#SoakinRoane, Eateries, Events, Live Music, Nature, Roane Tourism, Watts Bar Lake

Things to Do July 4th Weekend in Roane

While the temps are rising, like a typical Tennessee summer, this July 4th holiday weekend is going to be different to say the least. Many of our usual Independence Day celebrations have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

However, our parks, restaurants and some attractions are open in Roane County and there’s plenty of places to safely explore throughout the long weekend!

Take a night off from cooking and find a local restaurant 

Don’t we all spend holiday weekends the same way – eat, play, eat, eat, sleep, eat, repeat? Well we think you deserve to treat yourself to a night off from cooking. Let one of our local restaurants cook for you! Many restaurants in Roane are open for dine-in and/or offering takeout meals. You can find a list of restaurants in Roane on our website.

Dig in at Food Truck Friday

Did someone say Food Truck? Count us in! Start the weekend off at the Jim Henry Event Center with a delicious lunch from the Enjoy Latin Food truck. The Jim Henry Event Center hosts Food Truck Friday each Friday throughout August featuring a different truck every week. So, if you can’t make it there this weekend, be sure to check it out over the next few weeks!

Book a weekend of luxury at this sanctuary for the soul

If you’re looking for a quiet, secluded retreat to get away, then look no further. Discover the magic of refined country living at Whitestone Inn – a bed and breakfast on 600 beautiful acres in Roane County! Each of the rooms come with a whirlpool tub, free WiFi, and a country breakfast in the Farmhouse restaurant, surrounded on three sides with windows providing incredible views of meadows, the lake and mountains. The intimate fireplaces, comfortable beds, and fresh air are what make this romantic getaway such a great choice for your quiet retreat!

To start planning your trip, you can browse individual room details on their website.

Plan the perfect picnic at one of our Parks

If you aren’t yet ready to dine-in and takeout is your new normal, switch it up for the holiday and plan for a picnic at one of our local parks. Lakeside views and lush green parks make for the perfect opportunity to hang a hammock, throw a frisbee, fly a kite, ride a bike and certainly pack a picnic. You can also find some top-notch fishing, birdwatching and other outdoor activities in Roane. Pack your coolers, chairs, blankets and sunscreen and find your spot (there’s plenty of room for everyone!).  

For more information on everything you need to know about Roane Outdoors grab a copy of our new outdoor guide at any of our kiosks or download it online at www.roaneoutdoors.com!

Rent a fast boat or take a slow float

Up for an adventure on beautiful Watts Bar Lake? While kayak rentals are on hold for this weekend at the rental facility between the bridges in Kingston, there is still plenty of fun to be had on WBL. If you’re lucky enough to own a kayak yourself, one great spot to launch your ‘yak is Roane County Park. If you don’t own your own watercraft and a pontoon is more your style – Blue Springs Marina and Caney Creek Marina offer boat rentals!

Even though they aren’t offered this weekend, you can find more information on Kingston Parks and Recreation’s rentals by visiting our website.

Pick out fresh fruits and veggies at a local Farmers Market

Harriman Farmer’s Market brings local farmers and their customers together in a convenient location. They strive to help sustain our local farms while bringing the goods to the people! Their season spans from June to September, every Wednesday and Saturday – including July 4th! We hope that you will stop by and shop for the local fresh food our community has to offer.

Kingston Lakeside Farmers Market will be open on Saturday, July 4th. Stop by for lunch and to visit your favorite vendor. They will be giving away a Market Basket with some awesome items from their vendors. You will be able to register during the market for a chance to win an awesome basket of goodies!

Enjoy LIVE music lakeside

Listen to some great music, eat awesome food, and celebrate our freedom among friends at one of these LIVE music spots! Although these events won’t have a fireworks display, they will get your toes tappin’ and your head a bobbin’!

The Grand Opening of the Southwest Point Amphitheater on July 4th is the place to be in Kingston – offering multiple food truck options and three performing artists who are ready to rock your socks off!

Bayside Marina & RV Park has a weekend lineup that won’t disappoint! With a different band each night, great specials on food, plenty of outdoor seating and cold drinks it’s safe to say that this event is a good catch!

Party in the USA

Celebrate Independence Day with a car show, crafts, games and even wrestling at the 4th of July Block Party in Downtown Harriman! This is an event for all ages and is FREE to the public. So, grab the kids and the sunscreen and we’ll see you there! 

For some, it’s all about the FIREWORKS

Looking for fireworks shows? Blue Springs Marina and Crows Nest has you covered! Their annual Independence Day fireworks celebration will be on July 4th with the fireworks show starting at 9:30pm, preceded by our national anthem. A short reloading intermission will feature a solo trumpet performance and the evening will end with Taps. Full menu, fireworks, and great drink specials – what more could you ask for?!

Note: fireworks donations are currently being accepted in the Ship’s Store & Restaurant! Blue Springs Marina will match what is collected! If you plan to attend, please be safe and practice social distancing by remaining in your boat/car during the show.

Tune in for a virtual Independence Day celebration

While some businesses have canceled their annual in-person Independence Day events, one group has put together a way to virtually celebrate the holiday.

Instead of the traditional in-person celebration the Young Professionals of Roane County have planned an event called Celebrate Together, Roane County! Encouraging everyone to set-off their own fireworks at 9:30pm on July 4th to create a community-wide fireworks display!

Cruise your way past the weekend 

Throughout the summer, on the first Tuesday of each month, Rockwood Merchants Association offers fun for the whole family with classic cars, hot rods and motorcycles at the Cruise-In Downtown Rockwood! Even though this isn’t an event for the holiday weekend, it’s one that you won’t want to miss if you are in town until the beginning of the following week. There’s no entry fee required so join us in Rockwood on Tuesday July 7th for door prizes, live music, vendors and more!

Whether you live or vacation here, Roane County offers plenty of opportunities for family fun, outdoor adventure, toe-tapping music, lakeside views, and the relaxation that you have been looking for. For a full calendar of upcoming events, local favorites, and more visit www.roanetourism.com!

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Moving Roane County Forward Together

The last six weeks have been an unsettling time as we all had to learn how to live as normally as possible but avoid an invisible, deadly new threat called COVID-19.  Working from home or becoming unemployed, staying away from parents and friends, not leaving the house for weeks – all became the new normal for most of us. And while some of you found yourselves unexpectedly on the front lines (thank you nurses and grocery workers, just to name a few!), those who lost their job or livelihood were thrown into a much-worse new normal that made it difficult to even afford the basics.

So, we have to find another new normal that involves getting our businesses back open while not allowing the virus to destroy more lives.   For some, these past weeks forced us to reflect and slow down, so we realize now there has to be a better balance between work and home.  But I would guess that most everyone is as ready as I am to get back out there and begin figuring out the next ‘new normal.’   And since the virus isn’t going away, we all have to learn to do our part to help alleviate the threat while growing our economy.   It’s going to take time to get back to even close to where our economy was before the pandemic, not to mention Roane County was already showing signs of a slowing economy with closed stores and declining population.

I am confident that Roane County can emerge stronger, and I challenge everyone to help move Roane County forward together!  It will take us all, but if we all follow the state’s suggestions and take the TN Pledge, I firmly believe we can bring our community through this crises better and stronger than ever.  By everyone being aware, posting the information and following simple guidelines, could mean we get through this faster and safer:

  • Screen employees returning to work;
  • Keep workplace disenfected;
  • Practice social distancing at work and in public;
  • Post signage and reminders at work;
  • Limit self-service activities;
  • Wash hands often & wear a cloth mask; and
  • Allow working from home when possible and require staying at home when ill.

The Roane Alliance staff understands first-hand the challenges that the entire business community has had and will continue to face for some time. We are ready to move forward and to help our businesses and community move forward.  We receive daily information from our US and state representatives and organizations like the SBA, US Chamber and TN Chamber.  We will continue to be a resource and work hard to keep our local businesses and community informed and updated through the use of our website RoaneAlliance.org.  We are also a shoulder to lean on.  Have a question?  If we don’t know the answer, we will try to find it.

And we especially appreciate our Chamber members, many of whom we have been in contact with these past weeks.  I hope we were able to help you during this crisis.  As a Chamber member you have invested in your community so be assured that the Roane Chamber plans to continue to invest in you.

If your business has been negatively impacted, please know the Roane Chamber is prepared to employ strategies to help.  We do not want to lose you as a member, so if your renewal is due we can defer payment or setup installments.   We want to be part of the solution to get you back to where you were before the pandemic hit.  And, I ask that if your business is in the position to help the Chamber by paying quickly, either in full or partially, to please consider as it would go a long way to help us continue our efforts to help our members and the community get through this.

One last ask.  Remember the Roane Chamber’s #UniteRoane campaign that began five years ago with a membership drive?  Well we are bringing it back because it means more now than ever before – saving our businesses and community.  I hope everyone will get behind it, join and share the social conversations, plan to shop local for everything and #UniteRoane.   Learn more about the Roane Chamber’s shop local programs by visiting the Shop Roane webpage.   And don’t forget #UniteRoane #ShowYourLoveforLocal and lets move #RoaneForwardTogether!

 

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David Webb Riverfront Park Celebrates 21 Years!

gazebo2Today, the City of Harriman, celebrated 21 years at David Webb Riverfront Park.  And of course, the namesake and man behind the park – David Webb – was honored, along with friends and family who built memorials or gardens to make it the park it is today.  This marked the 21st anniversary of the opening celebration on October 18, 1998.  David talked about the history of the park and showed a slideshow of where it started to how and what it is today.

Interesting details about the park that I didn’t know – a $10,000 grant from TVA got the park started, while bricks used for the fountain came from the former Emory Gap School and flag pole from the old post office.  A large number of businesses and individuals over the years have donated plants, playground equipment, materials, and labor; and specifically, the first piece of equipment for the playground was donated by Roane Medical Center and the entire property where the park is located was donated by Christmas Lumber Company.  Dr. Julian Ahler was instrumental in building the gazebo where so many special moments have been made – whether it was the crowning of Miss Tennessee Polk Salad, being the backdrop for a beautiful wedding, or a celebration like today.  It truly has been a community effort.

The Tennessee Polk Salad Festival was held in the park for many years in the spring and at one time was not only one of the most unique festivals in the region but also one of the most popular.  People flocked to the festival to see antique cars, buy handmade and local goods, listen to bluegrass and gospel music, and of course – enjoy a mess of poke sallet cooked up special for the day.

There were other days where people flocked to the park – special Veteran’s Day ceremonies, Sunday afternoon concerts by the Babahatchie Community Band, movies in the park, and the ever-popular Cobbler Fest where you could try any flavor of homemade cobbler!  And David Webb and his wife, Mildred were not only there to enjoy every moment but were also there ahead of time to get the park ready and do whatever they could to make it perfect for the community.

Riverfront Park fountain & pavilionAnd that was in addition to David and Mildred running a large local country store – Rocky Top General Store.  David has certainly left his mark, not just on the city and the county, but also on visitors and people passing through Roane County.  He is the best ambassador for all things good in the county, and in fact, he had us set up a ‘satellite visitors bureau’ at the general store so he could provide brochures and information to visitors, along with his famous free popcorn.  And if anyone had the pleasure of being there when a group tour bus pulled in – well you know, he loved having Rocky Top blaring from the speakers when the bus pulled in the parking lot.  The store has sense closed to allow David to “retire” but all of us that know him know that word doesnt really exist for David.  In fact, he already has ideas for what to do on the expanded property at the east end of the park under the overpass.  He thinks he would like to build a waterfall for everyone to enjoy!

The park includes a walking trail, playground, pavilions (available for rent), park benches, fishing pier and a number of memorials honoring military, fireman, police and more.  It is also home to Harriman’s Farmers Market held in the summer on Saturday and Wednesdays.  For more details visit VisitRoane.com.

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30 Fall Events in Roane!

30 Fall Events in Roane

Fall officially began on September 23, so grab your pumpkin spice latte and check out our list of 30 Fall Events in Roane!

With cozy sweaters, leaves falling, pumpkin spice and everything nice, it is no wonder that Autumn is our favorite season around here! The gorgeous autumn scenery and crisp weather make it easy to get out and Soak in Roane during the fall. This time of year, Roane County hosts a wide array of fun-filled fall events! So, to make planning your fall fun even easier, we’ve created a list of events being held right here in Roane to help you find exactly what you’re looking for! Each of the events listed below is linked and once you click it, it will take you to that specific event on our calendar. From pirates, pumpkin patches, fall festivals, live music and movie nights to haunting history, trunk or treating, spooktaculars, and a field of screams….. the possibilities are endless!

30 Fall Events in Roane

Happy Fall, y’all!

Did we miss an event? Let us know by emailing tourism@roanealliance.org

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What the Heck is Singo?

I’m sure any person reading this is completely familiar with bingo. Someone calls out a number followed by a letter, you mark the space, you hope to fill up the row and win, right?

Something new has come to Roane County, and we’re excited to show you that this is not your mama’s Bingo! This new phenomenon taking Roane County by storm is played every single Thursday at Old Capital Public House in Kingston, and it’s called “Singo!”

Singo is much like bingo, but instead of calling out numbers and letters, the host plays song clips. It’s up to you to mark your card accordingly. The added challenge is that you have to know the song! It’s challenging, it’s entertaining and you don’t want to miss it!

Pair this fun game with the delicious food and craft beer at Old Capital Public House, and you’ve got a home run for date night, family night, girls night or anything in between! For more information, visit roanetourism.com/events.

singo

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Boutiques & Bluegrass

When you think of Roane County, you probably think of Watts Bar Lake, but these days, we’re gaining popularity among travelers due to our abundance of boutiques and our local bluegrass at Bradbury.

Over the past few years, locals have opened up new boutique shops all over Roane, each with a different style. You’ll find beautiful clothes, fun accessories and cozy home goods – all within your budget and taste!

Harriman is home to Emory Lane Family Boutique, Beyond All Measure Children’s Boutique, and Pansy Hill Boutique. Emory Lane is your one stop shop for personalized items! Add a monogram or a name to just about any article of clothing you can imagine. Beyond All Measure features lots of great children’s clothes, but they also have an entire wall of educational and engaging Melissa & Doug toys! Pansy Hill is your go-to for game day apparel – both high school and collegiate. You’ll also find a variety of Simply Southern tees, too!

In Kingston, stop by Everly Blu for the season’s latest trends. EB stocks a wide selection of clothes for women of all sizes, and the shoe selection is fantastic! You’ll also want to browse the selection of accessories because we guarantee you’ll find something you need!

A&E Mercantile, located in Rockwood, has the cutest selection of  wardrobe classics that are sure to become your new favorites. These staples come in lots of sizes, lengths and styles, all designed to make you feel beautiful. They also feature lots of local vendors for jewelry, home decor and more!

After a full day of shopping, head down to the Buttermilk Road exit to relax and enjoy local bluegrass music every Tuesday evening from 6p-10p at Bradbury Community Club. The Club also features a monthly jam on the third Saturday that you won’t want to miss.

Located in a restored schoolhouse, you’ll find music around every corner, but don’t be surprised when they invite you to sing along! This toe-tapping good time is a one of a kind experience you only get when you soak in Roane.

For more information on the boutiques in Roane or Bradbury Community Club, visit http://www.visitroane.com.

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Oliver Springs

Have you ever heard of a town that’s actually in 3 places at once? Sounds impossible, right? Well, Oliver Springs is proof that it’s not! This small town, located in Morgan, Anderson and Roane Counties, was once well-known as a vacation destination due to its beautiful hotel and natural springs.

Historic Oliver Springs was founded in 1821 as a coal mining town. The small town of 3000 people was incorporated in 1905, and is known for their pre-1900s buildings. Some of these include a former hospital, a family general store, and a train depot that serves as a museum/library. A walking tour brochure showcasing all of the beauty of Oliver Springs is available at the Roane County Visitors Center (1209 N Kentucky St in Kingston).

Downtown’s Train Depot Museum is a must-see! Built c. 1893, the Oliver Springs Depot was one of the busiest of the Coster Division. Its popularity grew along with the nationally known Oliver Springs Resort Hotel and nearby coal production. The last passenger train pulled through the depot in 1968. In 1983 Southern Railway planned to demolish the structure. The town rallied for saving this historic remnant and eventually struck a deal with Southern Railway, provided it would be removed from the site and relocated elsewhere. In 1986, the citizens of Oliver Springs were able to have the building moved across the street with the help of TVA. Today, you can even get up close and personal with a train caboose, ticket station and more! The Depot Museum is located at 610 Walker Avenue.

Oliver Springs is also home to one of the country’s largest distributors of confections, Country Fresh Fudge, and its retail store, Pamela Anne’s. Be sure to stop in and load up on sweet treats while in town!

train depot

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Murals Around Roane

We’ve all seen that picture perfect Instagram photo in front of a cool mural and wondered where we’d have to travel to snap the same photo. Look no further than right here in Roane! With murals of all kinds spread out across the county, you’ll be racking up likes in no time.

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Kingston, Rockwood and Harriman all have an abundance of artwork to check out, all with their own unique style and subject. From riverboat scenes to football games, there are lots of ways to enjoy these larger than life pieces of art.

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To begin your mural tour, we recommend starting your morning at Our Town Coffee or Handee Burger for a quick breakfast. Make your way toward the courthouse and you’ll find at least 3 murals within walking distance.

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From there, it’s a quick car ride down to Harriman where you’ll find gorgeous murals on both ends of N Roane Street. One even features a football game between Harriman College and the University of Tennessee in the early 1900s! You just may spot the remnants of murals from days gone by if you look close enough between buildings.

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Last, make your way to Rockwood to see their beautiful tribute to the city’s 150th birthday featuring a Tennessee Tri-Star mural that has quickly become a favorite among visitors in Roane.

No matter where you wind up, be sure to tag your murals photos with #soakinroane so we can see them!

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K-25 Overlook & Visitor Center

Roane County is made up of 5 unique cities, but did you that one of those cities was once a secret community that changed the course of history? Oak Ridge, Tennessee, formerly known as “The Secret City,” was formed from farmland in Anderson and Roane Counties and used as a top-secret location for enriching the uranium that went into the atomic bomb that ended World War II.

Both counties are doing their part to preserve that history, and Oak Ridge is now a part of the Manhattan Project National Historic Park! Fortunately for us, Roane County holds much of the rich history of the Manhattan Project, including the community once known as Happy Valley.

In fact, Happy Valley is where the K-25 Facility sat from the 1940s until recent years, and it’s history is now being preserved through the K-25 Overlook & Visitor Center.

The Overlook & Visitor Center was recently renovated by our friends at Bionomics, Inc.  and the help of Designsensory with the shared vision to see this space become a recreational hub as well as an additional resource for preserving this piece of our past.

The Overlook features maps of trails surrounding the visitor center, historical displays and a chance to relax and recharge before exploring the recreational opportunities laid out before you.

The Overlook is open during daylight hours. Be sure to use the hashtags #soakinroane and #exploreroane when you visit!

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Hooray for Harriman

Every Labor Day, the City of Harriman opens its arms to everyone as they gather to celebrate the city’s history and tradition at the annual Hooray for Harriman street festival! This event features live music, lots of arts and crafts vendors, delicious food and fun for the whole family! This year’s event takes place September 2 from 9a – 4p in Downtown Harriman (N Roane Street).

This year, the Princess Theatre is getting in on the fun! You can beat the heat by stepping inside this restored art-deco theatre and enjoying a variety of entertainment. See schedule below:

9a-11a – The History of Harriman

11a – 12:40p – Film: “A Dog’s Life”

2p – The Singing Cookes on stage

Once you step back outside, you shouldn’t miss kids alley! There will be kids activities, inflatables and more! One of our favorite parts of the day is strolling from vendor to vendor finding all sorts of great handmade items. If you’re ready to start thinking about Christmas, it’s a great chance to get a jump start on gifts! Many of the downtown shops will be open as well, allowing you the opportunity to meet local business owners who are striving to make Harriman an even better place to live, work and play!

For more information about Hooray in Harriman, visit http://www.cityofharriman.net.

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