There are many of us out there that claim we grew up in a small town. If you are one of us, you know all those small perfect spots for the best pizza or the best place to watch the sunset. In small towns, there is usually not much to do so growing up there you know the best hidden places to hang out with friends or where you went with your family growing up. If you grew up in Bristol, these unique places and memories will hit a soft spot and make you reminisce on your childhood. Here are things you’ll only understand if you grew up in Bristol, Tennessee!
1. A “Night Out” With Your Friends is Going to Blackbird Bakery
If you are under 21, then there isn’t much else to do with your friends past 11 o’clock. Blackbird is the place to be if you want to talk, listen to live music, or overdose on sugar by eating a Brownie Tower or your weight in doughnuts. Some of the greatest memories are made at 1 a.m. with your friends in this small town, one-of-a-kind bakery.
Only a select few out there have had the pleasure to enjoy the Iconic Breakfast: Cheddar Rounds. There is nothing better in the morning before school or work. Lunch can be great with a Big Pal and Frenchie-Fry, exclusively at this Bristol-originated food chain. The Tri-Cities has been blessed with Pal’s and there are so many people out there that aren’t even aware of the existence of Pal’s.
3. Rhythm and Roots Reunion = Best Weekend of the Year
Once a year, music, culture, and people from everywhere rush in to enjoy Bristol’s Rhythm and Roots Reunion. If you grew up in Bristol, you look forward to this weekend all year. Staying out late with your friends all dressed up enjoying great food and awesome music. The vendors that come are just the icing on the cake to the best weekend ever. The artists and performers make this weekend so special for both tourists and natives of Bristol.
4. Getting Out of School Because of NASCAR
When race fans flood the town twice a year, students enjoy the busier city because of no school. Race Weekend, a close second to Rhythm and Roots, is an exciting weekend to get out and have fun. It also means a long weekend which is the best part of all. Not many people can say they get out of school for people racing cars in a circle unless you grew up in Bristol.
5. “Wanna Go See a Movie?”
Anyone who grew up in a small town can relate to there not being much to do and can sometimes be a little boring. The last resort to do anything fun is to go see a movie. Bristol may not have many exciting and fun places, but it sure isn’t lacking in movie theaters.
6. We Are the Birthplace of Country Music
Some might argue that the Birthplace of Country Music is Nashville or Memphis but growing up in Bristol you know that Bristol is THE birthplace. We even have the Birthplace of Country Music Museum that can teach both visitors of Bristol and also natives on how Bristol is the birthplace.
7. Fishing at King College Pond
We all know growing up in Bristol that there isn’t anything record breaking in the pond, but for some reason we all love to fish at this small pond. The warmth of the sunshine hits the grassy area just right in the summer and makes the perfect spot for a small picnic and catching Blue Gill. The area is full of great memories for so many that grew up in Bristol even if the catch was dry for the day. This small pond is great for much more than just fishing. It is good to hang out with friends and have a great time.
8. You Have Watched Something at the Paramount
During the holidays or any time of year really, growing up in Bristol you have seen at least one production at the Paramount. Whether it was the Nutcracker or a concert, your whole family went, or you may have even been a star in one of the plays growing up. The Paramount is a great representation of the small-town love of Bristol and its homely atmosphere.
9. South Holston Lake
Growing up in Bristol, summer time = South Holston Lake with your friends. If you didn’t personally grow up with a boat, one of your friends did. The summers in Bristol mean driving the boat on SOHO so crazy to throw everyone off the tube 10 feet into the air. Summers on SOHO also meant jumping off of Cliff Island or conquering your fears and swinging on the iconic rope. The memories made watching the sunset on South Holston from your boat or the dam are like no other.
10. Being in “Two Places at Once”
You know growing up in Bristol it was a big deal at first to say you could be in “two places at once,” both in Bristol, Tennessee and Bristol, Virginia while standing on State Street. You could live the A Walk to Remember iconic scene in real life marking it off of your ‘bucket list’ and it was a big deal until you were about 8 years old. Now when traffic builds up because tourists block the streets to take pictures, we are all annoyed saying “it’s really not that big of a deal,” to us at least.
11. “Yes, I live in Johnson City”
We can all relate growing up in a small town and then going off to a bigger city for college and literally no one knowing where you are from. That awkward conversation of trying to explain exactly where your town is usually goes a little like this – “I’m from Bristol” … “Bristol Motor Speedway” … “In the Tri-Cities, near Johnson City” … “The city from the song Wagon Wheel ya know” … “OHHH so you’re from Johnson City!” Yep, that’s exactly it.
12. “A Good Place to Live”
A lot of us who grew up in Bristol resented where we lived most of our lives and could not wait to go somewhere far away for college. Now many of us who did go far away realized how special Bristol really is and the memories that we cherish are all because of the small town. Every time we drive under that Bristol sign while visiting and it reads “A Good Place to Live,” we thank this amazing city for an awesome childhood and for being a Great Place to Live.