Thursday, September 20, 2012

Gotta Know Knoxville!

Good morning, my friends!  Here is a look at my diary entry from yesterday, a most delightful day in our lives:
September 19, 2012   Wednesday
Up at 5ish. 

No walking or gym for us---gotta get ready to go to the "Gotta Know Knoxville" tour Sponsored by the Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corporation.  Yippee!

We arrived at the Crowne Center parking garage at 11:30.  That is where we were supposed to park.  But---the garage was full.  SH*T!.  Had to call the Tourism office for directions.  They directed us to the Market Square Garage near Market Square.  We found it easily---off of Wall Street. 

The Knoxville Visitor Center Downtown
The weather was clear and an incredible 63 degrees at noon.  The most beautiful day imaginable.

WDVX Radio Presents Free Live Performances Daily at the Knoxville Visitor Center

Got to the Tourism office on Gay Street at 11:45 and was stunned that this was the place that radio station WDVX broadcasts its live "Blue Plate Special" music every day at noon.  Heck, I listen to the "Blue Plate Special" almost every day and love it.  Staff folks at the Tourism center were very nice and professional. 

Our Group.  That's Me on Far Left.  Cindy is Third From Left.
We were escorted up to the 2nd floor to a conference room.  Very nice.  There was an oval shaped table that seated our group, which was exclusively from Church St UMC.  There were 18 in our group.  Maybe five men and the rest women.  Generally an older crowd.  We were fed sandwiches from Jason's Deli with the usual pickles and chips with tea.  It was totally great.

Laney Shorter, Director of Visitor Services.  What a Fireball!
Then we got very professional and enthusiastic presentations from the staff about the Tourism and Sports operations; and then Ms Laney Shorter, Director of Visitor Services, took over.  She is a ball of fire and personality and perfect for the job.  She described Knoxville's attributes and then led our group on a two hour walking tour of Gay Street and Market Square.  Since I'm a relative newcomer to the area, I learned more than anyone.  I really got a lot out of it.  We went to the Mast General Store, a most unique establishment.  Then to the Art market, a classy co-op gallery,  then to the Tennessee Theater (the state theater of Tennessee) and the Riviera Theatre; then to the Market Square area---a huge plaza featuring trendy restaurants and shops. 

Gay Street, Downtown Knoxville

Market Square, Downtown Knoxville
We then boarded a bus and went to World's Fair Park, home of the 1982 World's Fair.  We ascended into the Sunsphere and had a glorious panoramic view of Knoxville, the Tennessee River and the Great Smoky Mountains.  It was a perfect, cloudless day.

The Sunsphere at World's Fair Park Looms over Knoxville and Serves as an Icon for the City
Back on the bus, we toured the bustling campus of the University of Tennessee and returned along Neyland Drive, which skirts the river and affords views of Neyland Stadium, the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, various upscale restaurants on the river and more of the huge UT campus. 

The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville.  There are 96,000 Dimples on the Ball!
Laney asked the bus driver to stop long enough for her and her assistant, Rachel, to go inside the Panera Bakery and get the group some fantastic cookies.  Oh. My. God.-----I had the "Death By Chocolate" cookie and it was indescribably decadent and outrageous.  I gotta get back there!

My Panera Chocolate Cookie Was Big, Chocolaty, Gooey and Memorable.  Thanks, Laney!
 Laney is a sensation at her job.  She runs a first class operation.  We will be talking about her tour and how much we love Knoxville for years to come.  We also plan on spending a lot more time downtown, now that we know where everything is and how to navigate the area.

On the way home, we stopped at Papa Murphy's Pizza for the large, thin-crust Mediterranean pizza and headed for home, our minds abuzz at the wonderful things we had seen and learned, and visions of Gay Street, Market Square, the mighty Tennessee River, the Sunsphere, the Smoky Mountains and a super-enthusiastic Laney Shorter dancing through our subconsciousness…with a taste of Panera chocolate cookie, of course.  Ummm.


  1. Wow! You wrote a great blog on our day yesterday. Maybe Laney and I will figure out someday where we might have previously met! We had fun anyway, trying to come up with an answer. The funnest location was Wally World! :-)

    Happy to know you love Knoxville, too! One of the most perfect and beautiful places to live in the world! As I told you, I think I would have literally died if I had not gotten back to my beloved KnOxViLlE, TeNnEsSeE! ♥

    It truly was a fantastic day, we had a blast! My Pumpkin Decorated Shortbread Cookie had to be one of the best I have ever eaten! Gotta head back to Panera's.

    Thank you!

  2. Hi Clint! How are you?

    Yes this is a very intresting post, well done!

    i was away Long time now online again

  3. Wonderful day you had, it looked a great place, I went to Nashville last year that was an experience one I will never forget.
    Hope all is well.

    Ps if you can'tfind my new blog it's because Internet Explorer can't or won't accept it. I have put this on Chrome.

  4. Thanks for the interesting walk this morning. Knoxville looks great and a lot of things to see.


  5. What a wonderful way to spend the day.. capped with that yummy Panera cookie :)

  6. Pleased you enjoyed.
    Looks a lovely place, nice building etc.

  7. A great way to get to know a place! Sounds like a great tour, and I want that cookie!

  8. Any day that ends in pizza is a fantastic day.