The Pilgrimage Continues

In the summer of 2016 we moved, not away from the Blue Ridges, mind you, but to a different part. The latest stop on the pilgrimage is in upper east Tennessee, Bristol to be exact.

NE Tennessee / South Holston Lake

I grew up in the Bristol / Abingdon area, commonly referred to as the tricities because three towns, Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport, are in close enough proximity to essentially exist as one big town.

We moved to the south of Bristol, at South Holston Lake. South Holston is a TVA-made lake that came into existence in the 1940s and 50s to try and tame the sometimes deadly flooding of the southern rivers and to provide electric power to the region.

I invested a lot of my time as a teenager in the Cherokee National Forest that surrounds South Holston, and I do not consider that wasted time. Indeed, the experiences I had in this region helped mold me and in a very real sense, I don’t know that I ever really left the area. My physical address changed many times, but in my heart-of-hearts, I was always at home here.

Here the Blue Ridge is a satisfying mixture of mountains and rolling hills. It is farmland and history flowing all the way back to the founding of America. The area embodies a rich cultural heritage and a wealth of scenery and outdoor activities.

Some of those attractions include The Virginia Creeper Trail, Boone, South Holston and Watauga lakes, the Barter Theater, The Martha Washington Inn, Abingdon in general, The Birthplace of Country Music and the Bristol International Speedway in Bristol.

And fishing! Don’t forget fishing! The area is awash (sorry) in bass fishing and fly fishing in a number of smaller mountain streams and larger rivers as well as in the afore-mentioned lakes.

Heck, there are even Bigfoots in the area. Well, at least according to the “Finding Bigfoot” team from Animal Planet. Now I’ve never seen one, but I’m keeping my eyes open!

But the most endearing quality of the area is something that no amount of money can afford nor can it be bought or bartered for. It is the good, decent quality of it’s people. Just as the history of the region winds it’s way from generation to generation, so too does the quality of it’s inhabitants.

These are a deeply generous people and their respect and acceptance runs that depth. This is a region with deeply held Christiaan beliefs. Please note I did not say “religious.” Everybody is religious, even atheists. No, I meant Christian, and that is where their love, respect and generosity come from. It is passed from successive generations of wise parents to their children, who, in turn, did the same.

Now is everbody perfect? Heavens no! That is, unfortunately, the nature of man. But for the most part, these are “good folks.”

The move was good, the place is beautiful and life is rich, not in cash, but in experience! Oh, and thanks for coming along!

© 2017, Bruce Denton. All rights reserved.

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7 Responses to The Pilgrimage Continues

  1. Gary Combs says:

    O how I miss those hills. Let’s put the top down and go 4-wheelin’ my brother!

  2. tdd says:

    Love this!

  3. Gabrielle says:

    Thank you for sharing about this beautiful area!

  4. Sandy McPherson says:

    Your writing brought a smile, a tear and some nostalgia. I would
    say that makes it excellent!! Keep it up!

  5. Unmuddle says:

    Oh man, I am ready to move. Your material reads far better than a travel brochure! I’m so glad you were able to relocate to such a beautiful area, “awash” with such poignant, happy memories. To be by water… what could be finer?! And I love your cloud photos! God’s canvas in the sky fills one with “awe” (an overworked word which in this instance conveys its original, appropriate, meaning), and your photos help us relive the nightly glory! Thank you!

  6. Amy Navey says:

    Write more!! You are such a good storyteller!

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