Rick Dover, Knoxville businessman and real estate developer, explains why Loudon, Tenn., is a wonderful place to spend the day when visiting the mountainous area.
Community Blog: What is the first thing that visitors notice in Loudon?
Rick Dover, Knoxville: Definitely the brick-lined streets. It is a small town not unlike television’s Mayberry. At any given time of day, you will see people walking back and forth to work, standing outside chatting with friends, or taking a stroll around the fountain.
Community Blog: We understand that you’ve taken a special interest in the town. How difficult was it to obtain permission to restore many of the downtown buildings?
Rick Dover, Knoxville: I can’t say it was hard but it’s definitely been a labor of love. We’ve had to obtain special authorizations from the historical commission and even work closely with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to make it a pedestrian-friendly area.
Community Blog: Can you tell us about the Smokey Mountain Fiddlers Convention?
Rick Dover, Knoxville: 2013 marks the 29th anniversary of this music festival, which is held in the heart of the town. The event features some of the best bluegrass musicians on the planet—a definite must-see.
Community Blog: Your company, Family Pride Corporation, finished a major renovation on a historic landmark recently. Tell us about the Carmichael Inn?
Rick Dover, Knoxville: The Carmichael Inn is currently an event center that used to be a stopover for people traveling by stagecoach. It was built in the early 1800s and was almost falling apart when we renovated and preserved this piece of history just a few years ago.
Community Blog: Loudon has a lot of great history, but is it shopper-friendly?
Rick Dover, Knoxville: Absolutely—there are many shops downtown. Surprisingly, a few even feature major names such as Vera Bradley, which carries handcrafted items and novelties.
Community Blog: Are there any good places to eat?
Rick Dover, Knoxville: There are plenty of locally owned shops and diners in the area, but I have to say my favorite is the Tick Toc Ice Cream Shop. This Loudon staple offers homemade ice cream and plenty of conversation with the locals.
Rick Dover is a Knoxville-based real estate developer with a soft spot for historic preservation, green renovations, and quality restorations. His company, Family Pride Corporation, specializes in repurposed existing structures for use as high quality, affordable senior living centers.