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How can I put so much fun into just one blog? I can’t, so stay tuned for more stories from my trip to Knoxville throughout the week. For now, let’s just say that I’m glad there is a second book in the works; I have gathered a plethora of information for UT’s second chapter in book two!
Let’s start with downtown Knoxville. Sure, an SEC is centered around the university, the available tailgate spots and legendary stadium– but there is so much more.
I arrived on Friday afternoon to Market Square in the heart of downtown Knoxville. I met with a sweet UT reporter, Laura, at Café 4 and then shimmied over to be a part of “Live at 5 at 4” before picking up the prefect hostess gift at Bliss Boutique. Just a brisk walk two blocks over I set up for a signing at Mast General Store. Market Square was another side of Knoxville I had never seen. It was full of lively and kind people out enjoying their Friday night before enjoying their Tennessee Saturday.
Saturday morning started off with a run with my host, Molly, with a Smokey Mountain backdrop before heading to a signing at M.S. McClellans. ( I’ll be doing a full spot on McClellans later this week because that place is AMAZING). After a successful signing at McClellan’s, Swoozies and I met up to hit the tailgating scenes on UT’s campus.
What a perfect day for college football. Not a cloud in the sky and a delightful 79 degrees made our tailgate hopping a cinch without a single threat of a glisten. We stopped by Volunteer Village, walked through Circle Park, ran into some KD Ladies on the sidewalk and visited fans in the 23B lot off of Andy Holt Boulevard. How very hospitable Darsi and her friends were! Not to mention, Mr. UT made the best French fries I’ve ever tasted. Now that’s skill to do at a tailgate!
I was eager to get down to the River. Last time I was in town, the VOL Navy was disappointingly out of town. This time, I was determined to hang out at Calhouns and see some of the water mansions decked out in checkered orange. But not before stopping by Figi Island where Amy and I were offered, and accepted, the most delicious grilled bologna sandwiched with cole slaw. Can you say “entry” for the Gridiron Belle cookbook due out soon?
It’s a good thing campus is covered with hills because after French fries and bbq’d bologna (I promise it was DELICIOUS!), I needed some cardio on our way to the South’s most perfect deck overlooking the Tennessee River . What a sight!
Short on time and koozies from Swoozies, we climbed another hill, through the G10 lot and to the entrance of Neyland Stadium. What happened next will be another entry for another day, but let’s just say, thanks to a well connected KD, Molly and I were able to see Neyland Stadium from the field!
It wasn’t exactly a pretty game for the VOLS but it sure was a beautiful day of being a part of Tennessee football.
Stay tuned for more stories about wearing orange…
Xs and Os,
PS- this is possibly my favorite photo of the season so far. Rivalries start young… really young.
I love birthdays. Always have. And probably always will–until I start celebrating birthdays that receive their own category at Party City mocking old age.
It was around the 7th grade that I recall saving my (July) birthday check until late in September. With the arch-rival match up between the two all boys Catholic schools (St. X and Trinity) just around the corner, I found the strength and common sense to save birthday money in exchange for having the perfect outfit for the Friday night match up.
( I also conveniently always scheduled a haircut for that afternoon as well, but that’s for another story…)
Fast forward some 16 years, and my birthdays are still revolving around the gridiron. Only this time, my gifts have started to be accouterments of the SEC rainbow.
My mama, a generous KY Belle, sent me a package on Monday with the following treasures inside. It was the Mary Poppins bag of SEC goodness and has me almost ready for the tour!
Orange and white Lilly dress: My new Tennessee dress!! Perfect for keeping me cool and stylish during the UT v UGA game in Knoxville.
Spirit Gloves: Look closely, those gloves have pompoms on the finger trips!! Heaven forbid I ever forget my lucky shaker, these spirit gloves will keep me warm on the Plains during the Iron Bowl!
Luggage Spotter: This was my dad’s addition to the package, and it’s hilariously practical. An easy way to spot my bag and start conversation while traveling across Dixie. Thanks, Dad!
Sports Mints: A rather obvious name, but I received a bag of Alabama and Auburn mints. They make them for every SEC team and these are ideal for your tailgate bin that I talk about in the book. Who doesn’t want fresh breath after snacking at a tailgate?
Lilly Pulitzer Calendar: Lilly has agreed to sponsor a book signing for me next week here in Austin!!! It’s only fitting that all of my stops are kept organized in this preppy calendar.
Auburn Tupperware: Where else are they going to put team logos? Doesn’t matter to me, these are ideal for bringing your gourmet gridiron grub to a tailgate. Get your team’s edition and showcase your spirit and hard work in the kitchen!
Blue and Orange bracelets: These Florida orange and blue bangles are going to look great when I am at the Swamp. Anything and everything blue and orange is the norm down there– I’m giddy about that trip.
Team Colored Unmentionables (not pictured for obvious reasons): What can I say? A true Gridiron Belle doesn’t stop supporting her team at a surface level!! Mama also threw in some pretty LSU colored unmentionables for my visit to Death Valley.
You don’t need a July or August birthday to prepare for the season. All of the summer clothes on sale now are perfect for the first few games of the season in the southern heat. Get prepared!
Thanks for the birthday wishes!
Xs and Os,
Apr 12, 2011 CATEGORIES: Tennessee
Going to school in TN I became familiar with the term, “aw cuss.” I figured it was a better way of saying, “aw shucks” or a more lady and gentleman like way to say, “aw [enter choice four letter word].”
Today, I learned about the modern day-Scarlett O’Hara-one-two-punch from a new friend in the UT athletic department. “Fiddle-de-dee…” she said. ( I had no idea people still used that term since Atlanta was burned and Rhett left Scarlett.) Immediately, in modern Tennessee fashion, she added, “I can’t think of that damn word.”
And then it clicked. Saying “fiddle-de-dee” before you say, “I can’t think of that damn word,” is the equivalent of saying, “Bless his or her heart” before saying someone has gained weight, will never be married, or came from the other side of the tracks.
It’s just something Southerners do.I don’t know how to explain why we are compelled to say something genteel and pleasant before saying something slighting. It must be something in the collard greens.
Bless my KY heart; I can think of a few other choice words for what I would say if I was Scarlett and I was wearing drapes for dresses or a UT fan with another losing record. But, after all, September is another season.
What would it be like to be a Yankee on gameday down here( Knoxville, TN)?” CLM
I don’t even want to know what it would be like to be a Yankee. Anywhere.” Nate
The celebrated and revered Neyland Stadium holds roughly 102,000 OR 109,000 people (depending on your source). Either way, the place is huge. And orange.
Finding the perfect UT orange was the hardest part of my pre-game ritual. A mix between Auburn and Florida orange, Tennessee orange is a little softer than the others. It became clear early on that I was the only person having trouble finding the right orange. Why didn’t I just buy a pair of overalls and dip them in orange paint? Clearly I missed the memo.
Do not be fooled. UT is certainly an SEC staple in size, tradition and the number of fans that consistently fill the sacred stadium. A power house in football? Not this year. A trend setter for SEC gameday wardrobe? I am hoping not. Unless, of course, the new belle-standards have gone from damsels in sundresses to distressed in utilitarian overalls. In which case, I am throwing in the towel and becoming a Big 12 fan.
Ouch. Typing such blasphemous words actually hurt.
Alas,every person in the stadium had on something orange. No one that I saw pulled an, “ I’ll just wear whatever I want.” There was a degree of effort in everyone’s gameday uniform that resonated well with a critic like me. The school spirit via wearing orange was unparalleled. Despite the parallel straps holding up their overalls.