Fewer couples tie the knot in Gatlinburg

January 27, 2008

Gatlinburg, which once billed itself as “the wedding capital of the South,” has seen a precipitous drop in the number of weddings held in that charming resort town. According to an AP story , “Last year there were 14,896 weddings in Sevier County, down from 21,136 in 2000.”


Local officials quoted in the story trot out lame excuses, such as the fact that somehow Georgia has made it easier to get married–with drive-through wedding chapels, perhaps?–and the price of gasoline.  They ignore the most obvious reason of all:  Gatlinburg has become a hideous place in which to spend any time, much less a honeymoon.

Belle Meade Wine; a modest suggestion

January 14, 2008

The operators of Belle Meade, the plantation home/attraction just outside Nashville, have announced that they will begin producing wine and hope to start popping the corks in 2010. The plantation folks hope to emulate the success that Biltmore house and gardens have achieved outside of Ashville, North Carolina with their fruits of the grape.


A winery will fit right in with plantation life–no doubt Harding family meals were graced with a nice red or white. In these days, however, when customers pull up to Tennessee vineyards, they are looking for the sweeter wines. Fruit wines and anything with “scuppernong” on the label sell out more quickly than the drier varieties.

For that reason, and with a name that is perfect for this purpose, Belle Meade should distinguish itself from the other wineries by skipping the grapes entirely and fermenting honey to produce mead.

Can’t you just see the label? Belle Meade Mead! Perfect!

This blog is part of a much larger website, also entitled Tennessee Guy, that contains travel and cultural information about Tennessee. Visit it here.

Christus Gardens gives up the ghost

January 7, 2008

Christus Gardens, a 47 year old religious wax museum in Gatlinburg, is closing on January 13, 2008. According to this article on ReserveGatlinburg.com, there are several reasons for the closure: the 71-year-old owner has no family who wants to run it, and the 8.5 acres are worth millions to developers. The buyers will probably advertise condos with signs saying, “If you lived here, you could stare at the Space Needle all the time!”


Read the rest of this entry »

Barbecue joint with wifi

January 5, 2008

While driving across Tennessee, I came across a first for me: a barbecue joint with wifi access. The Hickory Pit is the place, and the town is Savannah, on the banks of the Tennessee River as it heads north across the state.


Read the rest of this entry »

Bristol offers downloadable audio for walking tour

January 5, 2008

Bristol, Tennessee and Virgina is a compact, very walkable place, and now the Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau offers a downloadable PDF map and accompanying MP3s to guide visitors through the site of the “Big Bang of Country Music.” Go to the site and look for the “Historic Downtown Walking Tour” link.


Read the rest of this entry »

Friends of the Smokies license plates raise cash for park

January 5, 2008

The Friends of the Smokies, a non-profit organization that supports the work of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with money and volunteers, was able to be a lot friendlier in 2007 thanks to the residents of Tennessee and North Carolina who purchased special license tags.


According to an article in the Tennessean, sales of Friends of the Smokies tags pulled in $544,760 to go to the park, the group announced today. The piece continues with “The license plate, which first came out in 1997, has raised more than $4.9 million for the park.”

This blog is part of a much larger website, also entitled Tennessee Guy, that contains travel and cultural information about Tennessee. Visit it here.

Tennessee River can flow uphill

January 2, 2008

“Harold Crye calls water ‘the gold of the future. In Las Vegas, Phoenix, and maybe Atlanta, it’s going to be a big issue,’ said the president of Crye-Leike Realtors. ‘Chattanooga is in a pretty good position.'”

Water is going to be an issue in Las Vegas and Phoenix? One hopes this poor soul was misquoted. If not, Captain Obvious rides again.


The above couple of sentences from the remarkably perceptive real estate magnate of Crye-Leike begin an article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on the water crisis facing Atlanta, which has been eyeing the abundant flow of the Tennessee River for some time. Think Chinatown with a southern accent.

Read the rest of this entry »