Meet the Mountains is a yearly festival held in Johnson City. The purpose of this festival is to encourage everyone to visit Tennessee’s mountains and parks, especially those found in the northeast corner of the state. Here are our highlights from Meet the Mountains.
It has lots of things to see including products, events, food, gear, and more. We went for the first time this year and met several interesting people. We learned about some important causes, saw some amazing products, and had one of the best pizzas we’ve ever had.
We spoke to many of the booths about their causes, parks, and products. The products included hand-crafted items, outdoor gear, books, and more. I grabbed some cool swag and bought a few items. There were several classes on the history of the mountains, camping, wildlife, etc.
My Favorite Gear
The first product I bought at Meet the Mountains was a pair of socks from NortheastTennessee.org. They provide information about the outdoors and events in the northeastern part of Tennessee. Their website includes information about places to go, what to do, trip ideas, an interactive map, and lots more.
I bought a couple of books (affiliate link) from Johnny Molloy, an authority on camping, hiking, and paddling. I’ll be reviewing his books soon and I hope to set up an interview with him in the future. I hope to see him at the festival again next year because he’s definitely someone I want to talk to again.
For me, one of the most interesting products was rooftop tents from Outland Motorworks. These were tents placed on top of a trailer and a Jeep (they fit lots of vehicles). The Jeep included a rooftop tent, side tent, and a porch awning. I liked the look of this so much that I’m considering getting a vehicle with a rooftop tent for our travels.
Here are a few of the causes at Meet the Mountains
Boone Lake Association is one of the oldest environmental groups in Tennessee. They’re a group of volunteers that clean up Boone Lake. They need volunteers and donations.
Doe River Gorge gave the class about birds and reptiles. They’re a Christian ministry with retreats, summer camps, rentals, events, and more.
Friends of Rocky Fork State Park were there to inform visitors and invite them to the park. We picked up a map and some information about the park. We’ll be visiting Rocky Fork State Park in the future.
NortheastTennessee.org provided pamphlets with information about the area, events, guides, and more. They had a few items for sale. I bought a pair of socks because rocking a pair of Appalachian Mountain socks sounds awesome.
Healthy Parks Healthy Person is a program that encourages people to get healthy by going to parks. It’s funded by the Tennesse Department of Health. You can use their app to earn points and rewards for visiting and being active in any park in Tennessee. Lucinda will be doing an article about the app soon.
Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute had lots of information about leaving no trace when camping, outdoor safety, and more. They provided information about their upcoming classes and events.
Bays Mountain had a booth to showcase what you can see and do at Bay’s Mountain Park. They have lots of trails, a barge, trails, a planetarium, and animals. We visited Bays Mountain on a recent trip for an upcoming article.
Girls Who Hike Tennessee is an outdoor group that encourages women to hike and connect with the outdoors. They help by highlighting events and activities in your area and building a community of like-minded women.
Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards is a non-profit conservation group that cleans up areas without using powered tools. They teach on leaving no trace and they had several pamphlets about camping and conservation. They mentioned an upcoming project in the Bald River Falls area, which I’m looking forward to seeing.
Meet the Mountains Events
There were lots of things going on, but we didn’t see all of it. We saw zip lines, a climbing wall, ax throwing, a rope course, kayak/canoe demos, and a dog jumping show. I wanted to try the zip lines and climbing wall, but the line was very long and moved slowly, so I just watched each one for a few minutes before meandering to the next booth.
Food at Meet the Mountains
There were several food trucks and snack stands with a range of food options. I almost got BBQ from Southern Craft BBQ (we plan to visit their restaurant on a future trip), but we wanted to try the apple butter pizza from Rockin’ Rivet Pizza. This is a new food truck that attends various events, so we wanted to try them when it was already convenient.
The pizza had apple butter, bacon, mozzarella cheese, and a honey drizzle. It sounded odd and interesting at the same time, so we couldn’t pass it up. It was made to order, so we walked back through the booths for 20 minutes while we waited. To our surprise, it was one of the best pizzas we’ve had. We will be getting this again. There was a touch of burn on one side of the crust, but it was still awesome.
Ending Thought on the Meet the Mountains Festival
The Meet the Mountains festival was fun and informative. It was great meeting the many groups that were there. We plan to go back next year and spend even more time talking to the different groups and taking the classes. It’s free to visit and worth every effort to go if you’re in the area. It was held in Founder’s Park, which is one of the prettiest city parks I’ve seen. Johnson City is a beautiful town to visit. I highly recommend spending some time there.
Have you been to a Meet the Mountains festival? Let us know in the comments.