Heavenly Hale Barn; harrowing hayride

Rose Byrum welcoming everyone to her barn.

Rose Byrum welcoming everyone to her barn.

Even a confirmed city girl like me can enjoy a visit to the country. Especially if it’s to a beautifully restored barn like the Hale Barn, located in deep southeast Knox County.

Rose Byrum loved her visits to her grandparents’ farm when she was growing up. The barn, built in 1947, in particular held special memories. Her grandfather, who was a banker and a lawyer, really thrived as a farmer, which he became for 27 years after he retired. Every year, Rose said, he would buy 40 head of cattle and raise them until they were ready to be sold.

Rose has painstakingly turned the huge barn on her grandparents’ property into a house. She kept the original tin roof, but put insulation and another roof on top of it. Her plan is to entice her own grandchildren to fall in love with the place the same way she did.

Rose offered her place last weekend for a Knox Heritage Summer Supper. Although the hayride about scared the pants off me — imagine sitting on the back of a flatbed truck with no sides hurtling down country roads at 40 miles per hour! — I had a great time.

Now, back to city life. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Food, Historic preservation, Knoxville | 10 Comments

News Sentinel Open is in full swing

Play action yesterday on the 18th green of the News Sentinel Open at Fox Den Country Club. When the rain stopped, it was a beautiful day for golf.

Professional golfers in action Thursday on the 18th green of the News Sentinel Open at Fox Den Country Club. When the rain stopped, it was a beautiful day for golf.

Of course sports fans love the News Sentinel Open, being played at Fox Den Country Club through Sunday. A stop on the Web.com tour, it offers an opportunity to get a firsthand look at up-and-coming professional golfers, guys who could make it big in the next few years. Continue reading

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‘Le Diner en Blanc’ — Knoxville style

A traditional "napkin wave" started the White Picnic at Knoxville Botanical Garden last Saturday.

A traditional “napkin wave” started the White Picnic at Knoxville Botanical Garden last Saturday.

In Paris, the traditional Le Diner en Blanc, also known as the White Picnic, attracts upwards of 10,000 folks. In Knoxville, I thought the 150 or so who gathered at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum last Saturday for our version of it was a pretty impressive turnout.

Here’s how it works. The organizers — Debbie Allen and Mary Collins-Shepard — send a “save the date” email a few weeks out. But the folks on the email list don’t know the secret location of the event until the afternoon of the day it’s going to happen. That’s when they get another email telling them where to come.

In Paris, where this all started, it’s so as not to alert the authorities — and to preserve the clandestine nature of the soiree. That’s part of the strategy here, too. When the picnic is held on public property — like last year’s, which was at Volunteer Landing — the laws prohibiting alcohol can be problematic. That’s why attendees are urged not to bring beverages in their original containers, but, instead, to pour them into something else. Continue reading

Filed under: Events, Food, Historic preservation, Knoxville | 26 Comments

Sommeliers do battle; diners win!

Sommeliers Blake Parrish, left, of Citico's, and Matt Burk of Old City Wine Bar, met in a battle last week.

Sommeliers Blake Parrish, left, of Citico’s, and Matt Burk of Old City Wine Bar, met in a battle last week.

Who wins when two popular local sommeliers challenge each other to a “battle?” The diners, of course.

Matt Burk of Old City Wine Bar and Blake Parrish of Citico’s met at Old City Wine Bar for a tie-breaker last week after competing against each other at Citico’s in July and coming in even.

Here were the rules of engagement. Both sommeliers were given a list of three courses to be prepared by Old City Wine Bar’s head chef, Sadie Daniels. They were asked to select wines to pair with each course. But a fourth course would be a surprise, and they would have to select wines from the restaurant’s wine cellar just a few minutes before the course was served.

Guests, who paid $75 each to attend, would be asked to vote, course by course, on which wine was the best pairing with the food. This was so much fun! Continue reading

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Building better bonds through bowling!

Finally, bowling has come to downtown Knoxville. Maple Hall is open in the J.C. Penney Building on Gay Street and boy is it fun! We at Moxley Carmichael were looking for a team-building activity and this week we decided to take the whole staff bowling. It was great. You might want to consider it for your own team.

The Moxley Carmichael team in front of Maple Hall, 414 S. Gay Street. Front row, from left, graphic designer Erica Beck, intern Jordan Shipowitz, account executive Savanna Howie, senior account executive Amanda Jennings, CFO Shaun Fulco, writer/editor Maria Cornelius, and Amy Barger, our manager of first impressions. In rear, from left, graphic designer Katrina Roberts, senior web designer John McCulley, president Alan Carmichael, writer Michelle Henry, director of client services Lauren Miller, me, Pam Rhodes who will be joining us shortly as our digital storyteller, creative director Charley Sexton and intern Jake Bruce. Only one mission was our vice president Scott Bird, who was out of town on business.

The Moxley Carmichael team in front of Maple Hall, 414 S. Gay St. Front row, from left, graphic designer Erica Beck, intern Jordan Shipowitz, account executive Savanna Howie, senior account executive Amanda Jennings, CFO Shaun Fulco, writer/editor Maria Cornelius and Amy Barger, our manager of first impressions. Back row, from left, graphic designer Katrina Roberts, senior web developer John McCulley, president Alan Carmichael, writer Michelle Henry, director of client services Lauren Miller, me, Pam Rhoades, who will be joining us shortly as our digital storyteller, creative director Charley Sexton and intern Jake Bruce. Only one missing was our vice president, Scott Bird, who was out of town on business.

Continue reading

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A sweltering Summer Swing still succeeds

Host Eddie Mannis with his friends Sherry Jenkins, left, and Renee Repka on the lawn of his Kingston Pike home.

Host Eddie Mannis with his friends Sherry Jenkins, left, and Renee Repka on the lawn of his Kingston Pike home.

The Summer Swing party held this past Saturday on the front lawn at Eddie Mannis’ house certainly was aptly named. At least the “summer” part. The temperature at the event was HOT! But that didn’t stop attendees from at least attempting to “swing.” And judge a cocktail contest. And make use of a cigar bar. And participate in a live auction. Whew!

The event was a benefit for Positively Living, an organization dedicated to assisting those in our community dealing with HIV/AIDS.

Several hundred folks attended. Music was by one of my favorite bands, The Old City Buskers. A beautiful buffet was provided by Nancy Kendrick’s Creative Catering of Knoxville. Gay Lyons, Positively Living’s director of development, was in charge (as much as anyone could be!). Continue reading

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Tour displays dramatic diversity of downtown dwellings

Julianna Texada lives in The Carson on Central Avenue with her husband, John, and doggie, Isabella. Don't let having a pet keep you from considering downtown living.

Julianna Texada lives in The Carson on Central Street with her husband, John, and doggie, Isabella. Don’t let having a pet keep you from considering downtown living.

If the hundreds of folks on the Urban Home and Garden Tour this past weekend are to be believed, tons of people are “thinking about” moving to downtown Knoxville. That had to have been the most repeated refrain of Friday night and Saturday afternoon on the tour of eight downtown residences arranged by the East Tennessee Community Design Center. (Disclosure: Moxley Carmichael was a sponsor.)

I’d say that most of the people making that comment were so-called “empty nesters,” people looking to downsize now that their children have grown up and moved away from home. Many are from Sequoyah Hills and other nice neighborhoods.

What they probably found out on their tour is that not all the homes downtown are small. The condo at The Holston on the tour contained 3,700 square feet and the one at Gallery Lofts had 3,200 square feet.

The best thing about this tour is that it demonstrated the diversity of options for downtown living. There truly is something for everyone. Let’s take a peek. Continue reading

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Packed preview party launches Urban Home Tour

Partying on the ground floor of The Holston, soon to be home to Clinch River Brewing.

Partying on the ground floor of The Holston, soon to be home to Clinch River Brewing.

Wow. There was certainly something for everyone last night at the preview party for the East Tennessee Community Design Center’s Urban Home and Garden Tour, which is set for today and tomorrow. (Moxley Carmichael is honored to be a sponsor.)

The party started in The Holston on Gay Street, built in 1913 as the tallest building in Knoxville and as home to Holston National Bank. With hors d’oeuvres by Nancy Kendrick and volunteers serving very ably as bartenders, the party was held on the ground floor. Dr. Bill Snyder, the Tennessee Theatre’s organist and chancellor emeritus of the University of Tennessee, provided lovely piano music.

The highlight of the party, to me, was when Lisa Shirey, who has leased the space, described the business, Clinch River Brewing, that she and her husband plan to open there. Not only will it be a brewery, but also a restaurant serving seafood and having a full bar and an outdoor eating area. I can’t wait for that!

Historian Dr. Bruce Wheeler also made remarks and described The Elliot, which partygoers got to tour as a sneak peek of this weekend’s activities. Continue reading

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Vision – and views – fill Massey fundraiser

State Sen. Becky Duncan Massey greets one of her supporters, Tom Hale, at a fundraiser last night.

State Sen. Becky Duncan Massey greets one of her supporters, Tom Hale, at a fundraiser last night.

Stunning river views — and the views of a large number of local politicians — were the highlights of a very successful fundraiser for state Sen. Becky Duncan Massey last night. Held at the beautiful Harrison Keepe home of Steve and Becky South, the event attracted more than 125 folks — and Massey is unopposed in her primary election tomorrow.

Fortunately, the sun was obstructed by clouds for most of the evening and a gentle breeze made the temperatures bearable. Catering was by Chef Rex Bradford Jones. And you always know it’s a good party when you see Jerry Kruse and his bartending staff from The Pour Guys.

The best surprise of the night was the mellow music of Michael Shehan, who targeted his tunes to the baby boomers who constituted most of the crowd.

Massey, a Republican, won a special election in 2011 to fill a vacated state Senate seat and was reelected to a full term in 2012. She also has been the executive director of the Sertoma Center in Knoxville for over 20  years. The Sertoma Center serves adults with intellectual disabilities. Continue reading

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Regas Square wows at preview party

Developers of Regas Square, from left, Joe Petre, Thomas Wolf, Matt Hasbrouck and Doug White stand before a rendering of the new development.

Developers of Regas Square, from left, Joe Petre, Tom Wolf, Doug White and Matt Hasbrouck stand before a rendering of the new development.

It was a heck of a preview party that launched the new Regas Square development on Wednesday evening at the Mill & Mine with more than 270 in attendance and great news coverage. (Disclosure: Moxley Carmichael helped with the function.)

Developers Doug White, Tom Wolf, Joe Petre and Matt Hasbrouck welcomed the guests, who included elected officials, community leaders and friends. Aerialists from Dragonfly Aerial Arts Studio provided amazing entertainment while “ambassadors” for the developers showed guests features of the new retail and residential development on two video screens featuring virtual flyovers of the property and 18 easels with renderings and floor plans.

Delicious passed hors d’oeuvres and creative cocktail samples were prepared by Bridgewater Place in West Knoxville under the guidance of Executive Chef Terri Roberts. Continue reading

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