Destinations from the Carolinas to the Gulf

Henry Clinard (son of Johann Philip Kleinert) in Virginia

Abingdon, Virginia – Henry Clinard in Washington and Wythe County

A few years ago I decided to track down my Clinard family history in person. The trail led through Abingdon, Virginia and then on to Old Salem and Abbotts Creek, North Carolina. Our first stop was Abingdon to visit their archives and court house to look up records on Henry Clinard (1770s – ?), brother to my ggggggrandfather, Lawrence Clinard and son of Johann Phillip Kleinart/Clinard (1725-1802).

My mother loves history as well, so I took her along for the ride. This was the “Tavern” in downtown Abingdon, Va was built in 1779 and would have been there when Henry and Mary lived in the Abingdon area.

According to their website at:  “The Tavern, the oldest of Abingdon’s historic buildings and one of the oldest west of the Blue Ridge, was built in 1779. It was used from it’s beginning as a tavern and overnight inn for stagecoach traveler’s. The Tavern has had such guests as Henry Clay; Louis Philippe, King of France; President Andrew Jackson; and Pierre Charles L’Enfant, designer of Washington D.C.”

The Tavern, Abingdon, VA

We booked a couple of nights at the Shepherd’s Joy B & B on the edge of town and enjoyed our stay. They had beautiful antiques and their meals were delightful. I didn’t take many pictures but you can see more on their website at

shepherds breakfast

shepherd's joy buffet

We visited the Washington County, Virginia Historic Society where I found a little bit of information on Henry Clinard and his wife, Mary Rosenbaum Hinkle Clinard. Here is what we know about Henry. He was in Virginia as early as February 1797 when he marries Mary Rosenbaum Hinkle in Virginia on Dec. 7, 1790.

She had previously married John Hinkle on Feb. 26, 1790 in Rowan Co., N.C. (not sure how he fits in with the Rowan Co Hinkles – perhaps he was the son of Peter Hinkle (1743-1775) and a sibling to Mary, Anthony and Peter?). We don’t know when or where he dies but she re-marries 10 months later to Henry.

It would appear that Henry Clinard/Clynard was the first of Johann Phillip Kleinert’s sons to move away from the Abbotts Creek, N.C. community where they lived. Wythe County, Virginia is about 80 miles from Winston-Salem, N.C.

My Lawrence left N.C. about 1804 after the death of his father and would have had to go through Virginia and the Cumberland Gap to get to Tennessee. Perhaps he stopped off to see Henry, his brother along the way.

Our first stop was at the Washington County, Va., Historic Society to dig around for information on Henry and the Rosenbaum family.

washington co, VA hist society

I found quite a bit of information on the Rosenbaum family at the Historical Society of Washington County in Abingdon. They had a book in their genealogy material that was a treasure trove of data from a researcher. “The Rosenbaum-Rosenbalm Family of Southwest Virginia” by Clifford R. Canfield, Frankfurt, Germany, 1963. I copied the pages that were pertinent to the direct family and some excerts and will put those in a photo gallery to share. Please note this is probably copyrighted material, so if using this material, give proper credit to the author. These might be a little out of order…

So that gave you Mary’s family information, as well as their migration pattern, etc.. I wonder if the Rosenbaums knew the Clinards and Hinkles in Pennsylvania? This would be interesting to research! Here are copies of the original will of Alexander Rosenbaum and his estate settlement that was at the archives. The transcriptions are in the gallery above in the Rosenbaum book. Alexander’s death was in 1806 and his daughter Mary Clynard is mentioned in the will so we know she is still living then.

Alexander Rosenbaum will, 1806, Washington Co, VA, pg 12

Alexander Rosenbaum Estate Inventory, Va, 1806

Then I dropped into the Washington County Courthouse and got a copy of Henry Clinard/Clynard’s military discharge from 1810.

Washington Co, VA courthouse

We’re not exactly sure why Henry was discharged from Fort Powhatan for being “improperly enlisted” – he was around 40 then so it couldn’t have been age related. Something else to research… I can’t find much on Fort Powhatan or it’s military history.

It reads:

“Fort Powhatan 13th January 1810

It having been represented to the honorable the Secretary of War that Henry Clynard a private soldier in the late Capt. Alexander S. Walkers Company the Rifle Regiment had been improperly enlisted has ordered that he be discharged the service of the United States in conformity thereto the said Henry Clynard is hereby discharged from said service and declared free to return to his family in Washington County Virginia.”

It was recorded in the Washington County, Va courthouse records in the 1806-1812 Will Book 3, page 85.

Henry Clinard:Clynard, 1810 discharge of service

After 1810, it appears they drop off the map for a while in the research I’ve seen or done. Perhaps she died and is buried there with her Rosenbaum family and Henry decided to go to Tennessee to join his brother Lawrence.

Just a short drive past Shepherd’s Joy is the old White’s Mill which still produces today. I wish it had been open when we visited but it wasn’t. They have an online store and more information at:

carol at whites mill, Abin, VA

cats at White's Mill, Abing, VA

 tortie cat at Whites Mill, Ab, VA

From there,  we took a quick detour off the highway at the Wythe County Archives to see if we could find anything on the Clinards. They would have passed through on their way from North Carolina to Abingdon.

Wythe Co, Va Historic Society

He is listed in the 1800 Wythe County, VA Personal Property Tax List A,   1800 Clynard, Henry. A Wythe Co, Va court record showing him serving jury duty in June 13, 1801 and it notes: “Henry Clinard, 50 miles to court and the same returning and is allowed three days attendance”. Damascus, Virginia to Wytheville, Virginia is about 55 miles and in his 1806 military discharge papers it notes he is living in Washington County, Va in 1810.

Wythe Co, VA court book 1790-1810

Henry Clinard, VA, 1801, jury

So, after that we have a blank on facts for Henry and Mary Clinard. We’ll have to make a leap in assumptions to the next generation and go from there until a family Bible or scrap of paper comes to light with a family tree written on it that can confirm our guesses. Our next data for who we think are the children of Henry and Mary are marriage and census records that show children that were probably theirs. If Henry came on to Tennessee after 1810, perhaps he stayed with Lawrence in Robertson County for a while.

From my data, I think that Alexander Clinard, born 1792 in Virginia, a Philip Clinard born 27 Feb, 1804? in Virginia, a Sarah and a Jane (don’t know their birth dates) are their children. If this is true, then it’s interesting that they all married in 1825, three of them just days apart.


Alexander Clinard marries Margaret (or Martha Ann?) Brumley 19 Nov, 1825, Williamson County, TN

Philip Clinard marries Nancy Brumley on 15 June 1825 by William Lylte, J.P. in Davidson County, TN

Sarah Clinard marries Alexander James on 16 June, 1825 by William Faulkner

Jane Clinard marries Uriah Marcum on 18 June 1825 by William Lylte, J.P.

On I found the marriage record of Philip, Sarah and Jane recorded together on the same page:

Philip Clinard, Nancy Brumley mar cer

That’s enough for now.. My Family Tree Maker program with my Clinard family tree is locked up, so I have to get that resolved to see what I have saved from here on!

Categories: Family History: CLINARD, NC to Robertson Co, Tenn, Travel: THE SOUTH, Travel: VIRGINIA | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fall at The Garden Patch, Smith’s Grove, Ky

One of my favorite places to visit during spring and fall is The Garden Patch and Pelly’s Farm Fresh Market in Smith’s Grove, Ky. They are conveniently located just a few minutes off I-65 Exit 38 to the west and if you are an antique lover, be sure and check out the historic antique district in Smith’s Grove.

Esli and David Pelly have transformed their family farm into a delightful family destination for flowers, plants, produce, local food products, arts and crafts and primitive antiques. In the fall they go all out with several great events that always draw a crowd.

Join them Sept 22 for “Fun on the Farm” for scarecrow making (bring your own clothes and accessories – $7), fun for the children, and all their fall decorations for sale including pumpkins of all kinds and colors, gourds, wreaths, pansies, mums, kale and cabbage and lots of antiques and vintage scraps.

October 13 is their annual Old Fashioned Farm Days where you can watch folks demonstrating old timey farm crafts. Find them on Facebook at and look for their ad in the Busy Bee Trader with all their latest information. They are located at 1085 Hayes-Smith Rd. in Smith’s Grove, Ky., and their phone # is 270-563-3411.

Here is a gallery of photos from the 2011 “Fun on the Farm” day at The Garden Patch.

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Virginia History Tour, Day 2: Monticello, Michie Tavern, The Wilderness and Chancellorsville

Continuing with our Virginia tour, our second day was a road trip from our base at the Homewood Suites in Williamsburg. It took a couple of hours to drive to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and it sits like a crown jewel atop a mountain overlooking the scenic Charlottesville countryside. You park below the visitor’s center, purchase your ticket and then wait for a bus going up the hill for a ride.

View from Monticello over the orchards

Monticello’s front porch

Monticello front porch architecture

The architecture in the house was amazing, and we loved the gardens that were carved into the south side of the hill. My favorite spot would have been in the little sunroom perched in the garden.

The garden sunroom

Mom and I in the Monticello gardens

Monticello gardens

They have a wonderful gift shop, and we all found something to bring home, including heirloom seeds, books and some Virginia-made items. I have lots more pictures in the below photo gallery from around Monticello.

We drove down the hill to lunch at Michie Tavern, (pronounced “Mickey”) where travelers have been welcomed for over 200 years. They serve lunch buffet style and the food featured southern favorites. Be sure and walk around and look at the different parts of the tavern including the old log part.

They also have a several little log cabins, a tobacco barn and a mill that feature shops. I would recommend doing Monticello in the morning, then lunch and about an hour to browse the shops.

Lunch at Michie Tavern

Michie Tavern

The Metal Smith cabin at Michie Tavern

The Mill at Michie Tavern

We then headed northeast to see the Civil War battlefields of The Wilderness and Chancellorsville, where unimaginable horrors were occurring 150 years ago. It was a beautiful drive through horse country with immaculate farms lining the two-lane highway.

Chancellorsville Battlefield cannon

Jeff is a big Civil War buff

Mom and Jeff at Chancellorsville Visitors Center

Chancellorsville cannons

If those cedars could talk…

I would recommend you set aside a day to do this by itself so you can take your time but we were on a tight schedule and only had time for a quick drive-through of the battlefield areas. At one of the battlefield visitor’s centers we watched a movie about the battles and I highly recommend this so you understand the history of the battles. We didn’t have time to visit Fredericksburg as it was getting dark.

Here’s the NPS Chancellorsville website:

Here’s the website for all the Virginia Civil War sites…

I strongly encourage every family to visit historic sites and “re-live” our American history. Children need to learn how and why our great nation evolved, and these living history time capsules make the past come alive. Do your part in helping educate the next generations about what it cost for the people of the United States to earn their freedom.

“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it,” George Santayana (1863-1952) from his book “Reason in Common Sense.”

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Virginia History Tour, Day 1: Colonial Williamsburg and Historic Jamestown Settlement

I thought summertime would be a fitting time to feature my trip to see some of Virginia’s historic sites, as it would be an informative and interesting family vacation to teach your children or grandchildren about the history of our country.

Mom and Jeff in front of the Colonial Williamsburg Capital

My mother had always wanted to visit Colonial Williamsburg and Monticello in Virginia, so my brother and I decided to take her on a quick trip before the cold weather set in the fall of 2011. Southwest was offering introductory $39 one-way tickets from Nashville to Norfolk, Va.,  and I found a very reasonable two-bedroom suite at Homewood Suites in Williamsburg, so off we went for a whirlwind tour. It was a one hour, forty minute non-stop flight and we rented a car at the airport. This was a pretty small airport and easy to get in and out of for those that might be traveling there for the first time.

We couldn’t have picked a prettier week to visit Virginia, as the fall trees were spectacular. At Colonial Williamsburg, we stepped back in time to the late 1770s, when unrest was in the air and taxation and revolt was all the talk. Horse and carriages clopped past and period-dressed folks discussed the news of the day.

Williamsburg courthouse

Williamsburg, Virginia

In the stocks…

The Capital

Tavern maids

In most of the main buildings, a “host” character explained the history and purpose of each. We especially enjoyed listening to the weaver as she carded and spun wool, and the housemaid in The Palace. It’s boggling to realize that before the cotton gin, it would take around 100 hours of labor to achieve one yard of finished fabric. And you think we have it hard today!

The Palace front and maid

All three of us are garden lovers and we enjoyed browsing the Williamsburg gardens and garden shop.

We had lunch at the The Cheese Shop in Colonial Williamsburg and would highly recommend it for lunch as it was reasonably priced with deli type selections. You go to the back of the store, get in line and place your sandwich order. Then browse the shop for accompanying chips, snacks, desserts and pick out your drink and they call your name to pick up your sandwich. The cheese selections looked SO inviting! You can also purchase gourmet food and gifts but they run on the pricey side. We were able to find a table out front and enjoyed the brisk fall day. If they are out of seating, you might just have to find you a picnic spot on the lawn.

I took lots of pictures so you can browse my gallery to get a feel for Williamsburg and our next stop of the day, the Historic Jamestown Settlement, just a short drive away.

That took most of the day and unfortunately we only had an hour to spend at the Historic Jamestown Settlement. It was the first permanent English settlement in the U.S. and was established as James Fort in 1607. Climbing aboard the ship replicas on the James River made you realize how miserable our daring forebears must have been on their voyages! They had a Powhatan Indian village and an extensive museum.

Jamie at Jamestown

Jamestown fort buildings

Matchlock shooting

Tomorrow we’ll head to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Michie Tavern for lunch and a driving tour of Virginia Civil War battlefields, The Wilderness and Chancellorsville.

Here’s your links…

( (Jamestown Settlement)

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New Orleans to New Iberia, Louisiana for “Lou” rescue

Alligators, Avery Island

Picking up where I left from Biloxi, Miss., we headed to New Orleans for a Friday night on the town. I had been to New Orleans several times before, so knew the general location we wanted, but New Orleans hotels are tricky. They may look good online, but usually have really small rooms, are old, tired, etc., unless you’re willing to spend a lot. I went for a mid-grade with The Iberville Suites, which backs up to the Ritz Carlton and is just a few blocks from Bourbon Street and in the French Quarter. The valet service and friendly greeting staff was nice and the main floor lobby and breakfast area is tastefully appointed. Our suite was on the tired side with no view, but it did have a separate living room so it was okay for one night.

So far of all my visits, the Staybridge Suites on Poydras and Tchoupitoulas, just a block across from the French Quarter in the Business District, has been the nicest for the money.

I have to say, one night was plenty, thanks to my Hurricane at Pat O’Briens! It was Friday night and it was fun to listen to the great music on Bourbon Street and eat some tasty cuisine. I had been several times before, so had taken in all the usual sites. I did not take my camera along, so no pictures for the New Orleans this time.

The next morning, with aching heads, we headed west into Cajun country for the “rescue” part of our trip. Through my Middle Tennessee Corgi Rescue Group Facebook friend, I learned about a young Corgi-mix dog that was in a kill shelter west of New Orleans that needed saving. So being Corgi softies, we decided to incorporate the rescue into our trip and see some new territory.

This was the photo that lured us to help “Joe” that was in the kill shelter in Abbeville, Louisiana. Look at those big eyes and thumping tail…

It was neat to see the sugar cane farms and bayou along the way, and we pulled into New Iberia that afternoon. I’m a fan of James Lee Burke, bestselling author, and was interested to see the landscape firsthand after reading about New Iberia all these years in his books.

I was thrilled to spy signs for an art & craft show downtown at the Shadows-on-the-Teche Antebellum Home as we pulled into town! We checked into the Candlewood Suites, a hotel group that caters to long-term stays. They get lots of business from the oil rig workers in the Gulf, and it was reasonable and roomy. I left Wally napping and headed downtown to check out the craft fair.

Shadows-on-the-Teche, New Iberia, Louisiana

Shadows gecko?

Back of Shadows-on-the-Teche

They had tons of wonderful things, but I limited myself to a metal crane cutout for our pond and some Cajun spices. I then made a quick trip over to Avery Island, where they make Tabasco sauce and visited their wildlife park, Jungle Garden.

“Bird City” heron nesting scaffolds

By the time I got back to the Candlewood Suites, Wally was stirring and we were both starved, so we decided to try the local Saturday night favorite just up the highway. When we walked into Landry’s Cajun Seafood & Steakhouse, a family-owned restaurant, the Cajun band was tuning up to start playing for the night. We had arrived for their “Grand Buffet” Saturday night feast and we dove in with a gusto! We LOVED the Cajun accents of all the locals and everyone was so friendly! The music was great and after stuffing ourselves, I was done for the night!

A few items from Landry’s Grand Buffet

The next morning we headed up to Scott, Louisiana to pick up “Joe”. We breakfasted on beignets and café au lait at a charming railroad depot coffee shop, Depot Cafe on the way, and I sadly peered into an awesome-looking antique shop that was closed next door.

Depot Cafe, Scott, Louisiana

Yummy beignets at Depot Cafe!

Revival Antique Shop, Scott, La

Revival Frame Shop

We then met up with the rescue coordinator to pick up Joe. Our rescue pup immediately took to Wally – he was so thin and pitiful. We got him home and after a few weeks his personality began to emerge as he got healthier. We renamed him “Lou” for Louisiana as “Joe” and “No” sound too much alike. He has fattened up and learned some manners and now is a part of our family.

Poor Lou was so skinny and starved. This is a few weeks after we got him home.

Lou looking much better these days!

Categories: Travel: THE SOUTH | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Biloxi, Mississippi: Coast, Casinos, Cruisin, Circus and Seafood!

Biloxi Sunrise taken from our
oceanfront suite in the Beau Rivage

For those of you that haven’t paid the little town of Biloxi, Mississippi a visit, you’re missing out! We had gone a year or two before Hurricane Katrina and drove along the coast towards New Orleans, enjoying the historic ocean-front homes that lined the two-lane highway. We decided to go back a few years ago, and it was devastating to see all of that history wiped away, along with parts of the quaint little towns that lined the Gulf Coast. We were happy to see the Beau Rivage back up and going, along with nice new beaches and pathways for visitors. Driving around Biloxi, you sadly realize the impact the hurricane had. The only reminders of entire blocks of homes and businesses are their concrete pads.

On the bright side, these little coastal towns have been busy rebuilding their homes, lives and businesses, and they have so much to offer visitors to their scenic towns and coast. Last fall we decided on a quick “r & r” trip to the coast – it was actually a relax and rescue mission. Through our Middle Tennessee Corgi Rescue group, we had identified a corgi mix dog in one of the kill shelters in the Abbeville, Louisiana area that needing rescuing, so we were on an exploration and rescue venture.

For the first part of our trip, we booked a few nights at the Beau Rivage Casino and headed south from Nashville. We had stayed at the Beau Rivage a few times before, so when we arrived, we upgraded to an oceanfront suite, which is very reasonable for what you get. I could move right in to their spacious suites and stay for quite a while… Elegant furnishings, fabulous view over the ocean with an inviting pool below, daily room service, an assortment of restaurants just an elevator’s ride downstairs… Thinking this might be the way to go when we get old instead of assisted living!

Wally in our oceanfront suite
at the Beau Rivage

Beau Rivage marble bath (mine!)

Wally chose the bath with the marble shower

I’m a reader, so I usually pack several books for our trips to entertain myself driving and when Wally wanders down to the casino to lose his allowance… or sometimes win us dinner. While he makes his forays into the casino part of the hotel, I usually like to take advantage of the lovely bath, a good book and a nice glass of red wine.

Time for some “r & r” at the Beau Rivage

The Beau Rivage is a very nice hotel, with an assortment of shops downstairs, ranging from fine jewelry to snacks to a coffee shop. I always like to see what their flower theme is for the season, as they have elaborate displays to make you feel welcome. Having stayed before, we knew a few essentials to take for our comfort, which included a small coffeemaker and coffee fixings, a small fan (for sleeping noise), and wine and liquor for our stay.

One of our first stops in Biloxi is just a few blocks away from the Beau Rivage at Desportes & Sons Seafood at 1075 Division Street for some fresh seafood snacks. Wally usually packs crackers, some fresh cocktail sauce and some Louisiana Hot Sauce when we head into oyster country. At Desportes, you can buy oysters packed by the pint to take home, as well as select from their fresh seafood that is in season. When in season they have shrimp, crawfish, crab, oysters, fish and more.  They also have a food counter and you can have lunch there. This is a family-owned place and they are super friendly so don’t be in a hurry – take some time to get to know the locals!

We drove through Ocean Springs and wandered about a bit to see what was in the area. We visited a few of their parks and did a bit of browsing through their nice shops.

Ocean Springs Marina

We were stalked in the park…

This getaway was the week of my birthday (a good reason to getaway – right?) and I had seen that the big top circus was going to be in Biloxi. Neither of us had ever been to one, so I was thrilled that the Cole Bros. Circus was in town. I was finally able to get a reluctant Wally to go with me, and I’m so glad we went. I went to the circus for my birthday, followed by a late-night dinner at their new Waffle House on the beach!

Jamie at the circus!

Before the circus started a C130 from nearby Kessler AFB
circled Biloxi, passing over the circus

We were both laughing and gasping at the acts – it was wonderful! I loved the tigers, elephants, camels, ponies and acrobatic poodles, the goofy clowns, trapeze artists, balancing acts and aerial show, and the man being shot out of the big cannon, but the most exhilarating act was when the three motorcycle riders revved up their engines in a metal caged ball and began circling at high speeds! Wow!

For those of you thinking about visiting the Gulf Coast this fall, the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars will be back in Biloxi Oct. 3-4, just down the road from the Beau Rivage. By the morning of the 5th, they will be GONE from the field. It’s pretty amazing they can pack up and move on that fast! Parking is located on the road behind the circus, and I would recommend springing for the better seats in front of the ring – the general seating at the end of the tent is NOT good. We started there and upgraded before the show began. Learn more about Cole Bros. at:

Wally’s usual Gulf lunch…

Fried seafood sampler and oysters on the half shell

If you are a car enthusiast, you need to plan on visiting Oct. 7-14, 2012 for the 16th Annual Cruisin’ The Coast® event and it’s their “Sweet Sixteen”. Here’s an overview of the event from their website, so check it out!

“Cruisin’ The Coast® began in 1996 as a festival to celebrate antique, classic and hot rod vehicles, nostalgic music and related events.  374 vehicles registered that first year and in 2011 we had 5,484 registered vehicles.  Car enthusiasts from over 39 states and Canada drive to the Mississippi Gulf Coast once a year to showcase their rides and to cruise our beautiful 30-mile stretch of beachside highway with designated stops in Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, D’Iberville, Gulfport, and Ocean Springs.   Each venue is set up as a mini festival with a stage for live bands, reserved parking for registered cruisers, spectator parking, and vendors for food and event merchandise.” Learn more at:

The next day we headed out towards New Orleans and noticed lots of activity along the Beach Road. They were setting up for the Cruisin the Coast event (2011), and it looked like it would be a fun event. We visited a few of the small towns along the way including Gulfport, where we stopped off to eat some seafood on our way.

To learn more about the Mississippi Gulf Coast visit:

We’re heading on to New Orleans and New Iberville next, so stay tuned!

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Wears Valley, TN

I’m finishing out the last day of our spring Carolinas and East Tennessee journey which I have kept forgetting to post. I left off when we arrived in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and as I had written about our trip in my May Busy Bee “Letter from the Publisher” I don’t have to try to strain my brain and think back! Here goes…

As the mountains were so beautiful, we decided to make Pigeon Forge our destination for the next two nights. We found a little cabin on Wears Valley Road available, which was surprising as it was spring break and Easter weekend. Once we got past all of the Pigeon Forge “tacky-town” strip and onto Wears Valley Road, we gave a sigh of relief. Our little cabin on the hill was roomy and nice with wildflowers blooming in the yard.

Our “Bear Naked” cabin was at the very top of the hill on the left

For dinner we went to the Smoky Mountain Brewery for pizza and wings and to sample their brew. I really liked the Velas Helles light German lager I sampled. They had The Masters on their big screens and a good band playing, and it was a great Friday night “date.”

We had intended to go to Dollywood on Saturday but after seeing all the traffic, Wally chose a trip to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park instead. It was so neat to see families having picnics, playing ball and flying kites in Cades Cove! We stopped at many of the historic sites and one of my favorite pictures was of the dogwoods in bloom in front of a Methodist Church. I bought some of their stone-ground meal from their grist mill and am looking forward to Wally making cornbread with it.

One of the Methodist Churches in Cades Cove

This is my first attempt at a photo gallery so there may be some duplications… once you click on an image, there will be an arrow on the far side of the page that you can view the gallery as a slide show.

As we were SLOWLY leaving Cades Cove (20 mph), we came upon a stretch of road where people were standing on the shoulder. Wally looks over and yells “BEAR!!!” I got the zoom lens on the camera and jumped out. The bear ambled very close along the road snuffling in the dirt, and I was able to get some great shots. I heard a “crunch” behind me and turned to see one car had tried to pull off on the shoulder only to get high-centered on the curb. Folks helped get them righted, and I ran on to catch up with Wally. This is what the locals call a “bear jam”.


We exited through the Townsend park entrance to head back to Wears Valley Road. Spying a cluster of buildings with wood-carved creations all over the yard, I begged Wally to stop (he can only take so much in one day). It was Captain Dave Lavoie’s “Little River Artistry” cooperative and they had chainsaw art and wood-carved bears, eagles, horses, mermaids, and all sorts of other characters, along with a resident potter.

On Easter morning it was time to head home. For our route, we chose to go through Wears Valley to Walland and then on to Maryville, which was new territory for us both. There were several antique stores along the way that were closed, but I dropped off Busy Bees for them.

We arrived home to see our fields of crimson clover in full bloom – and of course the yard in need of mowing, so it was back to work for us!

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Day 6, 2nd half: Kingsport, Tennessee

After leaving Erwin, we arrived in Kingsport, Tenn., in time for lunch in their downtown antique district. Stir Fry Cafe had been recommended as being good and their menu looked tempting so we headed inside. It has a very attractive interior and seating outside on the sidewalk for pretty weather. We ordered a variety of things to share including some sushi, salad, spring rolls and General’s chicken. Everything was delicious so we were re-fortified and I was ready to hit the antique shops.

Stir Fry Cafe exterior

Our sampling at Stir Fry Cafe

Stir Fry Cafe interior

We had parked right in the convenient parking area in the middle of all the antique shops so grabbed my Busy Bees and took off. I headed to the Haggle Shop Antique Mall first as one of their dealers advertises a show with us and had already talked to the owner. I walked through the HUGE mall, snapping away as I went.

The Haggle Shop Antique Mall

Joyce Grills and daughter Kim Burke

Stan and Tammie Fisher from Knoxville, Tenn
with Keke and Pockets, shopping in the Haggle Shop

Haggle Shop cherry table

My next stop was across the street at the River Mountain Antiques & Primitives owned by Debbie Dykes. This is an attractively-arranged shop that has a nice mix of old, new, artistic and a ladies boutique. Shoppers will find a variety of antiques and primitives, vintage fishing items, garden accessories, home decor, and local art and pottery. Ladies will also enjoy checking out their jewelry and ladies fashion accessories and stylish clothes.

River Mountain

River Mountain

River Mountain local pottery

River Mountain

River Mountain

River Mountain local art

Nooks & Crannies Antiques was my next stop and as I was running out of time, I unfortunately had to start moving along faster. Nooks & Crannies has 20,000 square feet and would require quite a while to peruse. They had a huge variety of antiques, collectibles and vintage items. Owners are Moses and Carol Gentry and they are open seven days a week.

Nooks & Crannies exterior.

I popped in to Attic Treasures Country Interiors and met owner Debbie Moody and made a quick sweep through her store that offered quite a few smalls. On the next corner is P & J Antiques owned by Pat and Jerry Houchens. They are a 30,000 square foot mall filled with antiques, gifts and collectibles.

Across the street are a few private shops including Shakar Antiques that had a big collection of antique general store and gas station memorabilia. Old advertising sign collectors might want to check her out!

Shakar Antiques

By this time the two shops next door were closed, so I didn’t get to visit them. Rustic Country Primitives features antique and primitive home decor, customized hand-painted signs, candles, furniture, pictures and more. You can check them out on Facebook at Rustic Country Primitives.

Rustic Country Primitives & Antiques

Street art in the Historic Kingsport Antique District

As you can see, you could spend all day – or several – shopping Downtown Kingsport, Tennessee. And we didn’t have time to even look at the boutiques, gift shops and art galleries! Definitely make plans to go visit this town and be sure and tell them you discovered them through the Busy Bee!

We pulled out of Kingsport and headed to Pigeon Forge. We hadn’t been in years and decided it was too pretty to not make a stopover in the mountains for a few nights. As Wally drove I got on the phone and luckily found a little cabin on Wears Valley Road for us to stay. Being Easter weekend and Spring Break there weren’t many openings to be found.

In no time we were making our way into the trafficky, people-packed part of Pigeon Forge’s “Tacky Town” strip. I’m sure it must seem like a wonderland for children and those that like all of those people-luring attractions, but it’s not for us!

We escaped the Tacky Town strip and turned onto Wears Valley Road and breathed a sigh of relief as we left the masses behind. A few miles up the winding country road we turned into the cabin development we had booked at and climbed the hill to the top where our little “Bear Naked” cabin.

Our “Bear Naked” cabin

Well, that’s all for the day… Tomorrow we’ll be visiting Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Stay tuned – just one more day left!

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Day 6: Erwin, TN, home to Blue Ridge and Cash Pottery

Our destination after leaving Asheville was Erwin and Kingsport, Tennessee, to visit their antique shops and introduce them to the Busy Bee Trader. As we topped the mountain before reaching Erwin on Hwy 26 we ran into a big fog bank. Wally slowed to a crawl and we prayed we didn’t get rear-ended by any idiot drivers. After about five minutes we came through the fog into sunshine and the vista is beautiful in our Tennessee mountains!

Erwin, Tennessee

We hopped off of the highway at the Erwin exit and everything was in bloom in this charming little town. The historic district was one main street with antique, gift and restaurants scattered down their three or flour blocks. After parking I gathered up my Busy Bees and took off walking, leaving Wally to wander around on his own.

I had been mailing Busy Bees to Valley Beautiful Antique Mall for the last few months as I knew they had been in business in Erwin for years, so I headed there first.

Valley Beautiful sisters, Frankie Lewis on left and store proprietor Glenna Lewis.

I introduced myself to Glenna Lewis, the store proprietor along with her nephew Joey Lewis. They have been in business for 25 years and specialize in over 5,000 pieces of locally-made Blue Ridge and Cash pottery. Frankie Lewis of Ernestville, Tenn., worked at the Blue Ridge Pottery in Erwin for 12 years beginning in 1945 through 1957 when it closed. One of the items she remembers painting was the ornaments on the Christmas Tree pattern.

Frankie Lewis with a plate featuring the
Christmas Tree pattern she helped paint.

The girls showed me around the shop and some of the pieces that were more unusual and collectible.

A signed Blue Ridge piece

Blue Ridge mammies

The turkey set is one of my favorites

The Cash pottery corner

Now that you pottery collectors are drooling, make plans to go visit them! They probably have what you are looking for or can find it. Just be sure and keep your purse tucked under your arm and children under control unless you’re ready to pay for broken merchandise – this store is PACKED with breakables.

The next shop was the Choo Choo Cafe and Antiques next door so I made my introduction to the busy owner who was getting ready for lunch and snapped some pictures. They have a huge Christmas Village just as you go in the door. The large historic store is arranged in room settings around the perimeter with tables to dine, as well as a central dining area in the middle.

Eat and shop at the Choo Choo Cafe

The Christmas Village in Choo Choo Cafe

Choo Choo regulars Blanca and Gene Miller of Unicoi, Tennessee

I met the first diners of the day, Blanca and Gene Miller and they said the food was great. “We love the reuben and the chicken sandwich,” said Blanca “and she has the best homemade cakes!”

The homemade cake showcase was VERY tempting!

Across the street from the Choo Choo Cafe was a Blue Ridge Pottery store but it was closed that day.

Next stop was Main Street Mall owned by John Hash. He also had some Blue Ridge pottery, a mix of furniture and antiques, lots of skillets and cast iron, kitchen collectibles, tools and men’s “stuff” and more. I would recommend sending the husband in here if he’s not into pottery.

John Hash, Main Street Mall

The next shop I visited was on the side street and had items scattered on the sidewalk to lure you in. This shop has a hodgepodge of antiques, collectibles, good ole junk and hand crafted barnwood furniture and items made by store proprietor Mike Martinez.

The Next Best Thing

Located next door to The Next Best Thing is the Variety Shop. I loved the tin ceilings in this old building. There is a big variety of good used furniture, antiques, glassware, pottery and more at Larry and Linda Edward’s store.

Variety Shop

Our last stop was at the Plant Palace, located on N. Main Avenue in the old post office building. What a neat building for a store! I loved the plants and gifts displayed in the old post office box area.

As you can see, Erwin is definitely worth the time to visit. Everyone was so friendly and you can park and walk to all the shops, so add them to your travel plans when in the area! Next stop… Kingsport, Tennessee!

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Day 5: Asheville, N.C. and The Biltmore Estate

We left Charleston early the next morning and headed northwest towards the mountains. I had been doing my Busy Bee work along the way on the road but my Mac laptop battery kept dying. We stopped off at at Pilot truck stop and bought a lighter plug-in converter that you can plug any standard thing into and I was ready to work for the long haul.

I chose Hendersonville, N.C. as our lunch-time destination and after seeing that Umi Restaurant had been chosen as one of the best restaurants in town to eat set that as our next meal. We arrived and their decor and ambiance was quite nice. I loved the natural stones and slate in the bathrooms and their unique artwork. Our array of sushi and my bento box arrived and after sampling, agreed with the reviews. It was wonderful!

We were too early to check in to our lodging for the evening so we decided to brave the impending thunderstorms and went to the Biltmore Estate. We parked and after conflicted debate about running to catch the bus or staying in the car away from the lightning striking all about, we saw the bus coming and dashed to catch it. We jumped on and the driver whisked us to the front door in time to offload us in the middle of the pouring thunderstorm. We finally got inside and toured the amazing Biltmore house. It really is worth the visit whether you want to be boggled by the vast space filled with fabulous antiques or the vistas, landscaping, gardens, conservatory and the grounds of the estate.

When we finished the house tour the rain had subsided to a drizzle so we headed out to see the view and gardens. We made it through the tulip garden and into the conservatory just as the skies opened up and poured again. However, I was content for a bit to photograph the orchids and interesting plant specimens housed there.

The azalea garden was in full bloom but the rain deterred us from venturing further. We decided to cut our losses and I had designs on visiting the winery, so we caught the bus back to the parking lot. Wally was in a good mood and obliged me by stopping at the winery, which is housed in the former Biltmore dairy barn.

Our winery expert

We proceeded to work our way through the selections. Now I have to reveal that Wally is not a wine drinker. I’m the family “wino”. He’s a whiskey/bourbon drinker by choice, so the fact that he was willing to test the wines was indicative of his good mood.

Wally drinking wine

He even penciled in his favorite picks! We struck up a conversation with fellow testers and one worked for NASA and that was quite interesting – especially after sampling an hours worth of wine…

We worked our way through all the varieties and there were several that I really liked – and Wally concurred.. so we went into the next room to the see what I was willing to spend. The prices were really quite affordable compared to regular store prices. $9.99 per bottle and up, with discounts for case buys, which you could mix and match, so we got a case of our favorites.

The friendly staff packed and loaded us up and we were ready to head to the Bent Creek Lodge for our evening stay. The Lodge is about 10 minutes from the Biltmore, and about five from restaurants and the weekly farmer’s market. They are at the top of a secluded hill with walking trails, lots of porch space to rock or swing and watch the birds.

Bent Creek Lodge, Asheville, NC

We arrived in a drizzle and got settled in, meeting some of the other guests staying for the night. The innkeeper got the fire going and we started some friendly competition on the pool table. It was such an enjoyable evening! You couldn’t have asked for a better ambiance on a chilly wet evening in the mountains. Unfortunately I was not in camera mode at that point to capture the crackling fire and comraderie, but here is the morning after of the main floor gathering room.

The next morning we packed up and I decided to take a walk through the continued drizzle. They have such interesting garden art and architecture so I tucked my camera under my raincoat and headed down the trail.

It was time for breakfast by this time so we headed up to see what was in store for our us. The morning papers awaited so we browsed through those and I tried to figure out our directions for the day to our next destination.

Breakfast was delicious and I would recommend a visit to Bent Creek Lodge to anyone planning on going to the Biltmore area that enjoys nature and an inn setting. You can visit their website at to see more information. We loaded up and headed north towards Kingsport, Tennessee, the next leg of our journey.

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