Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Mexican Restaurant with Very Loyal Patrons!

A few nights ago we were invited out for dinner by our friends Karen and Charlie.  We were joined by their friends Darryl and Faye.  Charlie and Karen were preparing for a big Mediterranean cruise.  We all had volunteered to be Karen and Charlie’s designated cat sitters in their absence…

The restaurant chosen for this evening repast was a local family operated Mexican restaurant ,located fairly close to Tellico Lake and right next to Tellico Village in Loudon County Tennessee.
This is Lorenzo’s Mexican Grille… It sits on top of a hill on a side road a couple blocks off the main road through Tellico Village.  Because of its less than ideal location, it’s somewhat surprising that it has survived and succeeded.  But the Tellico Village community has adopted this restaurant as their own and there can be no doubt that the ‘villagers’ have kept Lorenzo’s in business.
The interior of Lorenzo's is colorful and there are windows all along 2 sides of the dining area.  This photo was taken from the south end of the restaurant where the space is more flexible and where larger parties can be seated.
As is usual for a Mexican restaurant, they started us out with the obligatory basket of tortilla or nacho chips and salsa.  The salsa is nice and spicy without knocking anyone for a loop.  Upon request a milder salsa was served for those who couldn’t handle the heat…
This partially destroyed bowl of goodness is/was the Queso Fundito…melted cheese with spicy chorizo sausage stirred in. ($5.50) While this is not the healthiest of appetizers…it sure tastes good!  It was almost gone before we remembered to take a photo…
Karen ordered the ‘Number 11’, a cheese quesadilla, a chicken taco with rice and beans. ($6.75) She is a frequent diner at Lorenzo’s and this is one of her favorite entrees…
The family has operated several restaurants in the area for many years. This restaurant, the family’s latest venture, has been operating for several years now. It was originally named something else...But, a couple of years ago, following the passing of their father, the son’s and his widow renamed the restaurant in Lorenzo Taboada’s memory. At least one of the son’s has proudly served in the US Marines and Mrs. Taboada still works at the restaurant…and she really works! 
For her entrée, Laurie ordered the Pollo Especial. ($7.50)  This dinner is described as grilled chicken topped with white cheese sauce served with rice and beans.  Laurie gave the Pollo Especial 2 thumbs up!

In addition to the ‘numbered’ entrees, the very expansive menu at Lorenzo’s includes many other entrees.  They fall under the categories of Pork ($8.00 - $9.25); Beef ($8.00 - $10.75); Chicken ($5.50 - $9.75) and; Seafood ($9.00 - $12.00). The seafood entrees are limited to shrimp and Tilapia selections…
I ordered the Pollo Ranchero, grilled chicken topped with cheese and hot sauce served with rice and beans. ($8.00) It was good…but the hot sauce just wasn’t hot or spicy.  Fortunately, there was plenty of the spicy salsa on the table for use with the chips…so I quickly solved my only issue with the meal.

In addition to all of the other entrees, Lorenzo’s also lists 5 ‘Especialidades de la Casa’ or house specials.  These include Flautas, 2 rolled corn tortillas deep-fried with the choice of chicken or shredded beef…served with lettuce, guacamole and sour cream ($6.50) and; Chilaquiles…a Mexican casserole with chicken and chips cooked in red sauce and covered in cheese, served with rice and beans. ($7.75)
Darryl had the ‘Number 23’, with a tostada, a burrito, rice and beans. ($8.00) He also enjoyed his meal.

Note: At Lorenzo’s, all 'combination dinner' items are filled with beef unless beans, cheese or chicken is specified.  There is an extra charge for any substitutions…
Darryl’s wife Faye, ordered the ‘Number 22’, a chalupa, a chile relieno and a burrito. ($8.00) Again, nothing but satisfaction with her meal!

There are a total of 25 ‘Combination Dinners’ on the menu, ranging in price from $6.50 on up to $8.25.  The prices are very reasonable… Lorenzo’s doesn’t serve alcohol but patrons can bring their own bottle of wine.  There is no corkage fee…
Charlie had the ‘Number 24’ for his entrée.  This is the chile releno with a chicken taco accompanied by rice and beans. ($7.50) Karen and Charlie eat at Lorenzo’s fairly frequently and this is one of his favorite entrees!

In the title of this blog, I used the term ‘loyal patrons’.  Just how loyal are they?  Well a year or so ago, another local Mexican restaurant chain opened their doors about 1 block closer to the main road.  We’ve eaten at one of their other locations and they do turn out a good meal.  However, the locals viewed this intrusion as ‘dirty pool’, and they literally boycotted this new restaurant.  It closed within 30 days of its opening and this was despite the fact that this location had a license to sell beer.  Loyalty Wins!!
Lorenzo’s Mexican Grille is located at 101 Cherokee Place in Loudon Tennessee. (Just west of County Road 444 in Tellico Village) Phone: 865-458-4655.  I could not find a website for this restaurant…
Just click on any of the photos in order to enjoy our meal with us…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, October 29, 2012

Random ‘Finds’ – National Register of Historic Places

We have found that a great way to explore an area is to make a listing of historic places in a county or area, and then get in the car, get out the Magellan and begin searching.  I develop my list of historic sites by perusing the county by county listings from the National Register of Historic Places.  These listings sometimes provide an address but as an alternative, coordinates are provided and then a map can be pulled up on a computer…and that map almost always furnishes an address.

The following ‘finds’ from the National Register of Historic Places are from Monroe and Loudon Counties in Eastern Tennessee.
This is the McCollum Farm in the Greenback area of Loudon County.  From an article in the Greenback Historical Society’s “Chronicler” published on 1/10/11, I learned that Joseph McCollum built this home before the Civil War.  He moved in with his new bride, Nancy.  He was a master craftsman and a tanner.  He built caskets as needed for his neighbors; he made shoes, and raised cattle, sheep and mules for their meat and hides.  His wife processed the wool from the sheep.     

This home has come a long way following its purchase by Tim Grindstaff! 
This earlier photo was ‘borrowed’ from a posting on Wikipedia.  As per the Knox Heritage website, Tim received a preservation award for his work on this home in 2010.  The Greenback Historical Society held an open house shortly after the award was made…and over 200 local residents came to view Tim’s efforts to preserve this NRHP home.

For more information regarding Knox Heritage, go to  To learn more about the Greenback Historical Society, click on  
This is the Mason Place in Lenoir City Tennessee.  It was built by Thomas Jefferson Mason, a river boat captain and a Union sympathizer. William Cassada was the contractor, Mason's son-in-law and a Confederate sympathizer.  Note that he built the stars and stripes of the Confederate flag into the upstairs porch balustrade.  

Prior to the Civil War and construction of the house, slaves had made and stacked a quarter million bricks for construction of the home.  During the conflict, the bricks were used for a gun replacement at Fort Hill.  Rather than wait for replacement bricks, Captain Mason decided to build the house out of heart-of-pine.  The house was originally part of a 1,200 acre plantation.  At various times during the Civil War, the home was occupied by both the Northern and Southern armies.  For a period of time, the Mason Place was operated as a bed and breakfast, but I couldn’t find a current B&B listing for this home.
This is the Stickley House in Madisonville Tennessee.  It’s also known as the Cannon-Stickley House although its first owner was Joseph E. Houston and his wife, Blanche.  Their daughter Josephone married Vastine Stickley…  This 1846 Greek revival home was designed by New York architect Thomas Blanchard.  It has two spiral staircases, its original mantles, wainscoting, as well as brick walls that are five bricks thick.  Although the Greek Revival style was common for courthouses and other civic buildings, houses built in the style are more unique.

Joseph was a tanner by trade but after the Civil War he apparently served as Circuit Court Clerk, Sheriff and Master of the Chancery Court.  He and Blanche were married in 1834 and they lived to celebrate their 50th anniversary, no mean feat in the 1800’s!  One of their descendant’s, Nancy Elizabeth Jones Stickley, was active in the DAR and she contributed the Stickley Collection (genealogical) to the Tennessee State Library and Archives. (It contains materials from 1600 – 1946)
This house was recently on the market… An open house was staged on 9/15/11 and over 200 people came through the property.  It sits on 5 acres about a block from downtown Madisonville.  The home has 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths in 4,236 square feet.  The listing price: $220,000.  The listing I found showed that it had been sold.  To see what this impressive house looked like on the inside and also what work needed to be done by the new owner, just go to
That’s about it for this edition of my little historical blog… So much to research and so little time and space!  Photos have already been taken and more research into the history of East Tennessee is already underway… What the heck, I can’t always blog about food and restaurants!  My doctor wouldn’t appreciate it!
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by for this little trip back in time!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dinner with a View...

Laurie’s oldest sister Glenda and her husband Ken usually come to see us here in East Tennessee once each year.  The drive from St. Louis isn’t too long and they can also stop by and visit Ken’s brother in the Nashville area. 

Since they weren’t going to be able to stay long enough to attend the recent wine tasting/dinner/social gathering that I recently blogged about, we asked a couple of our friends if they’d like to join us for dinner out one night.  One reason that we chose a local yacht club was that the restaurant is attractive and the view is hard to beat!  
This is the Yacht Club in Tellico Village.  Tellico Village is a very large lakeside development on Tellico Lake.   Tellico Village is an open community, (no gates and no age restrictions), which is generally focused on retirees. 

The Yacht Club is situated on a peninsula overlooking the lake and the restaurant offers sweeping views of the lake with its boats, attractive homes and wooded hills.  The restaurant in the Yacht Club is called The Blue Heron.
Here is our little dinner group… Note the view!  From the left…myself, Laurie, Glenda, Ken, Charlie, Karen, Joel and Holly.

I warned everyone that they couldn’t eat until we took our photos for this blog!  I also told them that I’d solicit them for their feedback re: the food and service. (No one was shy about providing their input)  The view and ambience required no feedback…all we had to do was look around us!
Karen ordered the Capicolla Stuffed Chicken as her entrée. ($13.00) She ordered a side Caesar Salad with her meal.  The salad was flavorful enough but she felt that it was a bit dry.  (Note: Laurie also had a Caesar shown above...and she said that hers was very good)
The presentation of Karen’s dinner was very inviting.  Her entrée was described as “A frenched breast filled with capicolla ham and buttermilk cheese, then napped with cranberry jus.” 

Given that the portion of chicken was very small, this dish seemed overpriced to Karen and Charlie.  Karen felt that the chicken and the sauce tasted only fair.  In her view, the flavor of the capicolla ham did not compliment the taste of the chicken.  It was so salty that she left it on her plate.  On the other hand, the baked sweet potato with cinnamon butter was very good.
Joel ordered the Toqua Home-style Meatloaf. ($13.00) It’s described as being “napped with demi-glaze and topped with crispy onion frisee, served with buttermilk mashed potatoes”.  He felt that the meatloaf was good if not great.  However, his buttermilk mashed potatoes were too stiff...they were actually so dry they were almost hard.
Holly ordered the Coyatee Tuscan Shrimp Scampi. ($17.00) The shrimp were described as being served with ”Oregano garlic butter with white wine and julienne salami”.  

Holly commented that her shrimp scampi were almost dry...with little flavor and they were served with almost no butter in her dish.  She also said that the julienne salami added nothing to the shrimp and her baked sweet potato wasn’t hot enough.  As a final comment, Joel and Holly feel that the meals at The Blue Heron are too expensive for what the customer is served…
I ordered the Pasta of the Day… In this case, it consisted of sliced prime beef with asparagus and basil in a light sauce tossed with fettuccine noodles. ($13.00) While I could have used a little more sauce on my noodles and I had to request the parmesan cheese, I did enjoy this entrée and the price seemed fair… I would order it again should the opportunity present itself.
Charlie ordered the Fish Special of the Day.  It was Mahi-Mahi. ($18.00) The presentation of this dish was very nice, and it made him anxious to taste it. 

The fish was good but not great.  It was cooked just right, but it was served barely warm.  The fish itself was firm and tasty.  He felt that “the portion of fish was a little disappointing given the price tag”.  The vegetable medley was barely warm, a bit over-cooked and tasteless.  It required butter to add some taste, but the butter wouldn't melt on the luke-warm vegetables.  His side salad was just fine.  In summary, Charlie felt that the fish special wasn’t very special…
On the other hand, Ken also ordered the Fish Special…the Mahi-Mahi…and he enjoyed his dinner! He had a baked potato instead of a side salad. (Note: We bought Ken and Glenda’s dinners)

The 17 or so full dinner entrees at The Blue Heron/Yacht Club range in price from $13.00 to $22.00.  Half-orders are available for several of the dinner offerings.  In addition, there are a few sandwiches available at dinner.   These range from $7.00 to $10.00. Of course, a few entrée type salads provide another alternative.  Gluten-free items are also noted on the menu…
Glenda ordered the Tommotoly Tenderloin of Beef, a char broiled 5 oz. petite cut served with cracked pepper and sea salt. ($15.00) She reported that her steak was delicious and cooked as ordered…medium with a warm pink center.  Glenda thought that her sweet potato with cinnamon butter was great and she also enjoyed her fruit cup. 
Laurie ordered the Tanasi Slow Braised Brisket of Beef. ($14.00) It was described as being “fork tender, served with rich port wine gravy”.   Laurie said that the meat was a little dry but flavorful and improved by the addition of the gravy.  She would have liked a little more gravy… The baked potato was just warm…not hot…and the cold butter on the side wouldn’t melt. 

No one ordered appetizers…but there are 9 offerings on the menu.  They include options such as Chilled Smoked Salmon, a Sweetwater Farm Cheese Sampler and a Carnita Napoleon Tostada.  Prices range from $7.00 to $9.00…
Our server was pleasant and generally efficient… After hearing that we were celebrating Charlie’s birthday, she brought out this humongous brownie covered with almonds, raspberry sauce and whipped cream...and accompanied by 8 spoons!  This is a very rich and tasty dessert…especially because it was ‘on the house’.

The Blue Heron has a full bar… Laurie and I each had a glass of the very reasonably priced house wine. The house wine choices were Pinot Grigio, White Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Merlot or a Cabernet Sauvignon. ($4.00)
Tellico Village’s Yacht Club with the Blue Heron Restaurant is located on Tellico Lake at 100 Sequoyah Road in Loudon Tennessee.  Friday night is prime rib night.  For reservations, call 865-458-4363.  For more information, just go to
Just click on any photo to enlarge it...
Thanks for stopping by for dinner!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Wine Tasting Party?

We have a group of friends, (8 couples in total), with whom we’ve been sharing a monthly wine tasting social event… While the group was never very formal, at first there was at least an attempt to semi-formally talk about, taste and evaluate the various wines.

Then the event began evolving.  We graduated from a selection of appetizers and snacks with wine, followed by the wine tasting…to a selection of appetizers, then dinner, then the semi-formal wine tasting followed by dessert.

Here Joel and Charlie are comparing notes about their upcoming cruise with their spouses… 
Then the wine tastings became even less formal… Still with a theme involved, such as South American, Australian or California wines…but with the spiel about the wines truncated or eliminated.  Just pour the wine will ya!

This is Larry, Dick and Fred...Dick being one-half of the couple hosting the group this evening. 
The party has now evolved into a buffet style sit-down dinner with wine or other libations prior to, during and after the meal.  In this case, we just drank all of the California wine (and others too) that everyone contributed…there was no conversation about the wines other than something like…”That sure is a nice wine!”

The ladies above are Jenny (Fred), Holly (Joel), Karen (Charlie) and Bev (Larry).  While the guys would like to think that they come first, now that we’ve all retired, we have learned the true pecking order around the house.
The food at these gatherings has been just terrific.  We usually have 3 or 4 appetizers along with a couple of snack items…a nice salad, sometimes a vegetable, potatoes or rice dish and an entrée… In this instance, our hostess Susan, (above with her husband, Dick), furnished a delicious chicken with wine sauce entrée and…because I love a good yeast roll…I must give credit to Bev for her fabulous yeast rolls & bread.  She put them in the oven there at the party & the wonderful aroma of fresh baked bread, told us dinner was about to be served!

You may have noticed that there are no photos of any of the food… It just slipped our minds as Laurie and I were having such a good time.  By the time we remembered that we’d meant to take photos for my blog…the food was all gone and the party was almost over!  We'll try to do better at the next wine tasting party.
This is Steve… He attended by himself as his better half, Joyce, was a bit under the weather.  Irv and his wife Martha also missed this event…having a previous and far more important commitment operating the concession/snack stand for their daughter’s school for Friday night football. (East Tennessee is all about high school Friday night football!)

If you enjoy a drink from time to time, you might have noticed that no one is drinking from a wine glass.  That’s because we celebrated two special events right at the close of the evening…so champagne was the drink of choice at that moment. 
Susan & Dick ordered this very thoughtful giant frosted cookie so we could celebrate both Joel and Holly and Karen and Charlie’s wedding anniversaries.  It was a ‘sweet way’ to end the evening…

We’re sorry that we forgot to take photos of the food…it was all top notch!  Many thanks to Susan and Dick for hosting this great party!
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by and meeting some of our friends!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tellico Beach – A Local Tradition!

Of course there was a lunch involved during our recent drive to Tellico Plains, where we visited the Tellico Grains Bakery and checked out a couple of sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  We decided to try an eatery that is definitely a local tradition!  Laurie’s hairdresser had recommended this family spot for its food and its prices…

This is the Tellico Beach Drive-In Restaurant…they were celebrating their 50th year in operation!  Given the fact that this restaurant is not exactly on a major highway, plus the fact that darn few restaurants or small businesses last 50 years, one has to be impressed by Tellico Beach’s longevity! 
As you can see, the Tellico Beach Drive-In is a traditional old time operation.  You walk up to the window and place your order.  You get a number and then you wait for your number to be called.  The food is prepared when you order it… It’s not just sitting there in a wrapper waiting to be purchased.
There are no menus per se.  Everything is posted on 1 of 3 or 4 boards posted on the wall of the building.  As you can see, the Tellico Beach Drive-In offers quite a variety of food for the hungry day trippers as well as the locals who regularly frequent this place.
Place your order and pay the bill at the left hand window… When your number is called, you pick up your food at the right hand window.  It can’t be much more basic than that!

The ladies working inside were on a first name basis with a surprising number of their customers.  They even knew what some folks were going to order…
Less than 1,000 people live in nearby Tellico Plains and the road passing the restaurant leads to the Cherohala Scenic Skyway…which passes through the Cherokee National Forest and winds its way over the Smoky Mountains to North Carolina.  I’m sure that tourists provide the bulk of the business but it was apparent that despite their limited numbers, locals are key supporters of this restaurant.
So this is what we were told we should order.  We both ordered the Quarter-Pound Bacon Cheeseburger with French Fries and a small Cole Slaw.  ($3.15 for the burger, $1.85 for the fries and $.70 for the cole slaw =$5.70 each) The burger was good if not great, we enjoyed the slaw and the French fries were fresh and hot. 

The price was right…and the food was just fine.  Those facts are the reasons that I’m sure that The Tellico Beach Drive-In continues to thrive.  They even offer a 2 oz. burger for those on a tight budget.  If everyone ordered a Quarter Pound Cheeseburger, a small French fry and a small drink, you could feed a family of 4 for only $23.40.
There is another selling point for this restaurant… It’s all about the dining ambience!  There isn’t any indoor dining…so you’re ‘forced’ to choose a picnic table on the shore of the Tellico River.  Such a hardship!  What a great view…
Here’s one more view of the Tellico River behind the Tellico Beach Drive-In.  It’s scenery like this that helped convince us to locate to East Tennessee after I retired!

While this certainly isn’t gourmet dining…or even the best burger ever…the Tellico Beach Drive-In is a great place to grab a bite to eat, especially if you have a family!  The only real downside that we could see is the fact that there are no public restrooms.  They also only accept cash and local checks.
The Tellico Beach Drive-In is located at 1801 Cherohala Skyway in Tellico Plains Tennessee.   Phone: 423-253-2606.  They don’t have a website but you can check out some restaurant reviews for this restaurant by clicking on this link:  I will tell you that 18 of the reviews ranked the Tellico Beach Drive-In as excellent or very good, 6 ranked it as average and 1 ranked it as ‘terrible’.  You just can’t please all of the people all of the time…
Thanks for stopping by and sharing the scenery and lunch with us!
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Nice Lunch in Lenoir City Tennessee

Running errands…and once again it’s time for lunch.  We were in Lenoir City Tennessee so we checked out a place where we’d had some decent pizza before, only to discover that, as in politics, change had come.

Angelo’s Brick Oven was no longer…and it had been replaced by a new restaurant!  I had blogged about Angelo’s back on January 24th of this year…
This restaurant is now named Town Creek Grille.  We were encouraged by the number of cars in the parking lot…usually a good sign for the prospective diner.

As per their website, Town Creek Grille was initiated by 2 local families who believe in local roots and community connections.  The restaurant is named for nearby Town Creek, which had provided the power for one of the town’s earliest businesses…the Lenoir Cotton Mill.
The interior of the restaurant is pleasant and homey… Here is yours truly in ‘the library’ signing the charge slip for lunch…while being unknowingly photographed by Laurie.
Laurie also took this photo of another dining area in the restaurant that wasn’t being used for the lunch crowd.  Note the big brick fireplace and use of dark wood on the walls…

The menu at Town Creek Grille is quite extensive.  There are appetizers, steaks, fish and shrimp, specialties, chicken, sandwiches/burgers, pasta, soup and salads plus desserts.  The most expensive dinner entrée on the menu is the 14 oz. hand cut ribeye steak. ($15.99)
Our lunch started out with a nice basket of rolls and muffins.  They were warm and they were very nice.  Laurie especially liked the corn muffin and I enjoyed the garlic herb muffins on the bottom of the basket.
Laurie’s meal came with 2 sides… This was the very nice side salad that served as her luncheon starter. 
FYI...There are 4 dinner or entree style salads on the menu.  These include an Hawaiian Chicken Salad and an Oriental Chicken Salad.  Both are priced at $7.95.
Her entrée was the Bang Bang Shrimp. ($11.95 for a dinner portion…The price for Laurie’s luncheon portion isn’t shown on the menu and I failed to keep the detailed receipt) Laurie was very happy with her shrimp and the 'Bang Bang' spicy sauce, plus the fries were good too…
I ordered the dinner portion of the Hand Breaded Catfish entree. ($9.99) It comes with French fries but I was able to switch to steamed broccoli and cole slaw.  The broccoli was just right and the cole slaw was very nice indeed.  The catfish was breaded in a flour and cornmeal blend and I asked for cocktail sauce instead of the usual tartar sauce.  As you can see, the hunks of catfish were huge…and they were very tasty!  Without hesitation, I’d order this entrée again!

Service was efficient and friendly.  I really appreciated the ability to substitute sides as needed and we liked the fact that the waitress asked if we wanted dinner or luncheon portions for our meal.  I would recommend that the owners notate the availability of luncheon portions for some items, (during the lunch hour only), on the front of the menu and perhaps at the top of each page as well.  I can imagine some folks stopping by to look at the menu as it is and then deciding that it was a little pricy for lunch.  Now that we know the facts, it’s not a problem for us… We will be coming back to the Town Creek Grille in order that we can repeat this upbeat food experience!
Town Creek Grille is located at 175 Kelsey Lane in Lenoir City Tennessee.  It faces US Highway 321 and it’s fairly close to the Highway 321 and I-75 Lenoir City exit.  Phone: 865-988-9288.  Website:
You can just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by and sharing lunch with us!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

History, a Little Food and Great Scenery!

Laurie and I decided to drive over to the area around Tellico Plains Tennessee.  We had two motives…History and Food!  First we had to make a stop at our favorite stop for cookies, scones and other sweet baked goods...and one of our favorite bakeries for bread as well.

This is Tellico Grains Bakery in Tellico Plains.  Let’s see… We bought oatmeal raisin and coconut cookies…plus a scone, a muffin, a loaf of banana bread for company and a loaf of bread.  When we’re in the neighborhood, we usually eat lunch here too, (great sandwiches on fresh bakery bread!), but we had other plans on this date. (I’ll talk about our lunch in another blog…)

We heartily recommend the Tellico Grains Bakery!  It’s located at 105 Depot Street in Tellico Plains Tennessee.  Phone: 423-253-6911.  The website is:
OK…enough food for today.  Now we’re on to the exploration and history part of our day.  This is the entrance to the Charles Abner Scott Manson which is just outside of Tellico Plains.  As you might gather from the plaque, this property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Our big concern was that this was about as close to the mansion as we could get without trespassing…
We didn’t get any closer to the mansion…but the Internet…with the wide-world web saved us again.  This photo was ‘borrowed’ so we could actually show what this NRHP listing was all about… Charles Scott built this neo-classical revival mansion between 1908 and 1912. 
The interior apparently, is at least as impressive as the exterior.  Mr. Scott sure didn’t spare the expense when he had this home built!

Charles Abner Scott was born in 1866 and he died in 1930.  He was born in Tennessee and he moved to the area around Tellico Plains around 1890.  He was actively involved in developing the town…selling off or donating large portions of his 15,000 acre holdings for the growth and expansion of Tellico Plains.  He ‘recruited’ the Stokely Company to open an operation here and he financed local schools.  Beyond these contributions, Scott is recognized for his experimentation with lime fertilizer, crops and different cattle breeds…influencing regional farming techniques.
Oh yes…Scott’s property includes this beautiful little rustic chapel.  How did we come up with these photos?  Well, much to our surprise, the mansion and the remaining 191 acres of the original estate was or perhaps still is for sale.  The asking price is $2,950,000!  At one point in recent history, the home was operated as a bed and breakfast...
This is the estate’s old barn…located adjacent to the driveway leading to the house.  In addition to the chapel and the barn, other structures include a log guest house, a garage, a horse barn, a large outdoor swimming pool plus an equipment shed.  The 4,160 sq. ft. house has 6 fireplaces, 4 bedrooms, 12 foot ceilings, hardwood floors, terrazzo porches, etc., etc.  For more information and other photos, just go to
This is a view of the foothills of the Smoky Mountains…with the mountains themselves off in the distance.  Laurie took this photo from the road along the valley just below the Scott Mansion.
As we cruised along the back roads through the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, we came across this very substantial brick church.  We were impressed as many of the churches away from the main roads in this area are very small and they don’t look very prosperous.  The population here in the foothills is very spread out…but they do go to church!

When Laurie took her photo, she discovered that this is a Friends or Quaker Church.  According to one website that I visited, there are only about 6 Friend’s Meeting Houses remaining in East Tennessee.  At one point there were many Meeting Houses and this religious group was a powerful voice for freedom.  All Quakers’ slaves were freed by 1787.  Their position on slavery prior to the Civil War caused great controversy and thousands of Quakers or Friends migrated north to the ‘free states’ as they were attacked and harassed for their stance on the issue.  Many of those that stayed behind helped escaped slaves flee north via the ‘Underground Railroad’.  “Manumission”, the freeing of slaves, became a critical social concern to the Quakers…
Information about the Rafter Road Friends Church can be found on Facebook at

We were on Rafter Road searching for another listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Elisha Johnson Mansion, (above), is shown as being located at 332 Rafter Road… We couldn’t find it!
Elisha Johnson moved south to join his son who had fled the north after killing a man in a duel.  The son had fled to Florida and then worked his way back up to Tennessee.  Then he told his father, the onetime mayor of Rochester NY, that he’d discovered a promising iron works in Tellico Plains.  The family bought and expanded the business…but it was destroyed by General Sherman during the Civil War.  The mansion itself was built ca. 1846.  The home was passed on through a number of owners…at various points it was unoccupied or was operated as a summer hotel or boarding house.
I think I discovered why Laurie and I couldn’t find the Johnson mansion… I stumbled across a news item from 2001 that said that the mansion was carefully being torn down and that the structure was being carefully cataloged so it could be rebuilt over the next few years.  Apparently a bad roof combined with fire damage had done enough damage that all agreed that an eventual rebuild would be the best…perhaps the only option for saving this 150+ year old home.  In any case, it appears that the reconstruction hasn’t happened.  If anyone knows something different, please let me know.
So while we were on Rafter Road searching for the Elisha Johnson Mansion, we came across this interesting little structure.  The signs…Mudhole TN Community Center…Pop 13 and Indian Boundary caught our eye.  When Laurie got out to take the photo, she discovered that this is a memorial structure.  Someone built this to commemorate the passing of Ken Sherman (1939 – 2009) He was apparently active in the Rural Volunteer Fire Department and the Monroe County School District.  He must have been a great person to deserve such a special memorial!

Thanks for joining us on our little exploratory adventure!
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave