Tag Archives: Cade's Cove

50th Anniversary Part 4

21 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Monday April 12, 2021 Cade’s Cove

Planning this day of our trip was frustrating. Our original reason for choosing Pigeon Forge for our celebration was to visit Dollywood. From their website:

Spanning 160 acres in the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood offers more than 50 world class rides, high-energy entertainment, award-winning dining and the friendliest park atmosphere in the world! We even received an award for being so friendly!

40 years of visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and we hadn’t made it to the theme park. The call of the outdoors and nature had always been more powerful. Credit card in hand, I read online the requirements for visiting the park, make a reservation, wear a mask, purchase tickets ahead of time and reserve a scooter for my husband. With my husbands unpredictable health, it felt impossible. I slipped the credit card back in my wallet. We would see how the elements came together.

Sunday night we decided to once more pass on visiting Dollywood. Instead we chose to visit one of our favorite places in the park, Cade’s Cove.

The valley has a rich history. For hundreds of years Cherokee Indians hunted in Cades Cove but archeologists have found no evidence of major settlements. The first Europeans settled in the cove sometime between 1818 and 1821. By 1830 the population of the area had already swelled to 271. Cades Cove offers the widest variety of historic buildings of any area in the national park. 

Scattered along the loop road are three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other faithfully restored eighteenth and nineteenth century structures. Pick up the self-guiding tour booklet available at the entrance to the loop road for information about the buildings you’ll see in the cove and the people who lived here.

https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/cadescove.htm

Years ago when our children were small we enjoyed an evening hay ride along the loop road. It appeared the hay ride was not being offered when we would be there but a carriage ride was. The carriages were booked on a first come basis. We needed to get moving early! And we did. We were the first ride of the day. Unlike the hay ride, the carriage ride was through the woods.

Our driver was a “talker” and shared funny and interesting stories. At one point he stopped on the hewn path and explained we were riding on the equivalent of an 1800s interstate. I have a new appreciation for earlier generations who rode in carriages and wagons. I understand why they are shown traveling slowly. It was bumpy!

After the ride, we circled back to the loop road. We hoped to see deer and maybe even a bear. We didn’t see a single one even though we drove slowly and peered into the woods. I guess they had retired for the day. We did see some of the beautiful horses and spring fresh trees.

Our last visit to the cove, I saw a family picnicking in the field next to the cabin above. I had my heart set on picnicking there this trip. My husband being more forward thinking than I, wasn’t excited about the idea, but he went along with it. As he was taking a picture of my daughter and I, a woman in a truck on the loop road called out and offered to take a family picture. Wasn’t that awesome?

I soon discovered my husband’s forward thinking. I easily sat on the blanket, but getting up with nothing to hold on to was tricky and embarrassing. Notice he didn’t sit, merely knelt.

We were pleased to learn that one of the lesser known roads out of the cove, Rich Mountain Road was once again open after being closed due to the previous year’s pandemic. It is an unpaved one lane road that was used by the early settlers. In the past we have seen wildlife and even a bear on it, but not this year! From an overlook into the valley there is a beautiful view of one of the churches. It was a gorgeous day.

After leaving Cade’s Cove we headed back to the time share for a little R&R. While my husband rested, my daughter and I went to the swimming pool area. She was anxious to spend some time in the hot tub, loosening her tight muscles. I totally forgot to pack my swim suit but I enjoyed sitting under the shade of an umbrella and enjoying the view.

We weren’t in the mood for dinner out, so I made a run to a nearby Publix grocery to get my husband’s favorite meal, Publix fried chicken.

At the end of the day, I was completely happy to have spent the day in the cove, rather than in Dollywood. Maybe after Covid has passed and we can make a spontaneous decision, we’ll try again.

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2021 goal is continue touse my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

The Week of Christmas

31 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Six months out of the year we live in easy driving distance to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and we visit the park several times per year. Usually we make day trips but for our trip last Monday, we decided to make it an overnighter. In our younger days night driving in dense fog over mountains didn’t phase my husband but. we are past those younger days!

Our daughter loves the park as much as we do and once she received approval to have time off work over Christmas we began planning a visit. We monitored the weather reports daily to choose two days with no rain or ice in the forecast. If you have watched long range predictions, you know how fickle they can be. Finally, we decided on the Monday and Tuesday before Christmas and snapped up a hotel reservation.

We set off Monday morning planning to have lunch in one of the picnic areas. To our surprise they were all closed. No problem! Almost as soon as one exits the park and enters Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, there is a Krispy Kreme restaurant. How convenient. We celebrate birthdays with KK doughnuts and our daughter’s birthday was coming up on the 28th.

Doughnuts and coffee make a fine lunch!

Our favorite place in the park is Cade’s Cove and we always snap photos. This trip we got some special pictures at two of the churches.

I think this is the Methodist Church

We knew December 18 was the celebration of Wreaths Across America but we didn’t realize the ceremony extended to small church cemeteries. It was moving to see wreaths on the graves of the long ago soldiers and know their names were still being spoken. We took photos of several and this is one of the oldest.

If you aren’t familiar with Cade’s Cove, it is a rural settlement that was retained for historical use when the Park service bought the land and relocated the residents. Driving along an 11 mile loop road you pass old homesteads and I like to imagine I can hear voices of the past. Speaking of imagining. I have been asking God to let me see an angel. I have no idea of the form and appearance of an angel but I do believe they exist. After taking this picture, I was surprised to see the rainbow arc. I have decided to call it an angel.

I think the best part of the day was seeing families exploring together and learning about our past.

The sad part of the day came when I realized the usual spirit of camaraderie among strangers was totally missing. Gone were the smiles and casual greetings. Have we become afraid to smile? I have noticed in myself that I tend to avert my face when passing people in stores. I know that masks cover our smiles but I purpose to work on eye contact and smiling so big right through my mask that my eyes can’t help but crinkle my laugh lines.

We did finally get a picnic.

Oh and we saw Elk as we were exiting the park!

This fella was the only one in a large field. By his expression I would guess either he was in “time out” or the rest of the herd weren’t in the mood for his mood.

Three days later we woke up to a rare white Christmas!

We will be staying home tonight for New Year’s Eve. There are a couple of specials I want to watch but I am sure I will be asleep before the new year comes in. Do you have any special plans to celebrate the new year? I have to see if I have any black eyed peas in the freezer!

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors.

My 2020 goal is to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

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