Travel Destinations

Tuning into Tennessee

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July 2013
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By
Anna
Barthelme

Talk to anyone about Tennessee and the conversation will usually boil down to a back -and- forth about music or barbeque. Well, we're here to tell you that boating should be added to the mix. A grand confluence of mighty rivers and sun-drenched lakes deliver on-board opportunities to all corners of the Volunteer State, with the quality of fishing and cruising rivaling anywhere in the Midwest.

CHATTANOOGA

Not only has this scenic city tucked between the mountains of southeast Tennessee and the beautiful Tennessee River been named Best Town Ever by Outside magazine, it's also been voted one of the Top 45 Places to Go and Best Adventure Towns in the U.S. by the New York Times and National Geographic Adventure, respectively. The heaping of praise is a little embarrassing, really, but you won't hear us disagree.YOU CAN't MISS the Riverwalk, part of Chattanooga's redeveloped waterfront, which connects Coolidge Park, the celebrated Tennessee Aquarium and Ross' Landing near Chickamauga Dam. Hop aboard the aquarium's River Gorge Explorer catamaran, which will take you on a guided tour of the spectacular Tennessee River Gorge, or ride the Chattanooga Water Taxi to Maclellan Island, an 18-acre bird sanctuary with great blue herons and migrating warblers.TIE UP AT one of the marinas on either side of the Chickamauga Dam, both easy distance to downtown. MarineMax Tennessee River at Ross' Landing (423-266-1316, marinemaxtennesseeriver.com) has a transient dock, gas and diesel, restrooms, groceries and lodging. Erwin Marine operates Chickamauga Marina (423-622-1978, chickamaugamarina.com), off the main channel in an embayment just upstream of the dock, with showers, a store and other services for visiting cruisers.MARK YOUR CALENDAR for RiverRocks, a free outdoor festival celebrating the natural blessings of the Tennessee Valley, the health benefits of the activities they inspire, and Chattanooga's commitment to environmental stewardship. It's from October 4 to 13 this year, with more than 120 activities such as hot air balloon rides, hang gliding, climbing and obstacle courses.VISIT NEARBY Lake Winnepesaukah, an amusement park located in Lakeview, Ga. Its new, five-acre waterpark has a lazy river, wave lagoon, flume body slides, enclosed tube slides and a splash park for toddlers.

KNOXVILLE

This northeast Tennessee town made a splash as host of the 1982 World's Fair, and World's Fair Park remains a major crowd- pleaser but Knoxville was a draw long before that. The surrounding peaks provided attractive minerals and timber, which lured early entrepreneurs. Today, these same resources bring visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Knoxville is also home to the University of Tennessee and its formidable Volunteer Navy, but more on that later.YOU CAN't MISS Volunteer Landing, a one-mile promenade scattered with waterfalls and fountains, historical markers and three restaurants. It's also the location of the Star of Knoxville riverboat, offering lunch, dinner and specialty cruises, and the Three Rivers Rambler Railroad, providing train rides along the Tennessee River. Downtown is within walking distance: Take in the 18th century Blount Mansion, Knoxville Museum of Art, World's Fair Sunsphere and Market Square, offering an eclectic blend of open-air dining and entertainment.TIE UP ATVolunteer Landing Marina (865-633-5004, themarinas.net) to be right in the middle of the action. It carries gas and diesel, and is equipped with electric and water hook-ups, transient slips, pump-out, a store and more.MARK YOUR CALENDAR for college football season, because there's nothing else like catching a home game with the Vol Navy. Neyland Stadium is one of only two college arenas that are directly accessible by boat (the other is the University of Washington) and up to 200 boats and their pigskin-crazed passengers turn out to tailgate here before and after games.VISIT NEARBY Lake Tellico, about 30 miles southwest of Knoxville. An extension of Fort Loudon Lake, it establishes a navigational waterway up the Little Tennessee River and creates the potential for non-stop cruising. The lake consists of 373 miles of shoreline and features a number of premier golf courses and resorts.

MEMPHIS

Unlike its country neighbor to the north we're talking to you, Nashville this southwest Tennessee city has a rock ˜n' roll heart. Its history is defined by the Mississippi River and the soulful culture that developed along its banks as a result of countless travelers. Today, Memphis radiates a mojo that's part old school blues, part New South allure and 100 percent all its own.YOU CAN't MISS Beale Street Landing, at the foot of the one-and-only street of the same name. The landing is taking shape along the Mississippi as part of the city's riverfront development project, which will connect Tom Lee Park, Cobblestone Landing, a river overlook and pathways for joggers, walkers and cyclists. It will also serve as a docking facility for local and visiting excursion vessels, including the show-stopping American Queen.TIE UP ATMud Island Marina (901-525-3808, memphisyachtclub.com) about 1,500 feet up the Wolf River close to downtown Memphis, offering accommodations for vessels up to 135 feet, gas and diesel, pump-out, restrooms with showers, WiFi, a store and restaurant.MARK YOUR CALENDAR for Elvis Week, running from August 9 to 17 this year, with special tours, concerts, panel discussions, dances and more. The cornerstone events are the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest and the Candlelight Vigil, which brings tens of thousands to the meditation garden in Graceland.VISIT NEARBY Mud Island, actually a peninsula, just a little removed from downtown. The naturally stunning park is accessible by the Memphis Suspension Railway (a monorail), by foot (via a footbridge on top of the monorail) or by ferry, and is home to a river museum, scale model of the Lower Mississippi, amphitheater, and canoe, kayak and mountain bike rentals.

NASHVILLE

Country music put Nashville on the map, but it's not this northwestern Tennessee city's only talent. A wide assortment of attractions paint a different picture of this destination from what you might expect stately southern mansions, exciting outdoor activities, inviting museums, galleries and performing arts institutions. But, of course, if country music is your thing, Music City will not disappoint.YOU CAN't MISS Riverfront Park, which connects the Cumberland River with the city's bustling downtown area. The Nashville waterfront is wrapping up a decade-long restructure and expansion project, and the park reaps the benefits with increased green space, boardwalks, overlooks and plazas. In addition, new docking facilities for the General Jackson showboat mean its daytime country music shows and elegant three-course dinner cruises are here to stay.TIE UP AT the Nashville Municipal Dock (615-862-8472) in the shadow of the Shelby Avenue Bridge, which ties the Coliseum side of the Cumberland River with downtown. There's electric and water on the west bank dock, electric only on the east bank.MARK YOUR CALENDAR for August 23 and 24, when Nashville is set to host the Music City Festival & BBQ Championship, combining music and a barbeque cook-off. Attend the delightfully tacky Swine Ball, where pig noses are encouraged, enter the hog calling contest and check out the music on the Grand Ol' Porker Stage.VISIT NEARBY J. Percy Priest Lake, 10 miles east of downtown Nashville. Measuring 42 miles long, this body of water is well known for its fabulous fishing (bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, trout) and also for Nashville Shores, a waterpark with a 310-slip marina, mini golf, campsites and lake-view cabins.

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Camden, Maine
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True boaters say the real Maine coast doesn’t start until you reach Penobscot Bay. This is “Down East” from Kennebunkport and Portland. The dramatic stretch of coastline from Camden to Mount Desert Island sparkles with granite shores, dotted with archipelagos of pine-tree covered islands and mountains cascading into the sea. This region offers some of the best cruising ground in the world.

Camden is a magical little seaside town in the heart of Maine’s mid-coast. It’s historic but hip. “Where the Mountains Meet the Sea” is their moniker, as Camden Hills and 780-foot Mount Battie stretch down toward the bustling waterfront where this 1769 New England village sits, creating a postcard scene.

Camden is super foot-traffic friendly, starting at Harbor Park and the beautiful brick Public Library that graces the top of the bay by the Town Docks. Enjoy a picnic on the sprawling park lawn; there’s often a craft festival or free concert at the outdoor amphitheater. From the waterfront, stroll the quaint sidewalks leading to cafés, boutiques, craft stores and art galleries, pubs, and surprisingly trendy restaurants.

You can hike, bike or drive the toll road up Mount Battie in Camden Hill State Park, which encompasses 5,500 acres and 30 miles of trails. Your reward is spectacular panoramic views of the harbor and Penobscot Bay below.

Eaton Point, at the eastern entrance to the harbor, is home to a new Lyman-Morse yacht facility. Camden remains a working harbor with lobster fishermen, boat builders, ferries and tall-masted schooners taking folks out for scenic sails.

Camden hosts festivals throughout the summer season of jazz, film and its trademark Windjammers. In winter, the U.S. National Tobogganing Champion-ships are held at Camden’s namesake Snow Bowl – our country’s only ski area with views of the Atlantic.

Camden is an ideal boater’s gateway with all the services and shops you need in walking distance from the waterfront. Excursions from this protected harbor are countless and legendary. A quick cruise brings you to quiet Lasell Island for a sunset anchorage. Farther on you reach Maine’s Maritime Academy home in beautiful Castine, and the rustic islands of North Haven, Vinalhaven and Deer Isle. Ultimately you can cruise north and east through beautiful Merchants Row, or the more protected Eggemoggin Reach, to Mount Desert Island, home to famed Acadia National Park, Northeast, Southwest and Bar Harbors.

WHERE TO DOCK

Camden Public Landing
Town Docks
207-691-4314

Contact the harbormaster for overnight slips, limited but in town, and moorings throughout the harbor.

Lyman-Morse at
Wayfarer Marine
207-236-7108

Across the harbor on Camden’s east shores, this revamped marina is a half-mile walk to town, with new docks and a marina facility, home of Lyman-Morse Boatyard and 30 slips plus moorings.

WHERE TO DINE

40 Paper
207-230-0111

Relish artful cuisine locally sourced from farmers, fishermen and “foragers.” In an historic wool mill in downtown Camden, it’s comfy but chic. Savor octopus, lamb, mussels, salmon and more with fresh produce and creative sides. Save room for dessert made from scratch.

Peter Otts on the Water
207-236-4032

Get your chowder and Maine lobster fix from Chef Peter. This classic setting overlooking the harbor is a Camden staple you “ott” not miss. Open for lunch or dinner.

Franny’s Bistro
207-230-8199

With a neighborhood feel, Franny’s serves up lobster fritters, crab cakes, shrimp dumplings and land-lubber faves, too. A fun menu in a cozy setting.

Bagel Café
207-236–2661

For fresh-brewed morning coffee and daily “boiled then baked” bagels or breakfast sammies served all day.

Read More
Jamestown, Rhode Island
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Located on Conanicut Island, Gould Island and Dutch Island, Jamestown welcomes boaters to Narragansett Bay.  Its southernmost point is on Gould Island and marked by Beavertail Lighthouse and State Park. The northernmost point is marked by Conanicut Island Lighthouse.  While Conanicut Island is the second largest island on Narragansett Bay, it is near the western mainland in Kingston, and Newport lies to the east on Aquidneck Island.  Hop on the Jamestown Newport Ferry to get the lay of the land and sea.

Jamestown was settled early in colonial history and was named for James, Duke of York, who became King James II in 1685.  By 1710, many of Jamestown’s current roads were already in place and a lot of its early architecture is well preserved. Soak up some local history at the Jamestown Fire Memorial Museum, Beavertail Lighthouse Museum and Park, Jamestown Windmill, Watson Farm, Conanicut Island Sanctuary, Fort Wetherill State Park, and the Jamestown Settlement museum.

The main town, shops and restaurants are located on the eastern shore of Conanicut Island.  But even from the western side, Dutch Harbor and other attractions are easily accessed with a one-mile walk.

WHERE TO DOCK

Conanicut Marina
401-423-5820

This full-service marina has a ships store/chandlery, gift shop, extensive dockage and a large mooring field.  It’s located in the heart of town overlooking Newport and the Pell Bridge, but bring your fishing poles for the kids.

Dutch Harbor Boat Yard
401-423-0630

Located on the west passage of Narragansett Bay, this small, local marina has good moorings, launch service and facilities.  At times, the harbor can be rolly from a SW wind up the West Passage.  The holding ground is excellent for anchoring, but the dinghy dock is by seasonal permit only.

Safe Harbor Jamestown Boatyard
401-423-0600

Jamestown Boatyard is renowned for excellent workmanship on all types of boats.  It also has a large mooring field and is in a beautiful location on the East Passage.

WHERE TO DINE

Slice of Heaven
401-423-9866

This family-owned café and bakery with an outdoor patio is an ideal spot for breakfast and lunch, especially if you’re looking for tasty gluten-free and vegetarian options.

J22 Tap & Table
401-423-3709

This lively, year-round restaurant specializes in classic American cuisine and local seafood dishes such as New England clam chowder, lobster tail and seared yellowfin tuna while accommodating meat eaters with wings, burgers and steak tacos.

Village Hearth Bakery & Café
401-423-9282

Take a seat inside this rustic eatery or outside on the patio to enjoy wood-fired bread, pizzas and pastries with a cool beer or wine.  To start your day with a smile, order a cup of the eco-friendly coffee.

Bay Voyage Restaurant
401-560-7979

Inside the Wyndham Bay Voyage Inn, this casual dining establishment presents a seasonal menu of American cuisine standards and seafood with fresh ingredients and a stellar view of Narragansett Bay.

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Explore the Spirited Lakefront of Burlington, VT
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A vibrant, compact city hugging the eastern shoreline of Lake Champlain, Burlington abounds in scenic beauty, four-season recreation, a college town vibe, arts and culture, and a quirky character all its own.

Burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Church Street | Michelle Raponi on Pixabay

Eclectic shops named Anjou & the Little Pear or Common Deer, and restaurants called Zabby & Elf 's Stone Soup or The Skinny Pancake dot the urban landscape. A local artist's satirical comment on the bureaucracy of urban planning called File Under So. Co., Waiting for..., consists of 38 filing cabinets welded together to a 40-foot height. Birds frequently nest in the upper chambers.

History buffs stroll through the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum or the Fleming Museum of Art's multi-era artifact collection while hikers trek the 12.5-mile path at Burlington Waterfront Park, which offers bicycle, rollerblade and kayak rentals. In season, the path connects to the Lake Champlain Islands via bike ferry.

burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Bike Path | Michelle Raponi on Pixabay

Since the 1800s, the Old North End has been the city's melting pot, and global cuisine from Nepalese dumplings to the African Market can be found here today. Between munches, stroll over to historic Elmwood Cemetery, whose residents include Revolutionary War soldiers. Hear their stories and perhaps have a chance encounter with a local spirit on a Queen City Ghostwalk Tour. Liquid spirits rule when the internationally famous, regionally beloved and hidden gem breweries line up for the annual Vermont Brewers Festival. Year round, enjoy homemade bratwurst and drafts at Zero Gravity Craft Beer. At acclaimed Foam Brewers, the patio faces Lake Champlain waterfront and the Adirondack Mountains. Hop on the Sip of Burlington Brew Tour for a dozen tastings and the sights of this dynamic, energetic city.

Where to Dock

Burlington Community Boathouse Marina

802-865-3377

This full-service marina is the centerpiece of a growing waterfront. Amenities include 105 slips up to 65 feet, Splash Café and a fantastic sunset over the Adirondacks.

Burlington Harbor Marina

802-540-6869

With 160 slips (60 transient slips up to 80 feet), this new marina's tranquil harbor setting is convenient to downtown amenities and recreational activities.

Where to Dine

Honey Road

802-497-2145

Savor sophisticated Mediterranean small plates, cocktails and creative desserts in a comfy tavern setting.

burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Church Street | Needpix

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill

802-859-0888

This farm-to-table gastropub dishes up local burgers, charcuterie and innovative specials. Sip on local brews in the beer garden.

RíRá

802-860-9401

According to Irish playwright Brendan Behan, The most important things to do in the world are to get something to eat, something to drink and somebody to love you. RíRá fuses classic Irish with pub grub to satisfy the first two.

Leunig's Bistro & Café

802-863-3759

Step inside the lush garden courtyard to watch fresh local fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood transform into classic French dishes. Come enjoy a romantic evening meal.

Hen of the Wood

802-540-0534

Enjoy a true Vermont dining experience in a romantic, rustic atmosphere adjacent to the Hotel Vermont.

Read More

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