Back to our agenda, we had our usual gathering of the masses to make sure everyone’s counted for and after that we normally start off on our rounds of activities. This morning we had a decision to make. We had originally planned to go the original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, NC and from there to “The Candy Barrel.” This particular activity had been planned for Monday but we had to rearrange activities because of a set time we were expected at Linville Caverns. But now that a day had passed…and the kids had experienced what true mountain curvy road driving in vans feels like…so we gave them the option to spend the morning hours instead driving over to nearby Jonesborough, TN (just ten minutes away) to visit a candy store there. Jonesborough is Tennessee’s oldest town and the downtown is an historic district. They voted for the Jonesborough option and weren’t disappointed. We figured they weren’t all that interested in the Mast Store since “replicas” can be found in Greenville and Asheville. We knew their main interest was in the candy store…and “The Lollipop Shoppe” in Jonesborough was a suitable replacement. I think we did the shop’s usual week of business sales in just under an hour. The boys were happy.
We did spend some time in the Jonesborough visitor center which houses a museum and gift shop and then walked down the main street for a couple of blocks. Most of the other stores weren’t yet open…but the candy store made up for all of that. Jonesborough is the home of the National Storytelling Festival the first weekend of October. This is a world-class event that families would enjoy, so you might want to consider this as a future family possibility.
After Jonesborough and lunch in Johnson City we headed over to Elizabethton, TN (about 20 minutes away) for our rafting trip with USA Raft on the Watauga River. We were originally scheduled to raft on the Nolichucky River but it’s completely dependent on the natural flow of the river and it had been too dry to produce much of a ride. So the Watauga was substituted since it’s a dam-controlled river with predictable water levels. The boys enjoyed this nearly two-hour ride on mostly class 1 and 2 rapids with a class 3 thrown in for good measure.
Our evening’s entertainment was a minor league baseball game between the Elizabethton Twins and the Johnson City Cardinals. These are “rookie” league teams made up of young players usually 18-23 years old. As is always the case, some boys love to watch baseball and others prefer to do anything but. So, a minor league game is the perfect answer to that. The stadium is small enough for kids to walk around and check things out and others can watch the game and all can do a combination of both. This was dollar night so hotdogs, popcorn, and even the tickets were just a dollar. What a bargain! By the time we left, one boy had a baseball, a couple had t-shirts, and several had been invited on the field for crowd-pleasing silly games. William won the “musical chairs” game and came home with a cowbell. It has been another long day so we left sometime during the eighth inning with Elizabethton trailing.
It was another good day.