Nestled behind the iconic Kingston TVA Steam Plant, Lakeshore Park is one of the best birdwatching sites in the region. Birds can be seen throughout the park, whether they be swimming in the water, hopping beside the trails, or soaring in the air. Even a quick stroll through the park reveals why this park is one of the most-coveted birdwatching sites around.
Lakeshore Park, featured in our new outdoor guide, opened in 2014 and sits on a serene peninsula on the Emory River. The park is now one of the best birdwatching areas in the entire region. In addition to being a safe haven for wildlife, this park also offers many recreational opportunities. There are miles of scenic trails for walking or bike riding, multiple fishing piers, kayak launches, a boat ramp and dock, and picnic areas for a peaceful lunch in the great outdoors. Located just a few minutes from I-40, this park not only makes a great destination, but it also makes a relaxing stop if you are travelling through the area, especially for bird-lovers.
According to Waxwing Eco Tourism, there have been 90 bird species seen at Lakeshore Park in the past 30 days—and that’s only what has been reported! Included in this lengthy list are several species highlighted in our outdoor guide, such as the black-crowned night-heron, bald eagle, great blue heron, and osprey, all of which are associated with Roane County’s waters. Both great blue heron and osprey nests can be seen from the walking trails, providing a special experience for birdwatchers and non-birdwatchers alike. The river is not the only place to find fascinating bird species, however.
Within the trees and grasses of Lakeshore Park are a striking number of songbirds and other species that aren’t as comfortable in the water. When walking or biking the trails, you may run into a flock of chipping sparrows, hear the raspy call of a gray catbird, or find a pair of cedar waxwings flying between the trees. Other species found within the park are the beautiful yellow-throated warbler and the brown-headed nuthatch, a tiny, delightful bird that lives almost exclusively in the Southeast. These are only a few of the many bird species to look for at Lakeshore Park. With birds around every corner, don’t forget to bring your camera, binoculars, and field guide for an exciting adventure at Lakeshore Park.
The Henry/Stafford East Tennessee Agricultural Exposition Center, often simply referred to as the “Expo Center,” is one of Roane County’s hidden gems. The Expo Center opened in 1990 and is a part of Roane State Community College’s Roane County campus. The Expo Center is the busiest arena in Tennessee and brings an impressive amount of tourism into Roane County. The Expo Center hosts dog shows, a popular rodeo, many equine events, and more! Most events are free, making them perfect for fun family outings! Although the Expo Center will not be hosting any events for the rest of the year due to the current pandemic, they are hoping to reopen at the beginning of next year or possibly sooner should the situation change. For now, however, the Expo Center is celebrating their last event of the year, and there’s still time to check it out!
This weekend, the Expo Center is excited to host the Feathered Horse Classic for the first time! This event stars the Gypsy Vanner, a stunning breed with a rich history. Gypsies in England and Ireland sought the perfect horse to pull their caravans, so they began breeding horses with desired traits. The result was an easy-going, feathered horse with a beautiful, flowing mane. While Gypsy Vanners still aren’t the most common breed, they have spread from Europe and can now be found in countries around the globe. The Gypsy Vanner Horse Society was founded in 1996 and has promoted this breed ever since. Gypsy Vanner lovers agree that this special breed deserves more attention, and just once glance at this beautiful breed will show you why.
The Feathered Horse Classic prides itself in being “the largest & longest pure bred Gypsy horse show series” and has been going for 15 years and counting. With shows across the United States and even an annual show in Canada, the Feathered Horse Classic is important for the Gypsy Vanner community and fans alike. People came from several different states, including Florida, Texas, and Colorado, to make this weekend’s event possible. Liberty and Driving are two favorite parts of the show for both participants and attendees. While this is the Feathered Horse Classic’s first event in Roane County, it may not be the last—the show manager is hoping to come back next year for an even bigger event.
The Feathered Horse Classic continues on Sunday, August 30th beginning at 7:30am. For more information about the Feathered Horse Classic, Click Here.
For more information about the Expo Center, Click Here.
Your summer plans have probably been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another. With events being cancelled left and right, what can you still do during a pandemic? Visit a farmers market! Farmers markets make a great excuse to get out of the house, get outdoors, and find fresh, delicious produce. Wherever you are in Roane County, you’re never too far from a farmers market, making this the perfect summertime outing. So, we encourage you to join us in celebrating National Farmers Market Week (Aug 2-8, 2020) at one of our local farmers markets!
Harriman Farmer’s Market
The Harriman Farmer’s Market at David Webb Riverfront Park has been a part of the local community for over 10 years. Home to friendly people, flavorful produce, and fantastic deals, it’s no wonder why this market is a county staple. The local farmers bring a variety of fresh produce to sell, from tomatoes and cucumbers to cabbage, okra, blackberries, and more! You’ll find unbelievably great deals on the produce here, making it the perfect place to save money and eat local. Not sure what to do with your fresh fruits and veggies? Head over to Harriman Farmer’s Market’s Facebook page for recipes that use the produce found at the market. Whether you like your produce by itself or mixed into a dish, you’re bound to find something your taste buds will enjoy!
Fruits and veggies aren’t the only items being sold at this market, however. You may also find handcrafted knives, handmade aprons, engraved signs, handmade jewelry, and more! You can even chat with the artisans while browsing their talented work. Whether you’re an early riser or enjoy sleeping in, this farmer’s market has you covered. Harriman Farmer’s Market is open from June-September on Wednesdays from 2-5pm and Saturdays from 8am-noon. A lot of the produce sells quick, so be sure to arrive early or on-time to buy the faster-selling items. If you can’t make it earlier, don’t worry! There is still great produce and artisan products to find, and you may find that it’s less crowded and easier to talk to the farmers who are selling their produce. If you’re interested in being a vendor at this market, now is the perfect time to join! Because of the financial impact that COVID-19 has had on so many people, Harriman Farmer’s Market has waived all vendor fees this year! So, whether you’re wanting to purchase produce or sell it, head on over to the Harriman Farmer’s Market for a great, small-town experience!
*Saturday August 8th at 10:30am Sparky “The Fire Dog” will be at the Harriman Farmer’s Market to talk about fire safety! Bring your kids out for a fun day at the Farmer’s Market where they can learn about fire safety, enter a watermelon eating contest, pickup a craft to go, and play some fun yard games in the Park!
Kingston Lakeside Farmer’s Market
There’s a new farmers market on the block, and you need to know about it! Kingston Lakeside Farmers Market is brand new and already enjoying success. There are typically 25-30 vendors at this market, with each one being different from the next. Here, you can find a variety of flavorful, locally-grown produce, ranging from squash, tomatoes, and bell peppers to artichokes, muscadines, and herbs. Most of the produce is picked the day before the market, giving you some of the freshest produce around. If the delicious produce wasn’t enough, Lakeside Farmers Market is bursting other great food finds. Stroll around the market to find candy, jams, breads, meat, eggs, honey, and so much more—all locally made or harvested! This market is a foodie’s dream come true!
Food isn’t the only thing you can find at this market, however. Many of the vendors sell handmade specialty items you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the world! At Lakeside Farmers Market, you can purchase flower arrangements, jewelry, indoor and outdoor décor, soap, dog treats, clothing, dryer balls, stationary, and, again, so much more! These vendors are extremely talented, and most have a wide selection of products to choose from. This market is the perfect place to purchase presents for birthdays, holidays, and, of course, yourself!
Kingston Lakeside Farmers Market can be summed up in one word: community. This market was truly formed with the community at its heart. It brings artisans, farmers, and customers from across the community to one place. This farmers market is a great place to meet new people who share a love for Roane County, fresh food, and handmade items. This connectedness is a favorite aspect of the market, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. When events are getting cancelled left and right and everyday life is being interrupted in many ways, Lakeside Farmers Market is a wonderful way to have fun and connect with people on a regular basis. Kingston Lakeside Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday through Labor Day from 8am-11am.
In addition to helping the community, Lakeside Farmers Market also makes a positive impact on the planet. One of the biggest environmental impacts this market is making is by reducing the emissions that are caused by shipping items over long distances. Another positive environmental impact is found on the local farms. While many of the farms haven’t undergone the pricey process of organic certification, most of the farmers use the same or similar environmentally-friendly practices. You’ll find their “almost-organic” produce to be much fresher than the produce found in grocery stores, and you’ll also have the pleasure of supporting local farms. Shopping local doesn’t get better than this!
*Shipwreck Food Truck will be at the Kingston Lakeside Farmers Market Saturday Aug 8th from 8 am until 11 am. They will be set up in the KUMC Clothes Closet Parking Lot. Come See Us!
For a full calendar of upcoming events, local favorites, and more visit www.roanetourism.com or find us on social media!
Summertime is here, and we’ve got your resource for outdoor fun in Roane! Getting outside is healthy, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic. While COVID-19 has thrown a loop in many of our plans, it doesn’t have to stop your next outdoor adventure. Social distancing is easy to accomplish in the great outdoors, and being outside not only boosts one’s health but one’s mood as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that “Staying physically active is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy. In many areas, people can visit parks, trails, and open spaces to relieve stress, get some fresh air, and stay active.” Thankfully, Roane County is one of those areas. If you are having trouble deciding what to do on your next outing, don’t sweat it! Our new outdoor guide is here to help with activities for all ages to enjoy. Included in the free outdoor guide is a list of parks and their features, helping you choose the best park for your next outdoor quest.
Float in Roane
Fishing is a favorite pastime in Roane County, with bass, catfish, and crappie being some of the top catches. These fish and more are featured in our outdoor guide, along with other fun lake activities like tubing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. We’ve also included a list of local marinas to help you launch your next adventure on the water.
Soar in Roane
If fishing or boating isn’t your thing, there are numerous outdoor activities off the water. Birdwatching is a growing hobby in Roane County, and there are plenty of great birdwatching spots located throughout the county. To help you decide where to go first, we’ve included a few top birdwatching spots and the bird species you may find along the way. Birdwatching goes hand-in-hand with other fun outdoor activities, such as biking and hiking. The trails and greenways in Roane County are full of incredible plant and animal life, just waiting to be discovered!
Photos by Rick Mcculley and Aaron Brandon
If we’ve successfully got you craving outdoor adventure then it’s time for you to download the guide for more inspiration. Once it’s downloaded then you can Get Out there and start exploring! Be sure to tag us, the Roane County Visitor’s Bureau, in your social posts so that we can follow along with you as you explore!
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!
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’!
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!
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!
Today, 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.
And 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.
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!
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.
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.