Knoxville and Nashville just made Travel & Leisure magazine's top 10 in their annual survey of top American travel destinations. They made good selections. Both cities are wonderful in their own rights. They're also gateways to beautiful nearby areas deserving their own accolades.

Having started and finished my education in Knoxville - first grade at West Hills Elementary and BS in Communications from the University of Tennessee - the city and surrounding area has always had a large part of my heart.  I called Nashville and nearby Franklin home for decades. I find myself longing for a trip to the Frist, some Thai salad from International Market, and a stroll through my old neighborhoods in both cities.

These days, I wander and work through the Upper Cumberland plateau that sits halfway between those two popular places. I think I have the best of both worlds; no, make that the best of all three.

For more details on all the favorite destinations, including the Tennessee cities, click here: