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Outside the Oval: Explore the region this weekend or come back for a longer visit

Just beyond the bustle of the World's Fastest Half-Mile Track at Bristol Motor Speedway, you won't need to look far to find an outdoor paradise, great historical attractions - or just a place to go splash around.

  • icon Updated: 1:35 pm

Recent Headlines

Thursday 08/21/2014
Center Stage: Carson Peters' 10-year-old fingers can fire up a fiddle
Updated: August 21, 2014 - 1:38 pm

A fiddle-wielding child appeared on a television screen. He raised the fiddle to his shoulder, applied his bow and fire laced the strings.

Blair Crimmins and The Hookers play like zoot-suit-wearing dudes from eras gone by
Updated: August 21, 2014 - 1:37 pm

Blair Crimmins and The Hookers’ music resides on the corner of Cool and Carefree Boulevards.

Short Takes: Free MP3 download from Delta Spirit and more
Updated: August 21, 2014 - 1:37 pm

Check these events out: Craig Morgan, Faster Pussycat and The Mayfields. San Diego born, Brooklyn, N.Y. based rockers Delta Spirit shine a light on this week’s free MP3 downloads.

Clinchfield No. 1: There's more to the story
Posted: August 21, 2014

Consider it a calling for the Clinchfield.

Wednesday 08/20/2014
I should carry a sign that says 'I Pack Snacks'
Posted: August 20, 2014

I can indeed be quirky at times and perhaps the fact that I rarely leave home without packing a snack or already have a few snacks in my car. I do not want to be caught without some healthy food to munch on if I am late leaving work or traveling and there are no healthy eating options along the way.

Sunday 08/17/2014
Interesting take on superheroes
Posted: August 17, 2014

'Hero Worship' by Christopher E. Long is set in a world in which superpowers are real.

Appalachian Fair: She's 88 years young Aug. 18-23!
Posted: August 17, 2014

Johnny Cash summoned prison, trains and “Ring of Fire.”

For the Birds: Feeding birds may bring unwanted guests
Posted: August 17, 2014

I try to feed birds throughout the year, although they're perfectly capable of finding their own food.

Sunday 08/17/2014
Buechner series contemplates 'What's next?"
Posted: August 17, 2014

King University of Bristol, Tennessee, announces the speakers in its Beuchner Institute series.

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Writer to sign books at Bristol on Aug. 23
Posted: August 17, 2014

BRISTOL Va. - Going to the rose garden once was not enough for Hazel Rash Fleming.

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Friday 08/15/2014
Aviation museum takes visitors into the skies; honors Piney Flats pilots
Updated: August 19, 2014 - 11:46 pm

Even before going into the third grade, young Max Carpenter experienced a rare thrill in Sevierville.

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Thursday 08/14/2014
Tauk: 'Instrumental rock fusion'
Updated: August 14, 2014 - 11:29 pm

Subtle pin drop notes twinkle like raindrops on a tin roof.

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Coming this Weekend: Aug. 17
Updated: August 14, 2014 - 4:35 pm

Appalachian Fair, Buechner lecture series, a slice of Bristol history and more are coming up this weekend in Sunday Community.

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Tennessee aviation museum in Sevierville
Updated: August 14, 2014 - 4:35 pm

Even before going into the third grade, young Max Carpenter experienced a rare thrill in Sevierville.

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Hey Chuck! Why the why theme?
Updated: August 14, 2014 - 5:54 pm

In book after book, author Chuck Thompson asks "Why?"

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Short Takes: Free MP3 download from Joe Bonamassa and more
Updated: August 14, 2014 - 4:36 pm

Check these events out: Eliminator, Big Daddy Love and .38 Special. Blues-rock guitar master Joe Bonamassa helms this week’s free MP3 download.

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Center Stage: Fueled by songs, Rondeau is following his heart
Updated: August 14, 2014 - 4:36 pm

Hearts beat and hearts love, some hearts hate and some hearts break.

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Wednesday 08/13/2014
Squash, the versatile summer delight!
Posted: August 13, 2014

Summer squash — it's everywhere you look right now! Dark green, light green, even golden yellow; this vegetable is surly a summer favorite. With so many different ways to prepare it, this food is seen as a staple in the Southwest Virginia region.

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Think it's too hot to cook? Then go soak your grains
Posted: August 13, 2014

The best thing about this way of doing things, besides the no-heat benefit, is that you can combine grains with water (or vegetable broth, for more flavor), cover them and refrigerate them overnight — or all day.

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Let’s gear up for Rhythm and Roots 5K
Posted: August 13, 2014

I cannot believe another year has passed; it is almost time for Bristol’s Annual Rhythm and Roots Reunion. It is such a wonderful weekend filled with music, food, fellowship and fun.

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Monday 08/11/2014
Russell County Fair & Horse Show Aug. 29-Sept. 6
Updated: August 11, 2014 - 11:08 am

CASTLEWOOD, Va. - The 2014 Russell County Fair and Horse Show is going “Hog Wild & Pig Crazy” for eight days Aug. 29 – Sept. 6 in Castlewood, Virginia.

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Book tells chilling story of Blue Ridge Tunnel
Posted: August 11, 2014

In traveling across Virginia, you'll discover a little village near Charlottesville called Crozet.

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3rd Annual Tri-Cities Greek Fest to be held Aug. 16 in Bluff City
Updated: August 18, 2014 - 12:01 am

Imagine Greek culture on display as filtered through an East Tennessee lens.

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Sunday 08/10/2014
A murder mystery with a superhero twist
Posted: August 10, 2014

“Impostor” by Susanne Winnacker is a young adult novel about a girl Tessa, who is able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and thereby mimic his or her appearance.

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Thursday 08/07/2014
Arts Depot welcomes new resident artist Steven Reeves
Posted: August 07, 2014

ABINGDON, Va. — The Depot Artists Association’s new resident artist is portrait artist Steven Reeves.

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First Thursday reception tonight for Kathye Mendes
Posted: August 07, 2014

ABINGDON, VA — Creeper Vapor Art Gallery, the newest art space on the First Thursday Abingdon Art Walk, will host an opening reception kicking off an exhibition by Independence, Virginia, artist, Kathye Mendes. The First Thursday Art Walk and reception will take place Aug. 7 from 6-9 p.m.

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Eliminator, ZZ Top Tribute Band, takes the stage at Bristol's Downtown Center
Posted: August 07, 2014

BRISTOL, Tenn. — The Eliminator Band is the original ZZ Top Tribute Band. The Eliminator Band played their first show in 1992. Come out to the Downtown Center, 810 State Street, to hear some of the best of ZZ Top.

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The Bacon Brothers coming to Niswonger
Posted: August 07, 2014

early 20 years established as a music act, brothers Kevin and Michael Bacon bring their blend of music to Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville, Tenn. on Aug. 8.

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Short Takes: Free MP3 download from Ginger Baker and more
Posted: August 07, 2014

Check these events out: The Buddz, Brad Puckett and Boz Scaggs. From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to this week’s free MP3 downloads drums the music of Ginger Baker.

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Music for HOPE
Posted: August 07, 2014

It's called "Music for Hope." And it's happening on Saturday, Aug. 9, at the Bristol Train Station to benefit the Cancer Outreach Foundation.

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Greek Fest is coming to Bluff City
Posted: August 07, 2014

The Third Annual Greek Fest offers the public an invitation to partake of the philoxenia —"Greek hospitality" — that lasts all day on Saturday, Aug. 16, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., at Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church in Bluff City.

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Show headliner Jerry Castle releases 'South Holston'
Updated: August 07, 2014 - 7:48 am

BRISTOL, Va. — Jerry Castle has put the party back into his music.

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Wednesday 08/06/2014
Don't drown healthy salad in fatty dressing
Posted: August 06, 2014

One reason I enjoyed going to July family reunions in Rocky Mount, N.C., each summer was the delicious food. These gatherings included typical Southern fare of fried chicken, pork barbecue, hush puppies, side casseroles and a table weighed down with homemade desserts. But often a healthful gem of a recipe would show up, usually from one of my aunts.

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Summer salads: Hold the lettuce
Posted: August 06, 2014

About the only thing that kept me from melting last week when it came to mealtimes was keeping the oven off.

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Are you letting stress rob you of good health?
Posted: August 06, 2014

Exercise, time management techniques, massage and muscle relaxation, support system and deep breathing are sure ways to help reduce your stress levels

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Sunday 08/03/2014
A book for losing track of time
Posted: August 03, 2014

Up and down. Up and down.

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Jerry Vencill rolls back the clock preserving the old ways in stories
Posted: August 03, 2014

Jerry Vencill stalks the storytelling stage like a mountain man.

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Brown thrashers enjoying successful nesting season
Updated: August 14, 2014 - 11:36 pm

It’s been a banner year for brown thrashers at my home. In recent weeks, these large songbirds have provided plenty of entertainment by bringing their young to the feeders. They especially like the suet feeder. The parent birds work to detach chunks of suet. Once they secure these morsels, the parents feed their hungry young. 

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Water-powered Woodson's Mill is a survivor
Posted: August 03, 2014

Within its 220-year-old walls, Woodson's Mill still produces stone-ground grits, flours and meals today under the leadership of owner Will Brockenbrough.

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Coming home for Gospel Showcase has some serious rewards
Updated: August 06, 2014 - 2:05 pm

The Gospel Showcase champions and benefits a local cause. All proceeds will go toward the restoration and care of the historic Citizens Cemetery, which is located on Piedmont Street in Bristol, Va.

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Helping with Bristol’s Citizens Cemetery an 'honorable thing to do'
Updated: August 07, 2014 - 9:28 pm

Money raised from the Gospel Showcase, which will stage on Aug. 16 at the Virginia High School auditorium, is needed to maintain Bristol's Citizens Cemetery.l

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Friday 08/01/2014
Can't sit still around the Alabama Spirituals
Updated: August 01, 2014 - 11:31 am

Make welcome the Alabama Spirituals. Set to appear during the Gospel Showcase on Aug. 16 at the Virginia High School auditorium in Bristol, Va., the longtime group brings a mighty word built upon strong songs and a spirit that don’t hold back.

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Thursday 07/31/2014
Short Takes: Free MP3 download from Carlene Carter and more
Posted: July 31, 2014

Check these events out: Mustered Courage, Jo Dee Messina and Jake and the Comet Conductors. Carrying on in the nature of the historical weekend forthcoming, Carlene Carter leads this week’s free MP3 download.

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Carter Family Memorial Festival reflects The Crooked Road tradition
Updated: August 01, 2014 - 10:36 pm

HILTONS, Va. — Pushing into its fourth decade this summer, the Carter Family Memorial Festival ranks among the longest running musical traditions of The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail.

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Coming this Weekend
Updated: July 31, 2014 - 5:36 pm

Ms. Vee
Nationally known gospel radio personality Vania Edwards - Ms. Vee - is one of the organizers of a gospel showcase to benefit Bristol's Citizens Cemetery.

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Kentucky Headhunters coming to Tennessee
Updated: July 31, 2014 - 6:00 pm

Walk softly.

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Calendar includes art exhibits, auditions, car show, call for vendors
Updated: July 31, 2014 - 5:59 pm

Arts-related events, auditions, call for vendors and more can be found in this calendar.

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Center Stage: The Lee Boys will baptize Barter's new Tent Jams
Updated: July 31, 2014 - 5:59 pm

On the wings of funk and the Lord fly The Lee Boys.

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Review: ‘Then Sings My Soul’ brings gospel to dinner
Updated: July 31, 2014 - 6:01 pm

In what has got to be the Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre’s best show in years, “Then Sings My Soul” will delight both the religious and non-believers alike.

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Festival fun with history and outdoors
Updated: August 01, 2014 - 9:21 pm

ABINGDON, Va. - From the Civil War to the Virginia Creeper Trail, you'll find a reason to come out to the varied Virginia Highlands Festival, starting this weekend.

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Music is everywhere in the Mountain Empire
Updated: July 31, 2014 - 5:59 pm

NIGHTLIFE

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Wednesday 07/30/2014
The most precious 'why' just arrived
Posted: July 30, 2014

Establish your “why” and determine which stage you are in, then make plans to move onto the next stage.

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Kefir: Good for whatever ails ya
Posted: July 30, 2014

I'm on a kefir kick.

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Perk-up your picnic with a Quick Summer Tortellini Salad
Updated: July 31, 2014 - 6:00 pm

Looking to freshen up your traditional pasta salad? Then try Deb Justus’ Quick Summer Tortellini Salad. Each bite is pleasing on the palate. Slightly sweet and tangy this recipe packs a lot of flavor. "A picnic perfect pick," says The Villages, Florida, resident.

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Monday 07/28/2014
Blood Assurance invites community to summer open house
Updated: July 28, 2014 - 1:57 pm

Event to feature facility & bloodmobile tours, an iPad mini giveaway & other prizes, free food provided by Street Eats and more

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Sunday 07/27/2014
Double Take: The ins and outs of sewing
Posted: July 27, 2014

“The Vogue/Butterick Step-by-Step Guide to Sewing Techniques” by the editors of Vogue and Butterick Patterns, is meant to aid sewers any time they sew, from creating designs to using patterns or altering or repairing clothes.

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VHF Writers' Day: Authors will discuss fantasy, drama and more
Updated: July 30, 2014 - 10:18 pm

Ben Jennings walked into a pre-event gathering of Virginia Highlands Festival volunteers with a grin on his face.

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A Day in the Park where fun meets need
Updated: August 08, 2014 - 1:20 pm

BRISTOL, Va. – Drive along Piedmont Avenue for the next week. Look for a large box, with a large, very pink sign marked “Backpacks.”

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