The rewards of immersing yourself into nature and embracing the gifts of the great outdoors are inexplicable. Our nation feels a united blanket of anxiety, as we ponder the risks of venturing out to Food City for eggs and bread. As we grow eager to explore the depths beyond our yard parameters, the world seems yet again an oyster. Here are a few ways to get out and enjoy early summer vibes in Eastern Tennessee and still be cautious during the global pandemic.
Explore your own backyard, literally.
Go For A Bike Ride.
It is refreshing to change up the pace. Take a bike ride out to meander around the plethora of trails available in our backyard. Under these very special times, it is wise to do some research on trail accessibility and closures. Some trails will remain closed predicted until mid-June. It's worth a quick call to your local forest ranger supervisors to inquire about special circumstances. Along with enjoying our local recreation, we must protect and respect it!
Note from Writer: My favorite way to enjoy the trail is by hooking up the Burley trailer and pulling the kiddo behind with a picnic packed & ready.
Hone in on special skillz.
Immerse Yourself In Local Culture.
Many local businesses have social distancing guidelines in place and allow you to support them in a safe atmosphere. The Noli Food Truck paired up with Scott's Strawberries is a Tennessee Girl's Dream come true (especially during a pandemic)! Scott's Farm Market is limiting how many customers may enter the market at one time, allowing you to purchase freshly harvested strawberries by the quart and gallon and support our local farmers. To keep the lines from growing too long, the Noli Food Truck is cooking up gourmet street food right in the parking lot with properly spaced picnic tables outdoors. Masks encouraged!
Pro-Tip: Try the Fresca Caliente chicken sammich with strawberry habanero hot sauce. YUM!
The Space Age.
Nighttime is magical in Appalachia. With the constant reminders of full moon events, it can be fun to organize a date night with your camera and freshen up on night photography skills. Not to mention, the nostalgic feeling of seeing lightening bugs shimmer in the trees is worth setting up a backyard blanket fort for alone. Ah, Tennessee summers are the best! And speaking of space, is anyone else excited for the premiere of Space Force?
Have Paddle, Must Paddle.
Get out and explore the many waterways that our region has to offer. Paddling is social distancing at its finest and makes you appreciate the beauty surrounding us at Boone Lake/ River, Watauga, and our beloved Noli.
Catch a Movie at the drive-in.
Get out of your comfort zone, within reason.
Getting outside can be a great way to challenge yourself and grow confidence but know your limits. While exploring locally and building new skills are good ways to get some fresh air, this is not an invitation to put yourself in unsafe situations. Know your strengths and know your limits. Also, can we do our absolute best to practice Leave No Trace and pick up after ourselves both in our local communities and around the natural land we recreate? :)