Spring Mill State Park in Indiana

Spring Mill State Park in Indiana
Spring Mill State Park in Indiana

Monday, June 18, 2018

Holston's kitchen- Sevierville Tennessee

Holston's Kitchen was recommended by Berry Springs Lodge.  It wasn't far from Berry Springs, so we decided to check it out.  This was our first visit to this nice restaurant.

This was a great recommendation.  Like I said before, we have found some places in the area that we REALLY like, and trying something new can be so hit or miss.

I know I didn't take the best pictures of what we had in the dim light of the restaurant, but our meals were delicious.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Burg Coffee in Gatlinbrug, TN

I wanted to give a quick mention to Burg Coffees in Gatlinburg.  We were able to get some tasty drinks here and they actually had a bit of a seating area, so we were able to take a nice break while we walked around the strip in Gatlinburg.

I know that some chain stores have been sneaking in to Gatlinburg....  including a chain coffee place, but it was nice to find this quality local place!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Berry Springs Lodge, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

I mentioned our first stay at Berry Springs Lodge about a year ago.....  Well, we enjoyed our stay so much that we wanted to stay there again on this trip.

As soon as we arrived, we had that, "man, it is nice to be here again" feeling.  It was great coming back to spend some more time at a place we like so much.  AND we even had the same room!

The Lodge still seemed very familiar, though they have made a couple of small changes we noticed.  We did see some posts going up the driveway made to hold lanterns.  Actually, during this stay, they would add lanterns for light to these posts.  Also, some very cute wooden animals had been added to the poles.

Our experience here this time was almost identical to last time, which was exactly what we wanted.

We again had excellent breakfasts in the morning and desserts in the evenings.  The thing we enjoyed most was simply setting at the back porch and relaxing.  We made a point to spend a few hours each day on the porch with a book.

On this visit, the Lodge was mostly occupied by a group of people who graduated from a local high school in 1961!  This fairly large group actually gets together YEARLY.  For a group of people in their 70s, this was a youthful, lively bunch.

The class of 61 was a fun group, and we ended up spending some time talking to several of them.  One brought some delicious fudge he made, and he shared it with us.  This was actually a very nice group to share the Berry Spring Lodge with while we were there.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Buckhorn Inn- Gatlinburg Tennessee

In 2016, we were able to spend a few nights at the very relaxing Buckhorn Inn in Gatlinburg.

This is another great place to stay while you are in the Great Smoky Mountains.  One thing that they offer that many other B&Bs in the area don't offer is an amazing dinner each evening.

The evening meal is not included in your stay at the Buckhorn, and you don't have to be a guest to indulge in this.

I think it is currently around $40 a person to do their dinner, and it starts at a set time (7pm).  There is no menu to order from.  This is pretty standardized, though they did provide a chicken substitute for my wife who does not eat fish (the substitution must be requested in advance).

We actually called about getting a dinner reservation several days before our trip, but they were full.  We asked to be put on a wait list just incase someone cancelled.  Well, we felt very lucky when we were called around lunch time on Friday and told that we could come by that evening!

This is a very nice place to go in Gatlinburg.  It is not uppity (with no real plans for dinner before driving up, I wore jeans and a t-shirt...  I felt underdressed for sure, but the Buckhorn assured me this was no issue).

The four-course dinner is so pleasant.  I loved everything.  Here is the menu from the night we were there:

Grilled Atlantic Salmon with Black Bean Puree and Avocado Salsa
Spring Harvest Blend and Organic Green Beans
Paella Soup
House Salad with Homemade Salad Dressing
Strawberry Cake

I can honestly say that some of the tastiest food I have ever had has been at the Buckhorn Inn.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

"Bear in the Backseat II: Adventures of a Wildlife Ranger" by Kim DeLozier and Carolyn Jourdan

I read "Bear in the Backseat" by Kim DeLozier and Carolyn Jourdan last year while we were hanging out in the Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg.  I found out that the authors put out a follow up to this fun book!  I figured I should read that one to go along with another trip to the Smoky Mountains/Gatlinburg area!

Just like the first collection of stories from Kim DeLozier, this volume contains more simple, easy to read stories from Kim about his time as a ranger in the Smoky Mountains.

AND, that's what I really like about these books.  It is packed with short stories that any one will enjoy- young readers, old readers, etc.  Plus, there are a lot of stories. 

Hey, remember that time that an unconscious bear woke up in the back seat of your car?  What about the time your buddy thought he had absorbed a drug 10,000 times more potent than morphine through his skin?  Or, that time you got into a fight with a wild boar while a TV crew from CNN taped the whole thing?  Of course you don't remember anything like that happening to you...  It only happens to rangers like Kim DeLozier!  He covers those kind of stories in his book!

AND, just like in the first volume, there are lots of bear stories.  He is big on elk in this one too, which I thought was pretty cool.  He mentions one of my other all time favorite parks (Land Between the Lakes) as elk from LBL are transported to and tracked through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Elk are big critters, and can cause a lot of issues in a park!  Kim includes a VERY touching story about a mother elk and her struggles with motherhood.

This book, along with the first volume, is the perfect thing to take along on your trip to the Smoky Mountains, or to read before you venture out to help get you excited about the journey.  It gets my highest possible recommendation.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Buffalo in the Great Smoky Mountains

We passed by an area with some buffalo while we were in the Smoky Mountains!  They are fenced in, and at a distance, but it was still nice stopping briefly to admire them.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee

We are getting to where we have to make it to the Smoky Mountains area at least a couple of times a year.  We can't get enough of it.

We are getting into a thing too, where, there are some very specific things we like to do while we are there.  There are a LOT of things we have never done, and we want to do at some point....  but there are those things we look forward to doing again.  It creates a bit of a dilemma- are we doing the things we know we love to do, or are we trying something new?

We ended up going on this trip with another couple who hadn't been to the area in some time, so I think they enjoyed us taking them to the places we had gone to before.  The places were new to them, and safe bets for us.

We did try a few new things.  We had lunch at the newer restaurant, The Local Goat...  it's gotten some good reviews.  We weren't impressed though.  It was OK, but not great. 

We did try the Holston Kitchen, and we loved that place.  More on it later.

Otherwise, we pretty much stuck to the safe bets.

We did get to spend some quality time actually driving and walking around the park this time, and that was nice.  I know on our last trip I felt like a lot of the burn scars from the 2016 fire were starting to look better.  Well, on this trip, it just didn't.  We noticed a lot of burned areas.  I think, on this trip, we actually got a little deeper into the park and you could really see burned patched here and there.  That fire really did some jumping!

We again stayed at the Berry Springs Inn, which has become our favorite Inn- not just in Tennessee.  Its our favorite place to stay and I think we will always look forward to getting back to this great place.

BUT, we really like the Buckhorn Inn too.  Both are great, relaxing places to stay in the Smoky Mountains.  Luckily, we were able to enjoy time at both places by having dinner at the Buckhorn Inn one evening.

We heard some owls, saw lots of birds....  but I have still never seen a bear here.  This really bothers me, as a pal of mine says he has seen AT LEAST ONE on all of his trips to the area.

We spent some time on the strip in Gatlinburg, which is fun, but I think we spend less time there on each trip.  I do enjoy it a lot, but I feel the need to do more stuff away from that area each time.

Whatever you do in this area...  its gonna be fun.  I think of my trips here as very relaxing!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Washington Square Mall, Evansville, Indiana

I wanted to post a few pictures of the fading Washington Square Mall in Evansville Indiana.

I have talked before about how, growing up in nearby Owensboro, going to Evansville was a treat.  It was a BIG CITY by our standards.  it had TWO malls!

Washington Square Mall was always the smaller of the two malls, but I liked it the most.  They had a great arcade and a very cool music shop.  I remember a nice pet shop there at one time too.

The mall is obviously not nearly as lively now as it used to be.  There are very few businesses left.  AND, we got there pretty much as they were closing the Sears down.

I hope that some other businesses come in.  I would love to see Washington Square Mall make a comeback.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Roseanne's House in Evansville, IN

Man, I felt a bit emotional watching the return of the Roseanne Barr show "Roseanne" recently.  I have always loved John Goodman especially (he was in one of my all time favorite movies- "Always").  Anyway, when the show was brought back and they showed the updated intro with the same old sax music.....  well, it was just very sweet to see this great show return.

So, while I was meandering through Evansville, I thought I would check out a couple of buildings used for establishing shots on the show.

It's a well known story...  but someone who worked on the show was from Evansville, and they used some things from the Indiana town as establishing shots on the show.  For example, before you see the Conners inside of their home, they always show a shot of the outside of  the house...  to establish that the scenes you are about to see are happening in their home.  That establishing shot is of this house in Evansville!

The Lobo Lounge Bar seen on the show is actually a pizza shop not to far from the house in Evansville too!

Both places looked nice and familiar when I drove by, though the house was blocked a bit by some construction equipment.

I wonder if Roseanne Barr or John Goodman have ever stopped by here in their travels, just for the heck of it?

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Lucid Coffee in Newburgh Indiana

Newburgh is a great little town right outside of Evansville.  It is so calm, and its right on the river.

While driving through there the other day, I discovered a wonderful coffee place- Lucid Coffee Bar!

It is located inside of what used to be the Old Country Store.  It is a beautiful old historic building that is obviously being well maintained today.

I am not sure exactly of the specifics of the set up here, but there is a separate ice cream area, and a separate coffee area (you order and pay for each at the specific counter that serves them).  There are also some interesting local shirts, jewelry and other items around.  I bought a couple of pieces of jewelry for my wife and paid for them at the ice cream counter.

My dad enjoyed some ice cream here, while the rest of us had coffee drinks.  I ordered a regular coffee with cream and sugar.  The nice fellow working at the bar took care of the cream and sugar for me.  Not sure what kind of ratio he was using, but he got it right!  THAT'S SERVICE!

The inside of this place is just so attractive.  It has a cool upstairs area, overlooking the downstairs/main business part.  If you ever got to visit Brady's CafĂ© in Kent Ohio (it's now a Starbucks) this will remind you of that great old coffee shop.

I am itching to get back to this place soon!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Howard Roosa School- Evansville Indiana

We drove by Howard Roosa School in Evansville while we were there.  It is now known as Joshua Academy, but, when my mom went here, it was Howard Roosa.

We swung by because my mom hadn't been here in decades.  She wanted to see what she could remember. 

She remembered the old train tracks.  She said that the home she lived in was very close to the school, and that it had been purchased, and knocked down so that they could build a playground by the school.

When she was very young, her family also briefly lived on Van Bidder in Evansville too.  We drove by that neighborhood, and there were some modern looking houses there now.  She is certain that all of the homes that were there when she lived there were destroyed to make room for the newer homes.

My mom actually has some strange stories relating to her childhood (I joke with her at times that it sounds like Stephen King wrote her childhood).  BUT, I think a lot of people who grew up after the depression had similar experiences.