A Summer Visit to Knoxville

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My daughter is working this summer at the University of Tennessee, so we paid her a brief visit, enjoyable other than being on the hottest days of the summer.

What do you do in Knoxville if you’re not a UT fan?


Well, of course, there’s the Sunsphere, a 266’ tower topped with a five-story gold globe, which was the centerpiece image for the 1982 World’s Fair.  My wife and I both attended that fair, and due to the crowds, neither of us actually went inside.  Floor 3 is the entrance level; Floor 4 is an observation level within the globe.  It’s a quick, un-airconditioned ride between the two.  The view?  Well, again, if you’re not a UT fan... there’s a river, anyway.  Overall, it was akin to Chevy Chase’s looking at the Grand Canyon in Vacation.


The downtown area has its charm, visibly thriving as a dinner, arts, and offices area – but with more restoration opportunities available.


Speaking of the river, other than a place for UT fans to hang out when they don’t have football tickets (it’s adjacent to the stadium), there is a riverside park adjacent to Calhoun’s On the River, a popular restaurant.  Pretty at night, particularly with reflections from a bridge and buildings on the other side.


Tripadvisor.com did what it could.  #2 on it’s list of things to do is the Ijams Nature Center, only several miles from downtown.  It has trails, an old quarry, and, appreciably, an air-conditioned Visitors Center.   103oF, folks.   And humid.  It bleached the color right out of the next picture.



Certainly, the grass and trees were green, but it felt burnt out, so I shifted the colors a bit.  Direct sun at mid-day isn’t doesn’t exactly offer great lighting for pictures anyway.


One of the many trails runs adjacent to the Tennessee River.  There were numerous worn paths to the water, likely from wildlife helped by water runoff. 


As we were returning to the Visitors center, we came across an employee handling an American Kestral, the smallest but most common falcon in North America.  He had an injured wing, and wasn’t going anywhere.


On the way to Ijams, we had passed this photo op, which I couldn’t pass twice without stopping. 


Observed at a somewhat higher frequency than in other areas were local men with long, tangly grey beards.  I’d say they were mountain men, but there weren’t any mountains.  We just missed getting a photo of the gentleman who lives at the house below, who was speeding away on his bike. 


Adjacent was an example of the natural world ceding to human will.


The #1 thing to do in Knoxville is Market Square.  It’s the centerpiece of the downtown area, with a small park surrounded by shops and restaurants, where a farmer’s market and crafters apparently vend on weekends.  Musicians (and most not deserving of that label) open their instrument cases and play for tips. This gentleman was by far the best and is very much a ham for those who point a camera his way.  He draws a literal line in the shade, and when it crept up to him, he packed and left.  Experienced in his craft.


Otherwise, we fed our precious T-Rex and made her feel loved.  Meat does that.   We ate at Downtown Grill & Brewery, notable for three things:  An appealing interior design which includes brewpub tanks and 2nd level seating open to the lower level, brew from those very tanks for which we were charged only $2 each, and the loudest environment for dinner I’ve ever been in – not due to music, but the general din of chat.  Not good, even if the place was packed.  The food was very good, better than the average bar food.


1 comment :

  1. I love the pictures! That tree is amazing! And you got one of the things I love about America, fire hydrants! They always make me smile ha! Simple things...