Tennessee Resolutions for 2013
One of the best New Year’s resolutions was made by a friend of mine. She was recovering from knee surgery and had doctor’s orders to exercise every day. She set out to walk at least one mile in every Tennessee State Park. She mapped day trips through East Tennessee and then expanded her walking vacation across the state. At the end of the year she had a greater appreciation for her home state.
So as 2012 draws to a close, make a resolution to discover the great places in Tennessee. Maybe they are nearby and you have never stopped.
For me, 2013 is the year to visit Cummins Falls State Park near Cookeville. I have crisscrossed Jackson County, but I never descended to the base of the 75-foot falls and slipped into its famed plunge pool. The 211-acre land tract was dedicated this year as Tennessee’s 54th state park.
Indian Mountain State Park near Jellico is also on my list of must-do day trips. I’m curious to see how reclaimed strip mine land can find new life as a destination for camping, hiking, fishing and picnicking. It’s a small park, but has been described as one of the most beautiful in the state park system. I want to visit Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport, the largest city-owned park in the state. The 3,500-acre nature preserve has a center for animal habitat studies and a planetarium. I’ve always wanted to ride a zip line, so here’s my chance! A 300-foot zip-line is part of the adventure ropes course.
I will enjoy the heritage of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area near Elizabethton. This fertile bottomland of the Watauga River offers a glimpse into the lives of Tennessee’s founders. Pioneers from South Carolina and Virginia moved westward and settled here, purchasing land from the Cherokee Indians. The Overmountain Men played a crucial role in victorious outcome of the Revolutionary War. Also soaked in history, Fort Loudoun State Park, a British fortification near Vonore, shares the legacy of the Cherokee Nation.
2013 is the year to take a closer look at these scenic places and 2013. And, here are a few big events and new attractions to put on your calendar for the coming year:
- “NASCAR and CDB music goes together like turnip greens and cornbread,” says Charlie Daniels. The Grammy Award winning artist will bring his band to Bristol Motor Speedway March 17 for a Food City pre-race show. “I love NASCAR and so do our fans and it should make for a grand old time at a legendary race track,” he was quoted as saying.
- The Rossini Festival just gets bigger and better every year. The festival’s International Street Fair will be in downtown Knoxville April 27 and the Knoxville Opera’s production of “Cinderella” plays April 26 and April 28.
- Dollywood’s Splash Country will open RiverRush, Tennessee’s first water coaster in May.
- 2013 marks the 175 anniversary of the Trail of Tears. Historic sites in East Tennessee, such as Ross’ Landing in Chattanooga and Red Clay State Park in Cleveland, will host commemoration events during August and September.
- The Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission will host the 2013 Civil War Signature Event commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga on Oct. 10-12.
A New Year’s resolution to have fun sounds just about right to me. Perhaps you can make one and share your adventure with us.
Fort Loudoun Photo Credit: K. Harding