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Middle 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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Land Between the Lakes homestead

Savoring the Outdoors and History at Land Between the Lakes

My favorite playgrounds involve woods, water and wildlife so Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area with its hiking trails, historic sites, roaming buffalo, bugling...Read on

Bill Dance plays host to winners of Tennessee Tourism contest  - and removes hook from Jake’s bass.

A Miracle Day of Fishing Tennessee with Bill Dance

Last March, to promote the many opportunities outdoor enthusiasts can experience in our state, the state launched a contest to win a fishing trip with...Read on

The horseshoe shaped Burgess Falls has thundering curtains of water flowing down so you seem to feel it through the soles of your shoes.

Breathe in the Fresh Air at Burgess Falls State Park

Are you aware how good it feels to find yourself flooded with negative ions? Aren’t sure what negative ions are? Me either, but researchers say...Read on

This view is of Kentucky Lake looking south from the Tennessee River Folklife Interpretive Center at Pilot Knob in Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park.

Find Higher Ground at Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park

Picnicking, camping, hiking and fishing are popular pastimes at Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park. But unless you’ve found your way through the park to the...Read on

Paris Landing Kentucky Lake

Give Thanks to Paris Landing State Park

There’s no Eiffel Tower in sight but Paris Landing State Park packs its own set of postcard-ready features. Situated on Kentucky Lake, the largest man-made lake...Read on

The young men of Company 3464 of the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, excavated 3,550 cubic yards of dirt and poured 8,000 tons of concrete between 1935 and 1940 to build the 319-foot span of Cumberland Mountain State Park’s best known landmark.

Golf, Food, Cabins, and More at Cumberland Mountain State Park

Days began getting shorter last month and nights turned crisp last week. Autumn is a splendid time to visit Cumberland Mountain State Park. I drove...Read on

Standing Stone Lake is a special pleasure to paddle on, picnic beside or hike along when its still water perfectly reflects the forested slopes and clouds lazily drifting across a bluebird sky.

Standing Stone State Park Stands Alone in Beauty

What could be more soul satisfying than a crisp fall day and a few relaxing hours in native hardwood forests filled with brilliant yellow, orange...Read on