The Andersonville/Norris area has long been a place of respite for our family. My grandparents had a house on Norris Lake, so we would spend summers there fishing and swimming. This summer we stayed a week and took in some old favorites, and discovered some new places that need to be shared.
Norris Lake – This lake is one of the most clear and clean in East Tennessee and hardly ever crowded, especially after mid-July. There are many small marinas with houseboats but the area around the lake is largely protected by TVA for wildlife management, with some small campgrounds and quiet residential areas.
Norris Dam – Our house is pretty far from the dam, so we rarely ride over in the boat. The park and dam are fun to explore, with many trails and a few museums and older historic structures. I haven’t been in years, so we took the kids over and loved every minute. It was really cool to see the fog over the lower part of the dam, due to the temperature difference in the water from the dam and the Clinch River. It was really humid and sticky so we hiked only one morning. We plan to hike more in the fall, especially to see the beautiful changing colors of the leaves. They have a community pool that’s older but well kept (and it has diving boards! My oldest was especially happy with that).
The Sweet Cafe – Located in Historic Norris, this small cafe was extraordinary on all accounts. We went for lunch and had delicious burgers and pizza, with the most delicious hand-cut french fries. My mom loved the chicken salad and the chocolate covered oreos were both beautiful and tasty. We brought my dad home a cinnamon roll that he said was the best he’s had in years. We went back for ice cream several times. The staff was attentive and friendly, and made us feel like we’d been regulars for years (which we certainly plan to be going forward).
The Velvet Pug – This small antique store has a very French rustic vibe, and we loved exploring all her treasures. The owner delighted us with her tales of exploring through France for inventory and explained all the local artists that she also showcases. She wasn’t ruffled by my kids exploring through the store; the atmosphere was very family friendly.
Museum of Appalachia – We didn’t make it to this museum on this trip, but we’ve been several times over the recent years. Their festivals are especially fun. The Days of the Pioneers Antique show is coming up in early September, and Tennessee Fall Homecoming in early October.