Getting settled in Bristol

I’ve been in Bristol for about ten days and work for a week, so it’s time for an update. This blog wasn’t intended to be an update on my life. It was supposed to be my thoughts on the world, but the change is okay considering the circumstances. Yesterday, you read about work, and before that, moving. It’ll go back to being what it was supposed to be very soon.

Don’t worry. This one will have lots of pictures.

Perhaps the neatest thing about the area is that you’re always traveling between two states, Tennessee and Virginia. I live in Tennessee but work in Virginia. There are no big bridges like over the Hudson or Delaware. There’s just a little, two-lane road, called State Street. Part of it separates the states.

State Street facing east, towards downtown, with the famous sign in the background. Virginia is on the left, and Tennessee on the right.
This is one of the fine establishments on the Virginia side, but probably just as popular among Tennesseans.
The famous guitar and countdown to the Virginia Tech-Tennessee football game on September 10, 2016. They’re outside the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, on State Street, which serves both sides from Tennessee.
This is what you see when you cross State Street.

You can tell which state is on which side by the white abbreviations on the street signs, or by which state’s lottery tickets are for sale.

Cross-streets have different names in the different states…
like this…
.. except for Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., which is the same in both states.
I work off MLK Blvd., a half-block onto the Virginia side.
This is me, just inside from the lobby.
Across MLK Blvd. is the Bristol Train Station. It’s not for passengers anymore — just conferences and banquets.
Across the street to the north is the Bristol, Virginia, Courthouse. The city seal also mentions Tennessee.
Bristol, Virginia, is proud of several things, including its intelligent people.
Both sides ask us to Keep Bristol Beautiful. Notice the Welcome to Tennessee sign sticking out on the lower left.

You saw the reference to football, but the people of Bristol are really NASCAR fans. On Wednesday, we learned driver Kurt Busch’s suspension was lifted, but a co-worker noticed something else. Unfortunately, Internet Broadcasting posted a story from CNN that showed a picture of Kurt’s brother, Kyle, on our page!

We quickly removed the story and the picture was replaced, shortly after. I have a lot to learn about NASCAR!

People in Bristol are also very religious. There are many, many churches in the area. They’re more saturated than 10th Avenue in North Miami Beach with Orthodox synagogues.

One of my favorite signs. There was a nice wintry mix when we got to town.
Can you find what’s wrong on this sign? (It’s on the Tennessee side of State Street, with Virginia in the background.)
Jesus is praying for us, and hopefully also protecting us. This is a few doors from the outside of our complex. You can’t get here without seeing it.

The nearest Dunkin Donuts is in Johnson City. That’s why it was so hard to bring a box of coffee on my first day at work. I went to Manna on State Street (Tennessee side), took a carafe, and they trusted me to return it a few hours later. I did. (Little did I know, there is plenty of coffee in the break room at work.) Turns out, Manna is affiliated with a messianic organization. I found out while waiting for the coffee.

Unfortunately, recycling is not a priority around here. It’s not picked up. There are only a few bins around town.

I have to get used to the grocery stores. I’ve been to Food City more than Kroger. I’d never seen it before but at Food City, you slip your cart behind so the cashier takes your stuff out, rather than you putting it on the conveyor belt.

Dollar stores are very popular. Unfortunately, it seems the economy isn’t too good around here. The Bristol Mall (Virginia side) is pretty much dead. There’s a Sears, but a lot of vacant space.

This store looks like it’s going out of business in eight days.

Despite any problems, most people are very friendly. I’m learning how to be nice on the road, even though it can be hard to know where I’m going sometimes.

Try figuring this out!

So that’s Bristol. Coming up at some point, visits to the other Tri-Cities of Johnson City and Kingsport, but now, back to work for my second week.

About the author

The journalism “business” has changed — from standards to platforms to layoffs — along with the American public, and I’ve managed to survive somewhat on my own terms.

I started in 1994, becoming an award-winning and respected TV newscast producer.

Even better was creatively producing websites and social media, and serving as a station's digital media manager — writing news, creating graphics and getting evidence of growing my audience here in the nation's fourth largest market, Philadelphia.

I also taught first grade for eight years. My principal saw my class website and made me electronic gradebook manager to assist co-workers when we stopped using paper gradebooks.

In 2018, I took courses and earned the Google IT Support Professional Certificate.

In 2019, I was a freelance newspaper reporter, but enjoyed copy editing and reviving the publication’s social media even more.

That got me striking out on my own with a local news website to join the blog I created, designed and write.

Ask me about all the details.

I did drive Uber to make ends meet until I started as a customer service representative at one of the world’s largest web-hosting companies, with more than 8 million customer contracts and hosting more than 12 million domains.

With classroom and newsroom experience, I know how to prioritize, analyze and take the best course of action. Getting results means attention to detail, following through and following up.

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