Last weekend was my husband’s thirty-sixth birthday. I decided to surprise him with an economical little get-a-way to Tennessee. First things first: We are not far from Tennessee. Literally, I can cross the state line (northwest from me) in about an hour and fifteen minutes. Second: This was a last minute decision! I didn’t have money set back for a trip so I knew it had to be economical but fun. Third: My mom kept the kids!
Now I need to let you know the pictures on the blog are going to be blurry. I only had my iPhone on me and not my camera. I promised myself to bring the camera more and then I realized I gave it to my daughter. Oops.
So why Johnson City, TN? I mean why not? Ha! My first reason in choosing it was that I had always heard of it and thought, “Yes, I should go there.” The second reason was it wasn’t far away. We are only about 2.5 hours from the spot. The third? It’s in the mountains. This time of year is all about the mountains to me.
A little background on the town: Johnson City is the original Boom Town. It was inspired by the 1800’s boom of the railroad industry in the town that brought in three major rail lines.
Side note: I love trains.
While we were there two trains came through carrying cargo. They actually came right through at that traffic light pictured above! Of course we had to stop and just watch.
During prohibition Johnson City was known as Little Chicago. I will not go into detail here but if you are a history nerd like I am then click here to get the low down on Johnson City’s role during this interesting time in US History!
There’s plenty of alcohol in Johnson City – haha. It is a college town being the home to East Tennessee State University. (And if you clicked that link you get the segue!) The day we arrived they had just played the Gardener Webb Bulldogs and well…they beat the crap out of them.
Johnson City has two breweries. The first one we came to was Yee Haw. We didn’t try this one. It just seemed a bit kitschy to me. (They are located in more than one destination.) I did have the birthday boy pose for a picture though! This brewery is attached to White Duck Taco so you can eat from there and drink Yee Haw’s brew. We weren’t in the mood for tacos so we opted to keep walking. I have been told White Duck is fabulous – so next time we will give it a shot!
Johnson City Brewery won my heart. The guy and girl working the counter were amazing and kind. They let us try every beer they had on tap. I’m not much of an IPA girl and my husband is a die hard college beer guy. The ciders they have in house are pretty dang good and guys…they have pineapple cider.
It looks like water and tastes like summer. We each got a glass after trying it. It was awesome! However, it’s sweet and after we sipped down 50% we were both thinking yeah we better stop! Pair it with a light chicken dish or a salad with salmon and I could finish with no problem but stand alone while sitting in the bar….nah.
I also tried their Oktoberfest and it reminded me of Sam Adam’s same beer.
The weirdest thing about Johnson City is this: We were hungry around 7pm. We went to find a place to dine. Every place we found had a wait time >1 hour. Ok whatever but where were these people?!? It’s not a bustling little town. There were no crowds. But for the love of dinner – the people who we could not see were taking up the twenty-seven spots ahead of us on the wait lists.
After an hour wait on the list at Southern Craft we made our way to our table. Guys if you only go to Johnson City to eat at Southern Craft then it’s totally OK. This isn’t a chain restaurant. It’s a smoke house, trendy, rustic chic style restaurant that has the most amazing food I have put in my Southern mouth.
Our app was deviled eggs. They were the best.
My main course was smoked turkey, sweet potato soufflé, and fried okra. SHUT UP! It was the best meal I have had in ages.
My husband opted for smoked ribs.
It was pure perfection on a plate. It was good. It was so good. Take me back now.
After dinner we walked around the town a little more and then retired. We’re old. We need sleep.
We stayed beside Target.
I went to Target.
I made a new friend in Target. The janitor who may be a few fries short of a kid’s meal. He asked where I was from and I told him. He said, “That place sounds seriously spooky. Actually people I have told me it’s spooky.”
He obviously thinks that Winston-Salem is actually a place in Massachusetts and he obviously thinks Massachusetts is in the South because there is not one thing in my accent that suggests I drive a cah to the bah…I walk my rear end to the fire pit in the back yard.
Sunday was the husband’s actual birthday. So I got him a white chocolate Reese’s cup. It’s his favorite.
I also got him Sixbucks. (Hey have any of you tried to apple pie drink?)
However, I made him buy his own McDonald’s.
Oh and the guy behind us at McDonald’s was a freaking lunatic. But that’s a whole other blog post…like maybe the janitor at Target.
So yeah….moving on.
Sunday was reserved for HIKING! Last summer (2017) we were hiking fools. This summer we kinda sucked at it (never went because of bad schedules.)
We were on the cusp of the Cherokee National Forest, Pisgah Forest, Blue Ridge Mountains, and Appalachians. Roan Mountain was our destination point. Can I share that this little nugget has a rich and awesome history? Read this article regarding the massive Cloudland Hotel from the late 1800’s.
Since it was the birthday boy’s day he picked to hike one bald. It wasn’t a hard hike and went through forest up to the top of the bald. The views were spectacular. We stood on a Tennessee mountain and looked right over to North Carolina.
My husband isn’t the workout junkie his wife is. He’s not in shape and he will admit it. We enjoyed the view and then came back down to go down the mountain and home.
But not without making it a true “Us” trip. See when we go somewhere we get lost at least once. I don’t call it lost – I call it exploration! We went up via US 321. We came down on 261. We came down in a different part of the mountains.
Mitchell County, North Carolina is a very lonely place. It’s home to the highest peak on East of the Rockies but that’s about all that is going on in that place. After driving what felt like forever we pulled into a Dollar General (Southern Safe Zones they are everywhere here.) I kindly asked the cashier if she could tell me where I was and she smiled and said, “Welcome to Bakersville!”
I asked her if I was close to Asheville. Her response, “Umm well kinda?”
I said, “I know I’m not close to Boone.”
She said, “No. But you could go to Johnson City.”
FYI: The NC Mountains do not offer great cell service.
After a good bit of driving I started seeing towns I was more aware of and yes…I drove my husband through Switzerland for his birthday.
Albeit Little Switzerland.
We made our way home in good time and finished celebrating the birthday boy with wings.
And this week has been busy. Work, new job searching, a class or two, work outs, softball…
And a lot of prayers.
Only You Can Do It… – a link up with TBB regarding self care.
Healthy Girl: Relationship Issues – the second part of a series on relationships with food.
This weekend fall is coming to town. Temperatures may not reach the seventies so I will be bundled up like I am in BIG Switzerland! We’re going to enjoy this evening at the softball field, tomorrow we have no ballgames so I think we may decorate some pumpkins! We’re also looking forward to seeing friends at a chicken stew this weekend.
Sunday is FOOTBALL! I am looking forward to some great games including my boys meeting up against the beast that is Kansas City!
Wishing you all an amazing, healthy, and happy weekend!
PS Next week on the blog I’m sharing some Halloween and Birthday stuff! Healthy Girl will go to the next relationship with food! It will be fun!