Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Knoxville Area Boasts Attractions for Road Rebs

By: Hannah Johnson, Daly Williams, Abigail Kessler

IMC Students

Courtesy of Wikimedia

Saturday’s matchup between Ole Miss and Tennessee will be the big attraction in Knoxville, but it’s not the only game around if you also enjoy the outdoors.

Knoxville and the surrounding areas are known for both their adventurous activities, like white water rafting and hiking, and relaxing outings, such as wineries and vineyard tours. 

Knoxville is located near many rivers that are home to whitewater rafting companies. Ocoee Rafting, the oldest rafting company on the Ocoee River, has offered many activities such as rafting, zipline tours and challenge courses for over 40 years. 

“I enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities, but one thing my family always does on vacation is go white water rafting,” says Caroline Otto an Ole Miss student. 

Whitewater rafting draws tourists and Tennessee natives alike, with summer months and fall weekends the most popular times.

Almost anyone can enjoy whitewater rafting. No experience is necessary to participate, and everyone 12 years or older is allowed.

Ocoee Rafting offers rafting trips that vary in length and difficulty. A middle river rafting trip is about 5 miles long, with rapids that are class III and IV. For this trip, participants could expect to be on the river for an hour and a half. Another option is the full river trip, which is 10 miles and lasts for three hours. 

For both trips, participants are accompanied by a tour guide the entire time. The guide gives commands and directions to help the rafters navigate the river. 

“I was really nervous at first, but that was the highlight of my family vacation,” said Otto. “It was pretty intense, but our guide helped us so much.”

After your rafting trip, you can lace up your hiking boots and enjoy the gorgeous mountain views the area has to offer. 

Big South Fork is an unforgettable place just an hour outside of Knoxville. It has lush green trees and plants for all to see. 

It is a big area full of life and amazing nature and animals with few roads and very little development.

Big South Fork has camping, horseback riding, kayaking and hiking. It has 180 miles of trails where you can overlook waterfalls and the natural arches the area has to offer. 

For a more relaxing adventure, have some drinks with your friends at some of the area’s wineries. 

Situated just 30 minutes outside of Knoxville are two wineries and vineyards along the Great Valley Wine Trail. The Winery at Seven Springs Farm is just 38 minutes outside of Knoxville and is situated on Maynardville’s “Thunder Road.” It is home to a young vineyard and winery, complete with an oak slab tasting bar and tank room. 

It also supplies farm-fresh produce, such as local cheese and cured meats in their farm store and gift shop. 

A full tasting at Seven Springs costs only $5 and can choose ten samples, two of their non-alcoholic juices and two of their wine slushies. If you would rather have wine by the glass, their price sits at only $5.75.

Spout Spring Estates Winery and Vineyard is another option near Knoxville. About 35 minutes away in Blaine, Tennessee, Spout Springs offers a selection of dry and sweet wines that you can taste with no reservation required. It also has a Wine Club where members learn more about winemaking.

“Our mission is to redefine Tennessee vineyards and winemaking and to grow the highest quality vinifera wine grapes in the state,” says owner Chuck Belt. “We also have a passion for sharing our knowledge with those interested in learning more about the winemaking process.”

Spout Springs’ tasting starts at $4 and sells cheese and summer sausage.

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