Friday, June 28, 2013

Family Happenings/Grandsons at Work and Play!

Laurie and I have a couple of grandsons who live with their parents in the faraway suburbs of Cleveland Ohio.  They are growing up fast and they are both smart and loving. Even David III, who is the oldest, still ‘likes’ his parents and grandparents.  In this day and environment, that can be a rarity…but the boys have great parents coaching them on…and their school teaches not just curriculum but how to live life and treat people correctly and decently.

This photo is a little dark…but it shows David III, (12 years old), being given the class award and scholarship for excellence in English.  He loves to read…as do his parents and grandparents!  David is also President of his class.
This photo shows Emmett Lee, (back center…9 years old), receiving an award for physical fitness!  Despite computers and his expertise with video games…he has his own blog sites about gaming…Emmett is very active and loves sports, especially if running is involved.

Oops!  Well, into every life a little rain must fall… In this case, while trying to leap from a picnic table to a tree, David III missed the mark and broke his arm!  No summer sports for him this year… If he looks a little dazed, it’s the pain killer at work!  His dad, David II, unwittingly participated in resetting the break in David III’s arm at the emergency room… The doctors just told him to hold on…and then they set the break!
So…with a broken arm, what’s a young fellow to do in lieu of his usual summer athletics?  As the old saying goes, 'Necessity is the mother of invention'.  David III has now started his own blog, appropriately specializing in video games that can be played with one arm!  Check it out at

As for Emmett Lee…it’s all about the summer sports activities.  His favorite is track…running fast!  Here he is with his relay team right after a race.  He also loves soccer…and he’s a champion Lego Games Player too!  Emmett’s blog sites are about video gaming as well.  His primary blog site is  Most of the time, this old codger doesn’t have a clue what Emmett is talking about on his site.  I’m technologically impaired…might have something to do with the era that I grew up in…
In any case, both David III and Emmett Lee are terrific grandsons…and it won’t be too long before we make the trek north to spend some quality time with the boys…and, oh yes…their parents too!
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by to share a little family time with our grandsons!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave and Laurie (aka. papa and nana)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Family Visit!

Laurie and I are always open for visitors…friends and especially family members!  A couple of weeks ago, members of Laurie’s family from the St. Louis Missouri area stopped by for lunch, a swim, dinner and conversation.  They were all vacationing over in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg where they were staying in a time share resort facility…

This is one view of the group… After showing them around our area, we took everyone to lunch at Tanasi Grill/Clubhouse on Tellico Lake.  From the front left: John, Abby, Karen, myself, Karole, (Laurie's sister) Laurie, Bob, Regan, Cate and Tammy.  Tammy’s husband, Marc ( Laurie's nephew) took the photo…

Everyone seemed to enjoy their lunch.  Of course the fact is that the view from the restaurant out over Tellico Lake didn’t hurt the ambience either!  Laurie took this photo… From the left: Bob (Karole’s husband and Marc’s dad); Regan and Cate (Tammy and Marc’s children); Tammy (Marc’s wife); John (Tammy’s mother); Marc; Karen (Tammy’s mother); myself, and; Laurie’s sister, Karole.

After lunch we were off to Tugaloo Beach on Tellico Lake.  Kids and water…always a formula for happiness!  There was a lot of cooperative building of sand structures and canals along the shoreline… Us guys just hung around and talked about life in general.  The ladies sat in the pavilion and chatted…

After the beach, it was back to our house… Here are the girls with their grandmother Karen on our screened in porch.
I forgot to take photos of our dinner with the family.  We had 3 racks of Big Dude’s BBQ/Smoked Ribs, (, hot dogs and hamburgers for the girls, mac & cheese, potato salad, baked beans, dill pickles, coleslaw, pickled beets….and 4 flavors of Tic Toc Ice Cream for dessert. (
Laurie’s sister Karole sent the following quote regarding Big Dude/Larry’s ribs: “.......Dinner was amazing!  Larry is The God of the Ribs.  These ribs were by far the very best...moist, flavorful and melt in your mouth.  Better then KC, St. Louis and even better than my brother-in-law, Mike's.  (He held the top spot till Larry’s ribs knocked him down to 2nd place)."

The screened porch is where everyone seemed to want to hang out.  Of course by St. Louis standards, it was cool and comfortable outside…whereas it was comfortable but a little humid and warm for us ‘locals’.

Marc and Tammy’s daughters played card games and dominos with both of their grandmothers…and the adults just visited.  Cate spent a lot of her time petting and brushing our cat, JD.  He was exhausted by the time everyone left...but he was a happy cat!

This photo is of Tammy and her parents, John and Karen.  We'd only met them briefly many years ago.  They were open and friendly…more like long term acquaintances.  We enjoyed everyone's company and overall this was a great family get together!  We only wish we could of had more time to talk personally with everyone.  Plus, Laurie wishes she had more one on one time with her sister Karole.   Maybe their next visit!
Just click on any of the photographs to enlarge them…
Our summer schedule includes more visits by family and friends…plus a trip or two…all of which will provide more blogging fodder for yours truly!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cruising the Back Roads of East Tennessee (#2)

Continuing with our Saturday drive that took us to Rugby Tennessee, we moved west along Tennessee Rte. 52 past Allardt to the city of Jamestown.  Jamestown is the county seat for Fentress County Tennessee. 

(For my blog which includes historical structures in Allardt, just go to

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this is the old Fentress county jail.  It is well over 100 years old and it was built from native sandstone.  Currently the building houses the Fentress County Chamber of Commerce as well as Ye Olde Jail Museum.  In addition, it’s the headquarters for the US 127 Corridor Sale, aka. The World’s Longest Yard Sale.  The ‘yard sale’, which is held each August, was started here in Jamestown back in 1987.
Jamestown was founded in 1823 and its population is approximately 2,000.  The whole county only has a population of roughly 18,000.  There is a well-marked spring in town that used to be the primary water source for John M. Clemens, father of Samuel Clemens, who is better known as Mark Twain.  John Clemens was the first circuit court clerk for Fentress County and he drew up the plans for the first courthouse and the original jail. 

This is another view of the old jail.  We wanted to share the image of the barred window on the second floor.  I’ll bet that this wasn’t the best place to serve time in jail! 
Fentress County was also the home to Sgt. Alvin C. York, a WWI hero who was born, lived and died in the county.  He was a Medal of Honor recipient after some amazing heroics during the war.  For more on Sgt. York, you can go to For additional information on Fentress County as well as for some related genealogy data, there are a lot of sources on this site:

If you thought that the old Fentress County jail was foreboding, how about spending some time in this scary looking structure!  This is the old jail in Huntsville Tennessee, the county seat for Scott County.  It was built from native sandstone ca. 1904 and was finally ‘retired’ from service in the summer of 2008!  The walls are 2 feet thick.  This building is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 
This jail was originally replaced in the 1960’s but the prisoners found the new jail too easy to escape so this building was returned to service to meet the needs of the community.  The building has a colorful history.  Back in 1933, masked vigilantes stormed the jail, dragged 2 accused murderers from their cells, shot them repeatedly and then strung them up for good effect…
As of May of 2011, I could still find information regarding the efforts of Scott County to lease out the building…perhaps as a restaurant or a Bed and Breakfast…

Just a block or two away from the old Scott County jail, there is another old NRHP sandstone structure.  This is the First National Bank of Huntsville. 
Scott County has a population of about 21,000 and Huntsville has about 1,000 residents.  The area that now comprises the county was first settled ca. 1778 and the county itself was created in 1849.  The county was named after General Winfield Scott who served in both the War of 1812 and the Mexican War.  The history of Huntsville itself is interesting…with growth and decline.  To learn more, you can go to:
In June of 1861, Tennessee Senator Andrew Johnson, (later President Johnson), gave a speech in Huntsville against Tennessee’s secession from the Union.  Four days later, the citizens of the county overwhelmingly voted against secession but the state still seceded.  At that point, Scott County elected to formally secede from the state of Tennessee…and declared themselves the ‘State of Scott’, part of the Union…the USA.

This is a close up view of the First National Bank of Huntsville.  This bank was one of the many banks that issued their own banknotes early in the 20th century.  They are now fairly rare and are quite valuable to collectors.  As of ca. 1920, the bank’s net resources totaled $228,180.  It closed in 1932 during the Great Depression.
Former Tennessee Senator Howard Baker Jr. was born in Huntsville.  He served as Senator from 1966 until 1985 and then joined the Regan administration as President Regan’s Chief of Staff.  Interestingly, his first wife was the daughter of Illinois Republican Senator and Senate Minority Leader, Everett Dirksen.  After she died from cancer, Baker married former Senator Nancy Kassenbaum, the daughter of Alfred M. Landon, former Kansas Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate. 
One of the myths or stories about Huntsville is about a couple of strangers who came to town 2 years after the Civil War.  They stayed for a few months, and even ran a business.  They always dealt in hard cash/coins…no paper money.  Then one day, they just rode off, never to be heard from again.  Later it was ‘confirmed’ that 2 of those strangers were Jesse and Frank James…and they’d been using Huntsville as a place to lay low for a while.

This is the Barton Chapel in Robbins Tennessee. (Population – 300)  This Congregational Church was built in 1926 and it’s also listed on the NRHP.  Apparently, it was named after William Eleazar Barton.  He was an important figure in the Congregational Churches of America.  He was born in 1861 and he died in 1930.  Robbins Tennessee was his first church assignment.  When this church/chapel was built he had been gone from the community for many years but he had risen to great heights in the church hierarchy.  To learn more about William, just click on
His son, Bruce Fairchild Barton was born in Robbins.  He became even more well-known than his father.  He was the super salesman of his day.  He had a big ad agency and he has been credited with naming General Motors and General Electric and for creating the Betty Crocker character.  During his lifetime he was even more well-known for writing best-selling guides to personal success.  To learn more, go to
Just click on any of the photographs to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by and sharing our back roads drive and a little bit of history!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Little ‘Wasabi’ for Lunch!

It was the Friday before Father’s Day and we were running errands and doing a little shopping.  Clothes for me…versions of the ‘retiree’s uniform’…shorts and golf shirts, plus cosmetics for Laurie.

Time for lunch and we wanted to try something different.  The second goal was to stay near the Turkey Creek Shopping area in Knoxville.

We’d passed Wasabi probably a couple hundred times before…and Laurie really likes Japanese food, to include sushi…and especially sashimi, but we’d never eaten here.  I envisioned the typical Japanese Steakhouse…big tables with a grill service, expensive and not much food for the money.  I hadn’t considered that there might be options.

This is the ‘bar’ where the sushi and sashimi offerings are put together.  It was lunch time and these ‘chefs’ were very busy… The fresh seafood is on display in the cases along the bar.  There is also room for patrons to sit at the bar to watch the ongoing preparation of these seafood delights…

Wasabi has at least 4 dining areas… In addition to the sushi/sashimi bar, another option is this apparently well-stocked bar area.  Both of these areas feature booths and tables…in addition to bar seating.

There is also a large and attractive outdoor deck that’s set up for dining… There are trees on 2 sides and it has a view of a Koi pond that’s well stocked with those colorful fish.

I started out with 6 Gyoza…basically dumplings stuffed with pork and veggies accompanied by a special dipping sauce. ($4.50) They were good, if not great.  I added some wasabi and it kicked up the flavor…and the heat.  Wasabi is sometimes called Japanese horseradish. 
For more information on the real deal, wasabi/Japanese horseradish, go to  It turns out that ‘real’ wasabi is rare and hard to come by in the USA.  We are usually served what the Japanese call ‘seiyo wasabi’ or ‘western wasabi’. 

Laurie originally ordered the Sashimi Special…10 pieces of sashimi (raw seafood) for $12.95.  The waiter came over to the table and told us that he’d mistakenly written our order up for the Sashimi Deluxe…14 pieces of sashimi for $18.25.  I suspect that he would have had to absorb the loss if Laurie had declined that expanded sashimi plate, but since I knew that she’d really wanted the larger offering anyway, I told him that it was OK. (Hopefully, he didn’t do this on purpose and/or it’s a mistake he doesn’t make often)
In any case, Laurie liked her sashimi ‘entrée’, reporting that it was fresh and except for the octopus, it was tender.  (One does expect octopus to be a little ‘chewy’).  She dipped her morsels of seafood into a sauce consisting of wasabi mixed into soy sauce.  She felt that the presentation could have been stepped up a little…comparing it to a similar offering that she used to order in Chicago.   

This is the sushi/sashimi menu at Wasabi. 
Unfortunately, I suffered from a ‘brain cramp’ and I forgot to take a photo of my lunch…which I thought was even prettier than Laurie’s!  I ordered another appetizer to accompany my Gyoza.  It was the Tuna Tataki. ($8.50) It consisted of attractive slices of raw tuna arranged around a ‘tower’ of green seaweed ‘salad’.  It was in a bit of house special sauce and I had a nice dose of wasabi on my plate as well.  I used the same soy sauce and wasabi formula that Laurie did with my tuna.  The seaweed salad was a bit to ‘fishy’ for me and I skipped it.  The tuna was good but it didn’t cut with a fork and I never have gotten the hang of using chopsticks. 

Oh yes… The fourth dining option at Wasabi, (the restaurant, not the condiment), is indeed those big grill top tables that are located in the largest dining room.
Wasabi has 4 locations…2 in Knoxville, 1 in Jacksonville Florida and 1 in Greenville South Carolina.  It can be a little confusing if you go on-line and look up Wasabi Steakhouse and/or restaurants.  Lots of restaurants us Wasabi in their name…

This is the dinner/grill menu for Wasabi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar in Knoxville.  It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me…but then again we haven’t partaken from the grill at this point.  Let’s face it…part of this specific dining experience is the show that the grill masters put on for the diners.
We thought that Wasabi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar was good…not great…but in the 3 to 3.5 rating range on a scale of 5.0.  I checked it out on Trip Advisor and I was startled to see that it ranked 4th among Japanese restaurants in Knoxville.  Kabuki Fusion Sushi and Grill was #1, and it was ranked the 19th restaurant overall out of Knoxville’s 709 that are included in the listing.  The 2nd highest ranking Japanese restaurant is Nama Sushi Bar and the 3rd is Shonos Japanese Grill.  For more details on Japanese restaurants in Knoxville, just go to The most impressive point I noted was that there are 15+ Japanese restaurants in the Knoxville area…and this is an area that is generally ‘starved’ for ethnic restaurants!
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for some raw seafood…and dumplings!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

An Historic English Village in Eastern Tennessee

Since my last blog was about eating lunch in an historic English/American village in East Tennessee, I guess I should focus on our actual goal for this back roads Saturday drive in the country.  The real objective of our day trip was to visit and tour that historic village…Rugby, Tennessee.

The town is located in Morgan County just south of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation area on the Cumberland Plateau.  Rugby was founded in 1880 by English author Thomas Hughes.  He was an English attorney, a Member of Parliament and author.  He wrote a number of books but he is most famous for his children’s books, especially “Tom Brown’s School Days”.  This book was based on his brother’s character and Thomas’s experiences at Rugby School in England…  

Following lunch, Laurie and I went into the old Rugby Printing Works.  The original Rugby Print Shop was mysteriously torn down many years ago... No one knows exactly when, why or who tore it down.  The building shown above was actually moved to Rugby from nearby Deer Lodge Tennessee.  It was built in Deer Lodge ca. 1885.  It has been totally restored and it was open for visitors during our visit.  The docent on duty was very informative and friendly…he’s a volunteer who makes the hour and a half drive to Rugby every other Saturday from his home.  We also picked up a couple of free signs that were printed in the shop…the most important of these reads “Beware of the Cat”. 
This home is adjacent to Rugby’s Visitor’s Center.  It called the Percy Cottage.  This reconstruction was historically rebuilt in 1976-77 on the original foundation.  It was originally built in 1884 and it’s furnished for year around guest lodging. 
Rugby was built as an experimental utopian colony. While Hughes's experiment largely failed, (more on that later), a small community lingered at Rugby throughout the 20th century.  In the 1960s, residents, friends and descendants of Rugby began restoring the original design and layout of the community, preserving surviving structures and reconstructing others. Rugby's Victorian architecture and picturesque setting have made it a popular tourist attraction.  Despite its remoteness, 65,000 + visitors per year visit the community.  Rugby's historic area has been listed under the name Rugby Colony on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is an historic district.  

This is one view of Kingstone Lisle…Thomas Hughes’ 1884 home.  Its design is based on an ‘English Rural Style’ cottage designed by Andrew Jackson Downing, an American landscape and architectural designer. Downing is considered by many to be the Father of American Landscape Architecture.  For more on Downing and his work, just go to
The Rugby ‘experiment’ stemmed from of the social and economic conditions of Victorian England, where the practice of primogeniture, (i.e., the eldest son gets almost everything), and an economic depression left many of the "second sons" of the English gentry jobless and idle.  Hughes envisioned Rugby as a colony where England's second sons would have a chance to own land and be free of social and moral ills that plagued late-19th century English cities.  The idea was that the colony would reject Late Victorian materialism in favor of the Christian socialist ideals of equality and cooperation Hughes espoused in his book, ‘Tom Brown's School Days’.

Kingstone Lisle was on the tour route.  This frontal view shows that painting is underway and that “Historic” is actively working to maintain the village.  Our tour docent was very nice and informative as well.  I was happy because she didn’t dwell on every little detail but she could answer any of our questions. 
Hughes didn’t stay here very often.  Most of his time was spent back in England.  However, he did move personal belonging into the house…and they are still in place.  The cottage is furnished with many original Rugby pieces and it is painted in the original colors. 

This is Christ Church Episcopal…an example of ‘carpenter gothic’ architecture.  It was built in 1887, using local pine, walnut and poplar.  It is also on the standard tour offered by Historic Rugby.  The church body itself was established in 1880 with early services being held in the schoolhouse.
Rugby began as a project of the Boston’s Board of Aid to Land Ownership, which focused on helping unemployed urban craftsmen relocate to rural areas.  In 1878, the President of the Board of Aid, Franklin Webster Smith, visited the Cumberland Plateau on a new route of the Cincinnati Southern Railroad.  He and an agent for that railroad identified the future site of Rugby.  They were impressed with the virgin forests, clear air and scenery.  The railroad agent then secured options on hundreds of thousands of acres on the plateau and the process of securing land titles was initiated.
However, when Smith got back to Boston to recruit families for the move, economic conditions had improved and most families were no longer interested in relocating.  Thomas Hughes had met Smith through his friend, poet James Russell Lowell and Smith knew that Hughes was interested in building a utopian community.  Upon learning of the land acquisition and the town site, Hughes formed a partnership in England and then they bought out the Board of Aid.

This photo is a bit dark… Flash cameras weren’t permitted in the church or any of the other buildings...and it was dark in here.  FYI, the church’s reed organ, built in 1849, is one of the oldest in the United States.  Our guide told us that it had just recently stopped working.  She also told us that she is a member of Christ Church and that the congregation has met here regularly since 1887. (She also told us that she believed that there were at least 242 churches in the county!)
Smith had chosen the Rugby’s site for its resort-like qualities, even though it was 7 miles from the nearest railroad stop.  The colony’s first structure was what is now called Pioneer Cottage.  It was built in early 1880 and it’s now rented to tourists who want to stay in town.  The first wave of colonists built tennis and croquet courts and built a walkway to a nearby juncture where local streams came together.  They also built several homes as well as the 3-story Tabard Inn, named after an inn featured in the Canterbury Tales. 
Thomas Hughes attended the colony's "opening" on October 5, 1880, and gave a speech that laid out his plans for Rugby.  All colonists would be required to invest $5 in the commissary, thus ensuring public ownership. Personal freedoms were guaranteed, although the sale of alcohol was banned.  The colony would also build an Episcopal church, but the building could be used by any denomination.

This is the Thomas Hughes Library.  It appears just as it was when it opened in 1882.  It was one of the earliest free libraries in the South.
Publications such as the New York Times and Harper's Weekly, as well as various main stream London publications, all followed the colony's progress. Rugby also published its own newspaper, ‘The Rugbeian’.  Several colonists even formed a Library and Reading Room Society.  In the summer of 1881, a typhoid outbreak killed seven colonists and forced the Tabard Inn to close for cleansing, but the colony recovered. By 1884, Rugby had over 400 residents, 65 frame public buildings and houses, a tennis team, a social club, and a literary and dramatic society. In 1885, Rugby even established a university, Arnold School, named after Hughes’ former Rugby School headmaster back in England, Thomas Arnold.

This photo of Thomas Hughes hangs in Rugby’s Library.  He was born in Uffington England in 1922.  Perhaps one reason he was so interested in the welfare of ‘second sons’ was that he was himself the second son of a prominent English editor and he had 4 younger brothers too… He became a dedicated social reformer with an interest in Christian socialism.  Hughes was involved in the formation of some early trade unions and helped finance the printing of various Liberal publications. 

One of the most interesting facts about the Hughes Library is that it is virtually intact in all respects.  It still contains the 7,000 original books that were donated to the library.  Many of them are first editions and/or are very rare.  The oldest volume in the library dates to 1687.  The books were furnished by a Boston bookseller who received them as donations for Rugby from various American publishers.
Anyone wishing to use the library for research may do so by contacting the Historic Rugby organization. Gloves must be used when perusing the volumes and all researchers are accompanied by a Historic Rugby volunteer.
The library is also on the standard guided tour… Prices for the tour are very reasonable and a short movie about Rugby’s history is included.  Other than the print shop and a couple of gift shops, you may only enter the historic buildings if you go on the guided tour.

Shopping anyone?  For those who find a trip pointless unless there’s an opportunity to spend a little money on gifts or souvenirs, welcome to the Rugby Commissary!  We picked up a little jam, a bit of jewelry from a local craftsman and notecards from a local artist. 
This building is a faithful reconstruction of the original Rugby Co-Op Commissary.  Of course, in the old days, the store sold a wide variety of merchandise ranging from clothing to plowshares… Profits from this store go to Historic Rugby’s upkeep and improvements. 

Newbury House was Rugby’s first boarding house. It opened in early 1880 prior to Thomas Hughes’ purchase of The Board of Aid and his subsequent colonization effort.  Lodging was available here well into the 20th Century… It has been restored and modernized and is once again open for overnight guests.  Rates run from $70.00 a night double occupancy (weeknight - shared bath) to $130.00 per night for the suite.  As I noted earlier, Percy Cottage is also available for overnight stays.  In addition, another home, Pioneer Cottage, is also available for lodging.  All lodging in Rugby is operated by Historic Rugby.
So what happened to Rugby?  The settlement struggled over land titles.  Options had been acquired for almost 350,000 acres but many of the Plateau’s early Appalachian settlers became suspicious of the development and they refused to sell their property.  The lawsuits dragged on for years.  Many colonists gave up and moved away.  In addition, the town site had been selected for its potential as a mountain resort and not farming.  The soil was poor indeed.  The 1881 typhoid outbreak slowed development…but in 1884, the popular Tabard Hotel burned to the ground.  This halted Rugby’s growing tourist economy and damaged the Board of Aid’s credit standing.
There was one other ‘little’ problem with the premise of Rugby… The English settlers, those ‘second sons’ who settled Rugby, primarily came from well-to-do families and they weren’t used to farming, cutting trees or, for that matter, any hard labor in general.  They just weren’t well suited to establish a viable working town…or colony.

This home is named Ruralia.  Not much is known about its early history except that it was built around 1884.  The current owner has fully restored it.
Frustrated by the colony's slow development, the Board of Aid's backers replaced colony director.  An attempt was made to establish a tomato canning operation in 1883, but after the cannery was constructed, colonists failed to grow enough tomatoes to keep it operational. Newspapers began to ridicule Rugby and the New York Times claimed that Hughes was planning to abandon the colony. 
In 1887, the deaths of a number of prominent colonists— including Hughes's mother, Margaret who had moved there to support her son — led to the departure of most of Rugby's original settlers. Hughes made his last annual visit to the colony that year and The Rugbeian ceased publication.  By 1900, the company had sold its Cumberland Plateau holdings.
In 1966, local preservationists formed ‘Historic Rugby’, a non-profit group dedicated to restoring and maintaining the communities surviving historic structures.  The organization maintains more than 15 buildings and there are many privately owned homes in the village that date back to the Victorian era.  Their next big project is the restoration of Uffington, Hughes mother’s home in the village.  We enjoyed our visit and we would recommend Rugby to anyone who appreciates history, preservation and beauty.  To learn more, you can go to
Just click on any of the photographs to enlarge them…
Thanks for coming along with us on our little drive down the back roads of Eastern Tennessee.
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dining in an English/American Historic Village

We moved down to East Tennessee almost 4 years ago and most of our local exploration has been limited to back road adventures south and west of Knoxville.  We’ve only visited the north valley or the Cumberland Plateau a handful of times.

One of the places we repeatedly discussed that we’d like to explore is the historic old English-American settlement of Rugby Tennessee.  It’s on the plateau north and a bit west of Oak Ridge…right at the south edge of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. (More on historic Rugby itself in an upcoming blog)
The simple fact is that when we arrived in Rugby it was time for lunch!  

Rugby is fairly isolated and the Harrow Road Café is the only restaurant in town.  It was built in 1985 in the fashion of the historic structures that comprise the historic homes and buildings in the town. 
Trip Advisor has posted 18 reviews of the restaurant to date…with 17 ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very Good’ comments and only 1 comment that was rated ‘Terrible’. I generally like these kinds of odds when I’m looking for a restaurant in Trip Advisor. 

Laurie took 3 or 4 photos of the inside of Harrow Road Café.  It has a clean, bright and airy dining area with the beams and wood giving it a faux English feel… The restaurant seats 80 diners.

My luncheon entrée came with a dinner salad.  It was perfectly adequate while the blue cheese salad dressing was truly excellent! 
One disappointment was the rolls… The dinner rolls that our waitress gave us were warm and they were pretty good…but the menu made a big deal about the ‘spoon rolls’ that are served with the meals.  These were definitely not ‘spoon rolls’.  Maybe you had to ask for them…or maybe they’re only served with dinner?  More likely, they hadn’t made any on the day of our visit.  You can find a recipe for these spoon rolls at

We both decided to go with the English themed items on the menu.  I ordered the ‘Bangers and Mash’.  I was very happy and pleasantly surprised with the ‘mash’ portion of my luncheon.  Basically, it was a fried potato patty that contained cabbage and then it was covered with dark brown gravy.  It doesn’t look too great but it worked just fine…very tasty indeed!
I’ve had English ‘bangers’ before and this sausage wasn’t anything like a ‘banger’.  It was a small link of Polish Kielbasa, sliced in half and fried.  It was OK but it wasn’t English and it also was what I would call a small portion.  My doctor would have approved of its size…    

Laurie ordered the ‘Fish and Chips’ with cole slaw.  The slaw and the ‘chips’ were OK but the fried fish just didn’t hit the spot.  It was edible but it tasted a little fishy.  We’ve had far better in many other restaurants.
Other English items on the menu include Welsh Rarebit…something I ate a lot of with my Scottish stepfather when I was a teenager…and Shepherd’s Pie, another of his standard favorites.  Beyond the English fare, there are quite a few of the usual sandwiches and entrees to choose from.

Laurie and I were tempted by the dessert menu and we settled on spitting a slice of buttermilk coconut pie.  It just didn’t make it for us.  It was cold…even at room temperature it would have been better.  Perhaps this pie is supposed to be served cold, in which case we’ll skip it in the future. 
Our waitress was nice…pleasant and efficient.  The food was OK if not great.  The price was OK too…$21.55 before our tip.  We would give it 3 stars or ‘dots’ in our review.  The Harrow Road Café currently has 4 stars in Trip Advisor.  It is the only choice in town and it’s a pretty significant drive to an alternative dining location.  You can check out the reviews in Trip Advisor at:
The Harrow Road Café is located on Tennessee Highway 52/Central Avenue in Rugby.  The actual address is 5545 TN 52.  Phone: 423-628-2350.  I couldn’t find a website for the restaurant.  The restaurant is operated by the Historic Rugby non-profit organization…
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave