Hey y’all! It’s been a while since I’ve written, but I’m back!
Things are going well. It’s summer and the ol’ wanderlust has kicked in. I recently returned from a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee….in particular, the Great Smoky Mountains and had an amazing time.
As crazy as this will sound, I think the most exciting part of the trip was the night a bear ran across the highway in front of my car. We were heading to the ice cream parlor and as it turns out, so was he…in particular the dumpster behind the shop. Both the bear and the customers at the ice cream parlor are all ok and the folks that were there have a great story to tell!
Our first day there we took a drive through the park and just enjoyed the scenery. It’s absolutely beautiful! I’ve been there several times over the years and never tire of it!
On day two, we took another drive…this time to Cade’s Cove where we enjoyed the beautiful scenery, took in the history of the area, and enjoyed a picnic in the the picnic area by a mountain stream. We were fortunate enough to see two bears playing in a field as we drove through. They frolicked in the field for about ten minutes before running off. I got photos but they are of poor quality because we were so far away. Here are a few from Cades Cove for your viewing pleasure.
After spending several hours in Cades Cove, we decided to drive over the mountain to Cherokee, North Carolina. It’s about an hours drive. The Cherokee Indian Reservation is located there and the scenery is beautiful in this area as well! We were able to get some delicious Indian fry bread while we were there, browse souvenir shops, hike to a waterfall, and we even saw an elk on the side of the road. I had no idea how huge they are!
In the summer they have an outdoor drama…Unto These Hills and the performance is acted out in an amphitheater built into the side of a mountain. It’s depicts the life of the Cherokee in the region and their forced removal…the Trail of Tears. We missed opening day by one week, but I’ve seen it before and highly recommend it!
On site is The Eternal Flame. The Eternal Flame burns at the entrance to the Mountainside Theater. It was carried on the Trail Of Tears to Oklahoma and brought back to Cherokee from Oklahoma in 1951…it still burns.
Day three we attended the Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It’s a Dolly Parton venture and there are many. She grew up in the area and has a very big presence there. We love Dolly and we loved the show! Included with the show is a four course meal and it was absolutely perfect…tasted great and the service is excellent! However, utensils not included. You eat everything with your hands. The show is a way to look back over the area for the last three hundred years or so and is very patriotic. Again, we loved it and highly recommend it. Definitely worth the money!
Since we were leaving the next morning, we decided to take one last drive through the mountains on a driveable trail called the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It can be reached by turning at traffic light six in Gatlinburg and follow the signs. In my opinion it has some of the best scenery in the National Park. There are some old, mountain homes to visit that were lived in by the early settlers to the area and there’s even a nice waterfall by the side of the road. No hiking required. Just park in the pull off area and walk right up to it. Again, some of the best scenery the park has to offer AND some of the best hiking trails…many with spectacular waterfalls at the end.
The ending of this post brings us back to the beginning…after exiting the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which brings you out on to the highway in Gatlinburg, we encountered the bear about five minutes later. He was leaving the same area we had just left…and had ice cream on his mind, too!
I hope you enjoyed reading about our little adventure and if you ever have the opportunity to visit the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg/Great Smoky Mountains area, you won’t be disappointed!
Stay tuned for our next adventure later this month and hope y’all have a great summer and safe travels!