I often take for granted the proximate advantages of living in East Tennessee. I can spend the morning floating on the lake and be in the middle of the mountains in the afternoon. Hell, I can see the mountains from the lake. I think it’s pretty cool that if we want to ‘get away from it all’ we can simply drive 45 minutes down the road and be in the middle of Smokey Mountain National Park.
And last weekend that’s exactly what we did. I didn’t need to get away from anything per se, but the odor of a heartbreaking loss was stagnant over Knoxville and I needed some mountain air.
You can get to the park from Knoxville one of two ways – the scenic country route via Townsend (where Blackberry Farm calls home) or the commercialized, tacky route via Gatlinburg (home of such attractions as Dollywood, Hillbilly Golf, and Ole’ Smokey Moonshine – yeahhhh). Not to diss on Gatlinburg because it can be a fun drive if you want to play tourist for the day, but on this day, it was the un-congested Townsend route we took – stopping in Maryville along the way at our favorite pre-hike meal joint, The Market.
The Market offers all kinds of goodies ranging from locally grown produce, fresh meats and seafood, a surprisingly extensive beer selection, and an AWESOME lunch counter. This go ’round I decided on the Pimento Cheese BLT and a cup of Lobster Bisque. Um, that lobster bisque is the best I’ve ever had. I know…best lobster bisque ever from a random market in landlocked Tennessee? But it’s true. The amount of lobster in that cup of soup had to at least be a full tail. It was like lobster meat in a bisque sauce rather than the typical bisque with a few bites of meat. Seriously amazing stuff right there.
Following our less than typical pre-hike meal (which also included a double chocolate stout – because all good hikes start with a beer..) we got back on the road and headed straight into the park, stopping at a pull-off to hike a trail we’d never done before:
Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on the majority of hiking trails in the Park, so the pups had to stay home. But, J and I had a nice, albeit uphill, hike
and three hours later we were ready to head back home.
Fried Pies!! A true Southern heart attack of pie filling stuffed between a crispy fried pie shell and served warm. We got an apple flavored pie, a cider, and enjoyed our goodies while sitting in rocking chairs on the front porch of the store. Classic.
I consider the passing of the seasons to be marked not by a solstice or equinox, but rather business decorations and windows. If there are pumpkins, hay bails, and corns stalks out, Fall is upon us. And per my observations this weekend, Autumn is most definitely here.
In other news…this is my 100th post. I put a lot of thought into creating some grand production, baking myself a cake or throwing sassy swan soirée (alliteration at its finest right there folks) but a miscalculation in my post outlook for the month lead me to simply forget. Oopsies.
Still, I think 100 posts is a milestone so I’m going to pat myself on the back today, maybe drink a nice glass of something or other, and toast to myself and my readers for putting up with 100 rants, recipes, reviews, and running woes.
So cheers to me, cheers to you, and cheers to 100 more.