The Perfect Getaway: A Visit to The Swag Country Inn

This year marks the 34th season at The Swag Country Inn in Waynesville, North Carolina. Nestled 5,000 feet above everywhere, it is the perfect travel destination to find relaxation, mountain views and Southern hospitality. If you need to escape for a day or for a weekend, The Swag provides every amenity to ensure you will be able to truly unplug and unwind.

Founded in 1982 by owner Deener Matthews, The Swag was originally built as a family home for her and her husband Dan in 1971. Deener continues to manage operations at The Swag, now a private Bed and Breakfast, offering memorable getaways for local and regional visitors from late April through November.

From breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains, including views of four of North Carolina’s six highest mountain ranges, to luxurious accommodations and professional staff, The Swag Country Inn will make sure your stay is enjoyable. If you prefer hammocks or hiking trails, you will find the perfect way to enjoy doing nothing at all.

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Why Premier Eyecare?

You have many options when it comes to eyecare services and products in Knoxville.  With so many choices, how do you decide where to go? Customer service and the quality of the products sold are a good place to start when evaluating your options. At Premier Eyecare, you will find friendly, well-trained staff who are dedicated to providing an excellent experience in their office. They have three licensed dispensing opticians who will make sure that your eyewear is fit properly and performs optically to the strictest standards. When you are shopping for eyeglasses, you should rely on skilled licensed opticians to keep you informed of the latest technologies available and make sure that you look and see great with your new glasses. Even if you are purchasing non-prescription sunglasses, it is important to have them custom fit for your face. Minor adjustments to any frame will make a big difference in the comfort and performance of your eyeglasses and sunglasses. At Premier Eyecare, they provide free adjustments for the life of your eyeglasses and sunglasses.If contact lenses are of interest to you, then look no further than Premier Eyecare. Dr. Brent Fry, Premier Eyecare’s optometric physician, has many years of experience in fitting contact lenses ranging from simple disposable fits to custom contact lenses for difficult prescriptions. Dr. Fry is a speaker and consultant for Synergeyes hybrid contact lenses and a speaker for Bausch & Lomb contact lenses. If you have ever been told that you can’t wear contact lenses or have given up on them due to any reason, you may want to discuss your options with Dr. Fry. He has been able to fit many patients with contact lenses who otherwise would have given up.Premier Eyecare is a provider for most vision and medical insurance plans and will provide help in understanding your individual benefits. Premier Eyecare features many new technologies in their office that aid in providing you with the best possible eyecare experience. The Optos retinal camera provides 200 degrees of field compared to the 90-100 degrees of field seen using other methods. This panoramic view of the retina provides Dr. Fry with valuable information about the health of your eyes. The OCT provides a scan of the retina, enabling the doctor to examine each layer of the retina in detail. In the optical, the opticians use the Optikam digital imaging device to help customize each pair of your eyeglasses. You can even see yourself in up to four frames at once to help you decide which frame is right for you. If you want to experience excellence in eyecare, look no further than Premier Eyecare. Call for your appointment today. 865-966-0100 or visit

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Seasons Culinary Inspirations – Seasons Award Winning Chili

Our good friend Winter is quickly approaching, bringing along with him his trusty pals: Bitterly Cold Temperatures, Cutting Winds, and Frigid Snowy Days. We know this group of friends all too well. For many of you, winter weather makes you want to remain indoors until spring comes. Fortunately, we live in a world with food. Food is our friend — always has been, always will be. So when you’ve been out in the frosty air all day long and the chilling winter temperatures cut to your core, there’s nothing better than a warm bowl of chili. Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili.

Seasons Award Winning Chili


2 tsp olive oil
2 med onions (chopped)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs beef sirloin (cubed 3/4in-1in)
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 can dark beer (12 ounces)
1 cup dark coffee
2 cans tomato paste (6 oz each)
1 1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 1/2 tbs chili sauce
1 tbs cumin powder
1 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
4 cans kidney beans (15 oz each)
7 oz chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (chopped)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)

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Breaking Ground At Wears Valley Ranch

There are 120 acres of farmland in Sevierville, Tennessee, at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Wears Valley Ranch has called this land home since 1992 and has provided a place for children to do the same. Wears Valley Ranch offers a safe place for children to stay who have endured a traumatic or family-related crisis. They provide counseling, opportunities for education, and healing through a relationship with God.Children are often casualties of circumstances outside of their control. Many families are destroyed by divorce, drugs, abuse, neglect, or death. Founder Jim Wood opened Wears Valley Ranch to provide a home for children in these tragic situations. Wood also founded Saint Andrew’s School, which provides children with a complete K-12 education. The school includes one-on-one instruction from caring adults, a carefully chosen curriculum suited to the child’s learning style, and the opportunity for children to advance at their own pace.On October 16th, the Ranch broke ground for construction of their new Chapel. Because of the generous prayers from the community, Wears Valley Ranch has outgrown their meeting hall, which seats 100, and has made plans to build a Chapel to seat over 200 people. The Chapel will allow new opportunities for Biblical teaching, yearly events, and further the mission to help children in crisis. The Chapel is on schedule to open in the Fall of 2016.Brian McDonnell is the Chief Operating Officer at Wears Valley Ranch and says the new Chapel is an answer to a lot of prayers. “We want to see children from difficult situations come to know Jesus,” McDonnell says. “We want their lives to be transformed to include stable, loving families, and give them the opportunity to succeed.” With the help and prayers of generous individuals, Wears Valley Ranch has been able to do exactly that. In addition to providing a home, continuing education and biblical teaching, Wears Valley Ranch offers children the opportunity to learn about responsibility through the care of agriculture, livestock, and aquaponics. “It’s exciting to see kids learn how to work with their hands, bringing produce from farm to table,” McDonnell said. “God’s creative genius is on display here in the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains. It is also on display in these children, as they receive new life in Him.”McDonnell believes that each child that comes to the Ranch is sent for a reason. “We are honored and humbled to have that responsibility.” He says. “We desire to be good stewards of God’s blessing, and feel we can best serve our children and visitors at the Ranch and teach them more about our Lord.” Wears Valley Ranch relies on the prayers and support of the community to provide children with a safe place to stay. The Ranch does not accept any government support, and has remained debt free for 23 years, thanks to the generous donations of the community.To refer a child or find out how you can help, visit or call 865-429-KIDS today.

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Dream Katcher Lodge: Luxury Accommodations For Cats & Dogs

When planning a trip out of town or a weekend vacation, there are always details to see to before you can walk out the door. You have to make arrangements for your neighbor to get the mail, get someone to water your plants and keep an eye on the house. But most important for dog and cat owners is assuring excellent care for their four-legged family members while they’re away. Dream Katcher Lodge is here to help you have a worry-free trip…at least where your pet is concerned.

Dream Katcher Lodge offers luxury accommodations and top of the line care for your pet. However far your travels take you, there is peace of mind in knowing your four-legged “kids” are getting the attention they deserve. The Lodge is prepared to accommodate canine and feline friends, providing spacious suites and windowed apartments, even offering livestreaming webcams so you can check in on your pet at anytime. Windows look out into a courtyard with native East Tennessee plants, a koi pond, and a tranquil waterfall.

Each room provides a comfortable secure place for your pet to stay. The canine and feline wings are completely separate, and are individually equipped with an ultraviolet air treatment system to minimize airborne bacteria and other allergens. For arthritic pets or animals unaccustomed to cooler weather, The Lodge offers heated floors with individual thermostat control.

Dogs from the same family can share a suite, as can cats from the same family. And you

can bring a favorite toy or blanket to make your “kids” feel even more at home.

Interested in taking a tour? No appointment is needed…just come during regular business hours. Dream Katcher Lodge recommends each family attend a Guest Orientation to ensure every member of your family will be comfortable while you are away.

The Lodge provides several pet services at no additional charge, including administering oral and topical medications, offering an easily-digested prescription food as the inhouse diet, and serving a tasty bedtime treat. Additional services include canine baths, extra brushing, nail care, as well as extra playtime. The professional staff is dedicated to making your pet feel completely at home, and their attention to detail will put any owner at ease.

If your trip is for business or pleasure, for a weekend, a week or even longer, you can fully enjoy guilt-free travel, because the 4-legged member of your family is safe, secure, and loved.

Stop by Dream Katcher Lodge in Knoxville, Tennessee for an in-person visit. You can also take an online excursion through the facility at

Dream Katcher Lodge
11253 Kingston Pike
Farragut, TN 37934

Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm
Saturday 9am – 4pm
Sunday 1pm – 4pm

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The Farragut: Town, Admiral and Pride of the U.S. Navy

On November 7th, 2015, the USS Farragut Destroyer (DDG-99) returned from her 8-month deployment. Friends and families stood on the dock at the Mayport Naval Base in Jacksonville, Florida, to welcome the crew home. They arrived just in time to celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th with their families.

At 509 feet long and weighing in at just over 9,000 tons, the USS Farragut was commissioned in June of 2006 and can accommodate almost 300 officers and sailors.

The USS Farragut Destroyer is an Arleigh Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyer, detailing the type of Destroyer and the kind of missiles it is built to carry. The ship’s official motto is “Prepared for Battle”.

The USS Farragut is the 5th ship to be named after Admiral David Farragut, who was the first Naval Officer to become a Rear Admiral. Born near the Holston River in July of 1801, just a few miles from Campbell Station, Admiral Farragut is admired for his bravery in the face of battle and his commitment to the United States Navy.
His service to his country also inspired the name of our city!

The Chapel at the Naval Academy in Annapolis has memorialized Admiral Farragut in a beautiful stained-glass window. The window shows a portrait of him in uniform lashed to the rigging on his ship, surrounded in smoke, holding binoculars in his left hand. Along the bottom frame of the window are the words Aug 5 MOBILE BAY 1846.

Admiral Farragut became a midshipman in the Navy at just nine years old. He spent several years on the sea fighting pirates and raiders in the Caribbean. He rapidly rose in Naval ranks, serving on the USS Essex and later assuming command of the USS Ferret. During the Mexican-American War, he commanded the USS Saratoga. It was not until he took command of the USS Hartford, however, that Admiral Farragut would be remembered throughout history for his bravery.

The Battle of Mobile Bay is remembered as a pivotal point in the Civil War. The Confederacy used the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River to move troops and supplies inland. The Union sought to take control of the port to block the supplies, sending several ships upriver to secure a victory. Mobile Bay was heavily mined with ‘torpedos’ that destroyed several of the Union’s Naval ships. Admiral Farragut lashed himself to the rigging of his ship so he could see above the gunsmoke and ordered his crew to sail the USS Hartford forward, despite the risk.

“Damn the torpedos!” is his famous line in the heat of battle, and the Union fleet took control of the port just hours later. His success at Mobile Bay became the defining moment in his Naval career. In December of 1864, Admiral Farragut became the first U.S. Officer in history to be given the title Admiral of the American Navy. He was the leader and commander of all Naval forces until his death in 1870.

Admiral Farragut’s tactical skill and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds attributed to his success. He is memorialized in the Naval Chapel, and his legacy lives on the active ships in the U.S. Naval fleet. His birthplace will be forever remembered in our town of Farragut in East Tennessee.

I would like to dedicate this article to the brave men and women serving our country. To my father, Lieutenant Commander Jeff Hoadley, and my brother, Midshipmen First Class William Hoadley. Thank you for protecting our freedom.

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Winter Wonderland: A Photoshoot

Winter is a time for the land to rest under a quiet blanket of snow. Christmas brings memories of family around the table, a crackling fire, cups of hot chocolate and a cool stillness to the air.

For some couples, planning their wedding or engagement photographs in winter is the perfect way to slow down, gather together and celebrate. Since 1983, Bluebird Christmas Tree Farm has allowed friends and families to do exactly that. Settled in the rolling hills of East Tennessee, Bluebird Christmas Tree Farm is a wonderful place to capture the timeless scene of a winter wedding.

JoPhoto traveled out to Heiskell, Tennessee, to photograph an inspiration shoot to find ideas for an engagement, wedding ceremony or family event. These photos are sure to spark your holiday creativity for home, farm and winter wedding ideas with festive red and green accents.

Designers from The Bride Link and Custom Love Gifts joined us with floral designer L.B. Floral to pull off a unique holiday-themed shoot. JoPhoto combined the class of an elegant Christmas dining table with the natural and rustic beauty of the outdoors. All of our photos were framed by hundreds of rows of beautiful evergreens, creating a natural, intimate aisle to the table.

Bluebird Christmas Tree Farms has sold Christmas Trees since 1988. Every year, they open their doors to families who can choose and cut their own tree, have a tree cut for them or select a pre-cut tree from the grounds. With several different types of trees, you are sure to find a perfect, fresh one for your home.

In addition to selling beautiful trees, Bluebird Christmas Tree Farms also provides mistletoe, garlands, Fraser fir wreaths and swags for decorations. After selecting a tree, stop by the gift shop and pavilion to warm up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate or apple cider. Pick up a jar of local jam, honey or sorghum for the perfect stocking stuffer.

Stop by this season to get inspired!
Bluebird Christmas Tree Farm
985 Brushy Valley Road
Heiskell, TN 37754
865.457.5682 or 865.599.3522

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A Perfect Way To End A Career

Jim Henry, the Governor’s current Deputy and Chief of Staff, is passionate about the Tennessee Community. After three attempts to retire from his involvement in local politics, he has agreed to serve as Deputy to the Governor and Chief of Staff, and is ready to make a bigger impact to benefit the generations to come. Henry accepted the position earlier this year, stating it would be “a perfect way to end his career.”

Henry grew up in Madisonville, Tennessee, moving to Kingston at the age of 13. He attended Hiwassee College, studied at the University of Tennessee, then served overseas during the Vietnam War. Once he returned to the States, he followed his father’s involvement in politics and soon became an active city councilman in Kingston. At 28 years old, Henry successfully ran for Mayor of Kingston, remaining in office until 1978.

He was then elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1980, a position that he would hold for the next 12 years. After being elected to the legislature, he was elected Republican Leader in 1980 and Chairman of the Party in 1984, serving in both positions for 2 years from 1984-1986.

During his time as a Tennessee State Representative, Henry and his wife, Pat, raised three children. They soon discovered that their son, John, faced a life of intellectual disability. “Having a child with mental disabilities changes how you see the world.” Henry said. “Pat and I were brought closer to others who faced the same obstacles, and we were brought closer to our faith.” Henry began organizing programs and activities at the Michael Dunn Center, where his wife was the chairmen of the board. The activities mainly centered on building a supportive network to give families with children like John the help that they needed.

The startling lack of support for children who have intellectual disabilities inspired Jim Henry to begin his own company, Omni Visions. As CEO, Henry directed Omni Visions to focus on helping children with intellectual disabilities, providing a network of stability that reduces the risk of abuse within the foster care system.

After working with Omni Visions for 17 years, Henry prepared to retire. He had just completed an intense round of chemotherapy to treat cancer when Governor Haslam invited him to attend a meeting. In that meeting, Henry discovered that the Tennessee Legislature was prepared to act on a petition that he had begun years ago.

The petition was focused on creating a separate legislative branch of Intellectual
& Developmental Disabilities. The Legislature finally agreed to create the Department of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (DIDD), and Governor Haslam asked Henry to be the first commissioner. Henry would serve as commissioner for two years before retiring from full-time involvement. Henry told his wife Pat that this would be “the perfect way to end a career.”

With his experience in the legislature, along with his understanding of intellectual disabilities, Henry successfully established DIDD. After serving as commissioner for two years, Henry prepared to step down and retire. But as the DIDD was succeeding, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) was struggling.

Due to a lack of funding, leadership, and priority, the DCS had an abnormally high death rate among children in the Foster Care system. Governor Haslam asked Henry to serve as DCS Commissioner for another two years. “It was such an honor to be asked, I couldn’t turn it down.” Henry said. “I figured I’d work a little bit longer. Once I took a look at it, I realized it’s a great opportunity to make a difference.” Henry had found another perfect way to “end his career.”

As Henry began his work with DCS, the department continued to receive bad press from the local media. Henry invited the news to join him and his staff on a Priority One call. A Priority One call includes an environment where a child or several children live in a home of toxic stress. The environment may include abuse, neglect, a broken family, or a family where one or both parents abuse alcohol, drugs, or are completely absent.

The Priority One call took them to inner city Nashville. “It was an emotional experience for me” Henry remembers, “If it wasn’t for us, these kids wouldn’t have a chance.” After the call, the media began to understand the challenges that DCS faced.

Three years later, Henry had succeeded in completely transforming the way that the public saw child services and care. “We went from one of the worst programs in the country to being the best.” Henry said. He continued his efforts on preventing the factors that cause generational toxic stress, working proactively instead of reactively to remedy years of abuse and neglect.

“The science is finally catching up with it.” Henry said, “the toxic stress for children is permanently damaging. If you live in a house where you’re scared that someone will come and abuse you, mistreat you…that has a lasting impact. That’s why you see poverty and these different characteristics continually repeating themselves.” This type of stress prevents victims from developing mentally, from doing well in school and having a successful future. Solutions do not lie in better education or funding, but in repairing the family unit and providing children with a safe, secure place to grow up.

Henry will continue to find solutions for families who live in poverty and homes where children experience toxic stress. With his years of community service and political experience, Henry knows that lasting and effective change begins with the youngest generation: “It is about creating sustainability, something that the next generation can take and make better.” Henry states. “It’s about educating our youth and giving them the opportunity to do great things. We do not intend to lose the next generation. We have to show people that loving families are the right thing to invest in.”

Jim Henry will continue his political career as Deputy to the Governor and Chief of Staff, pursuing the same level of excellence that has characterized his entire life. After Henry helped DCS succeed, the Governor asked him to postpone his retirement for a third time. Henry agreed, stating with some humor that he really did expect this to be his final position before retirement. Being appointed as Deputy to the Governor and Chief of Staff really would be “a perfect way to end a career.”

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