businesses or growing them to the point at which they can hire more employees. This is a win-win situation for everyone in the area.

These are only a few of the things the Knoxville Area Urban League continues to do for the local communities every day of the year. Their mission is “to be the recognized leader and premier non-profit organization in the greater Knoxville area promoting diversity, economic, and social equity for all”. The league works with African-Americans and many other minorities to help them achieve economic self-reliance and equality. They do this by helping people to thrive, find jobs, buy homes, and start businesses.

Smokies History: Explore the Blount Mansion

September 29, 2017   -   0 comments

Following the Revolutionary War and subsequent secession from English rule, William Blount (one of the signatories on the U.S. Constitution) became Tennessee senator and settled on family property on the banks of the Holston River. Here he built his wife a home from lumber brought in from South Carolina, using nails manufactured in the family nailery located near Tarboro, North Carolina. The windows were glazed using glass brought in from Richmond, Virginia.

No expense was spared to build his wife a “proper” wooden house instead of the log cabins and rough-hewn lumber homes that were common in Knoxville at the time. The original home featured two rooms on the ground floor and a large single sleeping room on the second floor. At some time after 1810, the west wing was added to the main home from an outbuilding that had been pulled from its foundation.

The east wing was added shortly before 1820. During excavation, researchers found the detached kitchen and cooling shed. For years this home served as the governor’s home for a number of Tennessee Governors and the territorial capital while still being used as the Blount family home. Over the course of its life, this house not only housed governors and their families, it would fall into disrepair and become slum housing.

Restoration of Blount Mansion

By the dawn of 1925, the mansion had fallen into such a state of disrepair that B.H. Sprankle, a local developer, put together plans to demolish the home and turn the land into a parking lot for the soon to be finished Andrew Jackson Hotel. This led to the formation and charter of the Blount Mansion Association and a massive publicity campaign led by the Bonnie Kate Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution under the steerage of Mary Boyce Temple and the East Tennessee Historical Society.

By 1930, the Association had raised enough money to buy the home and set about restoring it and turning it into a museum. While the house had an attached kitchen by the time the Association purchased it, the foundation for the original detached kitchen was located. The kitchen was rebuilt using materials that had been part of it originally and used to build the attached kitchen.

Today the Blount Mansion is a Registered National Landmark having been designated as such in 1965 and is the only National Landmark in Knoxville and the oldest museum in Knox County. While it might look like a typical house from the outside, when you step through the front door, it’s like stepping back in history.

You can literally feel the history in the home and if you listen very carefully, you might just hear William Blount discussing the future of Knoxville and the state of Tennessee with members of his government as they worked together to help Tennessee become the 16th state in the newly formed United States of America. Be sure to come prepared to spend several hours touring the house and listening to its history.

Kiwanis Club of Alcoa

September 26, 2017   -   0 comments

Since 1954 the Kiwanis Club of Alcoa has offered its hearts and hands to making the community a better place to live. 74 dedicated members spend time working on community projects such as:

  • Service projects within the community
  • Providing resources to the needy
  • Supporting school service clubs
  • Offering guest speakers to discuss topics or provide entertainment at weekly meetings
  • Kiwanis International Project – Eliminate. This project has as its goal the eradication of maternal/neonatal tetanus in developing countries

With over 600,000 members in over 80 countries, Kiwanis International (to which Kiwanis Club of Alcoa is affiliated) has served children around the globe for over 100 years. It helps make the lives of kids around the world better through local projects and fundraising for children’s needs. In Alcoa, there’s even a satellite club that meets on different days so folks who would like to be Kiwanis members, but who cannot make the regular meetings, can still join in the mission of the club.

You Can Make a Difference in Our Community

Perhaps you have wanted to find a way to make a difference in the community. Whether you are a volunteer who is active in many civic activities, or you are looking for something new and want to help, Kiwanis Club of Alcoa welcomes you to the regular Thursday meetings or the satellite meetings (currently held on the first and third Wednesdays of the month).

Art Hafner, President of Kiwanis Club of Alcoa, welcomes everyone to meetings and service projects in the Alcoa community. Everyone is also welcome to follow the Alcoa club on Facebook and Twitter. Plus all are encouraged to keep up on the Kiwanis Club of Alcoa news. All are invited to help work on the club’s fundraisers, and to discover how far the club has come since it’s beginning, when it had 30 members, to its present 74 members.

How to Learn More About Kiwanis Club of Alcoa

Won’t you consider becoming a Kiwanis Club of Alcoa member? You can help with highway cleanups, help fundraise to provide scholarships, sponsor youth groups and get involved in myriad other activities to benefit children in the local area. Want to know more? Get involved by stopping by one of the club’s Thursday noon meetings at the Knoxville Airport Hilton Hotel, or try one of the satellite club meetings. When you participate in activities that benefit our local youth, everyone wins!

Family Fun in Maryville: Smoky Mountain Skate Center

September 22, 2017   -   0 comments

There is more to family fun in and around Maryville than whitewater rafting and hiking. There is the Smoky Mountain Skate Center located at 2801 East Broadway. This single floor roller skating rink first opened its doors back in 1989 and is open all year long. Locals rate it as the best rink in the area. It’s a great place to spend some quality time with friends and family.

Public Skating for Everyone

The rink offers plenty of open skating sessions at various times throughout the day and week. What you may not realize is that roller skating is an excellent form of exercise while giving you the perfect excuse to get out of the house. Sure, you could go to the gym, but do you really think you’re going to have anywhere near as much fun? Come on in, lace on a pair of skates and get ready to have fun!

Need a Helping Hand?

For those of you who don’t know how to roller skate or have long since forgotten the basics, no worries. The Center has a team of people who love teaching others the joy of roller skating. Each of the instructors is not only an expert in their field but makes the entire learning process fun. Already know how to skate? Why not take the advanced class and learn more about form and technique. Contact the center at (865) 983-7326 to learn more and book your lessons.

Life’s a Party

Looking to do something different the next time you have a birthday party or family event? Why not contact the Smoky Mountain Skate Center? You can book the entire rink along with the rest of the facilities. Party prices are very affordable and can be tailored to meet your needs for almost any size and age group. You do need to book your party at least one week in advance to give the Center time to prepare for it and to make sure no one else has the date and time already booked.

Go Shopping at the Pro Shop

If you need to buy yourself or a member of your family some new roller skating gear or have your current gear repaired, the Pro Shop can help. They offer a wide range of repair and tune-up services along with a full array of products and parts for many different brands of roller skates. You can stop in anytime the rink is open or call ahead to make sure they have the equipment, parts, or services you are interested in.

In an era where the roller skating rink is slowly fading into history, the Smoky Mountain Skate Center is one of the last in the area to keep its doors open. It still provides the same high level of family fun the roller rink has long been known for. The next time you are looking for a little family fun, why not take everyone out for a night of music, snacks, and roller skating?

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