Monday, March 21, 2016

In love with Jonesboro TN

Main St Jonesboro TN

This week one of our fours sons, along with his girlfriend, is visiting us from Arkansas.  Whenever we have out-of-town company visiting, we always take our guests on a short trip down to downtown Jonesboro. We've lived in the Tricities in Northeast TN for 11 years now, and our love for the small town feel of Jonesboro only grows with time.  I could totally see my wife and myself living in Jonesboro someday.

As usual, once we park, we walk up and down Main Street, eating and checking out the many shops.  Today was a Monday, which means some of the shops are closed for the day.  The streets are not crowded and there's plenty of elbow room in the stores.  

It was a little brisk out today, it being the first week of spring and all.  We were warm enough as we walked in the sun, but as we crossed the street to the shade, it was noticeably colder.  Since we arrived around 12:30 in the afternoon, we wanted to grab lunch while we could, so we headed to the Main Street Cafe.  

My wife, our son and his girlfriend, and I enjoyed lunch.  I branched out and instead of getting a burger or sandwich, I had their Athena Wrap because it had feta cheese and humus.  Our son had the Philly Cheesesteak, which would've been my second choice, his girlfriend had the black-bean burger, and my wife tried the chicken salad sandwich.  I truly enjoy the Main Street cafe, yes the food is good, but mainly because of the old fashioned architecture and decor.  As you eat in the Main Street cafe, the atmosphere is relaxing and you truly feel like you are back in a more simple and peaceful place in time.  Patrons sat in small groups, huddled around small tables engaged in quiet conversation.  The friendly restaurant staff wait on you like you are the only ones eating.  It's a great expedience.  

After we were finished with our lunch, we walked back up Main Street intending to stop in the International Story telling center.  On our way we stopped by the two story log cabin that was the Christopher Taylor house.  The guy on your twenty dollar bill once lived in that log cabin too. The reason we were going to the Story Telling center was, our son's girlfriend was looking for a refrigerator magnate that was connected to Jonesboro, but we were out of luck.  Still I enjoyed perusing the books on writing and storytelling which are on display in the gift shop.  

After the Story telling center, we walked across the street to Mauk's.  Mauk's has a hodgepodge of knickknacks, and they have the most comfortable furniture in the world.  Inside Mauk's, several locals sat around, simply talking.  As we walked in the door, one of the owners (I'm assuming) said, "Make yourselves at home."  So I did, I sat in one of their leather chairs that are designed to make you feel stress free, and relaxed while my family browsed.  I looked around from my perch, observing hourglasses, racks of reading glasses, and plaques with homespun wisdom.  Sometimes it's good just to be still and sit, and Mauk's is a place where you can unwind without being rushed or pressured.  

We left Mauk's and hit up a candy store filled with 1970's-1990's memorabilia and then we went to the Jonesboro Visitor's center.  We stopped by a bakery that was closed, and pressed our faces mournfully upon the glass door wishing we could enter.  And when we didn't find a magnate in the visitor's center, we went back into town to look again.  On the way out of town as we headed back to Kingsport, we stopped into the Boone's Creek Pottery Gallery and wandered around for a while.  

All and all, even though we never found the fridge magnate, we had a great day just walking around looking in shops and enjoying downtown Jonesboro.  For me, I love the feel of the town, and particularly downtown on Main Street.  There are structures and buildings that are hundreds of years old, filled with rich history and which hold a majestic beauty.  There's a certain feel to the downtown area that is impossible to replicate elsewhere.  If you haven't visited downtown Jonesboro, you are missing out.  The shopkeepers and restaurateurs are welcoming and friendly.  The sights are memorable and delightful.  Jonesboro offers a small pocket of space where you can slow down, relax, and enjoy life.  I know as I write this, it sounds idyllic, too Mayberry-ish to be true.  It sounds too simple.  I'm sure their citizens have everyday life issues that they face, but as a local visitor, I never pass up an opportunity to enjoy their hospitality -- and I recommend you don't pass it up either.  

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