Long Journey Home

A Look at Our Week

It’s Long Journey Home week in Mountain City, TN! This small mountain town has been bustling with activity since Thursday! We have participated in each special planned activity and have enjoyed all of the socialization and history learning!

Long Journey Home weekend celebrates the musical history of Johnson County, TN. And what a musical history they have here! Several well-known musicians came from here or surrounding areas. We are renting our house from a local celebrities daughter. Clint Howard was a bluegrass musician who played with Fred Price, who lived in the next holler over. Both of these gentlemen played with Doc Watson and have even played at Carnegie Hall. This town is very proud of its heritage and honors them each year with this special weekend celebration.

It started Thursday evening with a kick off dinner and dance. There was square dancing and a shape note singing demonstration and even an old-fashioned cake walk. We didn’t win a cake but they sure did look amazing! We were able to meet up with our landlord during this event (she lives about an hour away from here and we had not seen her since we moved in.) We were all relieved to learn that this arrangement is working well for everyone involved! She hopes we take our sweet time finding a house or land and we love this place so much we feel no push to get out. It is a relief for her to have someone here taking care of the house until she makes a decision on what to do with it.

Friday evening there was an old-fashioned buskin’ downtown on Main Street. Reminded me of the Friday Night Jam Sessions in Floyd, VA. Musicians lined the street playing a wide variety of instruments and singing. There was also an art show and a quilt show in town as well. We were able to vote on our favorite quilt entries. What beautiful works of art those quilts are.

Today was the musical  heritage tour through town. We started at a local farm that has been a working farm since 1746. We heard a story of how the area got its name (Maymead) and about the railroads that used to go through town. Murder ballads were next on the tour, unfortunately we only got to hear one due to being a little late. Their was a mural unveiling on Main Street of a new train mural that includes the local musicians riding on the train. This year’s theme was trains, now how perfect is that?? Then we went to Clarence Tom Ashley’s homeplace and listened to some of his bluegrass music. The final stop was at the Fred Price homeplace, just down the street from our house. If you ever come to visit us we will more than likely take you to eat at Lois’s Country Cafe. Lois is the daughter of Fred Price and with her brother Kenny, is teaching the music and sharing the stories with the youth in the area.

I think watching the young kids was one of my favorite parts of the weekend. They have a group named, Junior Appalachian Musicians and is kids of all ages singing and playing various instruments. Quite impressive to inspire our youth in these ways and that they have the desire to carry the torch on. Another big enjoyment for me of the weekend was to see the pride on these family member’s faces as they played their relatives music or talked about the talents of their relatives. This is truly a special place.

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Tomorrow is the last event of the Long Journey Home with Sunday Singin’. I can’t wait! My guy is tossing around the idea of learning how to play the bass. Seems about right that if he was to choose a stringed instrument that it would be the largest one!

House Hunting News

We spent last Saturday looking at several houses we have found in the area. We came away with two prospects. One we have already taken off the table. The house was great, checked a lot of our boxes even though it was a tad bit smaller than we would like. My main issue was with the lot. It had plenty of land, just not very much usable land. Mainly sloping lot, backed up to a hill with the front yard sloping downward. Not ideal for my gardening dreams. I initially said, “It’s okay. I’ll make it work.” But the more we looked at the land and thought about what our ideal picture is, the two just didn’t match. One day we may be at a point where we will be willing to “make it work” but we’re still hopeful that somewhere, somehow we will find, or build exactly what we want.

The other prospect was mainly for land. The issue with this one is that it is an older house that is actually for sale with 12 acres of land. We would live in the old house while our new house was being built way at the top of the hill where the awesome view we want is. Then we would sell the older house and a couple of acres of land. However, the house is very old, and not really worth very much. So, we would end up paying premium price for our land, then have the expense of building our house and then only get a very small portion of the original investment back.

The $500,000 is still on our watch list. One can hope they become eager enough to sell that they drop the price a few $100,000! But even this house has its issues! For starters it’s a log home exterior which we are not crazy about and worry about maintenance. It is also only two bedrooms. That issue we would be willing to “make work!” especially since there could be options in the basement for another bedroom/workspace. We shall watch and see.

What’s for Dinner? 

We made it three nights this week without going out! Big achievement for us! We’ve had Chicken Bruschetta, BBQ ribs and Cajun shrimp and sausage with vegetables. My guy seemed happy finishing off some of the leftovers tonight! We’ve had our share of hot dogs this weekend with all the festivities and a huge ice cream treat as well. Festivals are fun!

Sappy Selfies

Have a great week! XOXOXO

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