McKay Used Books

One of my favorite places to shop in Knoxville is McKay Used Books, CDs, Movies & More.  Imagine, if you will, a library sized store selling every type of book imaginable at hugely discounted rates.  Add to that, shelves of music and movies, videos games and more and you have a shopping trip that might take you half the day.  Along with selling books, movies and more, they also buy used items to sell in the store.  Being located centrally in Knoxville, McKay’s is always jumping and each time you return they have a brand new selection due to the turn over and the volume of customers that they see.

Makes has thousands of books.  They painstakingly shelve them according to category and you can find books on almost any topic imaginable.  From history books and cooks books, to text books and audio books, you can find it at McKays.  It is incredible to watch the number of books that come in and out each day.  Find your favorite section and then start browsing.  You will find that when you look back down at your watch that hours have passed and you have found a stack of books you need to buy.  Of course, becaus eof the low, low prices at McKays buying a stack of books will not break the bank.


  • 1985 – Store opens in Knoxville
  • 1993 – McKay’s storms into the used CD market
  • 2005 – Knoxville store moves to its new location

Maybe you have some stuff you need to get rid of, pass on to the next person to enjoy.  If what you have is books, movies, CDs or video games… take them to McKays.  When you walk in, you will see a counter to the right hand side of the doors.  Grab one of the totes at the counter and fill it with the items you brought in.  Take your items to the counter and then wait for them to process the items.  When they get done, they will offer you cash or credit.  Choose whichever works for you and then head to the store to go shop.  You get more for store credit so if you are planning on shopping at McKays and finding books, movies and music to take home then a load of your stuff will get you new stuff.

McKays is easy to find.  Jump on I-40 in Knoxville.  Look for the Papermill exit.  When you come off the interstate, follow the signs to Papermill.  You will be driving toward Kingston Pike and you will pass McKays n the left hand side of the road.  So, if you are looking around for a great place to shop, a wonderful book store and a place to get a lot of loot for a little money, then McKays is your place.

McKay Used Books
230 Papermill Pl Way
Knoxville, TN

Black Friday

It is Black Friday in the Smokies and there is plenty of shopping to be done.  From Asheville to Knoxville and back again, there is shopping for everyone and deals to be had around every corner.  People have been in line for over a week to get at those deals inside the big box stores.  In the Smokies  with the amount of shopping to be done, it is certain that people have been shopping and lining up to shop for the better part of  a day – even before the leftovers from Turkey Day are even left overs.

Asheville & Knoxville

Asheville and  Knoxville are the two biggest cities in the Smoky Mountain area.  You can be sure that all of the major chains will be full of shoppers.  Best Buy, Target, Walmart and many others will have people lining up to get at eh deals for Black Friday and of course to grab up the first of their holiday shopping.  Certainly the malls in both of these cities will be packed.  If you are planning to visit any of these areas, make sure to allow lots of time and if you are planning to shop make sure to get there early.  In fact, if you are reading this on Black Friday then you are probably already late, unless you are reading it on your smartphone.


Outlets in the Smokies

The biggest outlet shopping to be had in the Smoky Mountains is in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge.  In Pigeon Forge, you can visit the Red Roof Mall on the Parkway. But of course, if you are looking for the best outlet shopping, prices as low as 75% off, then you are looking for nothing more then Tanger Five Oaks Outlet Mall in Sevierville, TN right on the Parkway.

Boutiques and Local Shops

And there is still another option.  You can always look to the small shops and boutiques in each of the mountain towns that surround the Smokies.  From Cashiers to Bristol, Asheville to Knoxville, there are great places to shop around every corner.  These small locations are locally owned in most cases and have items that you will never find anywhere else.   From Asheville’s Biltmore Village to Gatlinburg’s Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community, you will find plenty to buy and you will be able to purchase those one of a kind items that you don’t find in a big box store.  Part of the fun of spending Thanksgiving away from your home town is being able to celebrate the holiday season a little different.  Going to boutique shopping areas like Gatlinburg’s The Village and tooling around Cashiers and Highlands in some of the best resort shopping in the southeast.

If you are going to be spending today, Black Friday shopping, and you are in the Smoky Mountains, make sure that you take in all the sights.  Make sure that you get those big box deals.  Make sure that you explore the outlet malls for even deeper discounts and of course, go to a smaller local store and really get a feel for the Smokies.  Meet the people that live in the area, spend time with your family while you start the shopping list and hopefully finish some of your shopping as well.  Spend Black Friday in one of the most beautiful place sin the world, the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina.

Great Smokies Flea Market

One of the great shopping destinations in the Smokies!

Who doesn’t love a flea market?  In Sevierville, and in fact in the Smoky Mountains, one of the best and in fact one of the biggest is Great Smokies Flea Market! Located right off of exit 407 in Sevierville, this is a shopper’s paradise with tens of thousands of products and hundreds of vendors this is one of those spots.  Everything from housewares to clothing and everything in between can be found beneath the roof of this retail paradise.

When you walk in the front door of the indoor part of the Great Smokies Flea Market, you are stepping into one of the best organized and best maintained flea markets in the southeast.  The owners of the flea market keep out the riff-raff and and the vendors keep the consumers in the merchandise that they want.  The booths in the inside section are well lit, handicap accessible and clean.  This is not a dank, outdoor flea market, this is an indoor, heated and cooled mall.  Once you are inside, pick a row and start browsing.  A lot of the vendors on the inside are there weekend after weekend, month after month and they have been there for years.  There is literally everything under the sun, under this roof: collectibles, movies, books, housewares, furniture, everything you can imagine and all at low cost prices.

great smokies flea market 2Then you might want to venture outside.  During season, you are looking at a place for lots of outdoor vendors and a farmers market.  Aisles of produce, straight from the farm, landscaping, lawn furniture and outdoor tools.  Along with all of these wonderful vendors, this is also the place where you will see vendors that might only be at the flea market for one weekend or for a series of weekends during the season.  These outdoor areas are roofed and have clean wide walkways between them.  The outdoor booths are a revolving door through which the Great Smokies Flea Market brings lots of new merchandise and even locals that are looking for a place to have a makeshift yard sale in a bigger venue.

Of course, as in real estate, the best part about Great Smokies Flea Market is location.  When you come off of I-40 on exit 407 into Sevier County, you will take the first right hand turn.  This puts you on Dumplin Valley Dr in Sevierville.  Follow this road until you see the Great Smokies Flea Market, it will be on the right hand side of the road, don’t worry you will not miss it!  Add the Great Smokies Flea Market to your places to stop while you are in the Smokies, don’t miss the shopping experience.

great smokies flea market 1Great Smokies Flea Market
220 W Dumplin Valley Road
Kodak, TN 37764

Mast General Store – Knoxville

In 2006, a Smoky Mountain tradition joined the newly renovated downtown area of Knoxville, TN – the Mast General Store.  The Mast General Store is what it was to people back in the turn of the century a store, carrying general merchandise and those things from our homespun past that bring back tons of great memories.  This addition to the downtown scene in Knoxville has brought visitors to the area that may not have stopped by before and the ability to walk into a great store, carrying amazing merchandise is a perfect in downtown Knoxville.

The Mast General Store in Knoxville is located on Gay Street.  This is one of the main roads that run through the middle of downtown.  Gay Street passes right next to Market Square, in front of the Tennessee Theater past many a Knoxvilian’s favorite restaurants and late night hangouts.  Parking was at one time an issue in this typical downtown area but now, especially at night and on the weekends, parking is free and the walk to and from your car will let you window shop and enjoy the sights and sounds of Knoxville.

mgsk1When you pass through the doors of the Mast General Store you will be overwhelmed y the sheer volume of the merchandise that they have on display.  From clothing to home wares, from candy to dry goods and even those items you need to strike out on the trail, you will find yourself walking the aisles of the Mast General Store for hours.  On the main level you are going to find a great selection of clothing for both men and women, homewares and the best candy selection in East Tennessee.  The candy area is a draw for children both young and old.  There rae bins and barrels and boxes of candy of every shape and size.  They also have a lot of candies that you might not have seen in years.  Some of the classic candy selections include:  BB Bats, Black Licorice Pipes, Kits, Sky Bars, Squirrel Nut Zippers and many more.  Daily, people take their taste buds on a walk down memory lane in the candy section of the Mast General Store.

mgs2Downtown at the Mast General Store in Knoxville is a hikers paradise.  Footwear to the right, backpacks to the back and hiking gear scattered on every surface.  Watches to wallets, shorts to sleeping bags, you will find everything you need to tackle the trails in the GSMNP.  Buy yourself a backpack and load up on all of the essential gear.  Of course, the best thing about the Mast General Store is the fact that the employees use the gear they sale and they will point you in the right direction for the items you need for your day hiking or any other outdoor activity in the Smoky Mountains.

Pay a visit to the Mast General Store in Knoxville, TN.  It is a step back in time, it is a great shopping experience, it is a place to walk down memory lane.  It is in the middle of one of the great downtown revival sin East Tennessee.  Make the Mast General Store a destination on your vacation.

Mast General Store – Knoxville
402 South Gay Street
Knoxville, TN

Cheese Cupboard & Hofbrauhaus

If you blink, you’ll miss one of the town’s best kept secrets – the Cheese Cupboard nestled in The Village shopping area in Gatlinburg. It’s your classic Bavarian cheese shop with a wide selection of every kind of cheese from Brie to Gouda. Combined with the restaurant located upstairs and you’ve found a hidden gem in Gatlinburg that even the most detailed foodie might pass by.  The Hofbrauhaus Restaurant is known around town for its famous Reuben sandwich, which you must try to believe.

Cheese Cupboard & HofbrauhausThe Cheese Cupboard opened its doors in 1969 downtown.  For the small scale of the store, the variety of cheeses, imported chocolates and imported beers on hand is surprising.  It’s hard to find any empty shelf space in here.  From Brie to Blue, and cheddar to Camembert, the Cheese Cupboard is a turophile’s (cheese lover) dream come true in Tennessee.  Maybe you’re looking for something specific or you just want to shop for a new kind of cheese, the selection at the Cheese Cupboard will leave you satisfied.

Upstairs is where the real hidden treasure lies.  Literally, the back staircase goes straight up to a German connoisseurs buffet.  The narrow staircase leads you to a small dining area with an even smaller kitchen on the left hand side.  This is the Hofbrauhaus, a German restaurant the likes of which you read about travel diaries and children’s tales.  It’s a modest menu, but not lacking in delicious German fare.  Sandwiches, bratwurst, and cheese all align one side of the menu but the main reason for a visit is their Reuben.  They are renowned for this specialty, called the “The Super Reuben.”  Stacked high with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and homemade sauce, this incredible German sandwich is worth the trek up the stairs alone.  Melted cheese and tangy sauerkraut emerge out of every bite and tell your senses why it really is the best Reuben in the Smokies.  Coarse ground mustard, horseradish and relish can be found on each table so that you can condiment till your heart’s content.

Cheese Cupboard & HofbrauhausThe Hofbrauhaus dining area is also a large part of the appeal.  Cozy and quaint, with seating for no more than 12 or 16, this is one of those places where if you have a big enough group; you just might be dining alone, something hard to find in Gatlinburg.  The interior looks like a small, turn-of-the-century German gastro pub. Dark wood and furnishings highlight the dining area.  A little reminder, your waiter will also be cooking for you and bringing your drinks. They will also be the person working the register downstairs in the cheese shop. Patience is a virtue; good things come to those who wait.

During the week try something different in Gatlinburg for lunch, rather than going to a fast food restaurant, take time to seek out and stop by the Hofbrauhaus restaurant.  Our recommendation, get the Reuben, or one of the other fantastic sandwiches.  Butter it up with some fresh horseradish or mustard sauce and enjoy a great meal in one of those places that seems off the beaten but really isn’t.  Purchase some fine cheese from the Cheese Cupboard as a tasty souvenir.  People will ask you where you ate and won’t believe you when you tell them.

Black Friday in the Smokies

Black Friday! Those two words have become as synonymous with Thanksgiving as turkey and dressing. And it’s no different in the Smoky Mountains. In fact, some say the towns of Sevierville and Pigeon amp it up even further when it comes to after Thanksgiving shopping.

The two mountain towns have each become a shopping destination over the years with the Five Oaks Tanger Outlet Mall forming a literal “shopping bridge” between the two. Both are geared to offer some of the best Black Friday deals in the Smokies with such a wide range of name-brand stores and local shops advertising big sales. From outlet center deals to one-of-a-kind art and quality antiques, Black Friday in the Smoky Mountains is a shopper’s paradise.

Eat that turkey and ham quick because Tanger Five Oaks Outlet Mall in Sevierville starts out early with big sales beginning Thanksgiving night. You’ll also find stores at Tanger Five Oaks guaranteeing Black Friday specials. That is, if there is anything left. Of course, sales will go through the weekend for anyone who decides they’d rather relax and enjoy a slower pace for the holiday season.

As for other area shopping destinations, Smoky Mountain Knife Works in Sevierville opens with great deals on knives, kitchen accessories and bakeware.

On up the road and across Interstate 40 in Kodak, Tn, Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World’s sale is always a must stop for the outdoorsy person on your gift list.

Located just off Interstate 40 Exit 407 in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Sevierville and Pigeon Forge, TN offers the BEST in after Thanksgiving Black Friday holiday shopping. Shop the outlets, Pigeon Forge’s Christmas Place and Old Mill Square, or some of the many local boutiques offering sales aplenty.

Scottish Tartan Museum

stm1It was easy for the people from the Highlands of Scotland to find a home in the Smoky Mountains.  They found in the Smokies a place that resembled home, a place that looked like the land they had left.  The Scottish and the Irish that live din other parts of the former British Colonies made the move to the Smokies as well.  As the communities in the Smokies formed, these people shared there past, their heritage and their cultures with others, with their new neighbors.  In Franklin, North Carolina, there is a quaint museum that celebrates the Scottish heritage of the Smokies like no other.  The Scottish Tartan Museum tells the history of a people by telling the history of the Tartan.

Tartan is the fabric that not only is used in the manufacture of the traditional kilt but it is an identifier for the various Scottish Clans that exist.  The museum was formed out of the Scottish Tartan Society which started in Scotland in 1963.  The museum is a tribute to this unique fabric.  From pieces of tartan that are decades old, to representations of the way that kilts are made and worn this is one of the best niche museums that you will ever encounter.  It is well maintained and curated, the pieces have been lovingly collected and there is a story, well told, to go with each piece.

stm2And after you get out of the museum, if you are really feeling the Scottish vibe then you can go through their gift shop and pick up a piece of Scotland to take home.  From bumper stickers with the Scottish fag to your very own kilt this gift shop has everything – everything Scottish.  Music to books, t-shirts to food stuffs, there is a little something for everybody and it is worth the time just to stop by the gift shop if you don’t have time to walk through their museum.

Next time you visit the North Carolina side of the Smokies, stop by Franklin.  Head to downtown Franklin, literally, their original downtown.  Their downtown is very much like the downtown that you might have encountered in the 50s.  Small shops and cafes on the street, you park right in front of them and walk inside.  The Scottish Tartan Museum is no different.  It is located right at the dge of downtown.  Park in front and go right in.  The museum is located downstairs on the left as you go in, but when you walk through the doors you are in the middle of their gift shop.

Take the family into the Scottish Tartan Museum, and learn a lot more about the people that founded most of the towns around the Smokies.  Learn about the Scottish people that moved into the area through the vehicle of the fabric they used to make a very unique piece of clothing called the kilt.  Walk through a museum dedicated to a fabric, a people and a lifestyle.  Visit Franklin, and step into the Highlands.  Who knows maybe you will leave with a kilt around your waist and smile on your face.

Scottish Tartan Museum
86 E Main St
Franklin, NC

Grove Arcade

The Grove Arcade is one of the most interesting shopping locations in Asheville, NC.  Boutique shopping and galleries line the Grove Arcade building and the eateries bring some of the best food to the foodie scene in Western North Carolina.  The Grove Arcade building also has a delightful history and this building that at one point was meant to enliven the skyline and architecture of the city of Asheville.

EW Grove came to Asheville in 1910.  This millionaire businessman and builder fell in love with Asheville and it still bears his name at the Grove Park Inn and the Grove Arcade.  Grove built the Inn first and then decided to add some flare to the downtown area of Asheville.  He designed the Grove Arcade to be a cultural center, full of shopping and restaurants in downtown Asheville.  The original plan was for the Grove Arcade to be a 5 story structure with a 14 story tower on top.  Grove passed on in 1927 without seeing the completion of this new project.  The base was finished but the tower was never added.  This 260,000+ square foot building became one of the largest in the area and was full of offices and shopping very quickly.

The federal government took over the building during World War II to help with the war effort and the building continued to see government service into the 1980s.  With the 1980s, there came a move to re-energize the downtown area and in this move the people of Asheville wanted to see the Grove Arcade building returned to its original purpose.  The building was placed on the register of historical places and through a massive renovation, the Grove Arcade reopened on 2002.  This new version of the Grove Arcade included shopping, restaurants, markets and 42 luxury apartments.  It is still the largest building of its type in Western North Carolina and it is the jewel of the downtown Asheville renovation project.


  • Alexander & Lehert
  • Andriana
  • Asheville NC Homecrafts
  • Bath Junkie
  • Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar
  • Caravans
  • The Challenge Golf Group
  • Enter the Earth
  • Four Corners Home
  • Makeup at the Grove Arcade
  • Mission at the Grove
  • Niche
  • Roberto Coin
  • Stenevson Rare Coins & Jewelry
  • Studio Flora Diva
  • Tic-n-Time
  • Vaquera
  • Virtuoso:  Visual Music Eductation and Arts Lounge


  • Alexander & Lehnert
  • Asheville NC Homecrafts
  • Mountain Made


  • Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar
  • Burgerworx
  • Carmel’s Kitchen & Bar
  • Chorizo
  • Modesto
  • Nutz About Fudge
  • Sante Wine Bar & Tap Room
  • Thai Basil
  • True Confessions
The Grove Arcade is some of the best shopping in Asheville, NC.  Boutique shops and galleries all under one roof with a lot of history behind not only these locally owned shops but the location as well.  Head down to the Grove Arcade one Saturday, get there early and grab some lunch.  Hang out and people watch for a while.  Drop some cash on some of of a kind merchandise and learn why THE shopping destination in Asheville, NC is the Grove Arcade.

The Grove Arcade
One Page Avenue
Asheville, NC

Tanger Five Oaks Outlet Center

Tanger Five Oaks is the premier outlet shopping center in the Smoky Mountains.  Locate din East Tennessee in Sevierville.  You are a stones throw from Knoxville and Pigeon Forge and right at the heart of some of the best shopping in the Smokies.  National name brands have made their homes in this outlet center and though they will have a selection of this years and this seasons merchandise, they also take in the merchandise that has not moved as quickly and they pass the savings on to you to move that inventory and give it a good home.

The stores at this location do change occasionally but the big names seem to remain constant.  Here is a current Store Directory:

  • $5 Christian Bookstore
  • Adidas
  • Aeropostale
  • Alfred Dunner
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Ann Taylor Factory Store
  • Banana Republic
  • Bare Excentuals
  • Bass
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Bose Factory Store
  • Brooks Brothers Factory Store
  • Carter’s
  • Catherine Plus Sizes
  • Champion
  • The Childern’s Place
  • Chico’s Outlet
  • Claire’s
  • Clarks Bostonian
  • Coach Factory
  • Coldwater Creek Outlet
  • Corningware
  • Corelle & More
  • Cosmetics Company
  • Crocs Outlet
  • Direct Tools
  • Disney Store
  • Donna Sharp
  • Dressbarn
  • Earthbound Trading Company
  • Easy Spirit Outlet
  • Ecko Unitd.
  • Eddie Bauer Outlet
  • Family Book Outlet
  • Famous Footwear Outlet
  • Fossil
  • Fragrance Outlet
  • Gap Outlet
  • Gymboree Outlet
  • Haggar
  • Harry & David
  • Hartstrings
  • Izod
  • J Crew Factory
  • Janie & Jack
  • Jockey
  • Johnston & Murphy
  • Jones New York
  • Journeys
  • Juicy Coulture
  • Justice
  • Kaspar
  • Kirkland’s
  • Kitchen Collection
  • Lane Bryant
  • Le Creuset
  • L’eggs Hanes Bali Playtex
  • Le Gourmet Chef
  • Lenox Factory Outlet
  • Levi’s Oulet
  • Lids
  • LOFT Outlet
  • Merrell
  • Michael Kors
  • Motherhood Maternity Outlet
  • Naartijie Kids
  • Naturalizer
  • Nautica
  • New York, New York
  • Nike Factory Store
  • Nine West Outlet
  • Oakley Vault
  • Old Navy Outlet
  • OskKosh B’gosh
  • Pac Sun
  • Perfumania
  • Polo / Ralph Lauren Factory Store
  • Rack Room Shoes
  • Reebok
  • Rockport
  • Rue 21
  • SAS SHoes
  • Sketchers
  • Socks Galore by Hanes
  • Stride Rite
  • Sunglass Hut
  • Sunglass World
  • Timberland Factory Store
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Tommy Hilfiger Kids
  • Totes / Sunglass World
  • Toys R Us Express
  • Ultra Diamonds
  • Under Armour
  • Uniform Destination
  • Van Huesen
  • Vitamin World
  • Wilsons Leather
  • Zales – The DIamond Store Outlet
  • Zumiez

Tanger Five Oaks is located in Sevierville, as we have already discussed.  If you are headed toward Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, you will pass between Walmart on the right and Governor’s Crossing on the left.  The very next thing you will see on the left is Tanger Five Oaks.  It is a sprawling complex of stores, setup in an outdoor shopping area.  There are restaurants both in the complex and right across the street so there is no reason to not spend an entire day or more shopping at Tanger Outlet all.

Dillard Antique Shops

One of the main draws to Dillard, Ga is the sheer number of antique shops that line the main street of this small Smoky Mountain town.  Shops and galleries of ever shape and size line both sides of the road, allowing you to park your car and walk from store to store while you browse through the artifacts of a time that has passed into antiquity.

Dillard, GA is a lazy little mountain town.  Home to several great inns and lots of good food, the big draw in the last 15 years has been the antique shops.  Most of these shops are mall style shops were vendors rent out spaces and the owner of the building take sin the money and keeps an eye on their wares.  The vendors can bring in whatever they want to sell and then the owner of the mall can have an ever changing inventory.  These malls have an enormous selection of items, they are full of Americana and that really might be the biggest draw of the antique mall.

The ability to explore an antique mall, to roam through the halls and rows, browsing through stacks of paintings, clothing, furniture and the such gives you an opportunity to step back into your childhood.  For most people they are getting to see things that they might not have seen since their childhoods.  If you have brought your kids with you may find yourself answer tons of questions as they ask you what things are and why things are designed the way that they are.  You will lose yourself reminiscing about the past, about the bed that you found that looks just like your aunt’s bed from when you were a kid, the china that your great grandmother used or maybe you found a suit that looks like the one your dad used to wear when he was younger.

Let the nostalgia of a trip back through time suck you into a full day of shopping through the antique malls of Dillard, GA.  Teach your kids some history, tell stories that you might not have talked about in years and maybe you will find that piece of the past that you need to complete the collection you have been working on since you were young.  The antique malls of Dillard are a destination and a shopping experience that you need to invest your time in the next trip you take to the Smoky Mountains.