East TN, Middle TN, West TN Writer

Vernon Summerlin

Hi there! I’m Vernon Summerlin. Like many, I came to Nashville to break into the music industry. After years of striving, I put songwriting aside when I sold the first two fishing articles I wrote. I was being published more than the average songwriter, and I got to fish all I wanted. Talk about being in heaven—it was like being paid to eat candy! Twenty-five years later, I’ve written/co-written 11 books, had a weekly outdoor column for Middle Tennessee newspapers, put my pen to countless fishing articles, and have been a host for three radio programs and two TV shows. I’m immersed in our state’s outdoor life and will do my best to get you outside to experience Middle Tennessee’s slice of paradise. Describe your perfect Tennessee day. Nothing floats my boat better than catching fish, or at least trying. Give me a partly cloudy day with the temperature in the mid-60s by 11 a.m. and a breeze causing a light ripple on the surface. In my “Old Man Boat” with my wife, Cathy, and Jake, the golden retriever, trolling the Cumberland River for smallmouth, walleye, striper. Where’s the first place you’d take a friend visiting Tennessee? We often take our friends for a tour of the northern end of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Each season suggests the activity we’ll include—walking the old trails, wading in a creek, picking berries, photographing waterfalls or capturing deer or turkeys on camera. If you could meet one historical Tennessean, who would it be and why? (This can be someone still living.) I would love to visit with Bill Dance and fish with him. He blazed the trail for so many anglers, inspiring some anglers to become fishing pros, some to write, some to develop outdoor TV shows. He’s always gracious, with something substantial to offer.

Stories By Vernon

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Rock Island State Park offers three ways to celebrate National Trails Day on June 7: (1) a two-mile morning hike. (2) An afternoon of beach clean up or a walk to enjoy the woods. (3) Creatures of the night with park staff. Photo Cathy Summerlin

More Than 100 Free Woods and Water Events in Tennessee

There’s an old saying that “the best things in life are free.” And that may be the case for many of us on June 7...Read on

Make your reservations by May 27 for a vacation package June 9-11 that includes meals, lodging at the park, seminars and guided tours of Burgess Falls, Cummins Falls and the six waterfalls of Fall Creek Falls. Photo TN State Parks

Fall Creek Falls State Park Outdoor Adventures

Have you ever thought you would like to grab a paddle and weave your way through a river of rapids that sets your heart racing...Read on

The Twin Arches at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area represent one of the world’s largest natural bridge complexes with a South Arch that is 103 feet high and spans 135 feet and the North Arch that is 62 feet high with a clearance of 51 feet and a span of 93 feet. Photo NPS.

Celebrate Endangered Species Day in Tennessee

In the midst of enjoying the beauty of springtime in Tennessee, do you find yourself keeping an eye out for your favorite patch of wildflowers...Read on

Events scheduled during Tennessee Natural Areas Spring Celebration include a guided hike to the 800-acre Cheeks Bend Natural Area near Columbia. Photo Cathy Summerlin

9 Days + More Than 30 Ways to Celebrate Spring in Tennessee Natural Areas

Tennessee’s Natural Areas ( are hosting events across the Volunteer State during their spring celebration April 5-13, 2014 this year. Our 83 State Natural Areas...Read on

Shiloh National Cemetery

Shiloh National Military Park: Experience the Civil War History This April

The thing I remember most about my visit to Shiloh National Military Park is how peaceful its 4,200 acres seemed nearly 152 years after the...Read on

Dogwood Arts Festival 2014

Wildflowers, Festivals, and Hikes: Tennessee’s Got It All This Spring

To celebrate the return of Daylight Saving Time we took a walk along a lovely little creek on our place looking for wildflowers as we’ve...Read on

Kentucky Lake crappie

10 Hot Springtime Crappie Fishing Holes

Crappies are ubiquitous in our state’s reservoirs. They are easier to find and catch in West and Middle Tennessee because the lakes there are relatively...Read on