Mystery and science fiction author Mikel J. Wilson shares his top ten things to do when you visit Tennessee.
- Go honky-tonking in Nashville. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve stumbled down Broadway in Downtown Nashville, barhopping. Okay, I haven’t really stumbled, but no one could blame me if I did have too much to drink in this incredibly fun center of Music City. Any night of the week, you can enter bar after bar, playing wonderful live music from established artists and up-and-comers.
- Rent a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains. I love waking up in one of the many cabins that abut the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and looking out the inevitable picture window to see the eponymous mist snaking around the mountains. Of course, anyone on the other side of that window is probably wondering why I’m standing there naked. It’s no wonder that this is America’s most visited national park.
- Visit Dollywood in Pigeon Forge. I love [the] artist and humanitarian Dolly Parton. She is the Smoky Mountains, and her theme park is a tribute to her legacy and the heritage of the region where her story began. The park has the wonderful Dolly museum, artisans demonstrating their crafts and exciting rides, including the Lightning Rod wooden rollercoaster, which I did not throw up on. (That picture was totally PhotoShopped.)
- Barhop on Beale Street in Memphis. The historic two-block Home of the Blues offers great food, drinks, and live music. Okay, I’ve never actually been to Memphis, unless you count riding through on a Greyhound bus, but I had to get the state’s most populous city into the mix. This activity is on my list to do the next time I’m in Tennessee.
- Take a helicopter ride over Gatlinburg. Now, this I have done. My father and stepmom took me and my brother to Gatlinburg when I was 12 or thereabouts and gave us our first helicopter ride. I loved being so high in the air, which is why I took up skydiving years later.
- Visit Reelfoot Lake State Park in Tiptonville. Formed in the 1800’s, when massive tremors in the earthquake hot zones of Arkansas and Missouri (?!) caused the Mighty Mississippi to run backward. Reelfoot Lake is the state’s most unique ecosystem and the surest place to spot bald eagles in the wild.
- Raft the whitewater rapids on the Pigeon River. This excursion is a super-fun way to see the Smokies. You will definitely get wet, which is great because if you really, really have to pee, no one will notice.
- Hike up Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga. Second only to the Smoky Mountains, the views from this vantage point are incredible. It’s a great place to hike, visit a Civil War museum or make out with your date – although the people shouting, “Eww!” when I went the last time weren’t enjoying it so much.
- Eat some genuine Nashville hot chicken and dry-rub barbecue. You can’t visit Nashville without sampling some of the city’s now-iconic dishes – hot chicken and dry-rub barbecue. Several restaurants in the area serve them, but my favorites are Hattie B’s for the chicken and Peg Leg Porker for the barbecue. FYI, wiping your tongue with a paper napkin doesn’t seem to cool it down at all.
- Go horseback riding through Cedars of Lebanon State Park. I had to get my hometown on this list, and riding horses through the cedar forest that inspired the town’s name is a perfect way to spend an afternoon in Lebanon. When you’re done, head over to Snow White for the best banana shakes you’ll ever strain to suck through a straw.
About Mikel J. Wilson
Mystery and science fiction author Mikel J. Wilson received widespread critical praise for his debut novel, Sedona: The Lost Vortex, a science fiction book based on the Northern Arizona town’s legends of energy vortexes and dimensional travel.
Wilson now draws on his Southern roots for the Mourning Dove Mysteries, a series of novels featuring bizarre murders in the Smoky Mountains region of Tennessee.
Murder on the Lake of Fire, the first novel in the Mourning Dove Mysteries series.
Title: Murder on the Lake of Fire (Mourning Dove Mysteries, #1) by Mikel J. Wilson
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 1st 2017
Genres: LGBTQ+, Mystery, Romance
At twenty-three and with a notorious case under his belt, Emory Rome has already garnered fame as a talented special agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
His career is leapfrogging over his colleagues, but the jumping stops when he’s assigned a case he fought to avoid – to investigate an eerie murder in the Smoky Mountain hometown he had abandoned.
This mysterious case of a dead teen ice-skater once destined for the pros is just the beginning. In a small town bursting with envious friends and foes, Rome’s own secrets lie just below the surface.
The rush to find the murderer before he strikes again pits Rome against artful private investigator, Jeff Woodard. The PI is handsome and smart, seducing Rome and forcing him to confront childhood demons, but Woodard has secrets of his own. He might just be the killer Rome is seeking.
Click to add to your Goodreads shelf.