Almost like Hiking & Schnitzeling.

Our verdict? 🍷 (The Notch) and 🍷🍷🍷 (The Chatsworth)

My guy was feeling up for his first (short) wander, and with colors in our parts nearing peak we packed a picnic (so, no Schnitzeling); leashed CTF and headed west to an area at the geographical boundary of the Tennessee Valley and the Cumberland Plateau.

Swan Pond and Lakeshore Park is a TVA creation in Kingston and has something for everyone: wetlands for birding, kayaking, fishing, and hiking. Did you know Kingston was the Tennessee State Capital for a Day? From the history books:

“In the Tellico Treaty of 1805, the Cherokees requested that the state capital be moved to Kingston, and the state agreed as part of the treaty.

Unfortunately the Indians didn’t stipulate how long they wanted the capital at Kingston. The legislature met there for a few hours on September 21, 1807, making Kingston the capital for one day. They then returned to Knoxville which once again became the capital.”  

Roadside America.

There is another Roadside America that I choose not to snap. Whenever possible we prefer to leave the highway for the country roads, and all too often find ourselves driving by a “homestead” that we are convinced is abandoned, or at least should be. The level of poverty across some parts of the Volunteer State through which we have traversed can be dramatic to the point of shocking. I do not have anything more to write about this because, quite frankly, I do not know how to understand it. At the same time, I find it deeply disturbing.

So I shall move along. The Kingston TVA Steam Plant is near to the park. Begun in 1951 and completed in 1955, it was the largest coal-fired plant in the world, providing electricity for ORNL. The original nine generating units can be seen in the background; these units were replaced in 1976 by the twin stacks; and then again replaced by the carbon capture stack in 2007 (the one emitting steam in the foreground).

A major accident occurred in 2008 in an impoundment here, releasing the most coal ash flurry in history. If there is a more compelling argument for nuclear energy I would like to hear it.

Moving along. Again. The park was just lovely. Though we were fog-riddled for most of the drive over, much of it had burned off to reveal autumn in all her glory by the time we were wandering.

Our lunch destination was the Tsali Notch Vineyard, named for a martyred Cherokee leader who did not exactly have a love for Americans. A curious name choice for a vineyard.

The vineyard was not open for tastings, oddly. Instead, the proprietor recommended wines based on our preferences that we could purchase. For our simple charcuterie the Chatsworth, a dry red and comparable to a mild Shiraz was suggested, and it was a spot-on pairing.

Who’s a good boy waiting for his cheese nibblies?

Tempted by the description of the white (The Notch), we picked up a bottle to take home. It is a shame that we could not have tasted “The Notch” beforehand. “Our driest white wine, aged in oak barrels” is not quite how we characterized this golden and buttery tasting fermented grape when we uncorked the bottle a couple of evenings ago. But, at $33 for the bottle, I will find some recipe to make this wine work.