Take this trip: shop, sightsee and stuff yourself!

From left, Marty Begalla, Dawn Ford and Mickey Mallonee enjoying homemade donuts from Jo's, which sells them from a trailer in the parking lot of Yoder's Country Market in Bulls Gap, TN.

From left, Marty Begalla, Dawn Ford and Mickey Mallonee enjoying made-to-order donuts from Jo’s, which sells them from a trailer in the parking lot of Yoder’s Country Market in Bulls Gap, Tennessee.

It all started with our friend Dawn Ford telling us during a dinner party about some great knives she had found at Yoder’s Country Market in Bulls Gap, Tennessee. She also raved about other items at the (ostensibly) Amish store. “We want to go there!” said Mickey Mallonee, Marty Begalla and I.

So, this past Saturday, off we went on a “field trip” to upper East Tennessee. Since we were so close, we planned also to have lunch at the fabled General Morgan Inn in nearby Greeneville. What a fun trip it was. Just sharing this along with a recommendation that you, too, plan a visit to these interesting, historic and entertaining places.

First of all, a question: Is Yoder’s Country Market really Amish? Not sure. Importantly, it doesn’t really claim to be. Check its Facebook page. (Would practicing Amish really have a Facebook page?)

Look for this sign.

Look for this sign. It says “Dutch Country.” Not “Amish.” But, you get the idea.

The name Yoder is to the Amish as the name Patel is to people of Indian descent. Very common. While the Amish tend to eschew modern conveniences such as electricity and technology, Yoder’s Country Market certainly has electricity and all the things a modern day grocery store needs. They accept credit cards, for instance.

But it does have an Amish sensibility. According to Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge), Amish cuisine is noted for its simplicity and traditional qualities. Food plays an important part in Amish social life. Many Amish foods are sold at markets including pies, preserves, bread mixes, pickled produce, desserts and canned goods. Yoder’s Country Market has all these things and more.

But before you even get into the store, you have to have a donut from Jo’s.

Folks coming to the market visited, as did folks from the neighborhood. We met a local guy named "Junior."

Folks coming to the market visited Jo’s last Saturday, as did folks from the neighborhood. We met a friendly local guy named “Junior” who gave us some directions we needed.

Yep.

Yep.

Making our order.

Making our order.

Donut drying.

Donut drying.

After eating our donuts, time to go inside. Past these cute birdhouses.

After eating our donuts, time to go inside. Past these cute birdhouses.

Welcome.

Welcome.

Need cornmeal?

Need cornmeal?

Cakes looked awesome.

Cakes looked awesome.

Since it was just before Valentine's Day, many cakes were in the shape of hearts.

Since it was just before Valentine’s Day, many cakes were in the shape of hearts.

Breads were just made.

Breads were just made.

I bought these bread heels because my New Year's resolution is to learn to make bread pudding.

I bought these bread heels because I have a new bread pudding recipe I want to try. Price seemed right.

There were many samples available to test. Here's Mickey tasting a dip.

There were many samples available to test. Here’s Mickey tasting a dip.

Here's one sample. Gourmet cheese puffs. They were great, but I resisted.

Here’s one sample. Gourmet cheese puffs. They were great, but I resisted.

Natural peanut butter was on sale.

Natural peanut butter was on sale.

Big variety of cheeses.

Big variety of cheeses.

Marty carefully considers her selection.

Marty carefully considers her selection.

Never seen so many different sizes of ladles.

Never seen so many different sizes of ladles.

As we left, I saw these cute hummingbird houses.

As we left, I saw these cute hummingbird houses.

I bought a knife, which is what I came for.

I bought a knife, which is what I came for. It is super sharp and cost less than $5.

Next stop: downtown Bulls Gap. Bulls Gap was named after John Bull, a famous gunsmith who made his home in the gap in the mountains and set up a trading post there in 1792. The railroad has been important to the town, which, according to the 2000 census, had  a population of 714. Railroad tracks run through the center of town, which has a total area of 1.2 square miles.

Welcome to Bulls Gap! From left, Dawn Ford, Marty Begalla and Mickey Mallonee.

Welcome to Bulls Gap! From left, Dawn Ford, Marty Begalla and Mickey Mallonee.

Entertainer Archie Campbell is from Bulls Gap and every Labor Day the town celebrates with a festival in his honor. The Archie Campbell Museum is in the center of town.

We found it odd that a tourist attraction is only open Monday through Friday from 9 to 4.

We found it odd that a tourist attraction is only open Monday through Friday from 9 to 4.

There's a railroad museum, too.

There’s a railroad museum, too.

Plans are for both the Archie Campbell Museum and the Bulls Gap Railroad Museum to move into Gilley's hotel once it is renovated.

Plans are for both the Archie Campbell Museum and the Bulls Gap Railroad Museum to move into Gilley’s Hotel once it is renovated.

The general store is closed. Its building has been turned into a community center.

The general store is closed. Its building has been turned into a community center.

It's near City Hall.

It’s near City Hall.

I liked this building, but I don't know what it is. It's just a few feet from the railroad track.

I liked this building, but I don’t know what it is. It’s just a few inches from the railroad track.

OK. You have seen Bulls Gap. On to Greeneville and lunch at the beautifully restored General Morgan Inn.

The General Morgan Inn originally was built in 1884 as a railroad hotel. Today it is the crown jewel of Greeneville’s downtown historic district.

The General Morgan Inn originally was built in 1884 as a railroad hotel. Today, it is the crown jewel of Greeneville’s downtown historic district.

General John Hunt Morgan, knows as the "Thunderball of the Confederacy," was killed by Union soldiers on Sept. 4, 1864 after being betrayed by a woman who, from a window of Lane House, a tavern located on the site that is now the Inn, shouted out his location to the soldiers.

General John Hunt Morgan, known as the “Thunderball of the Confederacy,” was killed by Union soldiers on Sept. 4, 1864, near what is now the Inn. Some say he was killed after being betrayed by a woman who, from a window of Lane House, the tavern located on the site that is now the Inn, shouted out his location to the soldiers.

The lobby of the General Morgan Inn.

The lobby of the General Morgan Inn.

A cozy fireplace in the lobby beckoned.

A cozy fireplace in the lobby beckoned.

But we had reservations at Brumley's Restaurant and Lounge, named after a family that once owned and operated the Inn.

But we had reservations at Brumley’s Restaurant & Lounge, named after a family that once owned and operated the Inn.

A remnant of that era.

A remnant of that era.

Brumley's has a beautiful bar.

Brumley’s has a beautiful bar.

But we settled into one of the dining rooms.

But we settled into one of the dining rooms.

The biscuits and scones were fabulous. (We all put our diets on hold.)

The biscuits and scones were fabulous. (We all put our diets on hold.)

Big shout-out to the crab cakes Benedict. They contained large pieces of crab and were delicious.

Big shout-out to the crab cakes Benedict. They contained large pieces of crab and were delicious.

After lunch, we would have enjoyed a nap in one of the Inn’s 51 beautiful guest rooms, but we had to get back to Knoxville. Our trip took about five hours total. We felt it was a nice part of Saturday well spent.

 

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17 Responses to Take this trip: shop, sightsee and stuff yourself!

  1. Sandra, on February 13th, 2017 at 6:23 pm said:

    I’m from upper East Tennessee! What a great post! The Chambers in those quaint towns have you to thank for letting people know about these wonderful places! 😉 Your food pictures really stimulated my sweet tooth. 😉

  2. Becki Gaut, on February 13th, 2017 at 6:30 pm said:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful day you shared with us. So glad you could bring your friends to Yoder’s.
    The red house that is inches from the railroad tracks is General Bull’s Headquarters.
    I grew up just across the street from this house and now live just next door to my childhood home.
    I am so glad you enjoyed visiting Bulls Gap. I have loved living here for 50 years.
    I am very lucky to work at Yoder’s as well.

  3. Mickey Mallonee, on February 13th, 2017 at 8:46 pm said:

    This was such a fun day with great, funny ladies. We laughed a lot. Love my knife which was the original reason (or so we said) for the trip.

  4. Cynthia Moxley, on February 13th, 2017 at 9:07 pm said:

    Sandra and Becki: Wow! Great to hear from you both! We had so much fun visiting your “neck of the woods!”

    Becki: What is General Bull’s headquarters used for today?

    Mickey: Where to next?

    Update: Made the bread pudding and it turned out great! Good investment of $1!

  5. Deborah Sams, on February 13th, 2017 at 9:52 pm said:

    This blog post was completely unexpected and delightful. I would have bought a doughnut and a knife. At least one scone would have not been resisted. What a fun jaunt!

  6. Cynthia Moxley, on February 13th, 2017 at 9:55 pm said:

    Thanks, Deborah! You should get some girlfriends together and go!

  7. Alan Carmichael, on February 14th, 2017 at 11:28 am said:

    The bread pudding, ably assisted by your whisky sauce, was delicious. Sorry I missed out on the doughnuts.

  8. Dale Keasling, on February 14th, 2017 at 11:29 am said:

    So glad you took in my hometown. (Greeneville not Bulls Gap) Yoder’s is owned by a Mennonite family (Mennonite is simply one step below Amish) in that they accept some modern conveniences. The General Morgan Inn is a beautiful place and the food is excellent. You should have taken in “Turning Leaf Farm” (my farm) while you were there. Oh well, reason for another trip to Greene County.

  9. Cynthia Moxley, on February 14th, 2017 at 11:30 am said:

    Thanks, Alan. You really would have loved those donuts!

  10. Monique Andrrson, on February 14th, 2017 at 11:32 am said:

    Wow. I would have loved that trip. Looks fun

  11. Cynthia Moxley, on February 14th, 2017 at 11:32 am said:

    Dale: Thanks for the info about Yoder’s. That explains a lot! Would love to see Turning Leaf Farm on next trip. We sure did have a fun Saturday. And the General Morgan was a delight.

  12. Cynthia Moxley, on February 14th, 2017 at 11:34 am said:

    Monique: I bet we can figure out another fun little excursion if we put our minds to it!

  13. Candyce Goschy, on February 15th, 2017 at 9:36 am said:

    FYI If you enjoyed going to Greenville. I have a friend who is doing a planned organized bus tour (4-5 days) to East TN to include Greenville, Rogersville,Jonesborogh etc. They will stay at the General Morgan Inn 4 nights and go out from there each day. He has bought out the theater and will have a special musical performance, they will tour historic homes such as Andrew Johnson’s home. Go to the Barter Theater, hear storytelling in Jonesboro and tour private homes. He also is doing a trip to Natchez Mississippi in conjunction with the National Quilt Museum . I have been on this trip as well as many of my friends. It is not an ordinary trip. You tour historic antebellum homes but not just to look at, to have lunch or dinner in the home. It was a wonderful trip, not just for ladies but there were several couples as well. His name is Michael Scott Smith and he is from Nashville. (Spring City) You can go on his Facebook page to see photos from some of these trips. His contact is Msmithorg@aol.com If you contact him, he will send you information about all the trips.

  14. Cynthia Moxley, on February 15th, 2017 at 9:39 am said:

    Candyce: Thanks for the info.

  15. Rusha Sams, on February 15th, 2017 at 4:52 pm said:

    What a great way to spend a Saturday! And that photo of the doughnut dripping with sugary glaze is enough for me to get Bert to duplicate the trip! Thanks for the great photos and tips of what to see. We really do have a great state to explore!

  16. Annette Winston, on February 18th, 2017 at 2:47 pm said:

    I love the General Morgan. Greeneville is a beautiful little town and home of my daughter-in-law, Jessie. I am going to have to go to Yoder’s. Sounds like a wonderful place. Maybe I’ll eschew hiking one weekend and do a road trip instead.

  17. Cynthia Moxley, on February 18th, 2017 at 2:53 pm said:

    Rusha: You are right about us having a great stare to explore. Our friend Courtney Pearre said he and Carolyn and some friends took a couple of years and went to every single county. Carolyn took a photo of every county courthouse. The last county? Knox! Isn’t that a fun idea?

    Annette: Highly recommend!

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