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- [Narrator] This time on Tennessee Crossroads. We explore the world of fabric artist, Charlene Potterbaum, in Smyrna. We'll savor the smoked goodness of Collins River Barbecue and Cafe in McMinnville. We'll meet a Williamson County couple's extended family of goats. Then head north to Cumberland Gap and The Olde Mill Inn. That's all in this edition of Tennessee Crossroads. I'm Joe Elmore, welcome. Many of us will see a historic home and appreciate it for just that. Others will see the same home and experience a weird feeling, a spiritual connection to that place. Well, Char Potterbaum decided to do something about that feeling, as Rob Wilds discovers in our first story. - So, it's a nice day out here. - It's lovely. - You like to come out here? - Oh, we love it here. - How come? - We absolutely love it here. We feel like, I don't know, somehow it's a part of us. We can't figure that one out, but we feel that way. - [Rob] Char Potterbaum is one of those people who gets feelings. And she has a strong one about her hometown. - [Char] I think Smyrna is on holy ground. The whole place is so peaceful, it's wonderful to live here. I think that the ground where all those terrible battles were and terrible things happened are just like hallowed ground. - [Rob] On this hallowed ground sit historic homes, like the Sam Davis Home, which Char decided to capture in a work of art, created not with paint or pen, but using cloth to construct her creations. - I just love expressing myself. It's me, it's just something I need to do. And I just love fabrics. I would see, in the fabrics store, I'd walk along and my sister would say, "What are you doing?" I'd say, "Well, this would make a really good tree, "or a really good bush." She said, "How do you see that?" And I says, "I don't know, but it just goes with what I do." - [Rob] She does what she does mainly to historic houses and older homes for reasons even she isn't sure of. - [Char] I don't know, maybe I was meant to be an architect. I just like house, old houses, especially. - [Rob] As an architect might, Char's houses are designed and built one step at a time, starting with a photograph. - And then I blow it up, and then I cut it out like pattern pieces. When you figure what's behind first, the sky would be behind. And then you'd come forward, and anything that would, I'd put the grass in too, so that I'd lay everything there. And I'd work from the back out. I love it because if you make a mistake, you can just cut another piece. I guess with paint it would be more severe. - [Rob] And as a carpenter might choose a specific wood for a specific job, Char has her favorite material for her constructions. - Basically, it's cotton. I back it all with a light backing adhesive, so that it's not going to fray. And I just start cutting out like I would a pattern, and I take the object, the house or the home, or whatever the face, and I have it blown up. And I use that as a pattern. I cut those pieces out and then I cut out fabric and put it all together. I love what happens when I do that. - [Rob] Charlene has channeled that love of creation into more than just her artwork. She's also a bestselling author, writing mainly about her adventures while raising six children. - What I did when the kids were growing up, they would do and say the cutest things, and I'd write them down. I don't care if it was grocery slip, a McDonald's wrapper or whatever, And I'd save them and I'd put them in a little clip thing and I said someday I'm going to write a book about this crazy family because they were so much fun. But I love expressing myself and I love writing up what the kids did. It was fun. - [Rob] Many things in Char's life have turned out very well and her artwork has provided some memorable moments. I mean, take the time she was on a trip with friends, and they were reading a book by Carol Burnett, and well. - There was a small picture, couldn't have been more than a one inch by two inch of her great-grandmother's home. And I said, "Oh, that's a Victorian home, "I would love to do that up in fabric." And my sister, who thinks I can do anything she sets her mind to, she said, "Charlene, why do you do it? "Make it up and send it to her." I says, "Oh, I don't know how to do that." But I did, it turned out so well, I just sent a picture of it. - [Rob] Okay, that's good, but Carol Burnett actually saw the photo. - When she saw the picture, I guess she cried. She said she loved it so much. She wanted to pay for it, and I appreciated that, but I said, "Well, tell her to send a donation "to our church building fund." And she sent a $500 check to the church building fund which was another happy day. - [Rob] Happy days happen to Char even at an age when many are feeling tired, maybe even discouraged. - I learned, down through the years, what works and what doesn't work. And I would tell my kids, I said, "Guys, I've got to tell you, being kind feels "so much better." And I said, "Just remember that, always being kind." I've just found all these years that I've lived there are so many things. And one of the most important things is to love yourself and stay in the present moment. You can do really well with both. If you want the peace that really belongs to us, that's one way to get it, gratitude. Keeping your heart full of gratitude. - [Rob] That sums up Char Potterbaum. Grateful to be able to share her many talents. - Thanks, Rob. If you were to make a list of the top ten favorite things among Tennesseeans, well, barbecue would make the list with love of family at or near the top. Well, Ed Jones found a restaurant in Moore County that has both. Actually, almost everyday, the O'Neal brothers share their love of smoked goodness with diners in McMinnville. - [Ed] When you're out of town and looking for a place to eat, the best thing to do is find out where the locals go. - The food is phenomenal. - We come here often. - They're friendly, and their food is wonderful. - The music is good. - It's one of the best restaurants in town. - And they have really good beer. - The wings. - Wings? - Mild buffalo wings are just right. - [Ed] All right, I'm sold. What's the name of this place? - Howdy y'all, welcome to Collins River Barbecue and Cafe. - [Ed] Collins River Barbecue and Cafe, just off the square in McMinnville. That's where you'll find Chris and Joe O'Neal, two local boys who know how to keep the locals coming back. - Born and raised here, we actually grew up with the Collins River right behind our house. So we played at the Collins River all our lives. So that name was kinda a perfect fit for this place. - [Ed] And co-owning a barbecue restaurant was the perfect choice for these brothers. After years of cooking for others, they brought that experience back home and, in a way, helped to bring downtown McMinnville back as well. - Downtown was revitalized probably, what, seven, eight years ago. - Yeah. - Nothing was downtown before then. We came in at pretty much the perfect time. Like I said, we were blessed to get this place. - [Ed] That place is part of the restaurant's charm. You can feel the history in its antique floors and fixtures. And get a sense of McMinnville's story through the artifacts adorning the brick walls. - This building was a drugstore. It was Magnus Drugstore when it first started. Over the years it was department stores. Different things, furniture stores. - They actually had City Hall upstairs for a little while. It's been a variety of things throughout the years. - Just started growing slowly. Getting busier, started adding more stuff to our menus. Had more employees, and then here we are today. We have probably 10 to 12 different sides. We're known for our ribs. - Barbecue wrap. - We're known for our briskets. - Fried chicken wrap. - Pulled pork. - The loaded nachos. - Smoked prime rib. - Catfish? - Chicken tenders. - The wings. - [Ed] Ah yes, the wings. - These are our smoked wings. We smoke these for about an hour and a half, two hours. Then we portion them, and then we finish them off in the fryer. So you get a little bit of smoke on the inside but still crunchy on the outside. We make a homemade ranch for them. We do a homemade mild buff and a homemade hot buff. We do a homemade bourbon glaze for them. We got sweet chili dry rub we do for them that's homemade. And then we also have just traditional which is just throw them in the fryer and throw some seasoning salt on them. Oh, they're hot. - [Ed] And by hot, he means well, in this case, he literally means hot, but they're also quite popular. - [Chris] We are known for our wings. We probably sell a thousand wings a week. - [Ed] And like these chickens who gave their all, Chris and Joe, to a lesser extent, give a lot back to their hometown. - We try to buy as much local as we can, just to help the community out a little bit. Plus, people want to eat healthier. People want to buy local food now. And so if we can help the farmers out, they're helping us out, which in turn we're helping the whole town out, basically. - We do love farm to table. If you don't like barbecue, we have a bunch of other items that'll fit your needs. - I mean we've got veggie wraps. We've got all our salads, it's local salad mix. We've got really good salads. Really good healthy sides. Pretty much anything you want to eat. If you're a vegetarian, we can take care of you here. - [Ed] They can take care of your sweet tooth as well with taste-tempting treats. Fried moon pie a la mode, anyone? - Collins River barbecue is special, because good home cooking, family atmosphere, and some of the best barbecue you could ever taste. - It's a good place to come in, get a feel for some local beers, good food. People come in to hang out. It's very family-oriented here. - This restaurant, it's kind of like family. It's a business first but you get to know everybody just like my family. There you go, ma'am. And a loaded nacho. I hope you guys are hungry. - Thank you. - You're welcome. We've double-checked it. There's all that, plus your drink. You need help getting out? - No, I'm good. - You sure? - Yep. - All right, you have a good rest of the day. We've got tons of locals. On the weekends, we get people from Nashville, all over the place come in here just to eat, and check out our state parks while they're coming through. People come to Tennessee for a vacation, they wanna see what it's like to be in a southern town, the southern feel, the southern charm. I mean, people really like that about us, and that's why I think people come to Collins River, just to get that actual southern feel. - [Ed] And don't forget the southern food. Chris, Joe, and the Collins River crew have turned this old drugstore into a top-notch restaurant. Is there anything they can't do? - Come on back now, you hear? - [Ed] You can leave the TV to us, guys. - Thanks, Ed. Our next stop is rural Williamson County, where a young couple there is living the dream, so to speak. All thanks to their fascination with a certain breed of livestock. And the public's demand for farm-fresh, locally-produced food. - [Narrator] Tucked away on a piece of Williamson County paradise, you'll find the home of the Nobles, Dustin, Justine, and their daughter Brinlee. It's a farm they also share with more than 150 goats, four different breeds, actually. And goats are not only their livelihood, goats got the couple together. - Because of our mutual interest in goats, that's kind of what brought us together several years ago. - [Justine] We talked about turning our hobby of having our goats into a business and we just never dreamed that it would've grown as much as it has when we started this in 2009. - [Narrator] When they teamed up to share their goat-raising ambition, a kind, generous family friend lent them a hand and some land. - [Dustin] We were lucky that we get to look out over this huge valley every morning when we get up and come to work. It's kind of nice to get to see all the open, beautiful land out here. - [Narrator] Noble Springs Dairy has been in business since 2009. Now, it provides pasteurized goat's milk and cheese to farmers' markets and stores, locally, and to restaurants around the state. - [Justine] When we first started, we went to a lot of farmers' markets. And over time, we were able to get into different retail locations and have different distributors pick up our products and sell them to retail locations that are kind of out of our reach. And things that we wouldn't necessarily be able to accomplish by ourselves, so it's been really nice to see our business grow and be able to count on other companies to help us get our products in places available to the public. - [Dustin] Our primary product is chevre. It's spelled C-H-E-V-R-E, and that's the French word for goat. And, we make more of that than anything else, probably 85 or 90 percent of our production goes to chevre. We also make feta, we make a couple of aged cheeses, a soft-ripened cheese, and a hard cheese that's similar to Gouda. The chevre comes in a variety of flavors from sweet to savory. We have some with honey and berries. - [Narrator] Raising goats may seem simple. You give them water, food, and some shelter, and they give you milk. However, Dustin claims he's learned a lot beyond his degree in animal husbandry. - [Dustin] Everyday, we learn something new about the health of the animals and how to manage them. And so, it takes a lot of work. We milk the goats twice a day everyday. All of our kids are bottle-fed, so we feed them a bottle of milk two or three times a day everyday for three months. And there's just all kinds of different routine things we have to do to make sure they stay healthy and comfortable. The Southeast is kind of a tough environment for dairy animals because it can be so hot and humid in the summertime, it takes a lot of extra care to make sure that they stay happy and healthy and productive for us. - [Narrator] Dustin and Justine believe that their natural style of goat raising, allowing their stock to roam the land and supplement their diet with local vegetation is a key to producing better milk and cheese. - [Dustin] A lot of dairies have become more confined type of setting for animals. Our goats have access to a huge pasture out here behind their barn. It's so large that they can't keep up with the growth. They get to eat bushes, vines, all kinds of weeds. And so they get to eat some live, natural vegetation, so that makes a big difference in the quality of the milk. I feel like the goats really enjoy getting to go out and climb up and down the hillsides out here. Sometimes, you'll see them running up and down the hills and just playing and having a good time. - [Narrator] Talk about being one of the family. Each of the goats has a name. This is Mischa and Mandy, I'm not sure which is which. I just know that they're both wanting this bottle really bad. The Nobles offer tours of their 200-plus acre farm, answering all kinds of questions about these ever-curious barnyard beasts. Like, "What are those things hanging from their necks?" - Some of the goats have wattles, and it's funny that you asked about that, because I was just reading about that on the internet today about how they apparently have no purpose. They're just there for decoration is what it seems like. - [Narrator] Visitors also ask about those mysterious eyes, rectangular shaped and horizontal. - Because they're smaller animals, they could be subjected to predators. That helps with their peripheral vision. It helps them to be able to see all the way around. They can turn their head 180 degrees at least. - [Narrator] To the couple's daughter, Brinlee, the barnyard is a bountiful source of pets and playmates. And she's already involved in feeding the livestock. Well, it looks like this goat wants to feed on Brinlee's hair. - [Justine] I guess because she's been raised around the goats, she doesn't really have a fear of any animal. Sometimes, that's a bad thing, because not all animals are aware of what a tiny little human is. - [Narrator] The movement toward locally-sourced food has paid off for the Nobles. Their milk and cheese products are in demand by a growing health-conscious customer base. That makes all the work and long hours worthwhile. So, what about the future of the Noble Springs Dairy? - Every year, we grow a little bit, maybe by 10 or 15 percent. We want to make sure that we're not overextending ourselves, or not taking proper care of the animals because we're getting too focused on growing and trying to make more money. We're always trying to be conscious of the quality of the care of the animals, and the quality of the product that we're putting out. - We love what we do and we want to keep doing it. And we're hoping that Brinlee will like it too, but if not, she can always do whatever pleases her. But for the meantime, I guess she can be immersed and involved in all that we do with the goats. - At one time in Tennessee, there were more than 3,000 working mills for things like grain and textiles. These days though, there are only a handful still in operation. Gretchen Bates takes us to Cumberland Gap where a couple has not only kept the old town mill running, they've turned it into a popular B and B. - Cumberland Gap is an easy town to miss if you're in a hurry to get from Tennessee into Kentucky or Virginia. It sits right on the border of those three states. But that would be a mistake. There is so much to see and do in this historic town, that you're gonna want to stay the night, and I know just the place. - We've had it for about five and a half years now. - [Gretchen] Katrina and her mom Hester are the unexpected owners of The Olde Mill Bed and Breakfast in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. Unexpected because when they first arrived, they hadn't planned on staying very long, much less buying the place. - The girl that was a friend of ours, and she called and asked if we could come over and help, and we were like okay. And we came over and she was like, "I'm packing." I'm like, "Why are you packing?" She's like, "I'm selling, I can't deal with this." So, we ended up getting it from here, and it's been a blessing since. - I have nine years working in Aspen at the resorts up there. So I pretty much run it like I would as I was at a resort, so, I've never even stayed at a bed and breakfast before. My sister-in-law's had them. We bought it and we just happened to go over to hers, and go I guess we should see what it's like to have a bed and breakfast, and what I'm supposed to be doing. - [Gretchen] Hester and Katrina, this mother-daughter can-do duo that keeps this Olde Mill Bed and Breakfast running like a resort, but as comfortable as your own home. Each of the rooms has its own name reminiscent of surrounding area and history. - [Hester] Daniel Boone, that's a lot of the kids personal favorites because its got bunk beds that are made out of trees. Its got a queen size bed. - [Gretchen] There are seven rooms in all, each with their own unique style and feel. From the Rustic Cabin to Creekside with its romantic view of the waterwheel. - [Hester] The Cabin is my personal favorite. All the rooms are nice but to me, the cabin just feels more homey, more personal, relaxed feeling. One of my other favorites is probably the Pinnacle, its got the nine-foot window, and you can actually look out, see the mountains, see the pretty colors in the fall. - [Gretchen] There is just as much history here as there is natural beauty. The bed and breakfast was originally built as a one-room cabin in the 1700s. As the cabin passed hands, rooms were added, and the home took on a different purpose for different owners. - [Hester] The first time it was sold was 1905. So we're guessing that it was probably a boarding house, because back then, you would bring in boarders in with the train station at the end of the street. That would've been very good money for them. For 25 cents, you can spend the night and have breakfast. - [Gretchen] Perhaps what really makes this bed and breakfast so unique, aside from its long history, is the waterwheel, a working mill that sits right in the heart of this historic home. - Okay, this is the hopper. You need a blacksmith and you need a miller, or you don't have a town. So, there was a lot of them and they were pretty prevalent, but now Tennessee is down to probably 10 or 12 working historic mills and that's kind of sad, because they're kind of cool. The mill itself is not original to the building. It was brought up here in the 40s. - [Gretchen] A developer acquired the mill as part of a land deal in Chattanooga. It took a petition to the governor, and a state patrol escort to move the 20 foot waterwheel all the way from Chattanooga to its final home in Cumberland Gap. - When we bought it, we were told it didn't work. We were told they had tried to run it about 10 years ago before we had bought and that it shook so bad that they thought it was going to knock the house off the foundation. So we never did anything with it, and we just happened to be at a little tiny mill, and we went in there and the guy was grinding corn. And I got to talking with him, a very nice man. I said, "Well, we have one but it doesn't work." And, "Well, it sounds like your stones are touching." I said, "It can't be that simple." He said, "Yeah, it could be." Okay, he said, why don't you get a hold of this association I'm a member of is POOM, Preservation of Old Mills. So I called and they got me in touch with this person that actually gives hands-on classes. - [Gretchen] And this is where Hester's husband, Pete, comes in. Like a lot of men, Pete thought he'd be spending his free time rebuilding old cars with his son, but Hester had other plans. - I think this is my son's and my project. Well, we were gonna do a '74 Ford Bronco, but my wife said, "Nope, get the mill running." - [Katrina] Dad's the one that took the class. He came back and started tearing things apart. Mom's freaking out, she was like hysterical. And he went, "Okay, it all comes apart." So we took it apart and cleaned it. That's what started us grinding. - [Pete] And that, boys and girls, is how you move 2,000 pounds. - It's not so much the speed of the water, but the weight of the water that turns that stone. Because the stone's 2,200 pounds, so it needs a lot of torque to be able to get it to go. There's two stones, the bed stone and then the man stone, and they turn against each other, and so they'll grind it and it'll come out through the bottom. It's a lot of fun, never runs the same way twice. It's always different. We've learned a lot, that you cannot rush it. Temperature makes a difference, humidity makes a difference. My attitude makes a difference. In its heyday, it could 300 pounds of corn an hour. And that's a lot of corn. We do grits and we do corn meal. So we mix the blue and the yellow together, so we call it our own special blend of Tennessee Sand. This morning we did stuffed croissants, scrambled eggs, bacon, orange cranberry corn muffins that were shaped in owls. And grits, something you can add cheese grits, which is my personal favorite to do. A stick of butter and a little bit of salt. - [Gretchen] Mmm, cheese grits sound good. But it's not just the B and B guests that gets served breakfast at this inn. - [Katrina] We have rainbow trout. We have two of them that we've had for life. For five years, mom keeps saying they're going to end up in a frying pan but I think she might've lost her chance this time. - [Gretchen] There is something for everyone at The Olde Mill Bed and Breakfast. Whether you come to spend time with the fish, to eat the home-ground grits, or to spend quiet time in nature. - It's just a unique place. If you are very historic, you like to hike, you like the outdoors, this is the place to be. You're in three states, basically, and it's just beautiful all the time whether it's winter, summer, spring, everybody comes here to take their pictures in front of the mill wheel, to feed the fish with their grandkids. Everything, it's a very important part of this town. - Well, can you believe, it? Our time is just about up. In the meantime, why don't you visit our website, TennesseeCrossroads.org. Follow us on Facebook. And of course, join us next time. See you then.
June 27, 2019
Season 32 | Episode 50
This week on NPT's Tennessee Crossroads, meet a Smyrna woman who creates works of art from strips of cloth. Sample the smoked goodness at Collins River BBQ & Cafe in McMinnville. Meet a young Williamson County family and explore their goat dynasty. Make a trip to Cumberland Gap to visit a family that not only keeps the town's old mill running but run it as a Bed and Breakfast, as well.