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Bark About Town at Fort Paws

It’s no surprise that people with pets love to do as much for their fur babies as possible. New toys, tasty treats, and new places to explore and exercise are all a part of the life of a dog owner, and now thanks to Roane’s new dog park, our canine friends and their owners are finding new and better ways to Soak in Roane!

Located on Highway 58 off I-40 Exit 352 before you reach Fort Southwest Point, Fort Paws is a brand new dog park featuring fire hydrants, lots of room to run, dog water fountains, shade trees, benches and more! Built in safety features ensure that your four legged furry friends can run off-leash without fear of an escape.

The parking lot even features a protective coating to keep those fuzzy feet from suffering painful burns on hot asphalt.

Located adjacent to the park, you’ll find gorgeous views of Watts Bar Lake and access to a waterside walking trail that spans several miles. From the trail, you can easily walk your dog (on a leash, of course!) to Fort Southwest Point or to the Gravel Pit or Kingston City Park. There are lots of ways to enjoy the views and amenities offered for animal lovers!

My dogs, Hoagie and Clementine, are big fans of Fort Paws, and we go every week! If you see us, come say hi! We’d love to tell you more about why we call this place our Roane Sweet Roane!

 

clementine

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Where to Eat on Watts Bar Lake

volcano burger caney creek.jpgOne of my favorite things about summer is finding a patio, a cold drink and good food. If there’s live music, even better! Lucky for me, Roane County has a handful of great options for waterfront dining. Whether you’re traveling by boat or by car, you don’t want to miss out on these local gems! Here are a few of my personal favorites:

If you find yourself near Caney Creek, stop on in and see Mike at Caney Creek Grille! Famous for their all-you-can-eat catfish on Sundays, this is the place to be on weekends. The Grille features great local bands often, and it’s not uncommon to find a packed house. Friday nights are my favorite because there’s almost always a live band. My personal favorite is the cajun burger, but you’ll never go wrong with the catfish either. Seasonally, Caney Creek Grille is open Thursday – Sunday (hours vary). If you’re arriving by boat, but you’d rather keep on cruising, call ahead for dockside delivery! Now THAT’S service!

Next, we’re on to the Crow’s Nest Restaurant at Blue Springs Marina! My personal favorite is karaoke night on Thursdays topped off with a cup of shrimp and corn chowder and crab cakes. Wash it all down with an ice cold beverage, and you have the recipe for an excellent night! The Crow’s Nest is also an excellent venue for lakeside views and live music. While the Marina itself is open 7 days a week for boaters, the restaurant is open Thursday-Sunday (hours vary). If you don’t have your own boat, no worries. You can rent one from Blue Springs! Excuse me while I plan my next day off… a boat rental on Watts Bar, great food, live music or karaoke…days like that can’t be beat.

Lastly, I want to make sure you know about an option that’s a little outside the box. Long Island Marina has grown so much over the past 2 years, and it’s now one of my personal favorite hangouts. Every single weekend, they bring in a food truck and with last summer’s addition of their patio affectionately known as “The Perch”, I could stay there all day! I’ve met so many interesting people there, and I love to chat with the owner, Marla. She’s warm and welcoming, and you can tell she genuinely loves her job. The food trucks she brings in offer everything from waffles to veggie burgers, and it’s such a fun experience all around. The food trucks are usually there on weekends, but the Marina store is open 6 days a week (closed Mondays) if you’re just looking for a light snack or on a beer run.

So what are you waiting for? Make plans to check out one or all of these great spots this weekend. You won’t regret it!

 

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National Tourism Week Recap

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For those of you who don’t know me, the voice behind the blog, I’m Sam. I’m the Communications & Marketing Manager for the Roane Alliance, and it’s my job to tell the world about all of the great things Roane County has to offer. When Lake Season begins, we hit the ground running, typically launching into full summer mode on National Tourism Week in early May. Since then, things have been crazy, but I wanted to take a minute to recap what a great week we had!

As part of National Tourism Week, we went on the road with brand new t-shirts and koozies to showcase a few of the many things we love about Roane. This meant visiting local attractions, restaurants and lodging as part of a marketing strategy encouraging visitors and residents to Soak in Roane. We also wanted to make our tourism partners aware of the merchandise we have available in our welcome center by advertising our tourism brand.

We kicked off the week with a Grand Re-Opening Party at the K-25 Overlook & Visitor Center in Oak Ridge which gave the public an opportunity to try local food trucks, hear homegrown bluegrass music and experience the history of Happy Valley and its role in the Manhattan Project.

On Tuesday evening, my mom and I put on our dancing shoes for an evening of wonderful music and fun as we sat in on bluegrass jams at Bradbury Community Center’s weekly Pickin’ and Grinnin’ event! We had a blast going from room to room listening in and singing along to gospel and bluegrass favorites. Now, it’s an event I don’t miss!

On Wednesday, Gabe Collier took me on a tour of Whitestone Inn’s beautiful grounds compete with a sneak peek into their summer concert series. We took the golf cart all over the property, peeking into the beautiful suites, scoping out the tennis courts and talking about what makes Whitestone such an incredible place to stay.

On Thursday and Friday, Alix (our project manager) and I hit the pavement visiting Our Town Coffee Café, Rusted Roots Café & Market, Amazing Bakes Cookies and Cakes, Harriman’s Carnegie Library, Chuck’s Deli, Oliver Springs’ Depot Museum & Abston Garage, Old Pals Kitchen, Jolly Bowl, the Clubhouse Bar & Grill at Rockwood Golf Course, Shipwreck Diner, Cadillac Grill, and The Living Room Arcade & Event Center. We topped off the week with our friends from the Morristown Marine Team Trail at Jerry’s Bait Shop where more than 220 boats were set to launch as part of their fishing tournament series. Donna Cox at Jerry’s Bait Shop said that the week had been “great” and that business was better than ever while expressing her thanks for the part we play in promoting her business.

It was so much fun to connect with local business owners while promoting all of the wonderful assets we have in Roane. The sights, sounds and flavors of Roane County all come together to create something truly special, and I love that we get to share it all during National Tourism Week!

What’s your favorite Roane County restaurant or attraction? Who would you like to see featured on our tourism facebook page, Roane County Visitors Bureau?

 

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Spend a Saturday Evening in Kingston

meg on waterTomorrow, there are 2 very different events taking place in and around Kingston. Whether you’re more into fear or farms, we’ve got you covered!

For those that like to be scared, don’t miss your chance to experience The Meg on the Water at Kingston City Park (333 W Race St, Kingston) on Saturday, June 22.

Bring your own inner tube, life jacket (life jackets are required) and $15, and you can spend the evening floating in Watts Bar Lake while you watch The Meg on the big screen! Don’t have an inner tube? Bring an extra $5 to rent one! Everyone who stays in the water until the end of the movie will get an “I survived” style t-shirt!

The movie starts at sundown (approximately 9:00 PM). Brave movie watchers should arrive and check in at 7:00 P.M. at Kingston City Park under the pavilion. There will be directional signs and shuttles to drive you and your tube to the drop-off location to enter the water. There will be multiple parking areas surrounding the park including: Roane County High School, Kingston Community Center, Byrd Field Park, The Gravel Pit, and limited spots available inside Kingston City Park. You will be allowed entry 1hr prior to start of movie. Food vendors will be at the event, so come hungry!

Before you head down to get in the water, stop by Our Town Coffee Cafe for a shark bite frozen lemonade, too! We’ll call it liquid courage even though there’s no alcohol. Ha!

If you’re not a scary movie fan, there are other options! Head to Narramore Farms Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze (199 Laurel Bluff Road) for their first-ever Sweet Corn Festival! On Saturday, June 22 from 5p-9p, the farm will be open for an evening of family fun.

For just $5, you can come play on the farm, enjoy live music by husband & wife duo Westwend, purchase their sweet corn right from the source,  enjoy roasted corn, shop local vendors & top off the evening with s’mores around the bonfire.

Rumor has it, Narramore Farms’ corn is the best around. So why not bring the family over to find out? There’s plenty for kids of all ages to do, too!  This includes swings, small slides, culvert slides, pedal car track, duck races, ring toss, tetherball, tug o war, culvert swing, and many other activities.

For a calendar of upcoming events around Roane, click here.

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Friday Nights on Roane

If you’ve been to Harriman recently, I’m sure you’ve noticed that downtown seems a little more lively these days. This is thanks, in part, to an influx of wonderful entrepreneurs who see the potential in this town and want to be in on the ground floor of making it great. You’ll find boutiques, antiques, an arcade and a candy store all within a few steps of the twinkling marquee of the Historic Princess Theatre. It’s not hard to see why we love to soak in Roane when strolling the streets of downtown.

Because these shop owners love where they work, they want all of us to come play there too! That’s why they’ve introduced a new monthly event called Friday Nights on Roane! On the second Friday of each month through October, you can head to Downtown for live music, vendors, food trucks & great deals in many of the shops!

There’s free parking available throughout Downtown, and you’re sure to find something you just have to have – whether it’s a juicy burger or a cute jumpsuit! Make plans to stop in and see all these businesses have to offer. Play a game of pool or buy the perfect birthday gift. Find a cute dress or dig through a crate of vinyl. You’ll have a great time, and you’ll be supporting local businesses at the same time!

Friday Nights on Roane will take place from 5p-8p on these dates:

June 14

July 12

August 9

September 13

October 11

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Photo above is from Hooray for Harriman, an event that takes place in Downtown Harriman every Labor Day.

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Summer is the Perfect Time to Soak in Roane!

Designsensory-RoaneCo-July2017-PROOF-049-DQ9A9749Summer is here, and there’s no better time to “Soak in Roane!” All season long, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for festivals, food, fishing and fun!

Looking to escape into another world for a few hours? Two weekends remain for Harriman’s Tennessee Medieval Faire. On June 8-9, you and your entire family can be transported to a time of jesters, jousting matches and just about any artisan vendor you could want.

Downtown Rockwood’s Polk Salad Festival brings fun and local flavor to town on June 15! Good food, great music & historical vendors make this a can’t-miss event every year! The ladies of the Women’s Auxiliary of the American Legion sure know how to cook!

Looking for a little more music? You’ll find great bands and solo artists playing all summer long. Every single Tuesday night, you’ll hear live bluegrass at Bradbury Community Club on Buttermilk Road. Want to be a part of the action? Bring or borrow an instrument and join right in!

If you’re more of a casual observer, give the game of Singo a try on Thursday nights at Old Capital Public House! It’s played just like Bingo, but with a musical twist. Order dinner, grab a card and sing along.

If Gospel is more your style, you can find it at Whitestone Inn’s Summer Concert Series. With performances by Jeff and Sheri Easter, Guy Penrod, The Martins, The Isaacs and many more. Tickets are on sale now.

Maybe you’d rather listen to music on the banks of Watts Bar. Well, you can do that too! Our marina restaurants book bands nearly every weekend, and it’s sure to be a rocking good time.

Speaking of Watts Bar, there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of summer days on the water. You can rent a paddleboard in Kingston, fish on the banks of more than 700 miles of shoreline, kayak across a quiet cove or meet your friends on the sand bar for a day of sunshine and good times!

On June 22, those who dare can float in the waters of Watts Bar after dark at Kingston’s Jaws on the Water event! If you’re brave enough, you can watch this classic American horror film from the comfort of your own innertube.

Begin July at Kingston’s Smokin’ the Water July 4th Festival! Great live music, an amazing kid’s area, tons of vendors, and the best fireworks display on the water in East Tennessee make this an annual favorite throughout the region. Best of all? It’s free! Save your money to spend on food trucks. You won’t be disappointed.

Round out July with an All-American experience at the City of Harriman’s Annual Cobbler Festival on Saturday, July 27. Sample creative and classic cobblers in the gazebo, vote for your favorite and stick around to hear who wins! There are plenty of vendors and musical acts to keep you busy.

This is just a small taste of how you can “Soak in Roane” this summer. There are many more events happening across the county. Make plans to visit your favorites, and be sure to use the hashtag #soakinroane so we can share your adventures with all of our followers across social media.  For a full calendar, visit www.visitroane.com/events.

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Roane Chosen as Tennessee RiverLine Pilot Community

It’s no secret that Roane County has incredible waterways for recreation and tourism. Because of this, Roane was just announced as one of five communities in the region (only 2 in Tennessee) chosen for the Tennessee RiverLine Pilot Program!

What is the Tennessee RiverLine?

The Tennessee RiverLine is a vision for a continuous, multimodal system of trail experiences along the Tennessee River from its formation in Knoxville, TN, to its confluence with the Ohio River in Paducah, KY.

Complementing the numerous river access initiatives already established or underway along the river’s reach, the Tennessee RiverLine seeks to…

Celebrate the beauty, diversity, and history of the Tennessee River Valley

Connect the people and communities of the valley to each other, to our river heritage, and to the Tennessee River landscape

Catalyze new investments, economic opportunity, social health, and ecological stewardship

Roane County certainly believes in this mission and is a great fit for the program.

With more than 43 miles of the Tennessee River flowing through our county, our government understands the importance of using this asset to our advantage. Roane County has made river accessibility a priority in recent years with various projects providing numerous canoe/kayak launches, docks, bridges to connect to hiking, etc.

The Tennessee River is also instrumental for tourism in Roane. Many visitors choose to stay on the banks of the Tennessee River at Riley Creek Campground or venture out to Thief Neck Island which is the River’s largest island boasting 750 acres of wildlife, camping, kayaking and many more recreation opportunities.

If ever there was a beautiful, diverse and historic section of the Tennessee River, it’s right here in Roane!

The rich river history of Kingston’s steam boat companies, Fort Southwest Point and Rockwood’s ironworks all work together to paint a beautiful picture of our legacy and our landscape.

As this post goes live, several additional projects are in the works that will allow Roane County to seek economic opportunity through new investments, and it’s our belief that the Tennessee RiverLine Program will help to connect those dots.

Roane County Grant Administrator Jamie Kinard was instrumental in completing the pilot program application. Like us, she’s very excited about the possibilities this partnership can bring to Roane County. Jamie says, “I believe Roane County was named a TN RiverLine Pilot Community for its shared vision and belief in connecting communities by utilizing its natural resources, sharing its rich history and celebrating its unique culture. Roane County has a lot to offer and is honored to be selected!”

To learn more, visit http://www.tnriverline.org.

Roane County PC Badge

 

 

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Bike Rides & Bike Races – Both Are Found in Roane!

Did you know that there are miles and miles of trails designed for walking, hiking and biking here in Roane Sweet Roane? In fact, Roane County is becoming a destination for bikers looking to improve their times while enjoying scenic vistas and rolling hills. That’s why registration for the Oak Ridge Velo Classic and Three River Rumble often fills quickly!

The Three River Rumble is rapidly approaching! This event, held July 21 & 22, 2018, is home to this year’s TBRA State Championship Road Race as well as a fun-filled Omnium! Bikers will flock to Rockwood, Harriman & Kingston to be part of this beloved event that includes time trials, a road race and a criterium.  The competition will be fast and fierce, and you’ll want to bring a lawn chair to catch the action!

Held in April, the Oak Ridge Velo Classic is a USA Cycling sanctioned event that includes a road race, time trial and criterium at the former site of K-25 (part of WWII history). The criterium races, likened to “NASCAR on bikes,” will take place on a one-mile course at the Horizon Center. There are many spots along the course for spectators to come enjoy this annual event.

Looking to get your bicycle out on the trail without the thrill of competition? Don’t worry! There are plenty of places you can take a leisurely ride around Roane. Check out Lakeshore Park, Rockwood Forest, David Webb Riverfront Park, Kingston City Park, the Wheat Trail or any of the trails found on MapMyRide. 

Want to learn more about all of the amazing outdoor recreation opportunities available right here in Roane? Check out our website for more! Click here to plan your trip. 

Do you know of a trail you’d like us to share? Comment below with your favorites!

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Fun Day on WBL With K-Dub

KW shoot 2In the middle of May, our friends from Knoxville Weekend (affectionately known as K-Dub) came to Roane County to see what’s so great about Watts Bar Lake. Our friend and host, Jac B., was up for any adventure we threw her way, and little did she know just all we had planned for her!

We began in the morning at Kingston City Park for a Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga lesson from Krystal Hennagar. Krystal is the instructor and proprietor of Roane County SUP Yoga. She is well versed in poses, perfect balance and creating an atmosphere of calm all while on the water. Watching Krystal, you’d think anyone can stand on a board and practice yoga, and if you ask her, that’s exactly what she’ll tell you! In just a matter of minutes, Krystal had Jac out on the board standing and stretching. Pair the peace of a yoga class with the serenity of still water, and you’ve got yourself a fitness utopia.

From there, we hopped on a boat with our captain for the day, Michael Heidle of Bunch Marine. Bunch Marine provided a beautiful pontoon boat for our day on the water. In fact, Bunch sells boats and boating accessories for every type of lake lover!

On the way, we had the opportunity to show the Knoxville Weekend team Gizmo Island and tell them about Gizmo Jam. They were all amazed to know that the entire music festival can be held the Saturday before Memorial Day and is only accessible by boat.

We also got to show them Fort Southwest Point and Camp John Knox by boat and share the rich history of Roane from right there on the water.

Around 11:30am, we docked at Blue Springs Marina for lunch at The Crow’s Nest. There, Jac had the opportunity to interview restaurant owner, Janet Steidle, about their food including their delicious burgers, crab cakes, and world-famous meatloaf.  We found out that Jac loves pretzels and beer cheese, so we ordered the appetizer to split. There’s nothing quite as relaxing as a lakeside lunch at Blue Springs!

We loved having the opportunity to tell her about the sailboats, the fish and the friendly atmosphere.From there, we headed over to Caney Creek RV Resort & Marina to hang out with manager Doug Phillips.

Doug gave Jac the rundown of all things RV as they discussed the resort and it’s amenties as well as the access to the marina and Roane County Park.

After a quick cruise by Roane County Park, we headed back to Kingston to finish out the day and wrap up the shoot.

It was a blast to take our new friends out to some of our favorite spots on WBL! Wanna see the video? Click here and you can!

 

 

#SoakinRoane, Roane County, Roane Tourism, Watts Bar Lake

More Visitors Are Soaking in Roane

Muir Fest booth SIR

Soak in Roane booth at John Muir Fest (l-r): Marilyn Calfee, Roane Chamber Chair; Eddie May; Pam May, Vice President and Teresa Jackson, Member Services Coordinator, the Roane Alliance

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.