By Mike Steely

East Tennessee is rich with large attractions known nationwide yet there are some almost hidden places that draw local citizens looking to have an unofficial outing and family fun.

Most of these places are fairly unknown outside the local rural communities.

For instance, there’s the Jumping Bridge over the lake north of Washburn in Grainger County at 3021 Black Fox Road. There’s an old abandoned bridge there and next to it is a newer concrete bridge. Some weekends during the summer local people, including many teenagers, gather there to drop the 35 feet into the lake.

It’s one of those places that many of us old-timers would call a “swimming hole” and it is worth a Saturday drive to see the jumpers or an any day drive to see and photograph the bridge. To get there, the easiest way is to take Maynardville Highway to Walker Fork Road, right to Black Fox Road, Highway 61, and follow it to the bridge. Along the way, you will pass through the rural communities of Guzzie Hollow, Owl Pen Hollow and the Pennington community.

If you want you can return to Knoxville by way of the little communities of Liberty Hill, Washburn, Powder Springs, Tater Valley, Luttrell and Plainview.

If you take Emory Road toward Rutledge Pike you can drive by the Old Chapman Highway Drive-In Theater sign located behind a home there. The sign was bought and preserved by the homeowner and now stands as an odd reminder of the former theater far away in South Knoxville.

A Day Away adventure is a nice break from work or school for the family. You’ll find your own favorite places along such a drive.