The Northeast Tennessee region will transport you to a time where saber-toothed cats roamed the region; pioneers made their pilgrimage; and a different sort of "Big Bang" happened in Bristol, affecting not only the city but the entire nation. Here's what to see and do when you visit these Northeast Tennessee cities.
See the fossils and findings on display at the Hands On! Discovery Center. Your visit can be memorable as guests catch a glimpse of East Tennessee's 5 million year-old past. Tapirs, red pandas, saber-toothed cats, shovel-tusked elephants, touch-screen computer games, and a dig pit are all on display.
Make your way to the bar and order a locally-brewed beer and a snack for a laid back hangout. Located inside the Tweetsie Depot in downtown Johnson City, Yee-Haw Brewing has a variety of brews to choose like the pale ale, IPA, Scottish ale named Eighty," the European-Style Dark/Muenchner "Dunkel," and the summery taste of "Kolsch."
Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park is a skills park for riders of all levels and all ages. Trails range from smooth and winding to rocky adrenaline-pumping. The park is riding distance from downtown Johnson City and covers more than 40 acres of wooded land. All trails are professionally designed and built for your perfect ride.
Gaze at the stars at Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium. Take a trip around the universe from the comfort of a theater chair by catching a show at the Planetarium followed by a live tour of the night sky or participate in StarWatch at the Observatory March-April and October-November Saturday evenings. After a trip through the stars, set out on a hike or cruise on the 44-acre lake. You can find animal habitats of bobcats, reptiles, birds and the ever-popular wolves.
Hiking, fishing and paddle rentals for canoes, kayaks and more are ready for your enjoyment at Warriors' Path State Park. Disc golf is a popular recreation at the park as well. The course has 22 holes with various challenges and is considered one of the best in the state. If you prefer traditional golf, enjoy Warriors' Path Golf Course, one of the most popular in the Tennessee State Parks system. The course, located on the banks of Fort Patrick Henry Lake and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, is a par 72, 18-hole course and was designed by George Cobb. A driving range, practice green, practice bunker and a snack bar are also on-site. Lessons are available. Lay your head under the stars on one of the many campsites with tables and grills and easy access to bathhouses that provide bathrooms and hot showers. Kids love the Boundless Playground Complex featuring universally accessible playground equipment and surfaces, a pedestrian bridge, amphitheater and an environmental maze with interactive play stations.
Looking for a bite to eat? Drive through or step inside Pal's Sudden Service, a leader in America for its quick-service. Order a Big Pal burger with all the toppings with frenchie fries and a chocolate, vanilla or strawberry shake. You can also order hot dogs topped with onion and chili or a chipped ham, toasted cheese or chicken sandwich with thinly-sliced chicken. Pal's also has breakfast and quickly serves up biscuits and gravy, country ham biscuits, sausage biscuits and cheddar rounds (hash brown potatoes stuffed with cheese).
Head to South Holston Lake for tubing, fly fishing (South Holston is a nationally-recognized trout fishery) and boating for a perfect day on the water. Hundreds of miles of shoreline and water wait for you as the lake covers 7,580 acres and is considered one of the best in the Southeast for smallmouth bass fishing. If you want to spot wildlife, take the footbridge from the parking lot below the dam to Osceola Island where you can walk a one-mile-loop wildlife trail. There, you'll see deer, birds, ducks, geese and other wildlife.
Bristol is home to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, a 24,000 square-foot music museum that tells the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions through interactive exhibits including touch-screen components. Guests can give classic songs a modern twist at the mixing station, become a music star in the sing-along station, and listen to contemporary versions of Bristol Session songs. Live music can always be heard in restaurants, on street corners, and on public squares along Bristol. You'll be mesmerized by the seamless melding of traditional tunes and modernity.
The music takes on a different form as NASCAR racing zips around the World's Fastest Half-Mile track at Bristol Motor Speedway & Dragway. The roars of the engines as drivers battle for top honors will be a beautiful sound to your ears. Take a track tour to get an up-close look at the track, dragway and even the winner's circle. You can drive on the track and even sign your name on the checkered finish line.