The next stop on our 2022 summer adventure was at Warriors Path State Park located in northeast Tennessee. We squeezed in at site 50 between two other campers. It was not a spacious site—not like I have come to expect at a state park. It felt more like a private park where campers and RVs are packed in as tight as possible. There are more desirable sites, so keep in mind the size and scenery vary significantly when booking at this campground.
Despite the campground’s short comings, a variety of amenities and activities make this a desirable destination. It has something for everyone. Warriors Path State Park sits on 950 acres. There are two boat ramps located at the marina allowing access to Fort Patrick Henry Reservoir. Canoes, kayaks, paddle boards and pedal boats are available for rent. There are twelve miles of hiking trails—one of which is a quarter-mile braille trail with sensory stations along the path for the sight impaired. In addition, there is a renowned mountain bike trail system for varying skill levels, an 18-hole golf course, a swimming pool, amphitheater, horse stable with riding trails, disc golf, a massive accessible playground to delight all children—even those with disabilities, a recreation center, and award winning educational programs.
Grammi and I did not take advantage of any of the parks amenities. We were still feeling fatigued from the week before. Our days started late and ended early. The bikes never came out of the back of the truck. The hiking boots and walking sticks stayed under the back seat. The swimsuits remained dry. Not even did the fishing pole make an appearance. We did, however, muster the energy to get out for some exploring.
The day after we arrived, we drove around the state park to check it out. Then we went to Kingsport for lunch. On the way to the downtown area, we drove past Eastman Chemical Company. It was a massive plant, probably the biggest I have ever seen. The parking lot for the employees went on forever. It was like something I had only seen at Disney World where thousands of guest park each day. The plant was so big it sparked an interest. I had to look it up on the internet.
What I learned is Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport produces a wide range of products. It is a major employer for the area, employing nearly 7,000 people. Located on 900 acres, it is like its own city. There are 550 buildings with more than 37-miles of railroad track and 28-miles of paved roads. It has it own power plant capable of producing nearly 200,000 kilowatts of power—enough that it could power 170,000 homes. It obtains its water directly from the South Fork Holston River and operates its own waste water treatment plant. Obviously, I was astonished by the massive size of this plant.
We ate lunch at the Mustard Seed Cafe in the downtown district of Kingsport. I often use the Yelp app to locate restaurants we dine in. The Mustard Seed Cafe had a 4½ star rating and an agreeable menu. I would say that the rating is well deserved. The food was very good an our server was attentive. Located in an old brick building, the decor inside gave the perception of something from the past. After lunch, we browsed the shops and galleries in the antique district before calling it a day and returning to our camper.
The next day we made the 30-minute drive to the historic town of Jonesborough, Tennessee. I had heard of Jonesborough years before. What young boy growing up in the 1960‘s hadn’t? Fess Parker starring as Daniel Boone would often go to Jonesborough for supplies. I was keen to check it out.
Established in 1779, Jonesborough is the oldest town in Tennessee. We stopped by the town’s visitor center and museum where we learned about the town’s history. Believe it or not, there was more to the history than just Daniel Boone. We learned that Jonesborough was the first capital of the Lost State of Franklin— the fourteenth state. Congress never recognized the proposed state and after four years of bitter dispute the leaders decided to rejoin North Carolina. Seventeen years later, Jonesborough became part of the newly established state of Tennessee.
We walked along Main Street and passed the Courthouse Square. We saw the Christopher Taylor House built in 1777. We saw other buildings that were on The National Register Of Historic Places. We stopped in at some of the shops and had lunch at one of the restaurants. As we were walking around Grammi said, “you know, this place reminds me a little of St. Charles, Missouri”. I don’t know about that, but it did have an early american colonial vibe to it.
Today, Jonesborough is known as “The Storytelling Capital of the World”. It is home to the National Storytelling Festival. If you are not familiar with the art of storytelling, then this is the place to come get acquainted. Every year, in October, Storytellers from all over come to Jonesborough to participate in this ancient tradition.
The International Storytelling Center is located in the heart of downtown. Storytellers can be seen every Tuesday through Saturday on a small stage at 2:00 p.m. from May through October. Grammi and I had the pleasure of attending a matinee show while we were there. We bought our tickets as a walk-up on site, but tickets can be purchased ahead of time online.
We saw Minton Sparks. I would not be surprise if you have never heard of her—I hadn’t until this day—but she is a renowned storyteller that has performed on stage at the Lincoln Center and the Grand Ole Opry. Her spoken-word performance was accompanied by the acoustic guitar of John Jackson, an accomplished musician who played with Bob Dylan. The performance was delightfully funny and upliftings. We were happy our visit to Jonesborough included this show. We enjoyed it immensely.
It was a short stay at Warriors Path State Park. I would come here again, but next time I will be a little more choosy when selecting a campsite. We are heading further north from here. to a location that has been on our bucket list.
Until next time…Happy Days and Safe Travels.