Labor Day lends leave of leisure for locals - PHOTOS

Tony Casey • Updated Sep 5, 2016 at 4:58 PM

Burning calories, spending time with family, catching fish, honing one’s craftsmanship on a project and enjoying the end of summer are examples of what Tri-Cities-area residents were doing with their free time on Labor Day.

Unicoi County was a popular spot to be over the weekend, as the Erwin area offers many amenities for those who enjoy the great outdoors.

The Frazier, Wallace and McLain families were all respectively enjoying each other’s company in the favorable weather.

Following a bike ride on the Linear Trail, Joe, Joy and 6-year-old Noel McLain were strapping in their bikes with their eyes on an evening barbecue that had pork on the menu.

“We usually do stuff like this, either going up to Kingsport’s Greenbelt trail, or riding on the Tweetsie Trail, but we’ve never done this one before,” Joe McLain said of his Gray-based family. “Having a Monday open, today was a good day to be out here.”

Not far from the Linear Trail, at the Chestoa Recreation Area, families and individuals had heir feet in the water.

Sierra Wallace wore water shoes as she fished for rock bass with her father, Bill.

“It’s pretty cold,” she said. “But I would swim in this.”

The Jonesborough-based Wallace family — which included Sierra and her two sisters — recently moved to East Tennessee from Hendersonville. Bill works for Fed-Ex, and with Sierra being homeschooled, they do have time to take family outings like they were doing Monday, but said Labor Day gave them extra incentive to enjoy the river with each other.

The day before, the Wallaces said the Chestoa area was even busier.

Locals Andy and Kim Frazier said the same thing. Their four children were out for the second day in a row, making a picnic out of the nice weather.

Kim said her two youngest children typically don’t go swimming when the water is cool, but the older two love to swim out to the rocks in the middle of the river. With the water being down due to low rainfall, it’s safe and a fun destination for the young swimmers.

Going solo for his morning activity, Johnson City’s Terry Jones was setting off for a grueling trail run up the Pinnacle Tower trail just off Interstate 26 near Unioci. Jones has completed the run 20 times and is training for the upcoming 25K and 50K trail races that will be held there Oct. 29. 

Having never completed a distance longer than a marathon, Jones said he’s been dabbling with the longer distances, like his friends and partners have been doing.

Labor Day gave him a weekday option to get a trail run in.

In the Tree Streets neighborhood in Johnson City, Dan Reese and teacher Elaine Frantz were using the day off to get some projects done around the house.

Recently, the duo, well familiar with finding treasures in the Tree Streets alleys, scored a pair of old Adirondack-styled chairs.

Reese saw Labor Day as a great time to kick off the project, which he predicts will take many hours and several months to complete. On Monday, he was taking apart different pieces of the chairs — which he estimates are from the 1940s — repairing them and putting each component back together.

Frantz said she was looking to make their fall seed plantings, putting spinach in the ground.

As a South Side Elementary School teacher, Frantz said she and her fellow teachers look forward to any days off from school they get.

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