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!
Four years ago Roane Tourism amped up our marketing program by first creating a more visual website – after all, people do come here because of the beauty. So this required photo and video shoots to capture life in Roane. Then we went to work marketing all over about how you could Soak in Roane (SIR), the first-ever tourism campaign that launched early spring with social media contests throughout the summer with SIR swag, a Jackson kayak from Uncle Lem’s and a weekend stay in an RV from Caney Creek RV Resort.
We created new visual media such as pull-up banners, post cards, visitors guide plus SIR t-shirts, stickers, koozies and bags. Not to mention, WBIR’s spotlight on Watts Bar Lake in July, with a live remote for Live at Five at Four at Kingston’s City Park. Whew! What a busy year! But the amount of advertising even surprised us when it was all said and done. Take a glimpse as I flip through the 2017 Media Marketing book!
And the numbers show those efforts are working. Comparing 2017 to 2013 (before we amped up the marketing program), visitor spending in Roane increased by $5.3 million, creating $380,000 more in local tax receipts that goes directly to our schools. Increasing visitors also provides more jobs in the hospitality businesses. In that same time, 70 more tourism jobs became available that provided $2.5 million in payroll. So yes, we feel our efforts are working and can’t wait to meet even more visitors coming to Soak in Roane!
Want to know more about the Roane Alliance and how we work to increase Roane’s economy? Check out our 2017 Annual Report and visit www.VisitRoane.com to learn more about tourism in Roane.
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?
My husband and I celebrated our two year anniversary enjoying the lovely, inviting, breath-taking views of WhiteStone Inn. Located on Watts Bar Lake and just 30 minutes from our home in Harriman, WhiteStone Inn is described as a “sanctuary for the soul” – and I can attest it is just that.
When you look on their website for directions, there’s a quote that I thinks sums it up quite nicely.
“Whitestone is sequestered from the outside world; it’s far enough into the country to shut out the distractions, but close enough that the journey is not a burden.” While it was a short driving distance, we felt as if we had escaped to a retreat of utter relaxation. Our room was nicely decorated, comfortable, and the porch was a perfect spot to soak in the gorgeous sunrise.
The property, a 600-acre AAA 4-Diamond bed and breakfast, resembles a village, complete with farmhouse, cottage and southern lodging. While we were there, Daniel and I canoed on the lake, played a competitive game of ping pong and cornhole, hiked one of the winding trails, enjoyed a carriage ride around the area, went fishing at the bass pond, and ate…very, very well. The food at the Inn is delicious. By the way, you don’t have to be an overnight guest to enjoy their dining – simply call up and make reservations for an evening of fine cuisine with beautiful views. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the AMAZING massage I had during my stay…hands down one of the best I’ve had.
There are a whole host of other activities there at the Inn, we’re wanting to go back to try the rest! Thanks to the WhiteStone staff for helping us celebrate our anniversary in comfort and class.
Whitestone Country Inn 1200 Paint Rock Rd, Kingston, TN 37763
email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: (865) 376-0113 or (888) 247-2464
July 4th is celebrated in a big way here in Roane County. What a fun weekend!
Smokin’ the Water July 4th Celebration
July 3 – 4
10 am – 10 pm
$2 Entry Fee (wrist band gets you in on 3rd & 4th)
This year this annual day-long waterfront festival was host to the APBA Pro Series National Championship boat races, as well as a classic car show, homemade raft race, live music all day, Kids Zone, craft vendors, Zero Gravity Jumping, Laser Tag, contests, great food and the largest 4th of July fireworks show in east Tennessee…and all on the banks of Watts Bar Lake!