OMG! Christmas is done and done and I still have my post about visiting the Christmas Home Tour in Harriman, Tennessee as my last entry… better do something about it - ANYTHING – until I have time to do more…so here you are – my latest and greatest digital masterpiece…

Not to make excuses – but this is my busy time of year attending trade conferences and meetings to gear up for the next season of travel ideas and plans. I LOVE this part of my job except when I come home sick as a dog as I did this year…still doctoring the worst case of bronchitis I have ever had in my life…P.S. it’s now full fledged pneumonia – first time ever!

Slowly – and I mean SLOWLY – getting back to normal but it’s been a long haul…enough said. Here is my latest masterpiece you can help me name:

Grandma & Grandpa's Nest

OK…so I took advantage of being on the sick list and did some stuff I love to do…wish I could figure out how to make a couple of bucks doing what I call “my therapy!”

That’s all folks! Have a great day wherever you are…THINK SPRING!!!

to be continued…

elaine j

I’ve been wanting to go for years and finally did it this year…a visit to the Historic Cornstalk Heights Christmas Home Tour…Harriman, Tennessee


Christmas in Cornstalk Heights District

A bit of history first…

I am soooo guilty. Guilty of traveling far and wide and not seeing what there is to see right in my own back yard and the surrounding area.

I’ve lived in Crossville/Fairfield Glade Tennessee for 17 years. Up until about 5 years ago the only reason we usually ventured off to Harriman – 30 miles from home – was to stock our liquor cabinets as Crossville and Cumberland County were DRY. I did not know this when signing my name on the dotted line at the closing for our home. Didn’t find out until we were moved in. It was too late to turn around – I digress…that’s another story in itself and why I blog…

Anyhow – it seems kind of funny to me that Harriman was the closest place to buy our booze – wine or liquor…

You see – according to a pamphlet I picked up while attending their annual Christmas Tour – way back in 1891 or so – the citizens of Harriman were a bit pickey on what folks could and could not do with their property. Written into each and every residential deed was the Land Company’s stipulation forbidding “the use of the property, or any building thereon, for the purpose of making, storing or selling intoxicating beverages.”

Ironic! If you would like to know more – I suggest visiting your local library or used book store like The Book Cellar here in Crossville. Several publications the likes of The Town That Temperance Built may also be found on

Oh! And by the way – the penalty for breaking this rule would result in the property being returned to the East Tennessee Land Company…

Are you still with me? Good! Now let’s take a look at some of the homes on the tour as presented by the Cornstalk Heights Historical Community Organization.

Please keep in mind the effort the homeowners take to prepare their homes for your visit.  Each home is beautiful and unique and reflective of the family that lives there – no two are alike which you are about to see…

The Rockwell-Lane house located at 414 Walden Street in Cornstalk Heights has only had four owners in its 115 year history.  Sunday, December 15, 2013 – the day of my visit – was an overcast day. Outside photo shots on a mid-December day in Tennessee are not the greatest. Wait ’till you see inside…

Rockwell-Lane House

Please follow me…

Lane House Sitting Room

See what I mean! This room is absolutely beautiful…you just want to sit and sip while taking it all in…

Moving right along, we walk a block or two to 514 Cumberland Street – the Cassell/D’Alessandro home Circa 1905 and lovingly referred to as “Monte Vista.” You’ll see why in a minute…first a blurb from the description given by the organization:

Built in 1905 as a country estate by Judge Robert and Perle Cassell, “Monte Vista” was designed as the epitome of a gracious Colonial Revival Home. Many elements of the grand country lifestyle are still found here.

This year – 2013 -  marked the complete restoration of the kitchen and back porch. In keeping with the age of the house, it was designed to replicate what it would perhaps have looked like in 1905.

 Cassell-D'Alessandro House


Inside just as beautiful as outside…

 D'Alessandro Inside Home Collage

Love those little folding screens they came up with to stop folks from walking into the bedrooms…look but don’t touch!

The two top photos were taken in the “ladies’ parlor” and Santa may be found in the “men’s” parlor across the hall.

On to the Bender/Ireland House – Circa 1891 – located at 515 Clinton Street and a favorite of everyone on the tour. Do you think having access to a rest room and refreshments has something to do with its popularity?

I don’t know what I was thinking  – or better yet - not thinking  – when I entered this wonderful home. I just forgot to take photos of the inside! Guess I had other things on my mind…

The gals who own the home and are responsible for so much of its restoration were busy in the kitchen preparing hot apple cider; coffee; hot chocolate; and tea (hot or cold) to go along with all the “goodies” available for our “eating pleasure”…cookies galore; home made cakes;  beautiful little tea sandwiches; as well as hot and cold dips – my favorite – artichoke.  It was nice to give my feet a break for a minute or two and visit a while. Talking to people you meet along the way on a tour is half the fun in my book…love learning where they’re from and seeing them enjoy the show!

Next year I promise to take pics of all that fabulous food – in the meantime, here is a photo of the outside of the house still standing since 1907 – the year it was built…

First the sign all dressed up in holiday attire…

Bender-Ireland House Sign

Now the “Hospitality House” better known as the Bender-Ireland House…

Bender-Ireland House Circia 1891

 If I remember correctly – many moons ago when I was sitting in English Lit – you are supposed to end a story with something from the beginning to tie it altogether…Well – I stared with a photo of the Givan-Goldston House – Circa 1890 at 331 Morgan Street – only because I wanted you to see the striking Historic Harriman banner hanging from their front porch.

Now for the rest of the story…

Givan-Goldston…This wonderful Victorian “stick style” home, with its unusual roof, was built in 1890. It was owned by a prominent physician and surgeon, Dr. George C.G. Givan. Dr. Givan and his wife, Mattie, lived in this home for many years.

In 2003, Larry Goldston, proprietor of Out of the Past Antiques in Harriman, Tennessee, purchased the house and has put it through extensive restorations.  Exquisite furnishings, original built cabinets, woodwork and stain glass windows catch your breath as you meander through the various rooms. Not to be missed – painted murals which dance across the master bedroom’s ceilings and walls transporting you to another place.

Givan-Goldstone House Collage

I’m not about to tell you more…doing so will spoil your fun when you travel to Harriman next year to see for yourself. The homes are not usually repeated from year to year. Homeowners take turns. That’s what keeps you coming back for more.

The annual Christmas Home Tour of Historic Harriman is in its 23rd year. Cost this year was $15 per person. The proceeds go toward neighborhood improvements within the Cornstalk Heights community. Hope to see you in December 2014 at the Bender-Ireland House and share some “hospitality!”

 Street Sign in Harriman, Tennessee

Always have to have my street signs if at all possible…any you would like to share with us? Love seeing them!

That’s all folks! Thanks for your time…

See you ’round the next bend in the road – Have a great day wherever you are.

to be continued…

elaine j

Want to know more about Cornstalk Heights Historical Community Organization? You’re closer than you think...a simple click will do the trick!


Ladies – Do you still have your Poodle Skirt?

Gentlemen – Do you still have your Varsity Sweater?

How about that Bowling Shirt? Leather Jacket?

Where is your poodle skirt?

If you still have them – do you know where they are? (Bet that sweater is still in the hands of the gal you gave it to oh soooo long ago. If it’s the same gal you’re with now – you don’t have a problem!) Mmmm! Wonder where my Somerville – New Jersey – High School sweater is…anyhow…

One last question – do you LOVE great food???

If your answer is YES to any of these questions -are you’re willing to take a bit of a ride outside of Crossville, Tennessee for some of the best 50′s (1950′s) food on the Cumberland Plateau where they won’t think you’ve gone bonkers just because you’re wearing your bobby socks and saddle shoes – Poodle Skirt and/or Varsity Sweater?

Guys and Gals – you’re gonna LOVE this place!

Rock-A-Billy Diner is the place to go and can be found at the back of Cumberland Mountain General Store in Clarkrange, Tennessee…

Rock-A-Billy Cafe

Folks have been known to call their burgers “the best on the mountain” – they are sooo right! Hound-Dogs and Slaw Dogs and Fish Sandwiches are all  on the menu as well as my favorite – Sweet Hickory Bologna Sandwich… My Mom used to make the best fried bologna in the world!!! Of course – French Fries enter the picture but their home-made Onion Rings are second to none…want to see more? You’re but a click away!

Rock-a-Billy Cafe

Save room for dessert or just make dessert your meal…it can be done right here at the Rock-A-Billy Diner. Their “World Famous Banana Split” has been featured on Tennessee Crossroads TV Show and their “Real Old Fashioned Milkshakes” are still made on a 1947 shake machine! It’s the real thing…I know because about a hundred years ago my Mom and Dad owned a luncheonet in Lynbrook, New York and had the exact malted milk machine. We call it a “malted milk machine” – others call it a “milkshake machine”. They are one and the same…talk about memories!

Rock-A-Billy Cafe Counter

Here I am in all my glory with what little remains of my Sweet Hickory Bologna Sandwich and Onion Rings…have to admit – took half a sandwich and more than half an order of onion rings home with me and enjoyed every left-over morsel for dinner…a perfect 2 for 1 meal in my book!

Now it’s your turn to venture out and explore beyond Crossville and Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. Let me know what you think. Love hearing from you…

thanks for your time…see you ’round the next bend in the road…

have a great day!

elaine j

More info about the Cumberland Mountain General Store:

Cumberland Mountain
General Store
6807 South York Hwy
(Hwy 127 North)
Clarkrange, Tennessee 38553

Store Hours:
Open Daily
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Rock-a-Billy Diner

Diner Hours:
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
“Weather Permitting”
Call Ahead
(931) 863-3880

Sometimes Closed Monday
Call First. We might be out gittin’ more stuff!

Call (931) 863-3880 or
(931) 397-3731

If you’re traveling from Fairfield Glade or Crossville,Tennessee, take Exit 317 off of I-40 on to 127-North toward Jamestown and Clarkrange…it’s easy.

Keep going North for about 15 miles and when you get to the crossroads of 127-North and Tennessee State Road 62 stay on 127-North for a minute or two and Cumberland Mountain General Store is on your right. You can’t miss it – it’s a big building with a big gravel parking lot along with a big sign in front showing you the way. I finally took the time to visit on a beautiful Tennessee Fall day. The air was as clear as a bell, the trees were just beginning to do their change, and “sweater weather” was no where in sight it was that warm. LOVE our weather on the Cumberland Plateau…

Here’s the sign you want to look for…

Cumberland Mountain General Store Sign

The store has been around since 1923. Creaky uneven floor boards cover the front porch as well as most of the floors inside the building. There’s only one way in and one way out and that’s through the old wooden screen door that doesn’t miss a beat slamming you in and slamming you out. Can you hear her? I still can…my mother’s voice: “If you slam that door one more time…!!!”

Once inside – the aroma of home-made fudge makes you want to stop in your tracks for a sample if you’re hungry or not…you can find everything from penny candy to bags of marbles to wacky signs to flour sacks – yes, they are still around – to a working spinning wheel. I’m pretty sure if you can’t find it here you probably don’t need it!

Do you know how many times I’ve passed by and wondered to myself what that “old beat up place” looked like inside? Even wondered if it was open for business or just a building going to waste like so many others have done over time…it just never looked as if there was life inside…

Boy – was I ever wrong! 

Owner Todd Evans has put some spark into the old building…not sure how long he has been there but am pretty sure not since 1923!

Cumberland Mountain General Store Building

I’m really not sure how it all happened, but in doing research for a new category for this blog – “Postcards From the Glade”- I came across information about the store and it’s 50′s style diner – Rock-A-Billy. It’s the diner that really caught my eye because I’m always looking for new  places to eat and maybe use as a stop for future Mystery Tours I put together for local residents during the course of the year. This place is a gem…

I’ll tell you more about Rock-A-Billy in my next post only because I want to show you a couple of photos of the inside of this fascinating store. If you’re into shopping for nostalgia – you have landed in heaven and can spend hours on end looking for just the right thing to take home.

Here are a few shots taken inside – just to give you an idea of what you have to look forward to…


Inside Cumberland Mountain General store

Cumberland Mountain Country Store Inside shelves

No Peeing Off The Porch and Pumpkin

Told you this was a fun place! This sign and others come in all sizes and shapes…As soon as I do my post on Rock-A-Billy - I’ll do one on their signs. I’ve never seen such an assortment of signs in one place.

Now…here’s a few photos I took that are near and dear to my heart. There is something of interest for everyone if you really, really look!

Florsheim Shoes

I looked up and there it was…a lighted sign for Florsheim Shoes! I looked and looked while all sorts of memories ran through my head…my Dad always wore Florsheim Shoes when he found the need to dress up. They were not shoes made for walking. They were shoes made for dancing!

In the words of Henry David Thoreau – “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see…”

Bottles, Bottles and more BottlesI know – the photo itself is a bit blurry and I have tried everything to sharpen it up, but  nothing works. I’ll just have to use it as is…sometimes my hands just won’t stay still as I’m snapping away…maybe Santa will bring me a small tripod this year…I’ve been pretty good most of the year…

Are you wondering? Well – the reason for my fascination about these bottles and jars is that I am a jar hoarder. My husband thinks I’m nuts! I just cannot find it in my heart to throw away a decorative  jar – especially those that hold pasta sauce and are similar in size and shape to mason jars used for canning…I have tons of them! In addition to my pasta jars, I keep pretty little jam jars and those short stout salsa jars. I’m not quite sure what I will use the pasta jars for right now -  but do use the others to hold various things around the house – sugar, loose tea, cotton balls, buttons, pencils and pens, paper clips….the list goes on.

Last but not least...I can’t go away without sharing a sign on display among the many, many signs sold in the store. For those of you who know me – hope you get a good laugh. For those of you who are new to me – hope you get a good laugh too!

I don't drink anymore...

It’s 5 0′clock somewhere which is “wine time” in my book…

thanks for your time…see you ’round the next bend in the road.

to be continued…

elaine j

More info about the Cumberland Mountain Country Store:

Cumberland Mountain
General Store
6807 South York Hwy
(Hwy 127 North)
Clarkrange, Tennessee 38553

Store Hours:
Open Daily
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sometimes Closed Monday
Call First. We might be out gittin’ more stuff!

Call (931) 863-3880 or
(931) 397-3731


This is what it’s all about! The Shipshewana Quilt Festival…



Quilters from all over the world congregate at the Shipshewana Quilt Festival in Shipshewana, Indiana including members of the The Fan-tastic Quilters Guild of Fairfield Glade, Tennessee…

Even if you are not a quilter, this is a sight to behold. It takes dedication and perseverance to accomplish what our group does accomplish, and they deserve every bit of credit they can get. Again – I was AMAZED!

This year – 2013 – the Festival events ran from June 25 – 28. In addition to the traditional show and display of vendor’s goods, there were classes, presentations by well-known quilters, and shop-hops to keep you busy. Information for 2014 is a click away…

Allow me to share a few photos of what I experienced.  What you see above is a few of our ladies shopping at one of the many booths set up by vendors within the quilting community.  They shopped – I ran the battery down on my camera…


A vendor showing how it’s done…


Believe it or not – this is a quilt! I loved it!!!


Not sure what it’s called in the quilting world so let’s just call it a “name plate” for the Bookcase Quilt above.

I could go on and on with tons of photos but think I better stop while I’m ahead. Don’t want anyone getting bleary eyed on me. There’s more to come…

Shipshewana is an experience in it’s own. Step back in time when life was simpler and all you had to do was decide whether to eat ice-cream or eat popcorn for a snack! It’s a place where 200 years ago, German & Dutch descendants migrated to the area so they could maintain their simple ways.

I’m a “City Slicker” from way back when, but I was ready to load the truck and move right in. Home to the third largest Amish community in the United States -  hand-sewn quilts, Clydesdales pulling plows and/or carriages, and pies made from freshly picked fruits is the norm. In Shipshewana and its surrounding countryside  you can smell the expanse of wide-open spaces and natural joy…


Downtown Parking in Shipshewana, Indiana

Remember the nursery rhyme – “This Little Piggy?” Well – Guess What! They’re already there…13JUN-This-Little-Piggy-600

I’m not sure if they’re coming or going but they sure were cute!

There’s nothing like a good home-cooked meal to lift your spirits and make you forget about your aching feet…and – BOY did mine ever ache. I don’t know how these women can shop, shop, shop – but shop they did. I got tired just watching. Needless to say – a bit of nourishment came into the picture and we wanted it to be close to home – the Courtyard by Marriott in Goshen. Luck was with us…

The South Side Soda Shop which was featured on Food Channel’s Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives is in Goshen and no way were we going to leave Goshen without a stop. What better time than dinner? Do you think we made a good choice? You be the judge…hint – it’s already on the itinerary for our 2014 tour…



Marilyn sure does love her ice-cream! Talk about a mess…

Quilts and more quilts were never out of the picture along with glorious quilt gardens. The Quilt Gardens are just so beautiful to see in person. A photo is supposed to be worth a thousand words but not in this case. Seeing those gardens close up and personal can’t be beat…


Weaver’s Furniture Quilt Garden – Nappanee


An Old-Fashioned Quilting Bee at The Carriage House in Topeka, Indiana

Quilts – Gardens – and fabulous FOOD! It doesn’t get any better than that…The photo above  was taken at The Carriage House in Topeka, Indiana. This is quilting as it has always been done before the onset of machines that can now do it all. Soon after learning what it was like to attend quilting bees, we were treated to a traditional Haystack Dinner prepared by Elaine Jones and her son. A specialty in Northern Indiana Amish Country…up to 12 items are prepared individually – meats, chips, crackers, cheese, veggies and rice are but a few of the layers – and you choose what you want and how to stack the layers on your plate.  Reminds me of a taco when it’s all done…if you Google haystack images, you’ll get a better understanding of what I’m talking about…the Amish – as a whole – do not want to have their picture taken and I respected their preference…

We had an eventful week to say the least! Our “farewell dinner” was a typical Amish Wedding Feast held at Miller’s Country Kitchen set in the beautiful countryside outside of Shipshewana. We arrived just a little late and there was not really time to take photos of their magnificent gardens and the rest of the spread. All I can say is – there was not a blade of grass out of place and flowers and shrubs acted as eye candy to those of us who appreciate landscaping.  I never wanted to enter the house – but then again I’m glad I did. It was unanimous – Esther Miller is a fantastic chef!!! Her bread stuffing won the award for best of everything…wish I could watch her make it…I know – wishful thinking…

After the feast, we were treated to a presentation by Rebecca Haarer – an avid quilt collector and owner of Rebecca Haarer Arts & Antiques in downtown Shipshewana. She brought quilts from the area dating back to  c.1890-1945 representing those made for babies, weddings, everyday quilts and friendship quilts. Again – we saved the best for last!


Rebecca Haarer and two “Fan-tastic  Helpers!”


Hand Stitched Antique Quilt…part of Rebecca’s collection

Our Fan-tastic Quilters tour has come to an end for 2013.

Next year – 2014 – is already to go.

Dates are June 23-28, 2014.

Get ready to join us! You’ll be glad you did!

Info and Day-by-Day Itinerary is but a click away…


thanks for your time…have a great day wherever you may be…

to be continued…

elaine j