After our time spent in the Asheville area, we continued to move west. We took I-40 through the Great Smoky Mountains to get to our next campground in Tennessee.
The outer Knoxville area is a beautiful place to stay with plenty of sites and activities. We found a real gem of a campground near Sevierville right on Lake Douglas, so we had a nice peaceful area to come back to after exploring.
Driving Through the Great Smokys and Tennessee
Our drive was relatively uneventful (which is good!) over to our campground. We took the interstate just north of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to get through to Tennessee. It was a twisty four-lane highway that followed a river right through the mountains. As two Long Islanders who are used to flat land, driving next to a river through the mountains was quite beautiful!
We had some time before we could check in at our campground so we stopped at the local library. We made some tasty turkey sandwiches for lunch with all the fixings. Then we went inside to explore the King Family Public Library in Sevierville. The building itself was large and made with brick and stone. The grand reading room inside was indeed grand with it’s vaulted ceilings and wooden beams. It felt like a blend of the Rose Reading Room in NYPL and a country mansion in the mountains.
After exploring the library, we started driving north to our campground along the main highway in Sevierville. After seeing all the billboards, we decided to stop at the Knifeworks store which is apparently the largest in the country.
It was indeed gigantic and crowded, but we both had a good time exploring. There was a relic room with historical artifacts and a crystal room that I loved, and of course Claudio enjoyed looking at all the knives.
Douglas Dam Headwater Campground
We adored this campground! It has been one of our top favorites so far. Almost every campsite had a water view and it was just so quiet and peaceful staying right along this large, serene lake.
Our campsite had the perfect trees to tie up our hammock, where I spent several hours reading and blogging. We had a pair of cute ducks visiting our campsite every day looking for handouts. We didn’t have any food for them, but they would hang around for a while anyway.
There was a little beach where we laid in the sun and went swimming in the lake. We even got to rent a kayak and paddled along the lake for a couple hours. We kayaked to a little island that we were able to see from the shore and explored there.
We made lots of campfires, roasted marshmallows and made smores. This was the perfect place for us to have a home base in eastern Tennessee.
You can see my campground review for Douglas Dam Headwater on Campendium.
Oak Ridge Lavender Festival
We rented a car for a weekend to see the sites, so we wouldn’t have to move our home every time we wanted to go somewhere.
First up was a Lavender Festival I found out was happening in Oak Ridge, west of Knoxville. That was also the regularly scheduled day for the farmer’s market in the area. It was an amazing festival filled with so many unique vendors.
I picked out a gorgeous Luna Moth mug from a very talented artist also named Melissa! Her business is called Stony Clay Station, check her out here. We also sought out one of our favorite skin care lines Rainwater Farm, that is locally based there in Maryville. The owner, Colette, makes amazing essential oil based skin care products. We order from her regularly so it was exciting to see her at the festival in person!
Our last stop was the farmer’s market area. I loved seeing so many vendors stocked with organic produce. We got fresh blueberries there and Lion’s Mane mushrooms. We also picked out some yummy pastries from a bakery.
If you are traveling or vacationing, I definitely recommend seeing if there are any events going on in the area. Festivals like this are always so fun to walk around!
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Our other major visit was the Great Smoky Mountains. We have been there before and only had a couple hours to explore, so we chose a different area from where we were last time.
We always stop at the visitor center to ask the park rangers good spots to hike. The ranger told us about some less crowded areas to explore. We hiked the Jakes Creek and Little River trails. We hung out by the river on a big rock and took pictures. It was beautiful!
We also explored Daisy Town which was right next to where we parked. It was a little street of houses that people from the city would come out to vacation in in the early 1900s. They were pretty nice houses too!
Along the Jakes Creek trail, we saw a lot of house ruins as well, many remnants of stone fireplaces and foundations.
Eastern Tennessee is most definitely a beautiful place to visit. A great place to live as well with so much nature and outdoor activities in the area. We love Tennessee. I honestly love it a lot more than I thought I would.
If you ever want to visit the Knoxville area, make sure to add some time in to visit the Great Smokys and spend a day by the lake.
Next up on our RV adventure is a spontaneous detour south to Florida! Make sure to read up on our previous adventures in the RV Life Diaries series.
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