This beautiful Tennessee valley of rolling hills and clear springs, once belonged to the Cherokee Indian nation. It then became one of the area's first and most prominent Tennessee Walking Horse farms. Its springs are rumored to have “the purest water east of the Mississippi.” Red Clay State Historic Park, just a few miles beyond in the same gorgeous valley, brings thousands of visitors each year to view their clear springs and learn of the Cherokee Indian’s ways, myths, and history.
If you venture into the cemetery behind St. Luke's Episcopal Church in the tiny town of Cleveland, Tennessee, you can't miss the grand white marble mausoleum. But look a little closer -- the marble isn't all white. In places, reddish-pink splotches mar the white marble. The stains have been a permanent fixture on the Craigmiles crypt since soon after it was built in the 1870's.
Local legend says the marks are bloodstains that commemorate a family history filled with tragedy. The sad story began in 1871 when young Nina Craigmiles died in a buggy accident. Her devastated grandfather built the elaborate mausoleum in her honor. Soon after her interment, the infamous stains appeared.
Sorrow continued for the Craigmiles. An infant son died within hours of his birth, Nina's grandfather John Craigmiles died of food poisoning and his wife Adelle succumbed to injuries sustained when she was hit by a car in 1928. As each member of the family joined the others in the crypt, the stains grew deeper and more prominent.
Locals have gotten used to the phenomenon, but it wasn't always so. In the early days they tried scrubbing them off and even went so far as to replace some of the pink stained marble blocks. It did no good, the stains simply reappeared.
If you're in or near Cleveland, take a side trip and see for yourself. St. Luke's Episcopal Church is located at 320 Broad Ave. N.W.
Attractions in or near Cleveland: Apple Valley Orchards - Offer a large variety of apples, bakery, wagon rides and tours, and an annual apple festival.
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway - The train route consists of a 26-mile round trip through historic Murphy Junction along the beautiful Toccoa River. This railroad was built over 100 years ago and is the only mainline railroad excursion service based in Georgia. Each trip begins at the depot in Blue Ridge, Georgia and includes a stop in McCaysville which permits passengers to disembark and stretch their legs while exploring the downtown communities of McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee. Each round trip takes approximately 3 1/2 hours.
Cherokee Chieftain Downtown Johnston Park - The Cherokee carving sculpted by wildly famous artist Peter Toth stands in the park as a reminder of the Cherokee heritage.
Cherokee Heritage Trails - From the serene peaks of the Balsams to the muddy banks of the Little Tennessee River, Cherokee Heritage Trails wind through the southern Appalachians, telling the story of the Cherokee people, Ani-Kituhwa-gi, who once commanded all of the Southern Appalachians. Although most of the Cherokee were forcibly removed to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears in 1838, a small group remained in their homeland, becoming the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Today they own about 57,000 acres - the Qualla Boundary, a remnant of their ancestral lands.
Cherokee National Forest - Cherokee National Forest is a place of scenic beauty that provides opportunities for anyone interested in nature and history. The Forest stretches from Chattanooga to Bristol along the North Carolina border. The 640,000-acre Cherokee National Forest is the largest tract of public land in Tennessee. It lies in the heart of the Southern Appalachian mountain range, one of the world's most diverse areas. These mountains are home to more than 20,000 species of plants and animals.
Chilhowee Gliderpoint - Experience the thrill of motorless flight over the beautiful Tennessee countryside and ridges. Admire the Hiawassee River from thousands of feet in the air as you go up like a bird in a warm thermal.
Cleveland Downtown Historic Greenway - Located Less Than 2 Miles from Downtown, 2145 Keith Street. A great way to explore downtown is through the historic walking tour of green four inch dots on the Greenway path. On your way, you will pass historic banks, churches, and restaurants. A pamphlet with directions can be obtained from the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Cleveland Speedway - The Cleveland Speedway is a 1/3 mile clay-banked dirt track oval car racing facility, located just North of Chattanooga Tennessee outside the town of Cleveland. The speedway has been around for more than twenty-five (25) years and since it's conception has grown into one of the South's premiere dirt track racing facility. Equipped with state of the art computers, the first-class racing operations of the track, help make the Cleveland Speedway a favorite place for race fans to see Live/Non-Stop dirt track racing excitement.
Craigmiles House (circa 1866) - Added to the National Register of historical places in 1975, this Italian Villa style home has served as the history branch of the public library since 1922. The services it provided here include research of civil war history, local newspapers of the past, and a special collections section with photographs and manuscripts of importance to the history of the Cherokee Indians. 833 North Ocoee Street.
Hair Conrad Cabin - Conrad served as a conductor for the firs detachment of Cherokees to leave Rattlesnake Spring in August 1838; his duties were later assigned to Daniel Colston. According to local tradition, Conrad lived in a single-pen log cabin built about 1804 near the confluence of Candies Creek and Hair's (now Harris) Creek. The cabin is on Blythe Wood Road west of the town of Cleveland, near the Junction of I-75 and U.S. 11/64. This site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Morris Winery and Vineyard - This vineyard features fruits during the summer and fall, including muscadines, blueberries, and greapes. Also, it features wines that range from sweet to dry. 352 Union Grove Road Northeast.
Museum Center 5 Points - Preserving and interpreting the history and culture of the Ocoee District of Southeast Tennessee by highlighting the adventures of its people.
Ocoee Mist Farm Llama Hikes - Let Largo and the other llamas lug your lunch onto the beautiful Chilhowee Mountain adjacent to Ocoee Mist.
Ocoee Scenic Byway - Ocoee Scenic Byway was the first national forest byway in America. The byway winds through the Cherokee National Forest, passes Parksville Lake and through the scenic bluffs of the Ocoee River Gorge. One section of the byway climbs to the top of the Chilhowee Mountains in Tennessee. From here, you capture magnificent views of the Tennessee Valley, the Cumberland Plateau, and the Blue Ridge Province. On a clear day, you will have views of North Carolina and Georgia.
Old Main Post Office (circa 1825) - Located downtown Cleveland, this late 19th century revival style building was created by architect James K. Taylor. It is still a functioning post office today. In 1983, this building was added to the National Register of historic places. 155 Board Street.
Quest Expeditions - The Ocoee River is one of Tennessee's most popular destinations. Our Ocoee River rafting trips provide an extrodinary adventure for outdoor fun with family and friends. Quest Expeditions provides premium Ocoee River Trips and the finest whitewater rafting adventure in Tennessee.
Rattlesnake Spring - The spring is north of the town of Cleveland and east of Tennessee 11 in Dry Valley. The area around the spring was the site of one of the agency camps. Captain Page reported on July 25, 1838, that the camp at Rattlesnake Spring had 600 Cherokees awaiting orders to begin the journey to Indian Territory. This site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Red Clay State Park - Red Clay State Historical Park is a certified interpretive site on the Trail of Tears.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - Experience the classic Missionary Ridge Local, take an all-day excursion to Summerville, Georgia, or see the beautiful Hiwassee River Gorge. Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is the largest operating historic railroad in the Southeast.
Tipton-Fillauer House - Located Downtown, This Queen Anne style house was a residence during the years 1875 until 1899. It was added to the National Register of historic places in 1980. 63 Broad Street Northwest.
Festivals & Special Events in Cleveland:
• Birds of Prey Take Flight - Memorial Day through Labor Day; Thursdays through Sundays - showtimes: 11am, 1pm and 3pm. (Additional Saturday show - 4:30pm). Come and see hawks soaring in the sky above Rock City. Get a glimpse of a nocturnal hunter, the owl. Meet a vivacious vulture. Enjoy this rare opportunity to witness these powerful and majestic birds up close.
• Carols in the City - Mainstreet Cleveland lights the community Christmas tree and welcomes Santa Claus. After the community tree lighting, the crowd walks together to each of the historic churches for a brief musical presentation on the steps of each church. 6 p.m. in front of the Courthouse Annex, Broad Street. First Friday in December.
• Cherokee Days of Recognition - Includes native dance, games, authentic Cherokee crafts and foods, and a blowgun tournament. First full weekend in August. Red Clay State Historic Park. 423-478-0339
• Cleveland Apple Festival - This is a family event held in downtown Cleveland. This annual festival offers a juried art and craft show, live bluegrass music, food booths, pony and hay rides, entertainment, children's activities and much more! All children's activities are free to children 12 and under including pony rides.
• The Enchanted Maize - Maze winds through the Blowing Springs Farm cornfield at the foot of Lookout Mountain. Have rows of fun navigating the Enchanted MAiZE. Your answer to the question at each signpost determines if you'll find the way out of the maze quickly or get lost. Also have hayrides, a playground, a kiddie hay maze, a snack bar, drinks, the See Rock City Barn, and much more.
• Foothills Country Fair - 10 local Ruritan Clubs originated and sponsor this 4-Day family friendly, fun-filled annual event. Includes a carnival, cultural arts competitions, horse and beef shows, live entertainment and concerts, exhibits, arts & crafts, a wide variety food vendors, kids area, covered pavilions.
• H Bar M Championship Rodeo Show - Exciting competitions in roping, bareback riding, barrel racing, bronc busting and bull riding. Rodeo events and a variety of entertainment for children of all ages. Held at the Tri-State Exhibition Center.
• Lee Day - Features Christian concerts, scholarships, tours, and auditions.
• MainStreet Cruise-In - This event averages more than 500 cars on display at each event. Come and enjoy the festivities, admission is free, door prizes given away throughout the evening. Held the fourth Saturday of each month April October from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
• Music Explosion - An annual seminar for church musicians with daily workshops at North Cleveland Church of God and evening concerts at Lee University’s Conn Center. Sponsored by the Church of God Department of Music Ministries.
• Nineteenth-Century Cherokee Christmas at Red Clay - Features live history presentations, including Christmas pioneer cooking, Cherokee arts-and-crafts demonstration, storytelling and Christmas carols. First Sunday in December. Red Clay State Historic Park. 423-478-0339
• Nillie Bipper Arts-and-Crafts Festival - This outdoor arts-and-crafts show features over 75 exhibits, which consist of food booths, entertainment, and handcrafted arts-and-craft items. First full weekend in October. Tri-State Exhibition Center.
• Rock City Fairytale Festival - June 2-10, 2007, 11am-4pm daily. Experience the magic of Rock City's Fairytale Festival. Meet Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. In addition to storytelling, the festival will feature special activities along the Rock City trail like arts, crafts, face painting and interactive theatre.
• Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights - Rock City Gardens presents its annual “Enchanted Garden of Lights,” November 22 - January 4, nightly from 6 to 9 p.m., except for Christmas Eve. This award-winning, dazzling light extravaganza will feature more than 25 holiday scenes that transform the gardens' natural daytime splendor into a glorious nocturnal fantasyland.
• Rocktoberfest - presented by Big River Grille and Brewing Works
Saturdays in October, Noon-6pm. Get in touch with Rock City's German heritage! Rock City Square will be transformed for a celebration of harvests and fall foliage. Stroll through an atmosphere of German music and food. Enjoy a Bratwurst, Knackwurst or Polish Sausage along with German Sauerkraut. Specialty beer will be on tap in the Beer Garden.
• Singing Echoes Annual Blue Springs Valley Sing - Blue Springs Valley gets a taste of gospel singing with a variety of daily activities, including watermelon cutting, softball tournaments and other activities. Blue Springs Park Road.
• Spring Blooms at Rock City - Late March-May...Enjoy Spring in bloom at Rock City - you won't want to miss our 3,000 tulips! Walk through the Enchanted Trail in full bloom. Enjoy Hosta, Trumpet Lilies, Common Sweetshrub, Abelia, Red Buckeye, Phlox, Bluebells, Penstemon, Clematis, Azalea, Mahonia, Yucca, Mountain Laurel: Olympic Fire, and Nipmuck, Nandina, Rhododendron: Catawba, Roseum Elegans, Nova Zembla, Parson's Gloriosum, and 86 other varieties of flowering plants and shrubs.