Revisiting the Smokies

We just returned last week from revisiting the Smokies. Dave and I traveled there back in 2005 after we first met. The trip was somewhat of a disaster since we really didn’t know each other well and shouldn’t have been spending a whole week together. Anyway, we did survive that trip, and talked for years about going back down there to get rid of the bad “juju.” I’m happy to report that the bad juju is gone!

On this trip we stayed in a cabin outside of Pigeon Forge. It was amazing that even though we were only 6 minutes away, we were up in the mountains away from all of the tourists.



This cabin had two decks to enjoy the beautiful sunsets.

cabinrockingchairsIt was hard to catch the mountains in that picture. Here is a better view from the deck.

cabinviewAnd one of the many sunsets from those same chairs.

smokiessunsetOn Saturday they held their annual Heritage Days at the Old Mill Square. There were demos and crafts. We really loved this guy’s metal art.

metalsmithmetalflowersDave fell in love with Wrench-O-Saurus so it came home with us.

wrenchosaurusThey also had entertainment including a local twirling team. I was interested in seeing these young ladies perform since I was once a twirler! They did a great job.

majorettesWe also watched sorghum being made.

sorghummakingWe took a tour of the Old Mill. Due to the low water level they were not milling on our tour, but it was interesting.

oldmill1 Loved this big bolt of string to tie up the bags.

oldmill2Last time we were here we loved Sister Cats, a restaurant in Townsend where we stayed. That was where we first tasted Curried Chicken Salad and I’ve been making it ever since. Before leaving for the trip we found out that the restaurant had closed two years earlier. We thought maybe if we drove over to Townsend we might just see the area where it used to be located. We found it and on that Sunday they were having a craft fair! Here is the picture of where Sister Cats used to be.

sistercatsAnd a picture of then and now.


My favorite part of the trip was hiking in the park. This is Laurel Falls, one of the hikes we took 11 years ago.

laurelfallsportraitlaurelfallswalkThe hidden gem of a walk was the Middle Prong Trail. To reach this trail,  you have to drive for 3 miles on a gravel road. At the end is a nice path that is next to a stream. You can walk as long as you want and then turn around and walk back. We walked for an hour. We saw just a few people on this trail.

middleprong middleprong2One day we spent visiting the Arts and Crafts Community, an 8 mile loop of local artists. We met a couple artists in the Cliff Dwellers Gallery including Pat K. Thomas, whose main art is marbling on paper and fabric. However on that day, she was showing us how to vat discharge. The smell of the vat reminded me of Indigo dyeing. Her silk pieces done with this way of discharging were stunning.

Also, we loved the Buie Pottery store where we bought several pieces including this paper towel holder.

papertowelholderWhile in the area we stopped and ate at The Wild Plum Restaurant. We enjoyed the orange water while waiting for our table.

wildplum2One thing that I was surprised about the area was how gaudy it had become – even more than back in 2005. Pigeon Forge is a strip of ugly buildings including an upside down house and a Titanic. Unlike a Disney World or other theme parks, there was no consideration for a cohesive design. One of the residents we spoke to said that at the time when the developers came through, there were no building codes. She said they now have a strict code, but the damage has been done.

But mainly the vacation was to spend quality time together. The cabin had a game room with a pool table. It was the first time either of us had played pool in many, many years. It was fun even though he beat me most of the games.

poolIt was a good trip. However, I didn’t get the inspiration I usually feel on our trips. But it was good to get away, and equally good to get back home.

Thanks for reading about our trip to the Smokies.