I was born in Churchill, Tennessee, a small town then, and my father's job as a veterinarian was in Kingsport, only 20 miles away, so I could go along with him during the summer to assist him in his small office. With 60's country music playing on my transistor radio, I would enjoy walking around the town and seeing places that were new to me. Today whenever I visit home, I am in awe of the redevelopment that has take place in this city, now with a population of 52,000, and the restoration that has kept many historical sites from the past alive and very well maintained.
The Cherokee Indian culture which once predominated the area not only has reservations set aside for the Native Americans, but also a museum for examining artifacts that take you back in time in the 1700's. Learning about how they lived, what ceremonies they held, what they ate and how they used the natural resources to the fullest continues to amaze me. Bays Mountain Park has a wolf reserve on its beautiful green slopes. As a star gazer, the planetarium in a respite from what can be humid end of summer days. The Exchange Place can bring you back to turn-of-the century pioneer living.
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site is where our 17th president resided for a time, Appalachian Caverns hold interest for cave lovers, and trails for hiking inundate the area.
On a grander scale, the beautiful Anderdale Mansion hosts a massive newly developed conference center, with tours available of the ornately columned home of wealthy plantation owners of a time long passed but revitalized here.
The Kingsport River Walk Project is in the midst of a 20-year redevelopment process, with business parks, boat use, and day camping available. Downtown is graced with many original red brick buildings, some of which I recognize from decades ago.
There's much to see and do in Kingsport, but I enjoy just using the sidewalks and self-touring around to see what's new. It's a safe and prospering city, and the country music hasn't silenced.