Snapshot of Tate Springs, circa 1957

February 1, 2009


This just in from loyal reader Samuel Spaulding, who writes “This picture was taken in 1957, I was 11 years old at the time. This must have been the last decade that Tate Springs in Bean Station was open.

‘Mayberry’ in Tennessee

June 12, 2008

East Tennessee seems to be the place for people who want to create their own little utopias–antique-filled backyard paeans to the past. Just down the road from one such place in Rogersville lies Mayberry, a tribute to the Andy Griffith classic TV show. This one was built by John and Ruby Hitch and stands in the Seymour community south of Knoxville.

Photo courtesy of Sisters of the Silver Sage

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Rogersville’s Nostalgia Village

May 13, 2008

It takes a couple to raise a village.

Otis and Kathy Eldridge, who live outside of Rogersville, have spent several years assembling “Memory Lane,” a collection of buildings that represent an homage to the 1950s and 60s. Beginning with a country store, they have erected a Studebaker Diner, a Texaco station, a body shop, bowling alley, and much more.

Photo by Tom Raymond

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Endangered Species carousel to open in June

April 14, 2008

A one-of-a-kind carousel will begin to spin at the Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park. According to a story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, All of the animals featured on the carousel are endangered species. Carousel fanciers can soon climb on polar bears, a spotted hyena, and a manatee. The carousel should be open in June.

Photo courtesy of Horsin’ Around

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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, 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!”


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Land of the Smokies: a review

December 27, 2007

Tim Hollis has written a wonderful book on the various–and mostly long gone–roadside attractions of Tennessee and North Carolina. His Land of the Smokies covers territory from Boone, North Carolina through the towns around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Chattanooga’s Lookout Mountain. The book, published by the University of Memphis Press, is filled with a delightful collection of color photos, postcards, and various brochures from places such as Ghost Town in the Sky, Frontier Land, and Silver Dollar City.


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The Cherokees of Lawrence County

November 18, 2007

On a recent drive across Tennessee on Highway 64, I stopped in the town square of Lawrenceburg. Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign may not exactly be setting the Republican woods on fire, but he is hot stuff here. One of his more interesting supporters claims that the Cherokees are descendants of the Hebrews.



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Waxen stiffs coming to Gatlinburg

November 4, 2007

For the Mensa members who have seen all the Ripley’s attractions and crave more in Gatlinburg, help is on the way. The Knoxville News Sentinel breathlessly announces that the Hollywood Wax Museum is coming to town.


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Roadtripping David Byrne on Dolly Parton and Elvis

October 4, 2007

Jack Neely, writing in Metro Pulse, points readers to a blog entry by David Byrne, written after a drive with his daughter, Malu, across Tennessee.

Byrne, the former front man for the Talking Heads, took his daughter to Dollywood and has some interesting comments on Dolly:

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