We were in this area a year and a half ago and we wanted to revisit some places but also find other interesting features here (review is here). Nearby Vogt Farms advertised a Hanging Plant festival on Mother’s Day weekend so we decided to check it out. They have a greenhouse with many beautiful flowers and (true to the name) were mostly hanging baskets. There was a stage coach, horse drawn carriage rides, and several interesting animals including a camel, a lama, pot belly pigs, and pigmy goats. It was a fun way to spend an hour or so.
In Batesville checked out the Schmidt Bakery. It’s a local landmark and we highly recommend it!
We visited Metamora, Indiana when we were here before. At that time they were having their big canal festival and there were so many people there that you could hardly walk through the town. This time we went on a weekday and things were just the opposite with most shops closed and very few people around. The mill was open though with fresh ground cornmeal and grits for sale. This historic town was once a stop on the White Water Canal. Even as the canal project was being completed the railroad came to the area, making the canal boats obsolete. The town draws tourism through a variety of events throughout the year. We especially enjoyed looking around Grannie’s Cookie Jar and Ice Cream with their amazing collection of cookie jars.
The Franklin County Quilt Show in Brookville, IN. was very interesting. There was wide variety of entries but all amazing. Everything from bed and crib size to wall hangings and jackets. I especially enjoyed a demonstration called “Bed Turning”. Several special quilts were layered on a beautiful wood bed and two ladies held them up very carefully as their history was told. Most had been made by family members and handed down. One of the quilts is dated 1857 and was made by the exhibitor’s great grandmother. Another that interested me was the Bow Tie Quilt. These were used along the Underground Railroad before and during the Civil War to send coded messages.
Another beautiful town nearby is Oldenburg, IN which known as “The Village of Spires.” There are, indeed, many impressive steeples around town. There is a beautiful historic section with many old original buildings from the 1800s. We enjoyed eating at Brau Haus restaurant. We missed the lunch special since it was sold out but the pork tenderloin sandwich with red cabbage was very good and big enough to be shared.
We’re just finishing up our second stay at Indian Lakes Thousand Trails in Batesville, Indiana. We were here a year and a half ago and I did a review of this campground then. You can see it here. Really, things are pretty much the same now as they were then so there’s no need to do another major review. I will mention that we were happy to get a spot in Phase 4 again. It isn’t as easy to get into this popular section as it was because more campsites have been taken over by seasonal residents. We’ve been here 2 weeks and we have yet to see anyone at some of the campers around us. Beyond that, it’s my impression that over the weekends that all the full hookup sites in the campground were taken. However, this is such a big place that I doubt it ever gets completely full. We’ve enjoyed mostly good weather, had no problem getting our satellite TV, had a good Verizon signal, and, in general, had a pleasant stay. We give this Thousand Trails a “thumbs up.”
Our stay at Fort Boonesborough State Park near Lexington, KY was a short but enjoyable one. The roads in this large campground are good and the sites are all paved. The campground has 161 sites. All have electric and water but only 18 of them are full hookup. Be sure to pay attention when making reservations if you want full hookups. The water hookups are shared between every other site and some of them are a long way from the campsite. I ended up getting out some hoses I haven’t used in a while to reach our spigot.
The road you turn on to get to the campground is at the bottom of a “trucks use lower gear” hill just before the Kentucky River Bridge. You will want to keep your speed down to make the turn onto Hwy 388 to get to the campground. Also, about half way down that same steep hill is the turn off for the Fort itself. You don’t want that first turn, but rather, Hwy 388. It is all pretty straightforward once you are actually arriving but, again, be ready for that steep downhill just prior to turning off to the campground.
While there is plenty of space between the individual campsites you might want to be aware that the back in sites aren’t all deep enough for a larger RV. Also, if the campsite description says the slope is moderate or severe you can believe it. Some of the sites are pretty steep. Again, be sure to read the site description when making reservations.
Of course, the reason for this state park is that this is the location of Fort Boonesborough which was constructed in 1775 by Daniel Boone and those he lead. Today the recreated fort is a living history museum. We thoroughly enjoyed looking around, watching an informative film, and especially chatting with the folks who gave us a glimpse into life at the fort. We think the fort is well worth the time and modest entry fee and highly recommend it to all traveling through this Kentucky bluegrass country.
We’re just finishing up a one month stay at Raccoon Valley Escapees RV Park at Heiskell, TN, just north of Knoxville. The setting of the park is scenic, in a pretty valley with tree covered ridges on either side. Of course, this is eastern Tennessee, home of the stunning Smoky Mountains. Without doubt, this is a great area. The campground itself is basically a gravel parking lot. Sites are very close to one another with one’s neighbor’s utilities in your front yard. The grounds are well kept, the rest rooms clean, and there’s a nice activity center.
The campground hosts a weekly gathering of local musicians who sing and play for a few hours each week. Anyone who plays an acoustical instrument is welcome to join in. The music ranges from pretty good to “not pretty good” (if you get my drift.) However, everyone is having a good time and it makes for a friendly, easy going evening.
The monthly prices here are quite good and that has drawn a variety of residents. There are traditional Escapees who travel in their RV’s full time and there are working people who had never heard of Escapees, but joined to get the discount rate as residents of this park. Most everyone is friendly or at least cordial. Because of price, location, and limited sites the park stays pretty busy.
My Verizon signal was good. Our satellite TV is via Dish Network. There are plenty of over-the-air TV stations but the primary Dish channels are on the Dish “eastern arc.” Since my dish is a western arc one, and since the trees pretty much blocked my western satellites I decided to bite the bullet and buy the replacement LNBs. I found them on Amazon for around $25. After swapping them out and aiming the dish to the eastern satellites I had all my channels again. From what research I’ve done, I’ll be using the eastern satellites for another month or two and in the future I’m sure I’ll be glad to have the option of switching between satellite sets when we travel east.
Honestly, a month was too long for us to be at this park. Had the campsites had a bit more elbow room we would have liked it better but it still would have been longer than we really wanted. I’d return here for a week or maybe two, but that’s about it.
Just south of Knoxville is Marble Springs Historic site. It’s the last remaining home of John Seiver, first Governor of Tennessee and Revolutionary War hero. The buildings are representative of his life and times. They include a tavern, loom house, smoke house, spring house, and the John Sevier Cabin and detached kitchen. The large loom in the picture is over 100 years old. The tour guide shows how they prepared and spun wool, cotton and flax.
While looking for a good place to take our morning walks we decided to visit the University of Tennessee Arboretum at Oak Ridge about 20 minutes from our campground. I was looking for a place to walk on flat trails through pretty gardens at this working University Research and Education classroom. It is set up to be a natural laboratory and wildlife area. There are plenty of hiking trails but they steeper and rougher than I expected. At the visitors’ center there is a large collection of walking sticks for visitors to use as they hike the trails and enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors. It was an interesting place to visit but the trails are a bit more challenging than I wanted for a morning walk! We did find a great, paved walking trail along the Clinch River in nearby Clinton. We enjoyed walking there several times.
The highlight of our time in eastern Tennessee was two especially enjoyable day trips. One was to Pigeon Forge where I wandered through the shops and enjoyed seeing the old mill. The other a fun and beautiful drive up to Newfound Gap high in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We drove to the top, right on the Tennessee/North Carolina state line. However, we were up in the clouds and the view was lost in the fog. A bit lower down the mountain we ate a picnic lunch by a beautiful stream. The weather was cool and cloudy but it didn’t take away from the beauty of it all.
We picked a pretty day to visit Knoxville’s Market Square for the Dogwood Arts Festival. There was a wide variety of items for sale there including jewelry, pottery, photography, metal art as well as a booth you could have a Henna design applied. There were many food trucks there providing a variety of tempting treats as well as local restaurants doing a brisk business. My favorite thing was the music stage where we heard the Empty Bottle String Band performing.
Nearby Oak Ridge is famous for its part in the Manhattan Project where uranium was enriched to be used in the first atomic bomb ever made to end World War II. We visited the American Museum of Science and Energy and did a bus tour of various facilities where scientists searched for ways to quickly produce what was needed for an atomic bomb. At the Graphite Reactor we heard a lecture on how it worked. We could walk around some and saw the actual log entry made when the enrichment was finally achieved. We were surprised to learn that several other buildings still being used for research and by the Department of Energy. Along the way we saw two original churches with their cemeteries that were part of the rural community before the area became a research area in World War II. The American Museum of Science and Energy has many hands on activities relating to atomic energy as well as information on the coal mining done in the area.
As you can see the Knoxville area has a lot to offer sightseers. It’s no wonder that it’s such a well known and loved area.