Celebrate and Be Grateful: A Special Speaker for the Smoky Mountain Cancer Support Group

Celebrate every day and be grateful. That was part of the message from Michael Holtz at this month’s Smoky Mountain Cancer Support Group meeting.    

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 Michael Holtz is a cancer survivor, an advocate for cancer patients, and the State Lead Ambassador for American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Tennessee. (ACSCAN TN) 

He loves his role with ACSCAN because he knows he is making an impact on legislation that matters to cancer patients and in the battle to end cancer.    

Advocacy matters, and it does make a difference.  Because of advocacy, the Federal Government has continued to increase Federal research funding, that includes Cancer research, by $2 billion every year.  Many ACSCAN volunteers are cancer survivors just like Michael and when Legislators see their faces, they realize how important the funding is to the survival of cancer patients.   

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This year, Michael and other ACSCAN volunteers are focusing their energy on the Palliative Care Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA).  Palliative care is comfort at the beginning of treatment, Hospice care is comfort at the end of life.  This Legislation would fund education for medical personnel in the area of pain management, for patients with serious illnesses that result in chronic or acute pain.  Thus bringing comfort to patients and their families during the entire treatment for their cancer diagnosis.   

It has been a 6 year effort to get PCHETA to where it’s at in Congress.  It was passed unanimously by the House and is now in the Senate ready for mark up. This is when the Senate debates, amends, and do any rewrites of the proposed legislation. 

Our own, Senator Alexander has an important role in getting PCHETA to a vote in the Senate. The path to vote for PCHETA starts in his committee and as the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, he is the one to move it to mark up.  Sen. Alexander listens to his constituents and is a big supporter of cancer research.  As a constituent, you can call his office and ask him to “schedule the Palliative Care Hospice Education and Training Act, Senate Bill 693, for mark up”.   

The phone number for his office in Washington D.C. 202-224-4990 

Michael told the small crowd, “we would like to see the day when no one has to hear the words, you have cancer, and this legislation is a road to that day”.   He and 650+ ACSCAN advocates will converge on Washington D.C. this month to ask Congress to support PCHETA.   

A highlight of the Washington D.C. trip is the Lights of Hope ceremony where thousands of luminaria bags from around the country are lined up around the reflecting pool of the Lincoln Memorial.  The bags are a somber reminder of the far-reaching impact of cancer.  But from the solemness ignites a flame of passion that continues to drive the volunteers.  You can make a statement about cancer with the purchase of a Light of Hope Luminaria. Michael will carry it to Washington D.C. and add it to the others around the Reflecting Pool.  Go to http://action.acscan.org/goto/michaelholtz2018, and make your donation.  Each bags $10 and supports ACSCAN.   The deadline is September 16th. 

The Smoky Mountain Cancer Support Group meets the second Monday of each month, at the My People Senior Activity Center.  All are welcome.  Contact Carlene Maples at carlene.maples@gmail.com, for more information.   

A Morning Ride at Cades Cove Stables: Our Favorite Horseback Riding Place in the Smokies

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We are lucky to have a selection of horseback riding stables in this area. When you want to saddle up and ride, there is a stable that is particularly worth the drive to the mountains. We had a wonderful morning ride at Cades Cove Stables. Here is a summary of our trip.

Lisa and I wanted a final, fun activity before work resumed last month so we drove up to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to try the stables located at the entrance. We had tried to ride a week earlier, but a fast moving storm cancelled rides for several hours so we decided to try again a week later. As it turned out, we had the perfect morning and an idyllic ride on our last day of summer vacation.

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We wanted to be in the first group (if possible) so we met at 7:30 and drove through Wears Valley in order to arrive by opening at 9:00 a.m. There are no reservations. First come, first serve. There seemed to be about 30 horses in the stables ready to ride. That was a lot more than I was expecting so they can handle different group sizes.

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Enter the office, sign a waiver, pay, and choose a riding helmet, if you like. I think that they were optional for adults, but we tried them to ‘get the whole experience.’ We like wearing cool hats too.

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You will get a quick lesson from your guide and then saddle up. You can see how easy it is to get up in the saddle with this platform. Lisa’s horse was named Puddin.’

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My horse was very gentle and nice. Her name was Noble. She reminded me of a Palomino.

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Everyone gets a safety check of bridles, straps, and stirrups. They were very thorough.

And away we go!

The trail is about 3 miles so the ride lasts about an hour. It is mainly flat and woodsy.

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About a mile into the ride, the guide will stop and do another quick safety check.

On the way out and back, you get to cross a shallow creek. So relaxing!

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We mainly walked, but there were some sections on the trail that we got to trot. I wasn’t expecting that for a trail ride and really enjoyed it!

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One thing we really appreciated was the fact that our guide stopped at the halfway point and took pictures with everyone’s cameras so we could remember the moment. It is not recommended to use a camera during a ride because it could scare the horse and you need both hands ready–just in case. I took pictures and video for this blog. If I did it again, I would use my clear camera sports bag and just wear it around my neck. It is not easy juggling a camera and riding so the guides will help you with photography. We really needed help with the picture above so it was a nice service. We left a nice tip to show our appreciation for everything.

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At the end of the ride, dismounting is just as easy. You use a platform to get off the horse so all ages can ride.

Dismounting is as easy as pie!

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Our guide, Debbie, was the best. I was impressed that she could ride backwards in the saddle while talking to us. Get a picture at the end of hour so you can remember them and your ride in the mountains.

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There are children’s rides and carriage rides available as well.

Here is a link:      http://www.cadescovestable.com/index.html

In summary, here are the things that we liked the most about this riding stable.

  1. The horses and healthy and well treated. They get every other day ‘off’ in the pasture.
  2. These are knowledgable ‘horse people.’ They know what they are doing. They are friendly too.
  3. The trail is easy so you can relax and enjoy the ride.
  4. The are times that you may trot, if you like.
  5. The waiting area is good. We saw a bear on our first trip.
  6. There is a bathroom next to the office.
  7. The horses are well tempered and gentle.

Here are some good ideas.

  1. Wear old shoes or boots.
  2. Bring a snack and have a picnic in Cades Cove after your ride. Keep it safe from bears in your car.
  3. Wear a sports camera carrier bag around your neck if you want to take photos.
  4. I hate a horsefly and there was one that bedeviled our horses during the ride. Be watchful and gently swat at them if they land near the top of the tail where the horse cannot reach as well.
  5. Maybe wear a hat or a visor.
  6. Crowds are smaller during local rod run weekends and other big events.
  7. Tip your wonderful guide!

 

This was a wonderful way to end our summer vacation. We highly recommend Cades Cove Stables. It is our favorite horseback riding place in the Smoky Mountains!

 

 

Phil Bredesen Campaign Rally at Applewood Farmhouse

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Phil Bredesen’s campaign rally was well attended yesterday by local citizens at the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant. This is an excellent candidate for the U. S. Senate so it was necessary to attend the event. I don’t go to many political rallies, but do so when I really like the candidate. Here is what I saw at the event.

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First, Melinda and I ran into some dear friends, Steve and Liz Petty.

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The Applewood Farmhouse was ready for the Bredesen visit.

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A line formed to sign in and enter the rally inside the restaurant.

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I signed in and was ready to meet the former governor. He is my choice for U.S. Senate.

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Excitement was evident as Bredesen entered the room. He entered quietly from another part of the restaurant so it took a minute to realize that he was there.

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Bredesen was introduced to the crowd as his wife stands to the left.

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Phil Bredesen spoke about his retirement and decision to run for U.S. Senate. The crowd was glad he decided to come out of retirement.

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Melinda enjoyed a moment with the candidate. I enjoyed my moment as well!

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A handshake with retired teacher, Dale Gilmore. We always enjoy seeing Dale!

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I didn’t realize that this was a casual dinner event so it was nice to try the AppleWood Farmhouse restaurant chili—and it was fabulous! A little spicy, but enough to make it good. There were tiny cornbread ‘crackers’ to dunk in the bowl as well. You must try this the next time you are at the AppleWood Farmhouse! Smokymountainfoodie approvesIMG_7432.

Everyone is encouraged to vote in November. This is the best vote for U.S. Senate.

 

 

Art Happening: August 9, 2018

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A thunderstorm was rolling into town, but that didn’t deter attendees from the August 2018 Art Happening in downtown Sevierville. The Arts in Common Gallery was bright and cheerful inside. Follow along to the first Art Happening in this new gallery.

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There are so many beautiful things to see in the gallery. I am always captivated by Mary Rudin’s sundial, pictured in the foreground.

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First, I ran into local artist Marilyn Davenport with her husband, Bill.

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Attendees talking to the featured artist, Tim Norris (pictured right). Tim Norris lives in Kodak and is actually an accomplished musician. He told me that he just started painting a year and a half ago. He started with watercolors then moved to acrylics. A friend of his also told me that Tim creates kaleidoscopes. So much talent in the fine arts! It was a pleasure to meet and talk to this artist.

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Music provided by T.J. Artis.

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These artists are twin sisters! Kaye and Faye moved here several months ago from Nashville and North Carolina, respectively. They are excited to be living here now and getting to know other artists in the area.

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Artists and supporters gather in the gallery. Pictured left to right: Ken, Jeff, Gail, and Charlotte.

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Featured artist, Tim Norris, and Davy Crockett.

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Local artists, Jenny Dennis and Rita Eakin, enjoyed the Art Happening. Jenny creates abstract art and works with textiles, which you can see on her website                             www. jennydennisart.com . Rita works with acrylics. She created the beautiful scarf that she is wearing during a class with Charlotte Wear at Charlotte’s Creative, just a few doors up the street. I must take this class!

IMG_7066Liza Bach and Jill Greene overseeing the August Art Happening. A good crowd enjoyed the evening!

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More fans of  Tim Norris had a good time. Pictured left to right: Julianna Norris, daughter of the featured artist; Kelsey, Brennon, and Taylor.

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Tim, Julianna, and Debbie Norris stand by some of his acrylic paintings. My favorite painting is in the center.

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The clouds are reflecting light and look almost real to me. Fabulous!

I really enjoyed meeting this artist, his family, their friends, and fellow art fans. It is such a nice way to spend time downtown in the evening. Now that the gallery is ready, Jill Greene told me that the Sevierville Commons Art Council plans to host Art Happenings on the second Thursday of each month. With Art Happenings, they will spotlight an artist who has work in the gallery. Look on the wall to the left of the front door because that will be the display space.

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I am excited that the Art Happenings are starting again downtown. The people are great and it is a feast for the eyes and the soul. You won’t find a better way to spend a little time downtown in the evening while out and about in Sevierville. See you there next month!

 

 

A Visit to the Downtown Farmers Market Before the Storms Arrived on Friday night.

I was running late to meet friends for lunch so there was no time to waste on Friday at the downtown Sevierville farmers market. With only 40 minutes to see as much as possible, I made my way from the parking lot on Main Street to the gazebo area. Follow along and see what was there last Friday, July 20.

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I had never seen so many cars and traffic in downtown Sevierville this summer so it was good to see people out and about.

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If you park near the courthouse then you can pass through the arcade at the Victoria Mall and then exit near the Henderson’s produce tent. This is one of my favorite stops.

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The downtown Sevierville farmers market on Fridays offers a great place for family outings. This sweet family captures that idea in one photo.

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Kyle Grainger, reporter and weather anchor for WVLT-TV, shops at another vendor. Knowing that storms were on the way that evening, the vendor and I asked about the weather timeline. Kyle replied that it would be stormy and that the television station had recommended that he pack an overnight bag in order to cover the weather throughout the early morning hours. It did turn out to be quite a stormy night!

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I always enjoy visiting the UT Ag Extension tent because they are so friendly, offer samples, give you a free recipe, and sometimes a freebie! I felt good when one of the ladies knew of this blog and said that a relative in Ohio reads it sometimes. So cool!

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 Apple salsa with a little jalapeño kick. I will make this!

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This is the nicest lady! She also makes quilts from t-shirts. I got some specifics from her for a future project because I am ready to finally get rid of T-shirts, but don’t want to throw them away. Some are from Spain, London, Australia, and New Zealand so they are sentimental favorites. This will allow me to keep the memories, but also allow more closet space. Take a look at the craftwork under her arms in the photo above. Those are remnants from T-shirt projects in the past. Looks like we know what kind of shirts they come from!

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I bought the medium glazed cashews to take as a hostess gift on Saturday at a cabi Fall ’18 collection launch. The friends at the party found them to be a favorite treat at that gathering. I talked to the vendor and he is headed for California this week.

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Other customers agree that the glazed pecans are great.

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I need to avoid sugar, but still admired the cinnamon buns from this vendor.

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Foodie pastry heaven!

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Wildflour Bakehouse offers cakes made to order and cookies as well. Check out her book for ideas and prices. I liked the chocolate cakes pictured above.

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 I was so happy to see Snowbird Mountain Farm again and made another purchase. Great  gourmet coffee!

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You can buy lunch from Doug Shanks and keep shopping!

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There is always a crowd and beautiful things to see at Sevier Blumen.

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I had to leave for lunch before I had a chance to wander over to the gazebo to see a wood turning demonstration. Luckily, I caught a Facebook Live feed by the Sevierville Commons Arts Council while I was in the restaurant. From that, I caught a couple of screenshots of these Unicoi County crafters. Here is one screenshot of Bill Collison at work.

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Here is a screenshot of Tina Collison. Check the front page of the Sevierville Mountain Press Sunday edition to see a story on these two crafters.

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Taking a last look before heading to lunch with friends. The Sevier County Courthouse clock tower in the background is a nice photo reference.

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Healthy Balance is a great lunch stop after visiting the market. I met Janice, Anita, and Elaine for a leisurely lunch. The turkey avocado sandwich grilled is perfection. We highly recommend this lunch spot!

There is another farmers market downtown in just a few days. It is a great way for you, and your family, to get out and about in Sevierville. See you there!

 

New Things at the Farmers Market: July 6, 2018

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There is a special energy on Fridays in downtown Sevierville. Go to the gazebo on Bruce Street and you will find our local farmers market buzzing with activity and commerce. I went this week and found two new vendors that offer something a little special. Follow along and see for yourself…

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I noticed a lot of progress on a new business downtown called Graze Burgers. (I think that I got that name right.) One of the foreman said that they would make some good progress in another month. It is coming along nicely.

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Although in a bit of a disarray now, this alley will soon become a seating area with tables and chairs for Graze Burgers. There will be a window to the bar that will assist with food service. I am looking forward to see this new business.

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There was a lot of ‘hustle and bustle’ at the farmers market when I arrived around 11:00 a.m.  I was glad to see so many customers there for the day.

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It was good to see Doug Shanks ready to serve lunch to hungry shoppers. He retired from the Sevierville Police Force and has taken over this business.

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If you elect Doug Shanks as Constable, then you know where you can find him on Fridays between 9:00-1:00.

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I always enjoy seeing the U.T. Extension Office at the farmers market because they will have a nice sample and recipe to give away to anyone who wants to try it. They also have many tips for recipes, gardening, cooking, and more.

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I tried this broccoli salad and it was fabulous! It was kept cold and refreshing. I liked the raisins and red onion in this particular recipe. Must make it soon!

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Here is one of the new vendors from Snowbird Mountain Farm. I think that it is worthy of note because I bought something here within 5 minutes. Guess what it was?

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This business is based in Hartford, Tennessee. Snowbird Mountain Farm (love the title!) offers several products, not the least of which is coffee. The vendor was very pleasant and friendly, happy to explain the roasting process and differences in blends.

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I am a coffee ‘afficionado’ and a big fan of the Three Bears Coffee company that sells at the Knoxville Market Square farmers market. To see a coffee vendor at our Sevierville farmers market was quite a welcome sight. This is a niche that needs to be filled.

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After smelling the aromas from each bag, I promptly bought this one and look forward to trying it in the morning.

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I love this vendor as I have bought many dog sculptures from her to give as gifts. There are some new things here. Look…

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Pomeranians!

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I think that I am going to buy this for Larry Sorrell!

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This was the other new vendor that was worthy of note. He makes and sells candied, glazed pecans, walnuts, and cashews. Walk up and you can try a sample.

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I tried this one. He uses bourbon to make this delightful treat. It was really good! I only tried one.

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I think that this could be a good hostess gift if you are going to see someone. I would prefer the one on the right, of course.

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It was time for me to go so I went my usual route through this arcade, the hallway through Victoria Mall.

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Pass through the light to Court Avenue and the parking lot on Main Street. It was nice to see some new vendors along with the good ones that we already have on Fridays at the farmers market. It makes it nice to get out and about in Sevierville on a summer morning.

See you there!

 

 

 

My First Trek Up Mount LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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If you live in this area then climbing Mount LeConte is probably on your ‘bucket list.’ In addition, an overnight stay at LeConte Lodge is ‘the dream’ because it is so difficult to get a reservation—not to mention getting there. I am not a hiker, nor outdoorsy; however, the possibility of going up the famous mountain with friends was something that I couldn’t pass up. It was finally time. Here is our story from last month: my first trek up Mount LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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We ascended the mountain via the Alum Cave Bluff trail. Many will be glad to see bathrooms at the beginning of the trail. I know that I was!

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A quick glance showed mountain visitors from several states.

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The Alum Cave Bluff trail starts out gently.

IMG_1127The trail becomes steeper as you approach the cave. Melinda said, “the hike is tough, but what a payoff! The views from Alum Cave take my breath away.”

IMG_3587Mountain ridge lines become visible above Alum Cave.

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You gain amazing views as you proceed up the mountain.

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The path is rough, but you can do it with a good fitness level. I had been working toward this goal at National Fitness Center in Sevierville since the spring. In fact, I highly recommend their high intensity fitness classes and the stair climber to prepare for this vigorous hike.

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Take frequent rest breaks if you need them. We did.

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My good friends, Millie Derrick McFalls and Melinda Derrick, were some of the best companions for this first trek up Mount LeConte. Millie worked at the lodge for several summers and Melinda has made the ascent before so they knew what to pack and what to do.

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The trail presents some exciting moments—and photos!

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Nice drop off! Hang on to the ropes. You have plenty of room, but the ropes increase the safety and feeling of security.

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My climbing companions were (pictured left to right) Lisa Stone, Melinda Derrick, and Millie Derrick McFalls. Lisa Stone has served in the Teacher in the Parks program and the Teacher Ranger (TRP) program. Her knowledge of the mountains, plants, animals, and hiking made it so much more interesting and fun. She also carried an alarm in case we came into contact with wild animals.

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Melinda said that there are about 28 places on the trail with these security ropes.

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When you feel like your legs will not go much farther then you may reach what is called the ‘Hallelujah’ trail. This flat section is the last quarter mile to LeConte Lodge, your final destination.

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Our first contact with the lodge was this privy that any hiker can use. There are more bathrooms for lodge guests as well.

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We had just enough time to check into our cabin before dinner was served in the lodge dining room.

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There is no electricity in the dining hall, but the skylights and windows allow natural light. The dining room is cozy in the cool air at the top of the mountain. Temperatures that June night dropped into the 40’s up on LeConte.

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This will be the best corn bread that you have ever had in your life. In fact, the whole meal will taste amazing!

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Dinner at 6,593 feet will be the best one of the year. Delicious!

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You will need to carb load for all the hiking you will do, even while  on the top of the mountain. These Toll House cookies were as good as they look! Feel free to take another!

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After dinner, Lisa and I trekked to the ‘Clifftops.’ This is the best spot to watch the sunset. It was kind of tricky for me with all the rocks and slick spots, but I was glad that I went there. Does it look like you can reach up and touch the clouds?

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Upon arrival back at our cabin, we could look over the tree line and see the lights from Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. Lisa said that she said the big wheel at the Island. The lights extending to the right are from Dolly Parton Parkway. The lights north of that show Highway 66 to the Interstate.

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Some cabins have double sized bunk beds. They may be queen sized! Two people can share each bed of this type.

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Lisa and I got up at 5:30 a.m. in order to see this sunrise from Myrtle Point. It was the most amazing sight of the entire trip! Make sure that you do this. Take flashlights and a walking stick because the path is a little tricky in the rocky areas.

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Even with the clouds, the sunrise will impress you.

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Lisa walking back to the cabin from the sunrise at Myrtle Point. You can see how the paths look like creek beds.

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The ‘office’ has morning coffee so bring the cup from your room for caffeine. See the sign- in book to the right of the coffee? Make sure that you register your name, hometown, and how many times you have made the climb to the lodge. Look at old pictures on the wall and some of the ‘hall of fame’ climbers who have made a name with frequent treks to the top of the mountain.

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This was a good way to wake up and prepare for the descent back down the mountain.

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I love this photo of my friends enjoying a chat and coffee on Mount LeConte.

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Breakfast at the lodge is perfect. This is just half of it. There were biscuits and gravy and more.

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For some new views, Lisa and I chose to descend the mountain via the Boulevard Trail. It is longer than Alum Cave trail, but I wanted to see the wonderful views—and they were stunning.

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We began the descent and took our time.

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The Boulevard trail contained one of my favorite spots (and pictures) on the whole trail.

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We were walking among the clouds during the first part of the hike down LeConte.

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We got caught in a thunderstorm about halfway down the mountain. Make sure that you have a poncho. And now, I can say that I have done part of the AT, the Appalachian Trail.

Truly, I am a novice so check with seasoned hikers before you begin any hike in the Smokies. Thanks to my friends, I was prepared and had a great time. After my legs recovered for a couple of days, I can say that I would consider going back up the mountain next year. After all, I didn’t get to see the llama pack train that goes up the mountain with supplies three times a week. Next year!

There are so many good pictures from this trip. So many good times. The Derrick sisters summarize it well. “Experiencing the walk, the lodge, and time with my sister and friends is priceless. We made memories.” Millie agrees, ” I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

 

 

Sevierville Commons Farmers Market and Movie Night Downtown: June 15th, 2018

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I rushed up Court Avenue and then to the gazebo area in order to connect with the farmers market last Friday.  On my way home from a HIIT class, there were only a few minutes to spend there, but fresh produce was calling my name. As it turned out, I would return downtown at dusk to see what was going on with the Sevierville Commons sponsored movie. It was a busy day in downtown Sevierville so follow along to see what was bringing people downtown from morning to evening.

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Tomatoes are in! Love the summertime for this reason. Hendersons always has good ones.

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Danish and bagels for the sweet tooth. She often sells out by noon so get there early.

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This cute little game on sale by one vendor was a bargain! I will get some next week —if there are any left.

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We were able to sample one of the small Cherokee Purple tomatoes from this vendor; consequently, I took several home. Lots of flavor in a small package.

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This is on my dining room table right now. Hard to pass up a bouquet from Sevier Blumen.

Around 8:30 p.m. it was almost dusk so I decided to go by and see the crowd for the outdoor movie. The selection for the evening was the “Lion King.”

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We have no drive-in movie theaters in the county, but this was  almost the next best thing. What a nice evening to sit outside to watch a movie with family and friends almost within the shadow of the courthouse.

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Snacks were available for sale from the Relay For Life of Sevier County group. They said that they had sold out of certain things by the time that I got there so get there early next time!

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There was a very good turnout for this movie. Thanks to Sevierville Commons for the opportunity to enjoy something free downtown with families.

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I found some precious, hand-made items for sale at this table sponsored the Orbit Village Project. The figures of zebras, giraffes, and other African animals fit perfectly into the “Lion King” theme. I bought a giraffe figure that will sit on my desk to collect mail.

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I have heard of the Orbit Village Project before and enjoyed looking at the information boards. What a wonderful work it is for everyone involved.

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Finally, darkness settled and it was time for the show. Everyone seemed to settle in.

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And then the magic began…

First Visit to Downtown Sevierville Farmers Market 2018 (and a sneak peek at Rocking the Commons)

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It was my first visit to the Farmers Market in downtown Sevierville this year.  I was running late so it was a quick tour around for me this time. Many of your favorite vendors were there. Follow me to take a quick tour here.

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The first reason I go to the market is for fresh produce so Henderson’s is hard to beat.

IMG_3378 2The lady who sells bread and fresh bagels is back. These are amazing!

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One of my favorite vendors is back with the handmade figurines. Remember last year when she designed some cat and dog figurines for me to give as gifts? She has a few new things for the holidays, so check them out next week.

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I am avoiding sugar right now, but imagine these products are wonderful on a morning biscuit. She also does the T-shirt quilts so ask her about them if you are interested.

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This lady is one of the friendliest vendors on Friday so go say “hello.” She had some ‘special helpers’ too. Everyone needs soaps and scrubs and hers are so reasonably priced.

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I asked about the charcoal ingredient and she replied that it was good for problem skin and complexions. It helps remove toxins too.

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These little cakes were so light. The sweet potato butter adds the moisture. Sounds so good!

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I got close to the end of the market time so I didn’t really run into a lot of people. Will try to be earlier next week. Next, I crossed the street to see a sneak peek of the Rocking the Commons event, sponsored by the Sevierville Arts Commons.

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These rockers are gorgeous! They will be auctioned off today at 4:00.

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Go Vols !

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Each rocker is one of a kind. Collector’s item!

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Some lucky people will have a one of a kind rocking chair to enjoy on the porch this summer. See you downtown and out and about in Sevierville. 

 

Some Warriors Don’t Carry Weapons: Relay For Life of Sevier County Celebrates 20 Years of Hope

There are many groups here, but I am sure none work harder than Relay for Life of Sevier County. Relay For Life is an organization with the mission to raise money for cancer research and programming. The Sevier County Relay For Life group has raised over $3.8 million dollars for the American Cancer Society. Last Saturday was a 20 Year Celebration for the local organization—and it was a big one. Follow me downtown Sevierville to see activities during the 12 hour event.

First, I am going to share some of my favorite things for the general public. Then, I will share some things that I saw that will hit close to home for cancer survivors and caregivers. There is something for everyone at a Relay For Life event.

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I was happy to see plenty of parking and chairs, many in the shade. There was a schedule of events posted on Facebook and in the Mountain Press featuring free music and non-stop entertainment. Anyone can come down and enjoy the outdoors with the courthouse and Dolly statue in the backdrop.

 

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Citizens National Bank offered treats and the thrill of a dunking booth. This lady said that the water was a little chilly at the beginning of the day. What a good sport and supporter of Relay For Life.

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There were games and prizes. Surely, this team had the best smiles!

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Sophia and I had lunch from the Norma Dan Monkees team menu. Grilled right there! They chose ‘monkees’ as a name mascot because it is upbeat …and they are just fun!

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Serving burgers to benefit Relay For Life of Sevier County. They were great!

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More games from Tennessee State Bank. The candy pull game looked fun. Popcorn too.

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The crowds were huge at Dollywood so this family stopped by downtown and took advantage of some of the activities. Face painting was very popular.

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More games!

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Inflatables were a big draw for families.

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Low carb snacks. A huge plate for $2 !

There was a large selection of silent auction items. I am bringing more $ next year to do some birthday and Christmas shopping.

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There are only a few Smoky Mountain-Opoly games left. Sheriff Seals supported the Relay For Life event in person, and as a sponsor.

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Author, Missy Barrett, speaking with Tennessee Representative Dale Carr.

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I heard really good music all day. The band pictured above was quite popular. “Priscilla and Little Rickee” came from Chattanooga to play for the Relay For Life event.

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Late in the afternoon, past event Chairs and members of the first steering committee were recognized. These leaders have championed the fight against cancer to help others in Sevier County live better lives.

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With the courthouse in the background, Relay For Life of Sevier County teams receive a check $15,000  from the Smoky Mountain Wine Trail from the Pink Wines and Stomp Out Breast Cancer Walk. An amazing donation!

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I enjoyed the live auction under the direction of Dale Carr. He skillfully guided the bidding until the highest dollar was found.

To see a live auction is truly an amazing thing.

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As the sun set, I was waiting for the Luminaria ceremony to begin. One could donate a luminaria in memory of a loved one or to honor one who had battled cancer. I bought one for a sweet lady who had passed last year.

IMG_3226 Luminarias lined the street and served as a visual reminder of the terrible reach of cancer.

During the luminaria ceremony, each person was given a small candle.  The candle would be lit as they called out categories of loved ones affected by cancer. Then, there was a quiet memory walk around the courthouse to reflect on these loved ones.

The moment that the Boyd’s Creek Church of God choir began to sing “Amazing Grace” was somber and touching. I almost did not video this moment because it was so solemn, but I felt that it was important for people to see the beauty and dignity of the remembrance walk. As the choir sang, people took their candles and walked along the luminarias that lined the courthouse.

The Relay For Life of Sevier County teams worked hard for 12 hours to celebrate 20 years of important work that impacts our citizens. This group truly brings hope to those in our county who face the fear of cancer. Many thanks to Emily Kile who stepped out to create the group here 20 years ago when it was relatively unheard of. Thanks to other leaders and committee members who have worked on Relay events over the years. Thanks to the teams who worked so hard last Saturday. Finally, thanks to my friend Sophia Conerly, who has taught me more about this hard working group of people. I have seen them…and they are warriors.

I’ll end this article with some of the sponsors of this event—it would be difficult without their partnership and support.

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