24 October 2014

Across the U.S., Day 18 - Knoxville (TN)

Because the current hotel does not provide complimentary breakfast, although advertised as such by hotels.com, I went for an authentic American breakfast place in Knoxville: Rankin Restaurant. They are a typical good ol' greasy spoon and claim to be the oldest restaurant in Knoxville, which I actually do not doubt. When I got there at 10 am (Don't blame me. I lost another hour on the road when crossing the EST border last night!), the place was packed and from what I saw and heard (!) most of the folks seem to be local.

Indeed authentic and tasted good.

After such hardy meal I had to work off some calories and went to the Beardsley Community Farm in central Knoxville for volunteering. This urban demonstration garden is in place since 1998 and sits on the ground of the former Beardsley Junior High School. The farm's goal is to promote food security and sustainable urban agriculture. They grow lots of different sorts of kale, carrots, herbs and also have berry plants, few fruit trees, bees and 5 chicken. Here are the names of the hens: Martha, Eleanor, Jacky, Hillary and Michelle. Sound familiar? Yep, they are named after the First Ladies.

The food grown on this farm is given to 5 community projects to serve low-income families. They also offer varies workshops on veggie gardening, beekeeping and worm composting. Further, local residents can get their own plots for gardening.

Today, the team was preparing for their upcoming Harvest Festival on Sunday and to celebrate Food Week - educational food-specific events this week throughout the country. Have you noticed anything in your area?

I wanted to chip in my share, did some weeding of the plots and helped to built this "photo booth" where on Sunday families can get their picture taken together with the straw man.

Another neat place in Knoxville is the former Howell nursery and now Botanical Garden.

Not surprisingly by this time of the year many plants had already died down and turned brown. Nevertheless, it was nice to visit. When I talked to one of the gardeners, he told me that Knoxville gets an average of 70" of rain/year. And when it rains, it usually rains hard, but only for a short time. Not like Seattle - the biggest car wash of the world - where constant drizzle is very common.

May I introduce you to Sage, the Botanical Garden cat?

Knoxville was occupied by both Confederate and Union troops during the Civil War. The Marby-Hazen House served as headquarter for both sides during that time. (But no, not at once. ...)

Mabry-Hazen House

There is much more to visit in Knoxville: several museums (art, history), zoo, historical sites and of course cemeteries.

Old Gray Cemetery

More to come.


  1. Would it be politically or ethically correct when I say the cemetery picture is beautiful? Love the colours!
    As for your breakfast... there is not one bit on it I could/would eat...

    1. Your breakfast comment surprises me! Most of it is not vegan. As for the cemetery picture: most cemeteries I have seen are very beautiful to me. When I visited the Old Gray Cemetery it was filled with birds' twittering.