Ed, Roger, Mike, Brother Dave and all the rest at the Down Home make this one of the most special live music venues you'll ever visit. Tiny with amazing sound (good job, BrobecK!), you'll see the likes of Doc Watson, Bela Fleck, Acoustic Syndicate and many. many others in the most intimate and incredible places ever. A must visit if you're in the area!!!! Also, Wednesday nights are a treat. Open hoot, $1 cover, $4 pitchers and you never klnow what local talent you may luck into....
Naturally fed river crossing through the gorge from North Carolina into Tennessee, the Noli is a sweet splsh of heaven. Great river folks, too. Especially at USARaft...
Also check out local hiking spots- Red Fork Falls, Laurel Fork Falls, Beauty Spot...any local should know the way...
Ah, the outdoor recreation opportunities are limited only by time and imagination.
The Appalachian Trail is a short 25 minute drive from town; from there you can head to Georgia or to Maine if you take the notion.
Whitewater kayaking is found on the Nolichucky River only 20 minutes away. World class park and play is found at a spot known as Big Rock. The class 3-4 Noli is also a popular commercial rafting run during the spring and summer. It runs approximately 8.5 miles through one of the most scenic and deepest gorges in the East. A true must see! Contact USA Raft or Nantahala Outdoor Center in Erwin, TN for more rafting info.
Mountain biking can be found on the campus of East Tennessee State University. It's a short but tight singletrack course in the woods on campus. There is also an excellent Dual Slalom course available but be ready! It's the real deal, bring your full on slalom rig for this course, no XC hardtails need apply unless you want to try out your health insurance! Other mountain biking opportunities are available in the Cherokee National Forest which lies 10 minutes outside of town. Other rides which are about 35-50 minutes away from town are at Warriors Path State Park in Kingsport, TN and at Roan Mountain State Park.
While not really my thing, the fly fishing is really good around here. Contact Mahoney's at 423.282.5413 for info on where to go.
In the winter skiing and snowboarding are available about 1 hour away in the mountains of western North Carolina. Ski Beech which is the highest ski resort in the East at an elevation of around 5500 ft is good, also check out Sugar Mountain and Ski Hawksnest as well. All located in or around Banner Elk, NC.
Climbing is available at the Hang Out (423.467.9673), a great indoor climbing gym. Perfect for the winter and the kids. Real rock is about an hour to 1.5 hrs away at Hidden Valley in Abingdon, VA or in North Carolina at Ship Rock or Table Rock. Hidden Valley is primarily sport routes from 5.6 on up to 5.13 or so. Climbing in NC is anything but sport, bolting is not allowed so it's a trad climbers dream.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a scant 2 hours away. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails here, some gnarly creeking runs for paddlers, and so long as you stay away from the roadside viewpoints and the AT alot of peace and quiet.
The Southern Appalachians are a totally unique ecosystem. The Smokies is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, incredibly lush and full of life. Roan Mountain and Mt Rogers have several unique high elevation (5000-6000 ft) 'balds' that give spectacular views of the whole area.