Thursday, April 23, 2015

On The Road Again To Dandridge, TN - Anchor Down RV Resort

After a three months layoff to finish up winter and do the outdoor spring chores, we’re back on the road again with a single trip to two destinations.  The second leg is a return trip to the Charleston, SC area and the first was to attend an RV rally at Anchor Down RV Resort near Dandridge, TN, which will be the subject of this post.

We belong to the Tennessee Travelers chapter of the FMCA and really enjoy getting together with this group of nearby RVer’s.  It’s nice to go on these trips where several things are planned for us and all we have to do is show up.

The Anchor Down RV Resort is on beautiful Douglas Lake which is near the Sevierville/ Pigeon Forge/ Gatlinburg part of Tennessee.  The resort is beginning their second year in operation and I have no problem calling it a RESORT instead of a campground as they have obviously poured the effort and money into it. 

While just a state route with little shoulder, I had no problem driving our coach on the road (TN-139) servicing the resort from Dandridge or Kodak.  This is the entrance to the resort and the office/store.

The resort is basically on a hillside ending at the lake and they have done an excellent job turning it into three fairly level camping areas with nearly level sites – no problem leveling our coach.  All sites are hard surfaced with plain or textured concrete and have a picnic table and fire ring or fireplace.  They have a full range of site types - pull-in, back-in, pull thru, and buddy.

I’ll begin with the upper area and work my way down the hill.  The upper area has 29 sites of varying sizes and types and an outstanding view from the ones facing the lake.

The middle area contains 109 sites of all types and this is the beginning of it - shot above shows much of it.

This is our site (#51) with shots of the view from our back of the lake and the sites up from us.

This is the view from my chair in the front of our rig with a coach in one of the buddy sites and after it departed.

Here are a couple of the other buddy sites, which I had not seen before, and are perfect for two coaches traveling together.

Lastly is the lower level which contains 33 sites, the nice sized pool and pool house, a boat dock, boat ramp, lake swimming area, and play area - the shot from the upper area (above) shows the sites.

This shot is from the pool house back up the hill.

Their rates are from $49 to $69 and include four people, rather than the more normal two.  As I mentioned at the beginning, this is not just a campground, but one of the nicest RV resorts we’ve stayed in and I believe it's only going to get better.

The check-in process was pleasant and efficient and everyone we met was very helpful and friendly.  The owners are hands-on with the wife running the office (she checked me in) and the husband handing the outside.  They are home builders who bought a farm on which to build a sub-division, but elected to build the resort instead.

I have heard only positive comments from the members of our 15 coach rally and if you are looking for a great place for a rally or an individual trip from which to visit the Smokies area and be on the lake, Anchor Down is well worth your consideration.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


4/20-4/23/2015 event dates

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Homemade Beef Stock & Blogger Party Update

Well, I finally have something to post about.

We like to use homemade stocks when we can so when our neighbor offered us some beef bones we snapped them up.  I forgot to weigh the bones but this is the process I used.

1. Add the bones in a single layer, to a pan (12” cast iron skillet for me) and roast in a 400F oven for one hour.

2. Add the following to the pan and roast for another 30 minutes:
      3 carrots in 3” pieces
      3 celery stalks in 3” pieces
      1 large onion, quartered (or two small ones)
      1 garlic clove cut in half crosswise

3.Since the bones had some fat to start with, I had too much grease in the bottom of my skillet to deglaze and make the stock in it (without extra work), so I added everything to a stock pot, covered them with three quarts of hot water, added a lid, and simmered until the next morning (I added an additional quart of water at bedtime).
4. Using a slotted spoon, I removed as much of the solids to a bowl as I could then strained the stock, ending up with two quarts.
5. To get back to three quarts, I used the sink hose to spray the solids in the bowl and poured it through the strainer into the stock.
6. After cooling, it went into the fridge for the night to solidify the fat.

7. I used a spoon to remove the thin layer of fat and we ended up with three quart bags of very tasty stock for the freezer.

1. Roasting is not a requirement but we like the extra richness it delivers.  We often make chicken stock without roasting.
2. While it sounds like a long process, it’s probably only about an hour’s work divided over a couple of days.
3. Sometimes we make it without the veggies, especially when we don’t roast the bones.  While I think the terms are interchangeable, I call the one with veggies "stock" and the other one "broth", that way I know what I’m using – this one will be labeled as “Roasted Beef Stock.”

Looks almost as good as the kind from a box doesn't it.  We then gave the bones back to the same neighbor for her dogs - too big for our guys mouths.

Blogger Party Update
As a follow up to the previous post, the 2015 rendition of our East Tennessee Blogger Party will be as follows:

Date: May 24
Time: 1:30pm
Place: Almost Heaven South, Greenback, TN
Theme: Tapas Party

We would love to have some first time attendees and if you plan to come, please let me know by May 1, via email at

Any additional info will be sent to the attendees in mid-May.

Please feel free to post this on your blog to increase our distribution.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


4/4-4/5/2015 event dates

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

You May Want To Consider This

This may be the most enlightening thing I've ever thought about.

Thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thanks For Asking

A couple of folks have asked if all is well with us since I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks and the answer is yes.  We just haven’t done or eaten anything interesting enough to post about and I’ve not been inspired to go find something.  So we’re just hanging around Almost Heaven South and Bev is getting ready for the annual trip to Sint Maarten with her sister.  Thanks blogger friends for checking in on us.


Friday, February 27, 2015

A Nice Snow Fix

Some of my fondest memories as a kid growing up in northern West Virginia involve the snow and to this day I still enjoy it and need an occasional fix.  I love how clean it makes the ground look and how sweet it makes the air smell when all of the pollutants are removed. 

Last Tuesday we awoke to the results of the ice storm, but this Tuesday, we had a nice, beautiful snow cover to look at with the official total of 4“ here at Almost Heaven South as measured by a yardstick on my deck railing. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Winter Arrives At Almost Heaven South – Lots Of Photos

After some pretty mild weather the first part of February with six inch tall daffodil leafs, winter storm Octavia finally touched us in the worst way on Monday.  As the storm moved east, it provided snow to its north, rain to its south and freezing rain in the middle – we are in the middle.  In case you are not a Weather Channel watcher, the freezing rain often begins as snow at the cold, high altitude, then changes to rain as it passes through a warm layer and shows up that way here.  Unfortunately, with the outside temperature in the mid 20’s the rain freezes after landing.

This had several impacts for us but most importantly it glazed any untreated roads and made them totally impassable and it stuck to trees and power lines.  I originally didn’t know what caused the problem, but our power went off about 10pm Monday and fortunately we got to use that generator we bought a couple of years ago – it now seems worth the money.

The RV is definitely angry at us for leaving Florida as the rain turned to ice all over it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Our Valentine’s Day Meals

While Bev was hanging out in Gatlinburg, I read the post from Catherine Mayhew for Grilled T-Bone Steaks with Crab and Hollandaise on the Char-Broil Live site and decided this would make a delicious Valentine’s Day meal.  Then I remembered the whole beef fillet in our freezer and decided it would work well for this meal, so out it came for thawing and trimming.

We also had a package of King Crab in the freezer to use for that part and we decided on some asparagus and a Caesar Salad to round out the meal.  This is the amended recipe as we made it.