I was so pleasantly surprised with North Carolina. I enjoyed the little town we were in, I loved our RV park, the people were welcoming – I had a hard time leaving. I was however, dying to see if Tennessee life was all that I had been dreaming.
We enjoyed the drive through the Smokies from North Carolina into Tennessee. The drive was full of waterfalls as it was raining that day. As we got closer to the area we had reservations for, the rolling countryside gave me the chills. It was exactly as I pictured! However, when we pulled into our RV park, I was immediately ready to pull a “bye Felicia” and bolt.
Why so sad Jena?
So the thing about this area – Norris Lake in Eastern Tennessee (north of Knoxville) – it is full of RVers. Jam Packed! And, most of the RV parks are long term parks.
RV owners pay for an entire year at a time. This works well for park owners and long term RVers. Most long term parks in the area charge about $1,800/year. So you can leave your RV on a lakefront property all year for a short fee and park owners don’t have to constantly track down tenants. However, that doesn’t serve us shorter-timers well.
Why must I settle?
We couldn’t find a short term rental (1 month) at a park in the area that we wanted to be. So we had to settle. This was a huge bummer, we ended up having to take what we could get and parked the RV in a budget RV park about 40 minutes from where we want to be.
This place or I mean our temporary home, has only been open a year. And it’s a bit of a dump. I know we live in trailer parks now, but THIS IS A TRAILER PARK. When we pulled into the lot, there was no sign directing us where to go. The site manager is tucked away in a corner without signage.
Hey boy, back that thang up
We ended up thinking we would take a loop and park out of the way to figure out where to go. RV sites are supposed to be large loops. Not this one. It dead ended and Zach had to back the fifth wheel up 500 feet.
It gets better, I mentioned how it rained the entire drive to Tennessee. Well as we backed into our low-ground, unpaved spot, we sunk and created 6 inch ruts in the ground. I was terrified we would be stuck. Technically, we still might be. We will see what happens when we hook up to leave.
At Least We are Near Das Wasser
We are still very close to the lake. We are less than a mile from a marina and have been able to navigate to the areas we want to spend our time easy enough. It is just hard to believe that with all this real estate out there, we have to settle.
Anyone want to start an RV park with us?
I have heard of people giving up on the RV lifestyle because they can’t find placed to park.
We have learned a quick lesson and now that we are getting a feel for being on the road we are able to call ahead and pre-arrange our stays. Seriously, Tennessee and North Carolina could use more short-term RV options.
Kicking it in Tennessee
I have to say, we couldn’t have been given better weather. It was 78 today.
We have also found ourselves, loving this lifestyle. A month and a half in and we feel at peace, yet constantly full of excitement.
We have been settled in Tennessee for about two weeks now. We got to spend Christmas here! For Christmas we went full-on Tennessee style and hit up Dollywood.
Dollywood at Christmas
Dollywood isn’t open on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Dolly Parton is a Christian and of course wants to make sure her staff has time to spend with their families and observe their faith. Rock on Dolly.
So, we went on Christmas Eve-Eve. I loved Dollywood. The park was decked out in over 5 million Christmas lights. We went to two shows. A Smoky Mountain Christmas and My Music, My People.
What I loved most about being in Tennessee over Christmas, is how the people and communities here actually celebrate the birth of Christ, rather than the overly Americanized holiday. It is apparent here, that faith is the pillar of these communities.
Norris Lake (one of many reservoirs in the area) is massive with 19 full service marinas.
Dolly Parton’s “Me and Little Andy” – I had not heard this tragic song until visiting Dollywood.
Christmas Eve Worship Service
We have been finding a sense of community at local churches throughout our travels. We found a wonderfully, welcoming church in this picturesque town called White Pines, Tennessee. We spent our Christmas Eve at their worship service and went back again today.
The World’s Cutest Town
We happened upon the world’s cutest town. I think the town and its people might still be existing as it did in the 1950s. It’s just so darling, I imagine the neighbors step out of their homes in the morning, dawning shimmering smiles and wave “good day” to one another.
The layout of the town has absolutely no reason, which makes it all the more adorable. The neighborhoods are loops and loops of tiny homes, all neat and tidy. This town is called Norris. If I could buy a town, I would buy this one.
Random Trivia: Black Barns
Something I had not seen before coming to Tennessee were large barns painted black. I was curious of course and had to do some research.
I learned that barns used for tobacco and whisky production are painted black so that they attract heat. This helps cure the tobacco and age the whisky faster.
Hiking at Norris Lake State Park
Tour of a House Boat
We thought we were wild, living in a fifth wheel. Well, we are the norm here. There are however, a lot wild ones who are actually living on the lake. I mean a lot of wild ones.
These folks live in floating homes. We visited a marina one afternoon and a friendly lady gave us a tour of her floating home. It was legit. Once you stepped inside her house, you did not have any sense that you were on water.
She had a full size living area and kitchen. A full size bedroom, bathroom and spare room. It was so cool. She also had a shih tzu, so she’s the boss.