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.
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!
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.
If you’ve driven through Harriman, you’ve crossed over the bridge that runs over the river. Did you know that underneath that bridge and to it’s left and right, there’s a BEAUTIFUL park? David Webb Riverfront Park is a labor of love created by a team of volunteers led by David Webb, longtime owner of the beloved Rocky Top General Store. The park features a moving tribute to war veterans as well as monuments dedicated to the heroism of our police and fire departments.
The park features a brand-new playground and dock, walking trail, picnic pavilion and events gazebo. What more do you need? Perhaps our favorite part about David Webb Riverfront Park is that it’s home to some of Harriman’s most beloved events including the Farmers Market, Cruisin’ and the increasingly popular Cobbler Festival!
Farmers Market – Every year from June to September, local farmers, beekeepers, jam makers, crafters and baker gather together under the new pavilion to offer their wares to the public. Offering a great local alternative to grocery stores, the farmers market is a gathering place where shoppers form relationships with local growers. Be sure to get there early or you’ll miss out! Some of the best honey, strawberry freezer jam, bread and tomatoes I’ve ever bought came from my friends at the farmers market.
Harriman Cruisin’ – Coming up on June 9th, Riverfront Park will be the gathering place for many an antique auto owner! Cruisin’ will kick off at 3pm as classic and specialty cars cruise in to show off! Bring the family down to see some amazing cars, chat with the owners, stroll through the park and enjoy what Harriman has to offer! If you’re free, meet us afterward at the Princess Theatre for a screening of “Smoky and the Bandit!”
Cobbler Festival – Entering its 3rd year, the Cobbler Festival is growing into the role of Harriman’s signature event! Competitors will fill the gazebo on Saturday, July 28 as they go head-to-head for the title of Best Cobbler Baker! Last year, we saw creative entries like bourbon apple bacon cobbler, traditional peach cobblers and everything in between. From sweet to savory, you never know who will have the edge at this year’s competition. Tickets will be on sale to sample the cobblers and vote for your favorite. Don’t forget to check out the vendors set up in the park too! If you’re lucky, you may just find a little ice cream to go with your cobbler!
If you’ve never been or if it’s been a while, make your way down to David Webb Riverfront Park this summer. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what an amazing hidden gem it truly is!
Most days are calm and quiet at Fort Southwest Point in Kingston. This reconstructed pioneer fort and museum overlooks the lake and preserves a serene part of Roane County history. However, there’s one day every year where people come to storm the fort. Sounds intense, right?
The Storm the Fort Half & Sprint Triathlon is held every August as athletes converge to see who can conquer this challenging course. This year, the competition will take place on August 20th and will feature the area’s fiercest triathletes.
As in the previous two years, Storm the Fort will offer both a half iron distance and a sprint option. The sprint race consists of a wave point to point 600 meter swim, fairly flat (by East TN standards) 17 mile bike course, and an out and back “around the Fort” 4 mile run on the Kingston greenway.
One of the coolest features of this race is the coveted miniature cannons that are given as awards. Where else does your race begin with cannon fire and end with the opportunity to take home a mini version of such a cool memento?
I spent a couple hours at the Roane County Park in Harriman park running, walking, and sitting on the bench watching the ducks in the water and the kids on the playgound. I love the park – the water, the walking trail, the swimming area and splash pad, the disc golf course, the wildlife, the grilling stations…it’s just so peaceful.
There are areas to fish and swim and shelters to have a picnic. There are tennis and basketball courts. There are so many activities to enjoy!
Before we all hibernate for the winter, I encourage you to take time out of your day to soak up the sunshine at the park. Beautiful! Click here for more information.
I had never played that particular course and, boy, was it hilly! Walk the course if you’re looking for a bit of a workout. We went the golf cart route…
Rates are reasonable and affordable. For $13, Daniel got a round and a golf cart. If you’re walking the course it’s $7. It’s a fun and challenging course and I love the fact that it’s less than 10 minutes from our house.
Over the summer, we plan to play golf at other Roane county courses. So watch for future posts on Lakeside Golf Course and Southwest Point to name a couple. For more information on Roane county courses, click here.
For you golfers out there, Daniel added a bit more review….