Knocking around Knoxville

So, we have made another dramatic change of venue.  We arrived last night from a very smooth trip in from Las Vegas, albeit one with a connection from Houston to Knoxville, where our car was waiting.

I just have to say a word about weather, since our luck is almost freaky.  We left the south on Saturday, and it rained here most of the time we were gone.  We had fabulous weather in Las Vegas, left yesterday and it is raining there today.  Rain, in Las Vegas.

Now today in Knoxville was one of those gorgeous cool-air warm-sun fluffy-cloud-sky days that you can’t beat.  Usually, rain clouds follow us around, and we have often thought of having the Saudi government pay for us to visit so we could make the desert bloom. Having said this out loud, our luck will probably change, but it just had to be said.

Knoxville was the home of the 1982 World’s Fair, and I bet you didn’t know that, or if you did, you have long ago forgotten it.  It’s amazing, since this is only a town of 175,000 people.  Recently, they decided to focus on refurbishing and repurposing the old fair grounds and what was the centerpiece – the “Sunsphere.”  I am no Simpsons viewer, but I understand they often reference this edifice, and not in a kindly way.  Bet I can guess what they have to say…

Overall, this is a town like many others, where the downtown decayed and much was destroyed for parking lots (though there was no reason to go there) and now has been rediscovered and is “hot.” Everyone wants to live in something loft-like and there is a definite restaurant scene. We wish them well in this endeavor.

The art museum turned out to be closed – “but just till Thanksgiving.”  When we commented that it looked too new to be undergoing renovation, we were told “oh no – it’s 15 years old.”  Guess it all depends on your perspective.

We also toured the East Tennessee History Center.  Davy Crockett’s rifle!  Lots of memorabilia about towns we have already explored!

One of the important things you learn is that East Tennessee is very different than the rest of Tennessee.  It aligned itself with the Union, and wanted to be its own state originally, the state of Franklin.  It is odd to drive on “State of Franklin” Highway.  Guess they are still mulling that one over.

One difference that kind of says it all.  In Georgia, everyone but everyone calls each other “sir” and “ma’am.”  When we left a store in Knoxville today, the teenager at the register told Don, “Thanks, buddy.” Harumph.

5 thoughts on “Knocking around Knoxville

  1. You found another Rita’s! I have to tell Matt!! The “You ain’t from around here” t-shirt takes the cake when it comes to the kitchy apparel competition (I actually want one. Can you go back and get one for me??). And didn’t somebody–anybody–think that the sunsphere looked like it would, one day, be commemorated in raunchy comedy routines? Seriously. When I saw that my tea almost shot out of my nose.

    This land was made for you and me . . .

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    • It’s getting to be a thing – finding the Rita’s! I never even heard of this place till Matt told us to go there in suburban Philly. What are Italian ices doing throughout the South? There aren’t too many eye-talians in these parts…

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  2. I thought when I moved from Kentucky to North Carolina in the mid 60’s I had a southern accent. Apparently not. For about the first ten or so years I heard, “You aren’t from around here are you?” I Haven’t heard it in years. I guess I speak North Carolina now.

    I’m so happy you are back on the road. And when are we going to see a picture of Jo??????

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