#SoakinRoane, harriman, Nature, Places

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.

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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!

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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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From Steers to the Stage

As most of you know, Roane County is home to Roane State Community College, but did you know that Roane State hosts cultural and community events like rodeos, dog shows, concerts, plays and much more? You’ll find something for everyone at Henry/Stafford East Tennessee Agricultural Exposition Center (or Ag Expo for short) and the O’Brien Theatre!

Ag Expo

The Expo center hosts events nearly every single weekend with most being free or at minimal cost to visitors. These events range from reigning horse demonstrations to barrel racing filled rodeos to Westminster style dog shows. Many of the events use both the indoor and outdoor arenas and are open to spectators.

The Ag Expo is also home to the annual Three Rivers Antique Tractor Show & Pull every October. This two day event features tons of antique tractors, a garden tractor pull and a large tractor pull as well as live music, concessions and lots of activities for children!

O’Brien Theatre

The O’Brien Theatre is home to many types of productions from plays to concert and everything in between. This auditorium has played host to famed authors and actors and is the perfect setting for The Nutracker Ballet performed by Arts in Motion every year.

The Theatre is also adjacent to the O’Brien Art Gallery which features exhibits of all media throughout the year. The gallery is free, but events in the Theatre often have an admission charge.

Whether you’re looking for a choral concert or a chance to pull on your rodeo boots, look no further than right here in Roane!

For more information on Roane State, click hereroane state expo.

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Moonshine, Music & More

If you haven’t been to Rockwood lately, let me just start by telling you that you’re missing out. With more and more awesome events, restaurants, and concerts popping up, you need to check our calendar and schedule some time exploring this gem! Let’s start with a few of my favorites:

Rockwood Museum & Visitors Center

Featuring artifacts from Rockwood’s rich history, this museum is a labor of love and an absolute gem. Stop in to learn about this small town’s history of moonshine and more!

The Museum is available as Rockwood’s favorite event rental space providing round tables, chair, platform stage and kitchen.

The Museum & Visitors Center is also home to the #RoaneSong concert series.

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RoaneSong is the aptly named concert series that takes Rockwood by storm on select Friday nights throughout the year. These concerts are a great chance to get up close and personal with your favorite (and soon-to-be favorite) singer songwriters in an intimate venue setting.

Just some of the incredible talent Roane Song has hosted include Jason Eskridge, Sam Lewis, Blue Mother Tupelo, Johnny Neel and more!   Always family-friendly enjoy some of the best live music this side of Nashville for only $10-$15/person admission.  Reservations usually not required but calling ahead is recommended as many times it is standing-room only and feel free to BYOB or bring something to eat (food and beverage are not available).

Favorite Eats

It’s no surprise that you’ll find me in Rockwood on any given weekend enjoying a small taste of what this town has to offer. My personal favorites all offer a little something different, but you can’t go wrong with any of these listed below.

Cadillac Grill – Roane’s newest and biggest sports bar and grill! Try the rock-a-maki appetizer. You won’t regret it!

6 Blessings Cafe – Rockwood locals love this great little lunch spot. When at 6 Blessings, NEVER skip dessert!

Club House Bar & Grill – One word. Wings. If you want the best wings in Roane, run, don’t walk to Clubhouse Bar & Grill located at Rockwood’s Golf Course.

Jake’s Bar & Grill – If you go to Jake’s, and you don’t try their new pizzas, you’re doing it wrong. Seriously. Get the pizza.

MeMe’s Restaurant – You NEED to be here for breakfast. Really, any meal is amazing, but their breakfast is good enough to make you wanna smack your mama, y’all!

Live & Let Live’s Soda Fountain – After you’ve gone on a full food tour of Rockwood, there’s ALWAYS room for ice cream! Stop in and step back in time at this old fashioned soda fountain complete with hand scooped ice cream.

Boutiques & Antiques

If you’re looking to walk off some of those calories, you’re in luck. Rockwood has several great boutiques and antique stores to find your new favorite conversation piece! Whatever you do, don’t miss a visit to A&E Mercantile for cute clothing and accessories for women and children. They have a great selection for curvier girls, too! Some of my favorite outfits were bought right here in Rockwood!

When I’m in the market for home decor and antiques, I always stop by You Say Tomato. You never know what amazing items you’ll find as you wander through the many booths at this antique paradise! I can almost guarantee that you won’t want to walk out empty handed.

Husbands, don’t panic! If you’re not a fan of shopping in antiques and boutiques, make your way just outside of downtown to visit Jerry’s Bait Shop. Here you’ll find all of your bait and tackle dreams come true! You’ll even find a brand new farmers market stocked with fresh goodies and baked treats to take home!

Festivals & Events

When it comes to festivals and events, there’s no where on earth that knows how to celebrate what makes a community unique better than Rockwood. Rockwood is home to the Thunder Road Festival held each April celebrating the city’s history as a primary route for moonshine runnin’ long before this high octane spirit was deemed legal.

Rockwood is also home to Rockwood’s Summer Cruise-In series and Fall Festival held in conjuction with the East Tennessee Polk Salad Festival. Each of these events bring in live entertainment, delicious food, lots of arts and crafts vendors and a great opportunity to spend time soaking in Roane right here in Rockwood.

This is just a small taste of all you can experience right here in Rockwood. Go check it out for yourself and let us know how you like to #SoakinRoane!

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