James White's Fort and the Holy Land Market
Heiskell (Knoxville), TN - Events of Thursday, October 2, 2014
We were planning to stop for a late lunch on our way back to the motor home after seeing the World's Fair Park we wrote about in our last post, but it was still too early for that even after adding a stop at the Knoxville Museum of Art. Therefore, we decided to stop at James White's Fort located only a few minute's drive from the art museum.
James White was a militia officer during the Revolutionary War. Following the war, he was given a grant of 1,000 acres of land at the confluence of First Creek and the Tennessee River at the present-day site of Knoxville, TN. He built a two-story log house on his land in 1786.
The house that currently sits on the site was reconstructed in 1968 using portions of the original house, which was moved to another location in the city in 1906.
Around 1788, White enclosed the house and several other buildings with a stockade fence creating a fort for protection from attack. In 1891, White set aside a portion of his land and platted the town of Knoxville. Knoxville was named for George Washington's Secretary of War, Henry Knox.
The tour of White's Fort is self-guided. Guests are given a well-written description of all the buildings and many of the artifacts contained therein. We began our tour with the kitchen of the main house. It was nicely set up with displays of tables, cabinets and various utensils from the 1700s and early 1800s.
The device shown below is a winding weasel used to measure yarn as it is wound up into a skein. The weasel has wooden, clock-like gears inside that count the number of revolutions. After the prescribed number of revolutions, the weasel would pop indicating the proper amount of yarn had been wound. This is the basis for the nursery rhyme, "Pop Goes the Weasel."
From the kitchen, we moved to the main cabin with living space downstairs and sleeping accommodations for up to 20 people upstairs.
Other buildings in the fort are original structures from the 1700 and 1800s moved to the site from elsewhere in the area. The other buildings are set up to demonstrate various functions such as guest cabins, a smokehouse, a blacksmith shop and a weaver's house.
The weaver's house shown below presents an interesting juxtaposition to the modern downtown buildings in the background.
After our tour of White's Fort, it was mid-afternoon. Now we were finally hungry - really hungry. We had scoped out a place a few miles to the east of downtown Knoxville called the Holy Land Market. The market has many kinds of packaged foods from the Middle East as well as a deli. The deli counter also serves various kinds of Middle-Eastern food, and they get rave reviews on Trip Adviser, Urban Spoon and Yelp.
As we stood studying the menu board it was obvious it was our first visit. The owners, Walter and Denise, took their time helping us decide what to have. Denise gave us a printed menu that had descriptions of the dishes, and Walter explained some of the food in even more detail. Margery chose a Reuben sandwich, and Paul had lamb shawarma on a pita.
Shawarma refers to meat (chicken, lamb, beef, turkey) that is marinated in spices and is traditionally slow-cooked on a spit, although it can also be roasted or grilled. The meat is then usually thinly sliced and served on a plate with accompaniments, or the meat is served on a sandwich wrap similar to a gyro. Walter prepares the meat for the shawarma in-house.
While we waited for our food, Walter gave us samples of some of the delicious items in the deli case including some of the many different types of hummus. We sampled 6 or 8 different kinds - they were all delish as was the curry chicken salad! We were tempted to take home some hummus; but the chickpea base is not conducive to our low-carb diet. We "cheat" occasionally when we eat out, but we like to maintain our diets at home.
After our samples, Walter chatted with us a while longer until our food came.
Paul's shawarma was served on flat bread topped with pickled turnips. It was yummy! The meat was tender, flavorful and juicy; and the pickled turnips added a unique tang.
Margery's Reuben was outstanding! The house-made corned beef was piled high and was lean and tender. The Russian dressing was very thick, and its sweetness added a balance to the sauerkraut. The Swiss cheese also added a nice creaminess to the sandwich. It was without question the best Reuben we had ever had!
Walter and Denise are on a first name basis with all their regulars, and they go out of their way to treat new customers like long-lost friends. What good food and what great service! No wonder the Holy Land Market gets such outstanding reviews.
With our bellies full, we headed back to the motor home for an evening of TV. The weather forecast was predicting rain followed by a cooling trend followed by more rain. We don't know what we'll find to do when the weather improves, but something is bound to come up, so stay tuned.