Last Saturday we went to McKay’s for the first time, and I wondered where it has been my whole life!

McKay’s is a large used items store. In fact, it is so large that it looks more like a warehouse. The biggest draw is books, but they also have electronics, board games, music and movies.

Everything at McKay’s is used. You are able to sell your own items there, which will end up on the shelves.

The processing happens while you are shopping, if you have a small order. They try to process orders within 45 minutes. I brought a handful of books in to sell myself. You are handed a ticket number, and you can check a digital board on the wall that shows which orders have been processed. Once your order is done, you hand your ticket in, and they ask if you want cash or store credit. I got $2.81 in credit.

Not everything is accepted. The items that are rejected are put out in bins, free for the taking.

I headed right to the history section and helped to empty their shelves. Luckily, used items means good prices. Three of the books I picked out were only 75 cents! The most expensive book I picked up was $5. Now, there are books in the $10-$15 range, but that is still better than getting a new book for over $20.

Derek headed to the graphic design section and found some good books as well.

In the end, I bought eight books, and after my store credit was applied, I spent about $13.

We barely scratched the surface of what McKay’s has to offer. I saw a few children’s books that we loved when we were kids that we’d like to add to our collection in the future. I also headed to the historical romance section, but decided to leave because there was a large family in that aisle. Besides, I decided that eight books was enough for the moment!

I am definitely going to go to McKay’s again in the future. I can imagine that in a few months, the selection of books will be totally different.

Looking down below on the aisles of book shelves at McKay’s.
My store credit ticket.
The books I brought home.

A few hours in Ringgold, Georgia

After we finished blueberry picking in LaFayette, we were kind of hungry, and a drink was due. Derek Googled coffee shops in the area. He asked me if we had been to either Ringgold or Chickamauga before, and which town would I rather go to. I said no to both, and to pick whichever.

And so we ended up in Ringgold for a couple of hours. The town surprised us in a good way. We will more than likely go back there again.

We had a light lunch at Caffeine Addicts. I did not take any photos here, oops! I always get a chai wherever I go, since I do not like coffee. Usually chai doesn’t change too much from place to place, however, Caffeine Addicts featured toffee nut flavored syrup, a flavor I had not seen before. My go-to is usually hazelnut┬ásyrup. It was so good! I would definitely come back just to have that syrup.

Also, the people who worked there were wearing masks, and every other table was closed off. We were there before noon, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

We headed a few doors down to the cutest store front, A Fern and a Feather General Store. Derek bought moonshine jelly and muscadine cider (non alcoholic) and I bought a spoon holder for my tea that says “Today’s good mood brought to you by tea.”

If you’ve been reading for a while now, you probably know I love Civil War history. The Great Locomotive Chase ended in Ringgold. A group of Union men, led by civilian James A. Andrews, stole a train with the intention of running it to Chattanooga, damaging the railroad tracks in the process. The locomotive ran out of fuel in Ringgold, and the men fled on foot. Many of them were later put on trial and were executed.

We checked out the Ringgold Depot, which was closed at the time. We waited for a few minutes to see if a train would come through, but no luck. We drove about a half mile down the tracks until we came to the General monument. The General is the name of the locomotive that the men stole. I’m glad I texted my dad that we were there, and he gave us directions to the monument!

We will definitely come to Ringgold again, because someday I hope to do an entire Great Locomotive Chase day trip, stopping at each of the railroad stations and towns along the way.

Our last two stops in Ringgold were two antique shops that were next to each other. The one was called Cotton Gin Antiques, named for the business that was established by the Callaway brothers in 1929. The outside of it was so cool looking! It is a treasure trove for people who like to hunt for old items.

Ringgold Feed and Seed Antiques was next door. We were on the hunt for a basket to put on our table by the front door; a place to put our masks and hand sanitizer. We found one that looks great with our overall house decor. By the way, while we were there, that was when the train chose to come through! Oh well.

Ringgold is a nice little town, and there was plenty more that we did not check out during our time there. Because it’s only a half hour away, I am sure we will come back sometime for a half-day getaway. 

A Fern and a Feather General Store
The Ringgold Depot
Monument for The General, the locomotive that was stolen by Union men.
The Cotton Gin Antiques
There were cats at the antique store. I love this shot! Do you think this makes a good advertisement for Coca-Cola?
One of the rooms of The Cotton Gin Antiques.

The HoHo Expo

Derek and I were settling in for what was to be a long, boring Saturday. We had nothing planned. Derek was binge watching a show, and I was browsing the internet.

I came across an advertisement for the HoHo Expo, a holiday gift shopping event, held today and tomorrow at the Chattanooga Convention Center. There was free admission and free parking. We figured we might as well go since it wouldn’t cost us anything but our time.

The HoHo Expo is hosted by the newspaper, the Chattanooga Times Free Press. They had a booth in the middle of the expo where they were giving out cookies and apple cider.

There were about 150 vendors selling all kinds of items. There were lots of things that I would have liked to buy, but I didn’t necessarily need any of it. I want to save money so I’m trying my best to be good! However, we did buy a loaf of maple pecan bread from the Dutch Maid Bakery and Cafe, from Tracy City, TN.

Santa was also there to take family photos, and there were also Disney princesses too! At one point my three favorites, Moana, Rapunzel and Ariel were all posing for photos together. I would have gotten in line for a photo, but I think that it may have been frowned upon. This isn’t Disney World!

We enjoyed the opportunity to get out and walk around and see the different items. Now that we know that this is an annual event, I will probably plan to do some Christmas shopping there next year.


Ketner’s Mill Country Fair

When I first moved to Chattanooga in September, Facebook started suggesting a lot of events for me to go to. Ketner’s Mill Country Fair was one of them, and I tucked the idea away in the back of my mind.

Ketner’s Mill is located in Whitwell, TN, about a half hour away from us, actually in the central time zone. It’s interesting and odd to be so close to the edge of a time zone barrier!

The Ketner family started working at the mill since 1842, according to The mill ceased operations, but family members gathered together in the 1970s to restore the mill and house. It’s private property, but each year it’s opened to the public for the fair. The mill is not in production now, aside from that weekend. Visitors can buy cornmeal and watch it be made.

The fair featured a lot of vendors, wagon rides (we were lucky to get a whole wagon to ourselves) entertainment, blacksmith demonstrations and sorghum molasses demonstrations.

We learned that each of the vendors were all handpicked by the organizers of the fair. The items that each vendor had to sell were all nicely crafted. I stocked up on some homemade soaps, and we bought a small loaf of pumpkin bread to share at home. I only wish I had more money to purchase more items.

The fair grounds were beautiful as well. It was a cloudy day, and the clouds were low in the mountains. The mill was the focal point, and the Sequatchie River flowed behind it.

The drive to the fair was great as well, driving through some small towns and the Prentice Cooper State Forest. We pulled over many times to take photos of the scenery.

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Low clouds in the mountains on our way to the fair.
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Prentice Cooper State Forest.
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Had to pull over for some small pops of color!
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Ketner’s Mill and the Sequatchie River.
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The view behind the mill.
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Wagon ride with horses Mike and Ike.
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Inside the Mill.
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Blacksmith demonstrations.
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Sorghum molasses demonstration.
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A close up of the sugar cane being turned into juice.

Fairmount Orchard Apple Shop

I have been looking for fall related things to do. I found some you-pick apple orchards that are farther north of us, but I thought those could be saved for next fall.

Closer to home, I found the Fairmount Orchard Apple Shop on Signal Mountain. It is not an orchard that you can visit, but it’s the orchard’s shop where they sell their items that they have produced.

It was a small store, but worth the visit. The shelves were admittedly a little empty, but we had seen a recent post on their Facebook page that this was due to the on-going heat wave. I am sure now that it’s cooled down more apples will be coming in.

There were different apple varieties to choose from, in bags of different sizes. We got a small bag of Jonagold, because it is a kind that we had never had before.

Aside from apples, there was also apple butter and apple cider to sell. We bought both kinds. We had some of the apple cider last night and it was delicious.

The store also carried items like honey, soup mixes and dip mixes.

We will definitely make this shop a stop any time we are up on the mountain.