Monday, August 28, 2017

Good Friends Visit from Florida!

We love having guests…friends and family…come and visit us here in  ‘paradise’ that is East Tennessee.  Not only do we get the chance to visit with people we care about, we also get a chance to show off some of the pluses in living here…

Bob and Nona are friends that date back further than any other couple in our lives.   I’ve known them since the early 1970s and Laurie has known them since the latter part of that decade. 

Bob and I worked together in St. Louis in the 70s at Venture Stores, the discount store division of what used to be May Company.  Venture and May Department Stores are long gone but Bob, Nona and I just keep on going…

This photo with Laurie, Nona and Bob was taken on the outside dining deck at the Tanasi Clubhouse in Tellico Village in Loudon County Tennessee.  The previous 2 photos were also taken at this restaurant/clubhouse.

It is sort of surprising that Bob and I became buddies in the first place.  He’s a New York bred former store operations and merchandising executive and I was always in the security/safety/audit/loss prevention end of the business.  Although the relationship between these functions has greatly improved in recent years, back in the 70s such friendship was very unusual.

We tend to take first time visitors to specific favorite places…either for the scenery or, in this case, the food.  One day during their visit, we took Nona and Bob on a drive in the countryside…with lunch in a popular spot along the way.

This is the interior dining area at Tellico Grains Bakery and CafĂ© in Tellico Plains Tennessee.  Frequent readers will probably recall a couple other posts on my blog site about this little small town gem offering lunch and baked goods.

Laurie took this photo of Nona, Bob and yours truly as we patiently waited for our lunch. 

One of Bob and my favorite recollections from back in the day when we lived in St. Louis was our golf outings… We were terrible golfers and to refer to the golf course we played on as primitive or not well maintained would be an understatement.  It was perfect for us though…with little pressure from other golfers…and lots of time to laugh at our attempts to play the game.

Both couples ordered pizza.  This was Bob and Nona’s cheese version of Tellico Grains’ ‘pizza pie’.  As I mentioned previously, Bob is from New York.  So is Nona.  New York is one of the 2 states in the USA that has the reputation of having the best pizzas in the country.  Well, Nona and Bob gave their pizza 2-thumbs up!!  They said that it was excellent…

This is ‘my’ 10 inch pizza.  Unfortunately for Laurie, she was attempting to stick to her successful “Delay, Don’t Deny” diet.  However, given the rave reviews by Bob and Nona…and by yours truly, she did succumb and took 2 bites of this pizza. 

Laurie and I have declared the pizza at the Tellico Grains Bakery to be the best we’ve had in East Tennessee in the 8+ years that we’ve lived here.  To learn more about this local bakery and restaurant, you can go to

Our next stop on our drive was the easily accessible and beautiful Bald River Falls in the Cherokee National Forest.  We were surprised that the falls weren’t more voluminous as we’ve had a rainier than average month and year.  I guess that it all depends where the rain has actually fallen.  The Bald River’s drainage area must have been a bit neglected rain-wise.  Note the swimmers at the base of the falls.  They seemed to be having a great time.

Of course, when you visit a place like Bald River Falls, one must take the obligatory series of photos!  It is a beautiful place to visit and, everyone we’ve taken there, loved it…

The road to Bald River Falls branches off the Cherohala Skyway, so the next segment of our drive was up the Skyway to a decent viewpoint.  As you can see, it clouded up as we drove up into the mountains…but Bob and Nona still declared that it was peaceful and well worth the drive.  Bob said that he liked the view through the misty cloud cover.  The second photo of the homes down in the valley was taken with my 10x1 lens. 

The Cherohala Skyway was completed in 1996.  This road is a National Scenic Byway.  The Skyway crosses through the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee and on through the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina.  I’m not sure how high this viewpoint was…probably about 3,400 feet…but the highest scenic turnout is at Haw Knob at 4,890 feet.

So what else could we do to show off East Tennessee to our friends?  How about a nice ride on Tellico Lake!  Thanks to our friends Jodie and Morrie, a cruise on the lake was on our calendar.  Bob and Nona thought that this was a great way to spend a couple of hours…beautiful and very relaxing!

This photo features our hosts and Laurie.  Captain Morrie is at the helm and the 2 ladies are chilling in the back of the pontoon boat.  We were pretty lucky as heavy rain and a few thunderstorms continued to stalk us as we cruised along the lake.  But, with Tellico Lake’s 351 miles of shoreline Morrie was able to dodge all the rain. 

I don’t know the distance from one end of the lake to the other but the most direct road distance from one end to the other is about 35 miles.  The distance if one made the trip by water would be a lot longer…  

Following our lake cruise, we all drove over to Alcoa Tennessee for dinner at another of our favorite and casual restaurants…Hot Rod 50s.  Both Bob and I ordered “The Hog”, a giant breaded pork tenderloin sandwich.  Yum!  Everyone enjoyed their meals.  I’ve written about Hot Rod 50s too many times before to repeat it again… You can check it out yourself at

Being city dwellers, Bob and Nona don’t see too many deer.  So, to cap off our day we decided to take them to our most reliable deer spotting area.  These photos were taken in a neighborhood in Monroe County Tennessee where we are 99% guaranteed to see deer every night at dusk.  On this occasion, we really scored.  In addition to these deer that were feeding very close to our car, we saw another 3 dozen deer or so as we cruised through the area. 

That’s about it for now… We had a great time with Bob and Nona and we sure do thank Jodie and Morrie for the boat ride!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Sounds like you treated your guests like royalty in giving them a great visit with you and Laurie! Old friends are the best, we have been friends with a couple in Florida since 1968 and when we visit or talk on the phone, we just pick up from where we left off on the last time. It's great, and I'm sure the same for you. Have a wonderful week, Dave! Beautiful scenery, by the way!

  2. What a wonderful day you provided for your Friends... Bet they are ready to move to East TN now!!!! You went to some of our favorite places for sure!!!!!

    Tell Laurie that she looks great..... It's hard to lose weight and eat out especially when everyone else at the table is NOT on a diet!!!!! ha

    Praying for the flooding in Texas and at my son's home now... He's already gone through way too much this month... Prayers for Mark.


  3. Dave, Bob and Nona look like delightful, lovely people! I absolutely love all your photos and it sounds as if you and your lovely friends had a great time! Take good care of yourself, and please send my best to Bob and Nona.