A Visit To Blountville

Starting as a long-hunter fort before becoming a permanent settlement, the town’s site was part of a 600-acre tract of land bought by James Brigham in 1782. He later gave 30 acres to Sullivan County for use as a county seat and established a hotel nearby. After William Blount, the town was named Blountville, the first governor of the Territory of the United States South of the Ohio River.

Blountville was a crossroads in the late 1700s, welcoming travelers headed west on the route beginning in Abingdon, Virginia, and offers at least three different routes out of town. Blountville was a natural stop for stagecoaches to change drivers and horses. Blountville became a major stopover on the Great Stage Road. If Blountville were incorporated, it would qualify as the second oldest municipality in Tennessee (second only to Jonesborough).

It is a pure delight to walk around this small town full of history. Numerous structures have been lovingly restored and preserved for future generations to appreciate.

When I told my sister that we would visit Blountville, she gave me a quizzical look as if to say, “Why?” I’ve learned that if you get out of the car and walk around, you will often find history, nature, and beauty if you are looking for it.

I always read the plaques and markers since they give you a fuller understanding and appreciation of the sites.

I also wore this look earlier in the day as I shopped for groceries. The crossbody bag is the perfect option for hands-free shopping. It is roomy enough for keys, phone, cards, cash, and other small essentials. The neutral color and simple style will allow me to carry it with almost any look.

Cold weather and the first snowfall have arrived in East Tennessee, so I’m now dressing in layers daily. While I’ve always loved the look of turtlenecks, my previous choices were immensely uncomfortable around my neck. In the interest of staying warm, I purchased one more to try. The Merino wool sweater was cozy and comfortable for the whole day. Hooray! I bought a size large this time, so the neck is loose and soft.

  1. When the virus is over, I think you would enjoy a visit to my town, Hillsborough, N.C. It has lovely historic homes, a beautiful river walk and a quaint downtown with unique shops and restaurants. The Colonial Inn has been renovated and is just the kind of place you like to stay!

  2. That crossbody bag looks excellent, in contrast to so many that are flat and cannot be packed without bulging unattractively. This one has ample room for all the items you mention, plus writing materials. I always go about with a small notebook and pen. It will be nice to write in style. Thanks for the link!

  3. Susan, I do enjoy the history lessons that you offer along with your posts. My husband and I love to travel and visit small towns to explore their history. Many of these places I will never be able to visit but am living vicariously through your eyes. Thank you!

  4. Another picture for my album as I truly love this look on you and one I would wear as well. This sets you apart from a plain non descript style and would entice a second glance from others when you walked by in appreciation for a simple outfit with a little punch to make it stand out in a classy way..

    The pictures and descriptions are both charming and educational. Places to admire and yearn to visit. Thanks for using your talent and sharing with all of us.

    Clara from Iowa

  5. I have enjoyed your posts. This particular one and another I read recently from a blogger have a common theme. And that is wearing clothes that fit in a more relaxed style. They are not “slouchy” but have just that bit of extra room to be more comfortable. By going up a size in your turtleneck, did you have to compromise fit in other areas such as the shoulder? Thank you for taking us along on your trips in the beautiful countryside.

  6. Dear Susan,
    Not only do I love your choice of clothing for each blog but I so much look forward to the travel log you present of East Tennessee and neighboring states. So much American history and buildings that have been preserved.
    I would love to visit your state again and take the time to walk around to quiet towns and beautiful countryside.
    Have you ever considered publishing a coffee table book of your weekend travels with Mr. Micky?
    The places you choose to eat during your trips are so unique and each picture makes my mouth water.
    Keep traveling and giving me ideas for my own clothing outfits. Stay safe and hello to Mr. Mickey.
    Sincerely, Susan Kennedy

  7. Thank you for the lovely tour of Blountville. Your pictures are so beautiful!

    I love the turtleneck and have ordered one. Hope it will look good. I have never ordered J. Crew before. Personally, I love turtlenecks for the polish and, most especially, the warmth. I find that many ladies feel they are too constricting, but I have never felt that way. I just appreciate the way they keep my body warmer.

    Also, wanted to mention the oxfords. I always thought they might look too “mannish”, but have recently ordered a pair from Cole-Haan (I think they might have been featured in your column). Anyway, they look great with the pointed toe and I just love them. Not masculine at all.

  8. Congratulations to Connie on winning that lovely scarf.
    I appreciate seeing what you wear as you travel about by car. You look both put together and comfortable. I also read all the historical signs when traveling. Now I can visit a part of the country and enjoy learning about the communities in your area. Thank you.

  9. What an interesting outing! Those gates are gorgeous, hopefully they will be kept from rusting away!
    I very much enjoy your “travel logs” as well I appreciate your fashion tips and have used your posts to make a delightful change to my closet offerings!
    I have noticed that when wearing sandals your toes are often adorned in cheery red but your keep your fingernails with a clean natural finish. I love both and would like to get away from the nail color and longer length but struggle to have my natural nails look nice like yours. Any advice you could give in a reply or post would be lovely! I have 60+ year old hands and want to achieve a more refined look despite the spots and thinning skin! Thank you for your wonderful blog!

  10. What a beautiful place Susan, those pretty Churches are divine! I noticed in your last post you and Mr Mickey are looking so well, and are both looking younger. You are both enjoying life after earlier in the year being unwell. Good on you both for having a positive attitude.
    I look forward to your next adventure. Pamela Wales UK

  11. Thank you for the beautiful pictures and the history of this amazing area. I’m happy to see another history buff that takes pictures of the markers and signs.

  12. The tiny white house in the pictures after the Dulaney House is rented out as an AirBNB property. We met the owner awhile back when she was part of the historical representations as a part of Blountville historical days. She was a very friendly, knowledgeable lady and we thoroughly enjoyed talking with her.

  13. I would nominate you for the best travel guide in the mountains! Wish I lived closer to follow in your footsteps on your adventures.

  14. Thank you for another virtual historical outing! The next best thing to being there! Love your classy look.

  15. I love seeing all the historical places you visit and the great photos. How do you manage to get out and about when I read of the terrible Covid numbers in the States? I did notice that there were no other people in the photos. Please be careful as it seems to be getting worse in your country. Thank goodness we’ve managed it so well in Australia with strong government .

  16. Hi Susan! I don’t comment often, but I have to say I love the look of the turtleneck! What a beautiful color. I will have to give it a try. Talbot’s perfect turtlenecks are also nice, wash and wear well, and the necks are not too tight either. I buy the large petite, so they are not clingy, the sleeves aren’t too long, and the neck isn’t too tight. I wear them all year. Also love the scenery pics!

  17. I love American History and since I live on the West coast, I treasure visits via the internet to historical sights on the East coast. Your history is much older than ours. Thank you for sharing your tour and being such a knowledgeable docent. If you ever wanted to volunteer at any of your many national treasures, you’d be perfect for the job. You looked perfect as always.

  18. Thank you for another interesting travel post. In the UK we are not going anywhere at the moment so armchair travel is very welcome. Must add that I always enjoy your clothing choices.

    Have you ever thought of posting about positive lifestyle changes you have made because of covid?

    My most surprising change is that I have stopped carrying any coins in my handbag, makes it so much lighter. Any small items I pay for using my phone. Contactless payment is definitely here to stay.

  19. Love that look. So comfortable and stylish. I need to look for a sweater that color as I have many scarves that would accent it. Thanks for the history lesson. I have refinished 2 antique sewing machine cabinets in the last 3 weeks. I wonder what stories they would tell if they could talk. They were both made around 1903. Certainly not as old as the buildings you saw on your recent trip but still old.
    Stay well and Hi to Mr. Mickey. I think he would look very smart in that color of sweater too. Does he own any that color?

  20. What a delightful tour of Blountville! I agree that reading signs and plaques gives one a deeper understanding and appreciation for the history of a town.

    The crossbody bag is just the right size and style, and the sweater is a perfect color for you. Plum?

    Remember Steel Magnolias–“Would you say those uniforms are grape, or aubergine?”

  21. I live on the west coast, south of Portland, and winter in the desert of southern Calif. I have really enjoyed your beautiful fall, and now, close to Winter pictures. Thank you so very much sharing your part of the US to us who live in the west. We do not share the history of the east coast, so find your “signs” very interesting. Carol

  22. I love exploring in my immediate NC/SC area..Especially places from my youth where we often visited relatives, passed through going to other places or attended events. ..Amazing when a memory is triggered and a bit of history shared by our olders slips right into my grasp..The seemingly inconsequential townships start to become stories..and one can almost hear past sounds…Your photos always give a deserved touch of regal to the subject .. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Hi Susan
    A while back, You posted about organizing small pouches in order to switch bags frequently and quickly. I have searched for the post but can’t find it again, would you repost the link to that blog if possible?
    I love you blog and look forward to each posting. I love all the places you travel to and take us with you.

  24. I love your photos from historic sights. My ancestors on both sides separately immigrated to the “new world” in mid-1600s and very early 1700s. They then each followed pioneer paths down through Virgina to Tennessee and to the Carolinas by mid-1700s. Finally to Arkansas is mid-1800s. When I see the old homesteads it gives me a glimpse of what their lives might have been like.

    I notice that in several shots lately your pants have not been the slim style we saw in the summer. More of a straight leg style. Is this change because of the weather or has the slim leg style run its course and straight or boot cut is the new fashion? Love the color of your new turtleneck!

    1. My ancestors also arrived in the “new world” in the 1600s. I still love the straight leg styles with certain shoes and boots and in warmer weather. I also have a few pairs of slightly bootcut or flare jeans, which are great for dressy or cold-weather looks.

  25. Thanks for letting me drive along with you to places with history. I love old cabins and homes. So much to learn and I like to imagine what life was life then also.
    You are looking lovely as always. Attitude is what keeps us going in these confusing times.

  26. Thank you for the photos and notes about Blountville. There are so many fascinating small towns in America that capture even a small part of America’s history. Thankfully, you didn’t listen to your sister.

  27. Always enjoy the many tours you take us on. One place that I often like to explore is grave yards. Know it sounds morbid, but its amazing the history their headstones/markers can hold.

    In closing; wishing you and yours a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS which will soon be upon us. -Brenda-

  28. I checked out those pants and they are a wool blend. I was wondering how you were keeping your lower half warm with the shorter jacket. Brilliant idea – better than jeans and tights.

  29. Your love of history is notable, Susan. My husband has always stopped to read markers, and his interest has rubbed off on me. There are lessons to be learned if we take the time!
    And as usual, your outfit strikes just the right chord.

  30. Susan, I grew up in a house right across the street from the little white house in your picture. There was a small Baptist Church that was started by my great grandfather. As the church grew, the old one was torn down and a lovely new one was built. When my mother passed away she donated the property to the church. The property is now being used as a children’s playground. My whole family attended church there for many years and my mom was the pianist. Jim and I were baptized together during a revival when he was eleven and I was nine.

  31. As a certified city of Charleston (South Carolina) tour guide, I appreciate you getting to all the small towns and exploring on foot! Thank you for these lovely insights to East TN. Looking forward to revisiting there soon.

  32. Hi Susan

    I used to automatically see your posts on FB but now I have to hunt for them. I am not sure why?

    Also I have been using Beauty Counter makeup and loving it. I do put you in as my consultant but I am having trouble getting the right shade of featherweight foundation. #230 is too light so I just ordered #310.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you
    Barb Atwell

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.