Monday, April 27, 2009

Knoxville, TN = Adventure!

I have a running list of places in Knoxville that I have heard about but never seen. I've recently been inspired to start visiting them, even if it's just a drive-by. As I go through this list, I'm sure I'll be writing about my findings in an effort to inspire others to go on their own local excursions. Knoxville has a lot of great things to offer (as if we haven't proved that already)

Last Friday, I decided to finally visit the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum with my friend Tracy (Yes, Knoxville has a botanical garden and arboretum. crazy!) We stopped in the visitor center on the corner of Gay street and Summit Hill to get directions (which was funny and sort of refreshing considering we both live in Knoxville). We found out the drive was only eight minutes, so we got in my car and headed east on Summit Hill.

To fall in line with the theme of the day (which was adventure!) we decided to take detours along the way. So when we saw a sign for a historical landmark, we went there.

We saw the Mabry Hazen House, a beautiful historic home on top of a quiet hill just outside downtown. I know it's sad, but I haven't taken five seconds to learn the significance of this home yet. But it's pretty and sometimes that's all that matters in the moment.

Ramsey House

We got back on track toward the Botanical Gardens, missed a turn, and stumbled across signs for the Ramsey House, a landmark I've been wanting to see for quite some time. We kept following the signs there, and after about 15 minutes of driving through neighborhoods with big yards and beautiful old houses, we were there.

The Ramsey House sits on more than 100 acres of land near the forks of the French Broad and Holston Rivers. It's big and stoney and gorgeous. It was the home of surveyor Francis A. Ramsey who, from what I understand, helped found UT (aka big shot). We didn't go inside, but we wandered around the grounds and across a foot bridge that led into a big grassy field. There wasn't a person in sight.


We decided to backtrack and finally found the botanical gardens. We parked, grabbed a map near the entrance, and walked around. We started out near the offices and walked through terraced gardens on gravel paths that led to large stone-walled greenhouses. Then we decided to take the loop around the whole plot of land which is about 44 acres. We came across old greenhouses that were in ruins. Most of the places meant for gardening were not maintained, but the grass was trim and the vast array of trees were, well, magical, really. We only saw about three people while we were there.


Since we visited, I haven't been able to look into what's going on with the Knoxville Botanical Garden. I wonder why it's so desolate and abandoned in areas and well-kept in others. I'm not sure what the deal is. It would have been nice to see the greenhouses decked out in plants, but it was kind of cool to see it all run-down and creepy.

Does anyone know what's going on there?



all photos except the Ramsey House are by Tracy Jackson

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice. I'd like to check those out as well.

Another place I've always wondered about is the big, unfinished structure behind Hardee's on Northshore in Rocky Hill. It kind of looks like somebody was building a temple and ran out of money. Does anybody know the story behind that place?

B said...

hmm, i'll have to take notice of that when i'm in that area again.

Lord Von Lord said...

Fantastic pictures. For future consideration, I recommend giving your adventure theme some real flare and call it 'high adventure' like you were a swashbuckler or pioneer.

B said...

i have always wanted to be a swashbuckler...

Summer Tannhauser said...

I was checking out the Gardens' website after reading your post and found a class they have coming up that might prove quite interesting ... Recreational Tree Climbing Workshop!

mizmargauxxx said...

the botanical gardens are a great find! I threw my best friend her bridal shower there last May (Jane Austen themed of course) and I think it was a smashing success!

The Modern Gal said...

Tree climbing and swashbuckling could go together well. Sign me up!

Anonymous said...

is there any cost?

Anonymous said...

It is free to visit and in the process of being (slowly) restored. The property was originally a nursery dating back to the late 1700s. Lots of the land was neglected for several years, but it is now being cleared out and fixed up. There are a couple of "finished" areas, but much more that still needs to be done. Even in the current state, however, it is an incredible place to visit.

ck said...

b, i like how you're pondering that ivy in the last pic. so serene.

B said...

ck, that photo wasn't contrived at all ;)

yeah i saw that about the tree climbing. how cool is that?

what is swashbuckling?

Wright said...

Ramsey House is beautiful You should go back and check out the interior.