…or A Shameless Plug!
The overall point of my blog postings is to share stories and incite discussion, depending on the topic. With this essay, however, I want to invite you to visit, either in person or online, where we hang out. In 2011, while I was still working for Lockheed Martin in New Jersey, Peggy opened Harry and Ollie’s Market and Café (and included a photography studio to appease me), in Pelham, Tennessee.
Peggy and I have enjoyed camping since we met, and we have had a variety of campers, from tent campers to a huge travel trailer and now back to small vintage campers. We have traveled much of the eastern United States. Add to that the fact that Peggy is a member of Sisters on the Fly (SOTF) (http://www.sistersonthefly.com/ ); so setting up a campground was just a natural next step for us. In 2013, we added the Blue Moon Campground adjacent to the store.
Now what, you may ask, does rural Pelham Valley, Tennessee have to offer that would draw campers to the area? There are many historic and natural places to explore within an easy drive of the campground: five railroad museums, many Civil War sites, miles of hiking trails, water falls, museums and other historic sites, numerous local festivals (including Bonaroo), fishing and boating opportunities, country roads to explore, even agritourism. Whatever you do, a camera is a must. This is also a good place to just kick back and read a book (we have three published book authors in the community). And since we are less than two miles off of Interstate 24 (I-24) between Chattanooga and Nashville, we are a convenient overnight stop for campers going east or west.
Yes we cater to individual campers, but we set up the campgrounds with an eye to groups who travel together, or are looking for a place to meet and gather. For example, the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburgh is about 30 minutes away. Peggy’s SOTF group assembled here to attend the festival.
Nashville, Murfreesboro (and historic Cannonsburgh) and Chattanooga are all within an easy drive along I-24. Free tours at both Jack Daniels and George Dickel distilleries are within 30 minutes, and there are wineries in the area.In future postings, I will point out some of the attractions and things to do in the area, as well as any events we schedule here at the campground.
For gun enthusiasts, Elk River Training Center (http://www.elkrivertrainingcenter.com/), a gun safety training center and firing range is only two miles away. Individuals interested in the required training for the Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit can camp here conveniently to take the course, or you can just schedule time on the range for handguns, rifles, shotguns, and archery (Check their website for schedules, or groups may schedule personalized training classes or range time).
Our staff can provide you with a complete list of places to explore or visit. If you have a particular interest, contact the campground for specific information. For example, we schedule photography classes and painting classes from time-to-time. Get a group together and give us a call.
There are good places to eat nearby—our own Café and Simply Southern, just two blocks away. Fine dining is available at High Point Restaurant in Monteagle (7 miles). The story is that High Point was the midway point for Al Capone when he traveled from Chicago to Miami. Today, it is an excellent restaurant. There are a number of other good places up on the mountain, or in the valley including well-known restaurant chains (O’Charley’s, Texas Roadhouse, etc.), and unique local places specializing in catfish, handmade sandwiches, barbeque, etc. We have the list.
Breakfast and lunch are available in the café; dinners can be arranged for groups of eight or more adults (prior arrangements are suggested for dinners).
The Blue Moon Campground at Harry and Ollie’s offers 12 grass-covered sites with water and electricity (up to 50 amp service is available). The campground is laid out for smaller campers—typically 24 feet or less, but our sites can accommodate larger campers. Tent campers and motorcycle campers are welcome, and we can accommodate a few more campers with limited services.
The office is in the café and market adjacent to the campground. Typically, camping is limited to seven days; longer stays can be arranged if needed, but long-term, residential stays are not part of our business. Fire rings and firewood are available. Please note: At this time, we do not have a bath house. Campers should have their own toilet facilities. There are bathrooms in the office building during hours of operation.
The campground is located at 1553 US 41, in Pelham, Tn. The most common route is to take I-24, west from Chattanooga or east from Nashville, and take exit 127 for Pelham. Turn east off of the interstate. Pelham is about one mile—there is a flashing stop light in the middle of Pelham. Turn left (north) on US 41 at the flashing light. The campground is about 200 yards on the right, next to Harry and Ollie’s Market, and directly across the road from the Pelham Valley Volunteer Fire department. Turn in at the north (far) entrance. For information and reservations call: 931-467-7071, 609-413-7071, or 856-816-7989.
For more details on the market and campground, go to: http://www.harryandollies.com/. There you will find the daily menu for the café and learn how the shop got its name. “Harry and Ollie’s Country Market and Café” is on facebook.)