Category Archives: The Arts

 Knoxville Tennessee


American Press Travel News–Feb. 28th, Crossville, TN. “Bob and Barb On The Road Again.”–An hour’s drive on I-40, from Crossville, sitting on the shores of the Tennessee River, and surrounded by some of the most scenic lands and lakes that Middle Southern America has to offer, Knoxville, Tennessee is as gracious a host as you’ll find anywhere. Stop anyone and ask them about Knoxville, and then be prepared to listen up and smile. “People are very friendly. We like “friendly.”

Several main highways bisect, or are very close to the city. I-75 from S.W. Florida through Atlanta and Chattanooga, I-81 that links the northeast with the southeast, and I-40 that cuts across from Memphis west to the eastern corridor to Asheville, and links up with I-95, the eastern seaboards main highway from the Florida Keys all the way to N.Y., and the north east.

With world class museums, antique shops, and quaint boutique shops that you can shake a credit card at, great accommodations, and really fine cuisine, Knoxville offers something for everyone, and on everyone’s budget too.

Sounds like a Chamber of Commerce ad, huh? Well, no not from me, I call it as I experience it!

Bet you didn’t know that Knoxville is and was home to the Blues phenomenon. Music does take center stage here.

We checked in to the excellent Disney-like, pyramid Hotel Knoxville, with soaring floors open to a courtyard grand space, and a restaurant. The hotel was so conveniently located, that many of the great restaurants and locations (such as the Basketball Hall of Fame) and the Sun sphere left over from the Knoxville, Worlds Fair we visited, were in walking distance.

For a walking tour, we found Paula. Paula A. Johnson created her own business: “Knoxville Food Tours.” Her tour incorporates the history food and fun that Knoxville has to offer for a very reasonable fee. She took us for tastings (yes, its always lunch time for Paula’s guests) to Oliver Royale, Bistro at the Bijou, Dazzo’s, Coolato Gelato, and a for great juice bar on the square. She gave a us a running history of these, and other restaurants, as well as a fine taste of what Knoxville was, and is today in the arts, music, craft beer and food scene.

Paula also has published “The Lost Restaurants of Knoxville.” A great historical read! For reservations, go: and give Paula a call at (865) 201-7270. Paula A. Johnson is a great personality, adding to the terrific personality of Knoxville. She helped make our visit “excellent.”
The next day we attended a early dinner aboard the big Star of Knoxville, on Neyland Drive. This paddle boat is the queen of the Tennessee Riverboat Company, docked at the Volunteer Landing on the Tennessee River. We and other visitors were serenely and quietly paddled past great landscapes, and architectural glimpses of the Knoxville area. We enjoyed a nice meal, great local company, and views of a green land that just wouldn’t quit. (865) 525-7827

Becky Hancock, Executive Director, toured us through the restored Tennessee Bijou Theatre, the official state theatre of Tennessee. $23-million was spent in the restoration of this former 1928 Spanish-Moorish style early movie palace. They even did over a mighty Wurlitzer organ, and some the interior details included Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers, and Asian influenced carpets and drapery patterns that hung over and around Italian terrazzo floors in the Grand Lobby. Give a call for information: 865-684-1200

The Knoxville Museum of the Arts was especially delightful. Their permanent collection exhibits could keep one enthralled for an entire day, all by themselves.
On Gay Street, we stopped in to The Blue Plate Special; a daily live traditional music performance that was broadcast on historic WDVX Radio. The live broadcasts allow everyone to just come in, sit down during the broadcast, a local and tourist treat since it started in 2005. We enjoyed several sets of great country and bluegrass from well-seasoned musicians.

Today, there’s a place for you genealogical minded folks-the Calvin H. McClung Historical Collection at the Museum of the same name. It is an affiliate of the Family History Library in Salt lake City, Utah, and one of the south’s best genealogy research facilities, as well as the Knox County Archives established in 1792 and virtually intact. This museum is also a Smithsonian affiliate, and it emphasizes archeological research in the Tennessee Valley Region with an award-winning permanent exhibit “Archeology and The Native Peoples of Tennessee.

We visited the Ijams Nature Center on 2915 Island Home Ave. (865-577-4717) For a 108 years, the Nature Center is a renowned bird sanctuary on 275-acres, and it has played an important role in the environmental education and outdoor movement in East Tennessee. The Ijams legacy is largely untold in a historical perspective, but it includes Girl Scouting, horticulture, ornithology and hiking-all encouraged by the Ijam’s by example and design. The Center has a Lost Species Exhibition exhibit, and is well worth visiting. Remember, we all live downstream and “A day going down stream puts your head firmly into upstream of life!

Key Largo & Islamorada Birthday Trip Via The Blue Chip 2 Sportfishing Adventures

American Press Travel News-Jan 26th–Key Largo and Islamorada, Florida Keys-“Bob & Barb On the Road Again” and “Stopping to Smell the Roses & Admiring the Hibiscus Flowers.. So our son David had his 50th Birthday and was spending his day on the Charter Craft, Blue Chip 2 with veteran Captain Skip Bradeen, his mate David and my sons friends John ElKoury, Billy Pope and Dave a;l part of Coastal Reality of the Florida Keys, Allan Pope owner of Keys Life Magazine, Eric Dyer another of David’s childhood and lifelong friends and Captain Key Largo; my younger son Brian Epstein who runs his backcountry boat out of Key Largo and who knows where the big ones lurk and jerk the lines.
The day was blustery, but on the Blue Chip 2 we caught fish, the heck with the wind and swells. Everyone caught dinner sized yellowtail snapper and some tuna including bonita and down deep Mutton Snappers. It was a great day and it finished with a special fishing and boating themed and decorated cake, too! At the end of day yours truly went on Capt Skips Radio Show to talk about the day and my published Keys themed books. We ate yellowtail of the day and at least one beer at the Moose Club. Kona Kai 800-365-STAY—In Key Largo, fish here, eat here and love here!!!

Entrance to Kona Kai Resort and Gallery. Where we stayed during Dave’s birthday sportfishing bash.
Kona Kai Pool and hot tub.
Left to right Birthday Boy Dave, Captain Skip Bradeen, Captain Key Largo, Brian Epstein and David the Blue Chip 2 Mate.

Fly buddy out to say Hi to the birthday boy, Dave.

Fly buddy out to say Hi to the birthday boy, Dave.
We kept enough yellowtail snapper for all of us to have a fresh filet of fish dinner.
Realtor, John ElKoury, a veteran and a great Islamorada resident!!



Whitestone Inn Above the Rest

News Release from Whitestone Inn

Click to see a web copy of this email

 12 Days of Christmas and we are excited to announce our 12 Days of Christmas! Each special will run on the day listed from 9:00 am until midnight. You must call 865-376-0113 to take advantage of each special. If you would like to receive a reminder email each day for that special please click the link at the bottom. 

December 1- 10% off all Gift card orders.
December 2- One night stay good through March 2019 for $175 plus tax and Resort Fee. (includes Breakfast for 2) 
December 3- King size Comfy Sheet set for $135 plus tax and shipping or free pickup at Whitestone.December 4- Dinner for 2 and a horse drawn carriage ride for $115 plus tax and service fee.December 5- A private 3 hour cooking class with one of our fantastic chefs for $135 plus tax and service fee.December 6- Anniversary add on package for $75.00 (Reg price $100)December 7- 10% off all Gift card orders.December 8- Winter Weekend getaway, Book any 2 night weekend stay for $399 plus tax and resort fee. (Includes breakfast for 2 each morning)December 9- King size Comfy Sheet set for $135 plus tax and shipping or free pickup at Whitestone.December 10- $295 for a one person entry to a Living Waters Retreat (Reg price $395)December 11- Dinner for 2 and a horse drawn carriage ride for $115 plus tax and service fee.December 12- Bonus Bucks on all Gift Card orders…….
*Order $100 and get a $20 Bonus
* Order $250 and get a $50 Bonus
* Order $500 and get a $100 Bonus
* Order $1,000 or more and get a $200 Bonus

Yes, email me with each new special!

Explore Our Rooms & SuitesGordon Mote in Concert 

Come enjoy an intimate evening with Gordon Mote. Gordon is an award winning southern gospel artist and pianist. Blind since birth, Mote’s faith provides the foundation for his life and constantly fuels his creative spirit.You can read more about Gordon
 here. Join us for a special performance in The Chapel of The Good Shepherd on Tuesday December 18th at 7:45 pm. Call 865-376-0113 to purchase your tickets. You may also make dinner reservations at 6:30 before the concert. Prices are as follows…. 

Dinner and Concert $55 per person plus tax and service fee.Concert only $20 plus tax
“What a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the beautiful works of God! The entire experience was great. The food was amazing and the staff very helpful and kind! Love this place! “


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.

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

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//

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!