2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 11

24 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill LItes

Day 11 – 7/22/2021

Leaving Lexington this morning, I headed south 40 miles on I-75 to visit The Cabin of Old Town Artisan Gallery located in Berea, KY.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when I arrived at the site, I discovered it was not just one restored 1813 cabin, but an entire cul-de-sac of shops displaying various types of home-made crafts.  One of the buildings looked like it could have been the old Berea Railway Station. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Continuing south another 15 miles on I-75 I visited the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Museum located in Mt. Vernon, KY.  This museum is situated in the former Renfro Valley Riding Stables and was created to recognize those Kentucky artists who have made a significant contribution to the music industry.  To date more than 50 inductees of all genres have been added to the museum’s list.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I continued south 35 miles on I-75 to visit the Harland Sanders (KFC) Café & Museum located in Corbin, KY.  This is the home of the original 1940 Harland Sanders café where Sanders developed his famous Kentucky Fried Chicken receipt.  The café was expanded with a motel in 1940 and the café and motel operated there until 1956 when the Colonel started selling KFC franchises.  The café operated as a KFC franchise until 1988 when it was closed, remodeled, and reopened in 1990 as the Harland Sanders Museum.  What an American dream story!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I picked up I-75 again and headed south 15 miles to visit the Cumberland Inn & Museum located in Williamsburg, KY.  This museum is owned and operated by the University of the Cumberlands and has many displays and artifacts including the Henkelmann Life Science Collection of specimens from around the world.  

Photo Credit: https://www.familyvacationcritic.com/cumberland-inn-and-museum/htl/

I headed south another 55 miles on I-75, across the border, to visit the Museum of Appalachia located in Clinton, TN.  This is a living history museum and Pioneer Village that has a collection of 30+ early 19th century buildings that have been restored and situated on 65 acres of pastureland, to represent early pioneer life to visitors.  The museum also hosts annual performers of traditional Appalachian music and art festivals.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I continued 25 miles south on I-75, diverting a few miles toward Powell to check out the Airplane Gas Station located in northwest Knoxville, TN.  This unusual station was originally created by Elmer & Henry Nickle in 1930 to attract the attention of US-25 travelers.  The brothers operated the station until sometime in the 1960s, when it sold and became a liquor store.  Over the years since then the airplane building has been used as a produce stand, a bait & tackle shop, and even a used car lot.  It is currently a barber ship.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Before heading to downtown Knoxville, I drove a few miles east to check out Riffey’s Hot Rod Restorations located in the Northridge Estates area.  This small shop has been in business in the Knoxville area for 27 years and Larry and his crew specialize in custom auto restorations of all types.  Their amazing work has been recognized in many national car magazines over the years.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was about 10 miles into downtown Knoxville to where I visited the James White Fort located on the banks of the Tennessee River.  Built in 1786 by James White, who is considered the founder of Knoxville, the fort was actually built to keep wild animals away from his cabin, as White was friendly with the local Cherokee Indians and negotiated several treaties between them and new settlers to the area.  White’s many descendants played prominent economic and political roles in the development of Knoxville for more than a century after his death in 1821.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

While I was in the downtown Knoxville area, I stopped by the Southern Railway (Old Smoky Railway) Museum to see what they had to offer.  This museum located in the 1903 Southern Railway Depot has restored mid-twentieth century steam locomotives and other rolling stock for visitors to walk thru.  The museum also has artifacts and memorabilia related to the railroad’s influence on Knoxville and the surrounding Knox County area during the early 1900s.

Now it was time to find my motel, there in Knoxville.  Greta (My Garmin) took me right to my West Knoxville motel, where I got checked in and recorded my days activities.  Then I warmed up my leftover Cracker Barrel Sweet & Smoky Glazed Chicken Tenders and enjoyed that great meal again.  Yuuuum!

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

One Response to “2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 11”

  1. divoran09 November 24, 2021 at 10:18 am #

    That airplane gas station is startling.


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