Keeping Sevierville Beautiful: Extreme Home Cleanup, Spring 2017

Thank goodness for volunteers from Keep Sevier Beautiful or else I would have a garage full of computer equipment just taking up space. I dropped off some things yesterday morning and it only took minutes. This is one of the hardest working groups in our county so take a look at what they did yesterday. 

You pull into the parking lot where I saw my friend, Heidi, taking information. Then, they instruct you where to go next. 

Heidi let me take her picture. I just missed her son, Kollin, a senior at SCHS, and a student volunteer for the group. 

Everything is very organized and orderly. You don’t even have to get out of your car! It does not get any easier than that!
The first drop spot is for Live-It Ministries, a Christian group. Paul Danis, pictured above, says their warehouse is located at 11935 Chapman Highway. They accept donations Monday’s-Saturdays from 10-5:00. They accept almost anything. Donations can include clothes, household items, rugs, sporting goods—anything. 

I waited my turn for the computer drop-off stop. 

Mark Mundo helped me with my computer recyclables. He is a recycling, clean earth advocate so I was not surprised to him him working this event. 

Thanks, Mark!

This spot was for hazardous things that will not pollute our land now. A serious job here. 

Next, it was time to drop off some expired meds with the Sevierville Police Department. Officer Garner was ready to help. 

Actually, I did not drop off all these meds. 

You can see how meds are moved from the plastic containers for recycling. Then, the expired pills are taken to an incinerator for the final phase. Thus, ground water is not polluted later on. 

This is a invaluable service to our community and I try to take advantage of their help every year. Many thanks to Keep Sevier Beautiful for their service for it truly has an impact on our community. They clearly fight to make this a better world. A million thanks!

Here are a couple of their upcoming events. 

Look for this announcement next year. Also, you can keep up with their activities on their Facebook page. 

Need a break? Consider the Spa at Oak Haven!


Some colleagues and I belong to the monthly membership club at the Spa at Oak Haven and we take advantage of it on a regular basis. It is great for de-stressing, relaxing, and creating a general feel of well being. I like the treatments so much that I have gone an extra time or two during a month to make it through some stressful times. If you need a break, consider coming to the Spa at Oak Haven. Here are my tips for you.

First, call them to make an appointment. Here is a direct link to their website.

I, personally, like all the membership treatments and try a different one each month. The body scrub, facial, and pedicure are favorites.

You will be warmly welcomed at the door. There is a nice variety of merchandise on hand. Browse and do try some samples.

I suggest that you arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time to maximize your visit. First, you will change into a robe and light shoes, storing your belongings in a locker. Turn your cell phone to silent and I recommend that you leave it in the locker, if possible. Put the locker key in your pocket.

Next, be sure to go into the ‘relaxation room’ to linger over a magazine or even to shut your eyes and rest. The background spa music is quiet and completely relaxing.

The relaxation room is lovely and I enjoy staring up at skylights and the mural of cascades.



I highly recommend the sauna. In the winter, or on a cool day, this is worthy of arriving 30 minutes before your appointment. There is a timer and a temperature gauge. Sometimes, I enter it and find it not very hot because the timer turned it off with the previous client. That makes it tolerable and you can sit in the sauna for a longer period of time.


Nice touches are everywhere!


There is a full bathroom that is a bit lavish. I sometimes go there straight from the gym and shower at the spa. The towels are thick and soft. There are wash cloths and bath mats as well. There is anything that you could need.

It appears to be a large, handicapped shower. There is a shower head on the wall and one pointing down from the ceiling if you really want to get drenched quickly. You can use either one. Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash are available and they smell so good!

Even the bathrooms are a bit lavish. There are usually lotions and scrubs available by the sink. So nice!

Your esthetician, or masseuse, will come to the relaxation room to get you when it is time for your treatment. They will ask you a few questions, let you sign a sheet of paper, then step out of the room. Hang your robe on the door hook then lay down on the bed. Cover up and close your eyes for wonderful, blissful 50 minutes or so. Disrobe to your level of comfort. The bed is warm and heated in winter months.


Now, this advice is crucial. Do not eat an hour or so before your appointment. If you are having a treatment that requires you to lie on your stomach, you could be a little less comfortable than normal. The same goes for chewing gum before the appointment. That is all that I can say about that… And do not drink a lot in the hour or so before your appointment as you don’t want to interrupt your treatment for a ‘trip down the hall.’ Finally, I try not to completely fall asleep during a treatment in order to not miss anything.

One final tip…we gave a spa gift certificate to a good friend who had suffered the death of a parent and the grief and hard work that follows such an event. She said that that it really helped her and was much appreciated. I don’t think that she had been to a spa before and it was a wonderful experience.


When the treatment is finished, you can go back into the relaxation room and enjoy a cool glass of water or hot tea. Enjoy the sauna then, if you like.


On your way out, browse the wonderfully fragrant lotions and cremes. Maybe pick up a gift for someone. Stop by the desk to check out. There are little envelopes in which to leave a gratuity/ tip for your esthetician.

Voila! You will feel like a new person!

One website recently voted the Spa at Oak Haven as one of the best in Tennessee. The only one that topped it was the spa at Blackberry Farm! Here is a link to that article.

The Spa at Oak Haven is one of my favorite ways to get out and about in Sevierville.  We are certainly  lucky to have it here in our community. In fact, I am counting the days to next month so I call make an appointment for my next spa visit.

See you in the relaxation room!

Celebrating 100

I am taking a moment here to say that this is my 100th blog post! You may find it hard to believe that many stories have been written about things around Sevierville, but WordPress analytics keep track of the statistics, and here it is—the 100th story in a year!

A blog is basically a website. I started this blog as a creative outlet almost a year ago. I wanted to give it a try for at least  a year to see what could happen. Surprisingly, it has been a lively time!

Some people have wondered why I created this blog Out and About in Sevierville. One reason is that I follow two bloggers in nearby Knoxville who do wonderful things for the city. I thought that our town deserved that too. First, Alan Sims writes Inside of Knoxville. He was originally the ‘Knoxville Urban Guy,’ then changed the name of his blog to give it more focus. After seeing him on the streets of Knoxvegas, I was able to attend two of his workshops and meet for coffee to do some trouble shooting later on. He has been a great mentor.


This picture was taken with Alan Sims, (The Knoxville Urban Guy) blogger for Inside of Knoxville. His workshop was last spring. Here is a link to his blog on Facebook.

I also follow Cynthia Moxley and her blog,  the Blue Streak. To me, it is the ‘gold standard’ for a social blog. I look forward to every post that she makes, for it will be sure to entertain. She attends nice events around Knoxville and has a delightful writing style. I was thrilled to meet her last month and we were even included in a picture for her post on an event. What a thrill!

Here is a link to that story.


This post will be number 100. Although my blog is small, and we live in a small town, the overall views are cumulative and add up over a year. I categorize and ‘tag’ every story so it can be found on this website, and Google, forever. If you like a story, share it with friends because it gathers a lot of momentum and can help that group or business. The best thing you can do is ‘share’ a story on Facebook.

Below is a screenshot containing the top stories of the year, ranked by number of views, located on the right.


Bebops Frozen yogurt is in first place because several people ‘shared’ the post on Facebook.  It went viral. Second place was Harriet Berrier’s retirement festivities, part 1. Her story was so grand that I had to break it into two parts. Loralei’s boutique is in third place and remains quite popular. People continue to look at that blog post every week.


I didn’t realize so many countries looked at the blog until I saw the graphic above a few nights ago. Internationals may find it from my Instagram page. I have a friend from Carson Newman University who lives in Taiwan, thus explaining the second place in country views. (Hi, Sandra!)


Google Analytics allows bloggers to watch views in ‘real time’ after a story has been published.  The screenshot above shows three people viewing the story live at that time. The map on the right shows their location. It is interesting!


Oddly enough, my blog had activity from Russian hackers after the presidential election. The only reason that I knew this was because the Knoxville Urban Guy mentioned it on his blog and described how to check other WordPress blogs for the same. The screenshot above shows some crazy messages that they left for me. I secured the hacker messages and suffered no problems, but the situation made me shake my head!

With this blog, I want to support charities, non-profits, small businesses, events, and happenings in our town. I narrowed the focus down to Sevierville because the whole county is too big for a lone blogger to handle. Sevierville has turned out to be more than enough!

I am a quiet person so the blog has forced me to be more outgoing in order to cover a story. I have benefitted greatly from the project due to the people I have met and the activities that I have witnessed. Just covering the KaTom cooking classes and local restaurants has made me see myself a bit of a food writer. As a result, I have signed up to attend the Southern Food Writing Conference next month in Knoxville…and Blackberry Farm. A dream come true to go there!

For a shy person, I have met a lot of people while out and about in Sevierville. 

Volunteers, mayors, a sheriff and his workers, a state senator, business people, artists, city ‘movers and shakers,’ Sevierville Commons people, a moonshiner, chefs, friends, teachers, musicians, people in the media, a former student who works in television in Los Angeles, fans of Frank Allen’s Market, the State Farm guy, SCHS and SPS legends, and those fighting to make a better world.

Sevierville, it has been my pleasure! 

I’ll leave you with a collage of  pictures from the first year of Out and About in Sevierville. 

We have a great little town!


See you soon…out and about in Sevierville! 


Derby Hat Social 2017: Hang onto your hat! It is almost Derby time!

The United Way of Sevier County presented the Derby Ladies Hat Social on Thursday, April 6 at Courthouse Donuts for those who were interested in finding a beautiful ‘chapeau’ to wear at A Night at the Derby on April 28th. A ‘pop up’ hat shop was put into place for the hat social.  Derby finger foods and beverages were ready to serve at the event. My friends and I dropped by last year and ended up having a grand time at the hat social. This is what we experienced this year.



Beautiful hats from Sassafras were on display ready to be tried on and admired. Sassafras is our favorite store in the Old Mill area in Pigeon Forge. In fact, we always go there after dining at the Old Mill Pottery House. Everyone needs to go there! Here is a link to the store.



My friends and I knew from last year the best things to do at the hat social. Here is what you need to know if you want the best selection of hats. These are our recommendations!

  1. Arrive as soon as the event begins. Set your purses down on a table and go straight back to the hats. Wear a color that you may be wearing to the Derby event to help select the best hat.
  2. When you find a hat that you fancy, do not put it down! Keep it in hand and use the other hand to try on a few more hats. Try on many hats. Ask Donna Roland which one looks best and you will be sure to look good.


Witness the ‘hat protection’ technique in this picture.

I didn’t select the hat I am wearing in this picture because it overpowered my features.  I eventually selected the white one in my hand. Donna Roland, pictured left, assured me that it was the one for me. Learn more about Donna Roland from her website. She is an expert in Sevier County on fashion. Her website it beautiful!

Here is a link.


See, the photo above is blurry due to our speed at grabbing potential Derby hats!


I loved Joan Saas and her April themed hat. What a festive touch she brought to the event!


Our friend, Sophia Connerly, found her hat quite quickly. Love it!


I admired this hat and Pat Willoughby carries it with panache!


All these ladies looked smashing. Loved the little one so much! She was delightful.


Karen found the perfect hat for her immediately.  She bought this one.


Our gracious hostesses, Emily Whaley and Jackie Leatherwood.


I enjoyed meeting Joan Saas, Jan Lapides, and Pat Willoughby. They are Derby ready!


These ladies were stunning in their hats and attire. Pictured are Stephanie Postlewaite and Jennifer Duerer. Stephanie’s grandfather started the Mountain Press newspaper in Sevier County decades ago. I’ll bet there are some amazing stories there.


Ashley Burnette and Janice Bettis enjoying the event and supporting the United Way of Sevier County.


Marvel Sewell, Laurie Faulkner, and Donna Huffaker manning the Sassafras table and supporting the United Way of Sevier County.


After shopping, time to chat!


Members of the United Way of Sevier County getting ready for A Night at the Derby on Friday, April 28th. Pictured left to right are Amy Harper, Executive Director; Emily Whaley, Chair for A Night at the Derby; Kat Ogle, board member; and Jackie Leatherwood, board member.


Executive Director, Amy Harper addresses attendees and explains how the April 28th event will benefit 15 agencies in Sevier County.


And finally, the hat for me. My Facebook friends helped me to select from two hats. This one was the winner 2 to 1 on my social media poll.


You can buy your tickets now for A Night at the Derby, sponsored by Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. Here is a link to the Facebook event page.

Here is a direct link to the webpage where you can buy tickets.

We attended A Night at the Derby last year and were quite impressed. That event, and the Hat Social, were two of my favorite things last year. Check my blog archives here to read  about the event last year. It is well worth the ticket price. In fact, you more than get your money’s worth—but, after all, it is a donation to the United Way of Sevier County. This organization helps over 15 organizations in our county, one of the most important charitable groups here.

See you at the Derby event on Friday, April 28th. It is a truly fun way to get out and about in Sevierville. 


Chef Frank Downs From the Buckhorn Inn Astounds Us at KaTom: A Very Special Menu!


I have heard many people tell of staying, and dining, at the Buckhorn Inn in Gatlinburg and know it must be grand. On Tuesday evening, the fine dining at the Buckhorn Inn was on display in the KaTom demonstration kitchen. What a nice evening with some great people from the Sevierville and Morristown areas. Here is what we experienced.


I quickly found my place with some good people that I know and work with at SPS.


I love to sit with these ladies. All love to cook, learn new techniques, and enjoy fine cuisine.

Featured from left to right, Fay Andrews, Teresa Lee, Donna Jones, Harriet Berrier, and Sarah Berrier. What a fun table! I always learn something new from these ladies.


Enjoying the time before the demonstration are Debbie Smolnyki, Rose Anders, and Cindy Anders.


Excited to try the menu are Teresa Lee, Karen McNabb, Sharon Huskey, Harriet Berrier, and Donna Jones.


The pamphlet from the Buckhorn Inn revealed to me that room prices are affordable. In fact, I was shocked to see how much better the room rates are than a room in Nashville, for example. Take advantage of this some day! Here is a link to the inn website.



Appetizers were a fancy ‘pigs in a blanket.’ It was Andouille sausage, roasted jalapeño and Manchego cheese in pastry. Spicy and delightful. The mustard sauce, pictured at the top of the plate, was divine:  Dijon mustard and heavy cream. You could just eat it by itself.


Pepper steak and Frisee parfait. You can serve it in martini glasses for panache!



Voila! Shrimp and chorizo over Three Cheese Grits. Too good to be believed.

FullSizeRender-22Bernie Croquette potato with horse radish sauce. The crust is a blend of Panko bread crumbs and almonds.


The presentation of the croquette potatoes. I, in fact, have never had a croquette and must have another soon. The sprig of rosemary in the top makes it look like a pear. Wonderful!

We were excited to see a dessert—and that it was chocolate. A Double Diablo Chocolate Ganache cake was awaited with great excitement.


Out of the oven to cool. Chef Downs showed us how to invert it, thus showing a smooth and beautiful top. What you see here goes on the bottom…as if we cared!


The decoration technique was fun to watch. Don’t stare at this picture more than a few seconds or the design will seem to move on its own. I think that it is just the light in the photo that causes that effect.



Raspberry sauce and strawberries to garnish the cake. Unbelievable!


The final product—a dream on a plate!  The cake was incredibly moist and probably the best that I have ever had. Bravo! We all stood and applauded the meal and expertise of Chef Frank Downs. I can’t wait to go to the Inn some day for dinner. It gets our highest recommendation!


We enjoyed the evening and got a final picture with Chef Frank Downs before our departures. Karen McNabb, Chef Downs, ‘yours truly’, and Teresa Lee.

Go to the KaTom website or Facebook page to see upcoming events. Here is a link that will take you directly to their event /cooking demonstration bookings.

It is one of our favorite things to do when out and about in Sevierville. Save me a seat at the table!





Sevierville Commons Arts Council Presents the March 2017 Art Happening

Every Sevierville Art Happening event is quite unique; however, this time I felt like I was in Asheville, North Carolina. The vibe was relaxed and chill. My favorite piece of art portrayed green forests. The March Art Happening was very enjoyable! Here is what I saw last Thursday evening. 



Featured Artist for March 2017 is Christina Crofoot, pictured left. Karah Mullins, pictured right, is a friend who traveled to Sevierville for the opening.


Karah Mullins and Ty Hayter traveled from Bristol to attend the event.


Keener Shanton, Christina Crofoot, and Lynette Hill in front one of Christina’s paintings. This one is my favorite!


Crystal Lynn Sharp, Christina Crofoot, Lee Murray, and Chong O’Leary chat about art in Sevierville.




Katie, Mark and Samantha Smith enjoying the sights and sounds.

Entertainment was provided by Ross Heatherly. I realized that I had heard him before at the Bruce St. Brewfest in October. Ross has a band called Sweet Leaf and also plays solo. He can be found at this link on Facebook.

Ross is a 2010 graduate of Sevier County High School and played offensive line for the Smoky Bears. Later, he played football for a couple of years at TN Tech. He had played a gig the night before in downtown Knoxville at the Concourse. I asked him to play some Jimi Hendrix that I had heard last October and he was glad to oblige. Here is a new clip of the song.


Christina Crofoot is a quilter and painter, incorporating geometric shapes into her work. She says that she is inspired by fabric, quilting, and by nature and uses a lot of color and abstracts. She works out of her home in an old farmhouse, which sounds perfect for artistic creativity and inspiration. img_5319.jpg

My favorite painting is the one featured above with the forests and trees.


Attendees pictured here are Tom, Kathy, and Laurel Kiewitt, along with Joyce Eick.


Sevierville Arts Council board members pictured here are Andrea Wilson and Jill Green. Tammy Busman is pictured right.


Sophia Connerly, Sevierville Commons member, chats with Andrea Wilson about upcoming projects for the spring and summer. An important event coming up is the Co.Starters, which begins on April 10th. The Sevierville Commons Arts Council has been awarded a $15,000 grant to present a Co.Starters program for those who wish to open a small business. Instead of a $500 fee, the grant allows only a $100 fee for the 9 week workshop. Please contact the Sevierville Commons Arts Council if you are interested in this opportunity. Here is the link to their webpage, email address is located at the bottom of their page.

Here is a link to learn more

I got a late start to the Art Happening due to a HIIT class at 5:00 so I stayed until the end of the event. As I strolled down the street, the sun was setting on the courthouse. I love to photograph it different kinds of light. Then, I noticed something else.


Just a few feet away, a family from Hartsville, Alabama was taking pictures at the Dolly statue so I helped them take a few photos and they allowed me to take one of them for this story. You see people taking photos there all the  time, but wonder where they are from.


It was a nice March evening out and about in Sevierville.