Category Archives: Outdoor Florida Magazine Travel

Clark range Hunting Lodge Has Personality!

 

AmericanPressTravelNews-Sept. 19th, “Bob and Barb On The Road Again”–What would make a modern family leave California, and pioneer backwards towards the east coast of the U.S.?   When the Echternacht family; Jim and Sandy and their son Ian headed to Tennessee, from their home in Santa Barbara, CA. in a circuitous adventure, they had made the decision to purchase Ken Moody’s hunting lodge, and the many hundreds of acres it afforded for client-hunters since the 1950’s.The family wanted to change their life’s paradigm. No more super highways to sit in traffic, no more anti-hunting,  and negative target shooting people to have to deal with, no more incredibly high prices for everything to continue dragging them down.

Son, Ian loves the shooting sports life, handling the dogs, putting hunters on to a wild boar, or the various other game animals on their hunting lodge properties.  I had a chance to shoot with Ian at their range, try out some fine weaponry, and master-blast a few sporting weapons-it was great fun and in an environment where booms and rifle cracks were perfectly acceptable.

The family are happy campers since purchasing the lodge in September, 2016.  “We knew we wanted to leave CA. so we made an RV out of a 1986 shuttle bus. The bus had a fine diesel engine, and no fancy electronics. We traveled all over looking for a place to land outside of CA. We wanted a rural, quiet place to spend our lives that had water, trees and hunting opportunities. So we coined the term: “Go east young man.”  We finally found it here in Clark range.  Just down the road from great service,  and shopping in Crossville, great neighbors, plenty of room, and very happy hunters are our lot now”, said mom Sandy.

When they got into to TN. they stayed at Fall Creek Falls State Park. “We loved the park, the people and the feeling of being in a state that was more laid back than any other we visited, and upon our return to CA. we looked on a land and business sale site, found this lodge here in Clark Range, and studied the idea of buying and settling in the woods and waters of TN. We took quite awhile to decide, and after selling our home in Santa Barbara, and a few trips to, and from Clark Range, here we are”, said Dad, Jim.

Hunters can stay and hunt at the lodge for boar, Fallow Deer, Black Buck and anything non-indigenous to TN.   Whitetail deer, black bear, and other specially licensed animals require a state license. People who wish to have a mount, and the meat hunt here. Several of the long term clients have stated that actually hunting is secondary to being in the wild with family and friends just to hang together-being happy to just be together with those they enjoy  in a relaxed, non-working environment in nature.

The property has diverse terrain with waterfalls cliffs and caves for the adventurer, as well as accessible locations with blinds for the more laid back hunter. First hunts for youngsters with their parents are welcomed. A few groups have come year after year for decades.

There is no plan for clear-cutting; just cleanup as the previous owner wasn’t around for controlling usage of his lands perimeters. Today, Ian is on it all! A great sportsman in his own right, he appreciates, and has the drive to renovate and upgrade the lodge to its original condition, yet upgrade in the style and manner of what a true hunting lodge really feels and looks like. Mom, Sandy, treated us to a great chicken dinner, and we slowly began to lose the trappings and feelings of the life in hustle-mode. Yes, while visiting, we relaxed and understood why folks from all over would come and de-stress at the Clark Range Hunting Lodge. A guide with 16-years experience takes you & your party on guided dog hunts. There are tree stands, and ground blinds also available for hunters of any age, and physical condition is what you’re in for. Parties of 10 or more have exclusive use of the Lodge and Preserve, and smaller parties too are always welcome! We’re going back for some more of that “personality.”

Located at 1640 Campground Road, Clarkrange, TN.  www.clarkrangehuntinglodge.com

 Phone- 931-863-3203

Note* There are several hunting  and sporting lodges in Tennessee, and we plan on visiting a few of these that are in, or are close to Crossville for Fall features.

 

Abuelas Cuban Cafe

Americanpresstravelnews- September 19th, Crossville, TN.-“Bob & Barb on the Road Again”–Crossville has several very good Mexican Restaurants, now it has Abuelas Cuban Café.  No, not all Hispanic food emporiums are the same. There are many variations on rice and beans, pork and beef, spicing and marinating, etc,

What’s different? An island such as Cuba, and the little city within a city; Little Havana in S. Florida, has its own distinctive take from Mexican and Puerto Rican foods. Cubans grow Yucca, of course, as in other Hispanic foods; Plantains and black beans, yet marinated roast pork, seasoned chicken and Cuban Spice Veggies are usually distinctive to Cuban style foods, of course not always.  Havana salad (use of fruits such as mango and papaya) has avocado and a very different take on citrus salad dressing.  Piccadillo bowl has savory stewed beef with raisins and olives (Mexican piccadillo does not usually have raisins) white or yellow rice, yes, but seasoned differently.  All of this is to say, Cuban foods are just different and savory too, in their own right.

We tried the Cuban sandwich, and the roast pork sandwich-they are definitely quite unique in their food genre. In true Cuban style, meats are usually marinated, and this not only softens them, but adds considerable flavor. The Cuban bread is toasted with the ingredients in between the bread, usually pressed solidly on the grill. Various items (pork, ham, salami, pickle and cheese) are melted and hot when brought to the table with a side of sweet plantains (banana’s) delicious!.

Mom Karen Reph (the Abuela- means Grandmother) and her daughters;  Kelsey  Green, and Karly opened the restaurant July 7th 2017. But first, they did a few “pop up” trials where they went into two other off-day restaurants, and showcased their dishes to the public. They had great responses, and so they “jumped the broom” so to say, on to, and into 595 Main Street in Crossville and opened Abuelas Cuban Café.

WOW! The café con leche (Coffee with hot milk) a very Cuban coffee presentation, is superb. Their flan custard dessert was delicious, and the empanadas (little fried pocket sandwiches like those fresh fried pies) were filled with ground, marinated beef with raisins and olives. The empanadas were terrific, and we know; Barb and I lived near some of the best Cuban restaurants in S. Florida, and frequented all of them from time to time several years ago. When you go, try the Yucca Fries with some tangy mojo mayo for dipping.  The Havana Salad, try it for yourself-its got the goods for flavors of the islands.

We really like Cuban coffees, and starting out the day with a strong, sweet Espresso is a real mood, eye opener, and energy wake-up.

Karen Reph, mom and grandmother amongst the 3-co-owners said that: “We brought to Crossville our heritage foods we grew up with, and felt Crossville folks would love them too.”

We explored something new in Crossville, and found ourselves at a Cuban Restaurant, so reminiscent of what we enjoyed in South Florida and the Keys, and we are happy to recommend Abuelas for everyone looking to spice up their lives and palates, for a change of pace.  Abuelas is Located at 595 Main Street, store #102 in Crossville.

By the way Barb and I wrote the book “Best Restaurants in the Florida Keys.”(Available at Amazon) Of the hundreds of restaurants, one of our favorites was a Cuban Restaurant.

Discovering a Secret City

Japan suffered greatly for being the aggressor in a war they mightily regretted.
And a cousin was in the middle of it all!

American Press Travel News-Bob and Barb “On The Road Again-this time in Oak Ridge, TN–Secret City No Longer a Secret

“Shhh, don’t ask and don’t tell was the official mantra of,  and for anyone living and working in Oak Ridge, Tennessee over 7-decades ago.

Barb and I jumped at the opportunity to check out a terrific area that offers museums, fishing, great restaurants, and even bird watching, not necessarily in that order.”

 

Imagine visiting a city that wasn’t even on the map until the late 40’s. People who lived in that city had no address and phone available to the outside world. Their street addresses were in coded names. It was as if they lived on an island, did everything together on a social basis with what turned out to be an extended family of some 75,000 people. These were specialists, and their families in unique scientific fields in physics, chemistry electrical and chemical engineering, boiler making, construction specialists, metallurgists, and heavy construction development where K-25, a mile long was the largest building under cover of roof, at 44-acres was constructed at that time.

In1941, just after Pearl Harbor was bombed, most all of these folks were brought to a place that they couldn’t write home about, or have their friends and family visit.

They were on a mission, an incredible mission to assist in ending the war in the Pacific and what they wrought, the Atom Bomb did just that, after this hellish bomb was unleashed on Japan, it helped save hundreds of thousands of our service men and women, who would have had to storm the beaches of Japan, and those people that would assist them.

Oak Ridge is the city that allowed teams of physicists and brain stormer’s like Einstein and Teller to name just a very few, to help make this deed a reality. Today, about 8-decades later, there is still tight security for much of the business end of the city that is devoted to developing modern technological advances in nuclear medicine, nuclear power and various other technologies, with some of them absolutely top secret even today.

Some facts about early Oak Ridge are in order here: The Oak Ridge Reservation encompassed 59,000 acres in 1940s, Oak Ridge used one-seventh of the electricity produced in the U.S. during full production, the average age in Oak Ridge at the time was 27, Oak Ridge didn’t appear on a map until 1949, it was not incorporated as a city until 1959. Because of the secrecy demands of the Manhattan project, the Oak Ridge High School football team was only allowed to play away games, and the opposing team was not given the team roster of the players, they were only known by numbers. Every person over the age of 12 had to wear an identification badge at all times during the 40’s.

Visiting the American Museum of Science & Energy we passed by a large image of
Einstein who had penned a letter to President Roosevelt that helped convince him to initiate the development of the “bomb” before Nazi Germany could do it. This letter helped kick off the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge. The entire story is now in plain sight for visitors to this museum and it’s a terrific place to bring the family. Any age range can learn much from the hands-on displays and mind games that challenge with their simple and complex games designed to broaden the mind and enlighten the curious. Oak Ridge continues to earn the U.S. the title of “Super Power.” Live demonstrations, audiovisuals, machines, and devices will definitely keep you and the children entertained and delighted. We also visited John Rice Erwin’s open-air museum called “the most authentic and complete replica of pioneer Appalachian life in the world.” The museum contains over 250,000 pioneer relics including 30 log structures from pioneer times, a chapel, a schoolhouse, cabins and barns replete with actual relics of those times. Outstanding!

.  We went fly-fishing with guide Clayton Gist (865) 806-7803 and yes, got braggin’ rights! Gist explained that the Clinch River is probably the premier trout river in Tennessee. We headed for Big Ed’s Pizza at Broadway in Oak Ridge, terrific on our way home.

 

 

Visit to Morristown, Tennessee

American Press travel News–July 9th, Bob & Barb “On The Road Again”-Once in the city of Morristown, we had visited with Anne G. Ross, Director of Tourism at the Area Chamber of Commerce Office. Anne sent us on a very informative itinerary that covered just a bit of the great things Morristown is all about.

We checked out part of the Lake way Area that included a visit to Cherokee Lake. The fishy lake has over 700-miles of shoreline. The ubiquitous largemouth and smallmouth bass are king here. We visited with shoreline angler’s cat fishing, and looking for brim and crappie. Everyone was having a great time, as the water was clean and clear and the temperatures were warm, but mitigated by a nice shore side breeze. We visited with Sam & Delores Phillips owners of Morristown Marine. Sam discussed the seven bass tournaments he runs each year on Lake Norris, Cherokee, South Holston, Watts Bar and Douglas Lake. He has 910 members of his invitational only events. They draw 220-230 boats for each event. Winners take home big bucks per event, ongoing for over 11-years. https://www.morristownmarine.com

Always interested in history, we headed over to the General Longstreet Museum. The historic home was used by General James Longstreet as his Civil War Confederate headquarters in the winter of 1863-64. The site includes a replica of an 1860’s tailor shop where Director Kelly Ford makes period military uniforms. We met up with “Dewey” a very serious Civil War buff, and he regaled us with a blow-by-blow of various Civil War skirmishes, dressed in a Confederate military outfit, he laid out everything he knew about General Longstreet’s life and times. Dewey is a very serious historian and really knows the full history of “everything” Civil war https://facebook.com/generallongstreetmuseum

We spent some time at the Rose Center of the Arts with Executive Director Beccy Hamm. The arts center is housed in an 1890’s Victorian school house. The center is the cultural arts hub of the Lake way Area. Gallery exhibits, performance spaces, meeting places and a sales gallery. We also met up with representatives from the Morristown Theatre Guild and Theatrical Company where we learned of the many shows slated for the coming months. Go:  https//:www.rosecenter.org

Panther Creek State Park was quite spectacular, Jason Chadwell, Park Manager showed us the incredible sites including an overlook of Lake Cherokee. We also met Craig Price who discussed the newest and most challenging 18-hole Disc golf course. No clubs, just special Frisbee discs thrown into basket-catch hoops.

Hillbilly’s Cabin Restaurant was a fine breakfast spot. We enjoyed Spanish Omelets’ and real coffee! Then we were off to the Meeting Place Country Store & Antiques, and did some shopping for fun oldies but goodies!

Yes, Davey Crockett grew up here and since that time so long ago, so did generations of other families and pioneers in business, industry, medicine, the arts and sports!  For more info go: facebook:Visit Morristown or facebook: retire Hamblen County, TN.

Next week take a peek at The Whitestone Inn on Watts Bar Lake!