Delight at the Derby Hat Social 2019

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One of our favorite events during the year is the Derby Hat Social, sponsored by the United Way of Sevier County. The Hat Social is a prelude to the Derby party next month and can help you get your style game ready for the races. Go and you are guaranteed to have fun! Here is what it was like this year…

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Buy a ticket in advance or at the door. I loved the hats all lined up as I entered Courthouse Donuts!

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This is the fifth year of the Derby Hat Social. I hope that there are many more. Here, United Way members and Executive Board members were already in the spirit of the event. Pictured from left to right: Paula King; Kathy Voncannon, Administrative Assistance; Emily Whaley; Amy Harper, Executive Director;  and Janice Bettis.

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The Derby hats come from the Sassafras store at the Old Mill complex in Pigeon Forge.

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I love the front windows facing the courthouse. The doughnuts are so good too.

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Jodi Ramsey, Assistant Vice President and Marketing Director for Citizens National Bank, enjoyed the event with her mother, Sandy Sandiford.

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There were more hats to choose from this year than ever before.

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Some hats are beautifully whimsical.

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Some hats are artful and sculptured. I think that Jackie Thurman looks good in every hat that she wears!

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Jodie Eberhart looks Derby ready!

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The big windows afford natural light for the buffet table. Nice!

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Citizens National Bank supported the Derby Hat Social with style. Pictured here are Jodi Ramsey, Carrie Strickland, and Melissa Moon.

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Come right after work and there will be ample refreshments to keep you going.

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Couples can also enjoy the event and have fun! Corinne and Steve Hartford look dashing as they support the United Way of Sevier County.

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My most important advice: arrive promptly at 5:00p.m. to have the best choice of hats! Set your purse on a table and go!

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I love a ‘fascinator’ type of hat, but cannot usually wear it well. This one is adorable!

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Another cute ‘fascinator’ style Derby hat. The advantage to this style is no messing up your hair. No flat hair.

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The refreshments are always good at the Derby Hat Social. Enjoy!

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It gets busy around the mirrors, but there is always someone to give you a second opinion on your hat or to take your picture. What fun!

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There are hats for all kinds of tastes and generations!

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This hat is lovely! It makes you wonder why hats have gone out of style.

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Donna Huffaker and Lindsay Shanton enjoyed the event. They regularly support the United Way of Sevier County; in fact, Donna recently performed at Dancing With the Stars for the organization.

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This was probably my favorite picture of the day! From left to right: Lindsay Shanton, Amber Atchely, Maggie Atchley, Mattox, Haley Davis, Jessie Blalock, and Jessica Will.

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You don’t necessarily have to buy a hat at this event. Just come and have fun with your friends! However, if you don’t already own a Derby hat then you will find the best selection in East Tennessee. The Derby Hat Social certainly makes it convenient for those who would like to buy a hat. I already own two Derby hats, but this one really tempted me.

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Part of the fun of a Derby Hat Social is taking pictures, sharing with friends or social media, or keeping a photo as a memory. I liked the drama of this entire outfit so I asked a young lady to help me take the picture. I applied an artistic filter with the Prisma app to give it an old world painting look.

Soon after, it was time for me to go.  I hated to leave so early and must stay longer next year!

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The Derby Hat Social is a prelude to the Night at the Derby party on April 12 at 6:00 p.m. at the Walters State Rel Maples Culinary Arts Building. There will be food, beverages, fun, and more! Emily Whaley told me that winners for each race will get to draw for prizes: a recliner, tickets to REO Speedwagon, a patio set, $$$, season tickets to Broadway shows at the Tennessee Theater, and more. There will be 15 food vendors there as well.

You can follow the event on Facebook at this link. https://www.facebook.com/events/2186103104977117/

‘Funny money’ auction items include bidding on a TV, overnight cabin rental with a catered dinner, zipline adventures, and more. It is sure to be one of the best events in April— so get ready. See you at the races!

 

 

 

March 2019 Art Happening Featuring Audrie Prince

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Warmer weather made it nice to get out and about on Thursday so I was excited to arrive downtown for the Art Happening. Featured artist was Audrie Prince.

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The street was busy for 5:25 in the afternoon due to the Art Happening and a bustling dinner crowd at Graze Burgers.

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The weather was so nice that the doors remained open to enjoy a breeze.

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Audrie Prince also goes by the name Autumn Leaf in her work. She and her husband relocated here from Maine to enjoy the mountains and do what they love: art and aviation.

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Her work is beautifully displayed on the wall of the Arts in Common Gallery downtown. Prince is a multimedia artist who draws, paints, uses textiles and metals in her work.

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I, of course, chose the bear carving as a favorite.

Audrie has Penobscot roots; therefore, much of her art reflects nature and animals. The natural world. Prince is the only artist in the world who uses birch tree bark via paper cutting . She carves it using exacto knives and other implements.

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My colleague, Lee Anne Litton, would love this pig painted on feathers. So sweet! I have never seen anyone paint on feathers so that is unique.

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Fans and friends of the artist gathered around the collection.

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These are friends who have also acted in local theater productions with the artist. From left to right: Isabella Otter, Rendi Johnson, Judy Caldwell, and Cindy Johnson. After talking with them, I realized that I need to see some local productions soon!

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Audrie Prince also creates jewelry. These necklaces, modeled by her friends, were stunning!

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Also attending the Art Happening downtown were Rita Eakin, Jenny Dennis, and Catherine Fain Talbot. If I am not mistaken, Jenny’s paintings are featured on the walls  in the background of this picture. She already has two works commissioned in Knoxville.

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George and Jara Gillett enjoyed the Art Happening at the Arts in Common Gallery.

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Music sets the mood and it was nice. Tony Negron played some Smoky Mountain Delta Blues for the event. Find him on Facebook at   https://www.facebook.com/tcnegron/

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Refreshments at each Art Happening are unique and delightful, especially after a long day at work. These were wonderful!

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My favorite treats were the home made Petit Fours. Amazing! My compliments to the chef.

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IMG_3700Sevier Commons Arts Council board member, Crystal Lynn, and Audrie Prince take a moment to address attendees on the importance of the arts in our community.

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Audrie Prince also goes by the name ‘Autumn Leaf.’ Here is a beautiful necklace and some ways to contact her.

artisticadventureswithautumnleaf.com

https://www.facebook.com/ArtistAutumnLeaf/

IMG_3688There are more things being offered at the Arts in Common Gallery downtown. The Make It and Take It Workshop above will take place this Saturday, March 23 from      10:00 a.m. -12 p.m. Find more on the organization Facebook page.   https://www.facebook.com/CommonsArtsCouncil/

The Sevierville Commons Arts Council offers many opportunities to enjoy the arts in downtown Sevierville. Take advantage of these wonderful events. See you there!

A Visit to the Art Happening in Downtown Sevierville, February 2019

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The light from the Arts in Common Gallery was a beacon to all on a cool, rainy February evening. I parked across the street and hurried inside. Fighting off a cold or something going around, I still wanted to pop in to meet featured artist, Joan Swanson, and to see some of her work. It was a nice event and I was glad that I could make it.

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Street parking was still available, but you had to walk a little due to the Art Happening and the newly opened restaurant, Graze Burgers. It is always good to see busy streets in downtown Sevierville!

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My car was parked just steps away from the Arts in Common Gallery.

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I quickly ran into Andrea Wilson, board member of the Sevierville Commons Art Council, and featured artist, Joan Swanson. I like this area reserved for featured artist work because it invites you to look and linger a while. Natural light from the windows, wood flooring, and neutral wall color makes a perfect stage for local art. Swanson’s landscapes were well presented and I enjoyed taking my time to peruse them. Beach and mountain scenes are my favorites.

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Joan Swanson specializes in landscapes and pet portraits. You can find her pet portraits on the website Pawsofloveart.com .

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Look at these amazing pet portraits! They are extraordinary!

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I could not tell the difference between oil and pastel paintings. Joan told me that pastels go behind glass in a frame and oils do not. A simple fact, but something cool that I learned last Thursday at the Art Happening. Ask artist questions for you will learn a lot.

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I always enjoy going into the Arts in Common gallery to see the displays. There is always something new to see.

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Music was provided by Tony Negron, an instrumental, finger style guitarist. It was delightful.

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There are always refreshments so come to the Art Happening right after work.

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Everything is beautifully displayed.

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You are sure to find a gift at the Arts in Common Gallery. Shop while you visit.

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Arts Council board member, Laurel Kiewitt talks with Cheri Auman during the Art Happening.

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Local artist, Jenny Dennis, was enjoying the event. Look carefully at the four paintings on the wall because she created those pieces. You will be seeing more of her work in the future!

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Arts Council board member, Andrea Wilson, took a moment to address the crowd, encourage involvement with the group, and to detail upcoming spring events.

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I met Art Happening attendees Cheri Auman and David Freeman. Freeman has been a featured artist before and will soon be again.

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I always admire the beautiful, distressed brick walls in the gallery. The inset bookshelf is a lovely way to display art for the public. You can also purchase things if something catches your fancy.

Alas, an hour soon passed and I was ready to head home from a long day. Find the Sevierville Commons Arts Council on Facebook at this link. https://www.facebook.com/CommonsArtsCouncil/

See you at the next Art Happening on March 14th. The featured artist will be Audrie Prince. It is one of the best ways to be out and about in Sevierville. 

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Graze Burgers Opening in Downtown Sevierville

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I was excited to attend the pre-opening event for Graze Burgers downtown last night. After watching the construction going on all summer and fall, the moment had finally arrived to see the final product—and it didn’t disappoint! Come along as we got to experience one of the best new places in downtown Sevierville.

First, I am going to get straight to the point and list my top 10 reasons that Graze Burgers is going to be special. Maybe even my favorite burger place in Tennessee.

  1. The owners’ families have created restaurant legacies in East Tennessee: Angelos in Morristown, Angelos on the Point in Dandridge, and Stock and Barrel on Market Square in Knoxville. They have decades of experience in the restaurant industry and deliver a high quality experience.
  2. With a burger, you can order 1/2 fries and 1/2 onion rings! I have never seen that before because you usually have to choose one or the other. We can call them ‘frings.’
  3. The cocktail and beverage selections are excellent. (Check out the ‘Off the Rails cocktail.’)
  4. Spiked Shakes! I have never seen this before either. They make great desserts!
  5. Brioche bun!  There were many burger variations and each looked delish. There will be something for every taste. Even more, I love a brioche bun.
  6. There are windows behind the bar that will open to the outside alley and patio area. “Hello spring and summer dining al fresco!”
  7. The atmosphere inside is relaxed and fun. There are three large screen TVs on the wall and music playing in the background to keep the mood festive.
  8. The parking is plentiful nearby, both in the gazebo area and on the street.
  9. I can tell that the owners and the business will be great new neighbors downtown.
  10. I liked the water glasses. They were Duraclear or some other light material so there was no problem with breakage and they fit my hand quite well. I don’t like glasses that are too big to handle.

Let’s continue to our visit to Graze Burgers last Saturday evening in downtown Sevierville.

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Upon arrival, Melinda and I found the parking lot by the gazebo almost full of cars. We thought we were early, but there were others already there to experience Sevierville’s newest restaurant.

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Lights and signs were on. Street parking was filling up, which is rare for 5:30 on a Saturday evening downtown unless there is a special event.

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Friendly hosts and hostesses were ready to show us to a table. We got the last one available. The place was packed!

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This screenshot from the Graze Burgers Facebook page shows a sleek design, yet maintaining the original brick wall. I am not sure what to call it, but the combination of natural brick, wood, and metal makes me want to call it a ‘mountain industrial’ look. Notice the large windows behind the bar that can be rolled up in warm weather to serve customers in the alley/patio area later this year. Here is the link to the restaurant Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/grazeburgers1/

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We were lucky to arrive no later because tables were all taken.

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There is an interesting beverage list. Who doesn’t love a tall glass?

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I had researched the menu a few days before so not much time would be wasted on my selections.

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We always order fried pickles at the beach so we were not going to pass them up last night.

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Vince and Glenda Snider were ready for dinner at Graze.

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 Leesa and Jim McGill, Sevierville City Alderman.

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Ed and Bethany McCarter enjoying dinner at Graze.

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I love food served on a cookie sheet pan. Look—half fries and half onion rings. You can order one or the other, or both!

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Here is a screenshot of the main menu.

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One of the owners chats with Jim McGill after dinner. He has owned both Angelos locations in Morristown and Dandridge. Being from Morristown, that was all I needed to hear! When I grew up, Angelos in Morristown was the very best place to dine.

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Doyle Jones, local architect, and local artist/businesswoman, Bev Gwinn Jones.

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The Sevierville Commons board of directors are certainly excited to see new businesses downtown. SCA board members from left to right: Gigi Simonis, Austin Williams, and Jason Holliman.

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My favorite thing of the evening may have been the spiked shake called the Boozy S’mores because of the two roasted marshmallows on top and the ice cream delight in the glass. Oh my!

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Here is a screen shot of the beverage list.

IMG_3282What a great dinner! Afterward, Melinda and I worked our way through the crowd, said lots of ‘hellos’  and headed out the front door. It was great to finally see patrons sitting in the front windows after I watched the building progress all last summer. It came together beautifully.

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Keep an eye on the space next door because there is something going in there in the coming months. The manager told me that it is ‘top secret’ for now.

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For a Saturday evening in downtown Sevierville, cars lining both sides of the street will become more common with Graze and Bistro 109 open in the evenings.

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This screenshot from the Graze Burgers Facebook page shows some new neighbors that are most welcome in downtown Sevierville. We wish them much luck and can’t wait to visit them again while we are out and about in Sevierville. 

Save a seat for us!

Donuts to Dancing: Fundraiser for the United Way of Sevier County

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I was running late for a noon appointment in Knoxville, but had just enough time to run into Courthouse Donuts and check up on two contestants in their fundraiser for the United Way of Sevier County in advance of the Dancing With the Stars competition next month.

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The competition, as I understand it, has two parts. Fund raising and dancing. This a lot for someone to take on so I wanted to stop by and help these two hard working members of the community who have a long history supporting the United Way of Sevier County.

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Parking is so easy on Saturday mornings. I parked in front of the new yoga studio and walked around the corner to Courthouse Donuts for the fundraiser. Courthouse Donuts is the heart of downtown Sevierville, in my opinion, so that was a good place to be this morning.

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When I arrived around 11:00 a.m., the competitors were a whirlwind of energy. Pictured left to right: Marcie Shrandt with dance contestants Mike Comer, and Jaclyn Kile.

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I knew that $5 from each order of a dozen doughnuts went to the fundraiser so I looked at the menu to make a decision. An assortment was the easy option. I just looked at the last line on the menu and will order that next time!

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Jennifer Dyer was busy preparing the treats for all customers. She is a strong supporter of multiple organizations in Sevier County.

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Amy Barnett showing her support for the Comer/Kile team at the fundraiser.

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As I picked up my order, many people were starting to line up for their donuts too.

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Team Kile/Comer supporters from left to right: Amy Barnett, Amy Harper, Jodie Everhart, and Marcie Schrandt.

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It was time for me to run so I took one last look at the activity behind the counter. I asked the team if they have danced before. Mike Comer replied, “hell, no!” Asked if he would do it again? The same answer! For those reasons alone, I think that it would be great fun to attend the main event next month!

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Jaclyn Kile and Mike Comer have been practicing for their performance 2-3 times a week in addition to fund raising for the United Way. I can’t think of anyone better to win the mirror ball for dancing or the fundraising award for the United Way of Sevier County.

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A Visit to Wanderlust Salon and Spa

I have several spas that I like in this area. They are special in different ways. However,  when Jennifer messaged me yesterday about Wanderlust Salon and Spa then I knew that I had to visit soon. In fact, I was lucky enough to be there just a couple of of hours later. If you don’t know about this place then follow along for a quick overview until you can make your own appointment. This is another ‘don’t miss’ place that should be on your radar. Come with me to Wanderlust Salon and Spa.

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According to this sign, it would meet almost any spa need. I already know the location because I use A+ Alterations next door. It is on the right on the way to Walmart, before the Pilot station.

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I like this sign and am sure that there is a story behind it. I asked about how the salon got started and understand that it was opened by a lady who was working somewhere else but had a dream to open her own business. There is a lot more to the story, but I will wait to hear more next time. I had booked a 25 minute massage right before closing time so time was of the essence!

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I was excited to see that this is an Aveda Salon. My hair has been in the care of Aveda salons over the years and I like their products.

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I loved the sparkly floors and cute foot rests for the shampoo bowls. Cute!

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The vibe is unique and you will enjoy the visuals and decorations. Also, I heard Oasis playing in the background so that was a good start for my visit.

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The salon is quite spacious. The next picture will show what really caught me by surprise.

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The spa part of the business is actually upstairs. You walk up a cool “Harry Potter” kind of stairway to the spa. It gives you the feeling that you are going to a special place!

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The hallway contains at least 12 different rooms. It is quite spacious and I love the ceiling lighting.

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I liked the robes hanging in the dressing room. Just lock the door, change, put valuables in a locker, take the key and go across the hall into a relaxation room.

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The lighting creates a nice ambiance in the hallway. Hot and cold beverages were available so come a little early or stay a little late to unwind.

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My time in the relaxation room was brief so I will unwind a little longer there on my next visit to the spa.

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I had a wonderful 25 minute massage and can’t wait to go back for at least an hour. I remembered the massage therapist from another spa in town and was delighted to see her. She was wonderful!

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All too soon, my massage was done and it was time to go. I found a hair finishing product that I needed and added it to my total. Certainly, I was glad not to have to drive to Knoxvegas to get it. The ladies were very friendly and helpful making the visit easy and relaxing, making you want to return soon.

Here is link to the Wanderlust Salon and Spa website. https://wanderlustsalonspa.com/hours

Wanderlust Salon and Spa

1338 Parkway, Ste 5, Sevierville, TN 37862

(865) 366-3100

Hours

Mon

Closed

Tue

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Wed

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Thu

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Fri

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sat

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sun

Closed

 

Or, check the Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/Wanderlustsalonspa/

Both the website and Facebook page have a lot of photos. If you want a salon cut with a modern edge then this may be the place to go in Sevierville. I loved the color work in the photos as well.

I am always glad to get tips from friends in regard to new places to visit in Sevierville. In this case, I could tell by the way that Jennifer described the Wanderlust Salon and Spa that it would be special and the massage would be divine. As luck would have it, they fit me in before the day was over. It is a new place that I recommend when you are out and about in Severville. 

Pastry Heaven at the Wildflour Bakehouse

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During the holidays, I allow myself to have a couple of pastries so last week was the perfect time to visit the Wildflour Bakehouse on the Parkway. It is located almost across the street from the K-mart shopping center, behind McDonalds and Long John Silver’s restaurant. You can also access the back of the building from Court Avenue. Come along with us for a holiday lunch to the Wildflour Bakehouse.

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First, you will notice that it is spacious and has a variety of seating areas.

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I liked the vintage sectional sofa on the left side of the room, under the flat screen TV that plays the Food Network. It is clearly the right color!

IMG_1995There is also a room to the right for sipping  coffee or relaxing. We loved the deep purple.

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Next, you will notice the abundance of pastries in the case. The owner and her friend will tell you the specials of the day and how things are made, if you like. They are very friendly and will tell you how their friendship and working situation actually began in Knox County when they worked together at the 911 Center.

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It can get a little busy during the lunch hour. David Verble works downtown and is a happy return customer.

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Several of us ordered the chicken salad sandwich on cranberry bread. You also receive a cookie with your lunch. We really enjoyed the mini cookie trays which were used to serve our lunches. So cute!

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That day, soup choices were tomato basil or chicken pot pie soup. Both were very good.

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Someone said that their cinnamon bun eaten later at home was very, very good!

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I actually returned to the Bakehouse with a friend a few days later for lunch. Here were the specials that day.

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I ordered the avocado toast and it was wonderful.

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A beautiful gold cake!

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Wildflour Bakehouse was ready for New Year’s Eve customers with these cute sugar cookies. During lunch about 8 people were in line to order so it was a busy.

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A special holiday cookie with peppermint—what a good idea !

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They make everything at the Wildflour Bakehouse, even scones!

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The shelves were freshly stocked with breads and other pastries for the New Year’s Eve and Day holidays.

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The Bakehouse also has a private room that can be used for different events. Talk to them about that when you visit. If you order a cake from them then you may get a very good deal on using the room for the first hour.

We really enjoyed our lunch(es) at the Wildflour Bakehouse and will return again soon. I was glad that we were there during our holiday and didn’t have to rush through lunch. You will want to linger a little with friends, but maybe sit a little farther from the pastry booth if your willpower is weak. There are many tempting treats at the Wildflour Bakehouse and you will want to try them all!

See you out and about in Sevierville.

The Best of 2018 in Photos: Out and About in Sevierville

Here is the best of 2018 while out and about in Sevierville. I’ll let the photos tell the stories, and there are many. What a year! (Because of the great amount of photos, I recommend using a desktop or tablet for quicker photo loading.)

Sevierville, it has been my pleasure…

January 2018

 

February 2018

 

March 2018

 

April 2018

 

May 2018 

 

June 2018 

 

July 2018 

 

August 2018 

 

September 2018

 

October 2018

 

 

November 2018 

 

December 2018 

 

Today Makes 200 Blog Stories!

I glanced at the analytics and noticed there are now 200 blog stories on this website—a milestone—so time out for a quick celebration!

This blog is mainly about a little town in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. I write about people, places, and events that are interesting to me, and maybe to locals and visitors too. My goal for the blog was to have a creative outlet while supporting the local art scene, charities, and small businesses. It has forced me to be more outgoing and less of an introvert. Consequently, I have met some remarkable people out and about in Sevierville and made some new friends. It has been quite a fun project.

Many of my stories have had a series: farmers markets, Sevierville Commons Arts Council Art Happenings, and KaTom cooking demonstrations. Other stories are special one-time things: Sims Barbershop, Frank Allen’s Market, the American Eagle Foundation.

Here are some statistics screenshots that are interesting.

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Can anyone guess which event prompted the all time best views on May 23, 2016? Who ever guesses correctly wins a free coffee! 

 

More people read stories in 2018 than the past two years so that is a growing readership, whether locals or tourists.

Look below for some of the top stories of the year. 

The story that I just published yesterday rocketed up to number 5 most read story this year! Crust and Crumb Opens Downtown!

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I am not sure why, but readers look up the story on Dumplin Creek Critter Care almost daily. If you go to her Facebook page then you get to see some delightful pet pictures each day. That story just keeps going! 

If I write about a business or event and they share the blog story then the story can go viral for about 48 hours. I watch the story analytics several times during the day so it is fun for me to watch the numbers increase. So share away! 

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Bloggers are busy with their own writings so I appreciate the support of 30 other WordPress writers. Also, 362 friends on Facebook from which I usually launch stories. Also, several readers opt to subscribe by email.

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This shows a break down of which search engines are used most for this blog. I have the blog linked to two Instagram accounts so I can tell that is working well to attract new readers.

 

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The screenshot above shows that people are clicking the links in the stories. It also shows that Reality Break Massage is quite a popular business since the links have been clicked over 68 times. That reminds me—I need to make my own appointment for next week!

 

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Over 55 countries have clicked on the Out and About in Sevierville blog. The screenshot above shows the top countries. I am not sure why someone from the Ivory Coast, Gibraltar, or American Samoa would be interested in reading it…but welcome to Sevierville!

Here’s to a good year in 2019. I may give it one more year and see how it goes. Cheers to our little town!

See you out and about in Sevierville.