From the General Manager

Published 11:42 am Wednesday, July 13, 2022

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Summer is finally here, and I couldn’t be more excited. We live in an area with so many opportunities for families to stay active while school is out: a lake, rivers, the Tweetsie Trail, tennis and pickleball courts, parks, weekly car shows, Covered Bridge Jams, and a Drive-In Theater, just to mention a few. So why would we stay inside and miss the opportunity to make memories?
One of my favorite summer activities is baseball. Most of our youth leagues have wound down and for them, it is tournament time. I remember when my sons played and we traveled for state tournaments. There is nothing like watching our local teams play against some of the state’s best. If you are like me and would like to catch a game, the River Riders are in town now. Who would want to miss an opportunity to see some of the best college baseball players in the country?
For our cover and main feature story for the Summer issue of Carter County Living we have Don Droke, who creates treasures — and a little bit of baseball magic — from discarded gloves.
About five years ago, the Carter County resident sat down and began teaching himself to stitch baseballs by trial and error. He was inspired by the methods used by Civil War soldiers more than 160 years ago. Today, those hand-stitched Civil War baseballs sell for $3,000 to $4,000, and the balls created by Droke are proving priceless to many of the recipients.
To carry on the theme of baseball, we have for our sports feature Hampton High School Coach Nicholas Perkins. With the help of his coaches, players, parents, alumni, and the community, he has transformed Scotty Bunton Field into one of the best fields in the area. The improvement in facilities has come hand-in-hand with the development of a winning program at Hampton, which has not traditionally been known as a baseball powerhouse.
One of the first steps — and most prominent — was the installation of lights at the field. Lights allowed for later games, which allowed JV to play more games, higher attendance, and more money from the gate and concession stand.
“When you are winning games and having fun doing it and it’s a good atmosphere to play in with a high-energy type of baseball — people want to be a part of that,” Perkins said. “The change in culture — from facilities to fans to the players on the field — is key.”
The 2022 Hampton baseball team was ranked in the top 10 in Single A baseball in the state and advanced to within one game of qualifying for the TSSAA Single A state baseball tournament.
For our artist spotlight we have an artist who discovers his own creativity through family.
Greg Andrews of Hampton knows all about creativity, sacrifice, and love. His life is full of it. Andrews began his artistic career when someone saw some social media posts that included woodworking with American flags. So someone told Andrews he ought to do that. He also plays in a band with his son called Generation Gap.
Our restaurant feature is nestled in the rolling hills overlooking the west end of Elizabethton where sits the Elizabethton Golf Club, a par-72, 6,470-yard playground offering golf for all levels of enthusiasts.
The club’s restaurant is called “The Cookhouse” and inside you just might meet the chef. Maynerd Little loves what he does, and he loves doing it at The Elizabethton Golf Club’s The Cookhouse. Little has been in the position for about a year. He handles catering, cooking, beverage service and “anything else needed doing.”
And, The Cookhouse has a lot going on inside. From lunches, to catered meetings, to off-to-tee hand foods, The Cookhouse offers whatever a diner might need.
These are just a few amazing stories in this issue that remind us what makes Carter County what it is today, the greatest place on earth to live. We hope you enjoy this issue, and if you know anyone who would make a great story, please let me know at

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