Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Laurel Falls and Gatlinburg

We went back into the Great Smoky National Park today to make the 2.5 mile hike to Laurel Falls.

The weather was cool and we took off through the forest.  It was labeled a moderate hike.  The majority of the trail is paved and the incline is pretty gradual.

We arrived at Laurel Falls.  This is the upper falls.  You could go down a very steep nonofficial trail to get down to the bottom, but we opted not to do it.

On our way back we stopped for this view.

After Laurel Falls, we left the park to go into the little town of Gatlinburg.

We wanted to check out the arts and crafts loop which is an 8 mile loop away from the downtown area with over 100 shops and restaurants.

We figured it would only take a couple of hours to check out the shops.  We were very wrong.  There were so many unique items in the shops, we realized it was going to take another day.

There are lots of chain saw artists here.  This was one of our favorites.  This bear is enormous!

Jim decided to take a rest at this great bench.

We only got about one third of the way through the loop.  We'll be returning tomorrow.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Great Smoky Mountains NP Cades Cove

The weather has been absolutely wonderful here, highs in the 70s and lows in the high 50s.  Today, we headed out to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Cades Cove was a farming community with about 125 families in the area in 1900.  The present 11-mile one way Loop Road was an unpaved two way road used by residents.

There are over 80 historic buildings in the park, many of them concentrated in this area.

Our first stop was the John Oliver Place. Built in the early 1820s, this cabin is the oldest log home in Cades Cove.

There were open fields throughout the route showcasing the mountains in the background.

We turned onto a little road leading to the Primitive Baptist Church and on our way saw several cars stopped and people out walking.  It might be a bear and it was!

It wasn't very big, but we were happy to see one in the wild.  We definitely weren't as close as the picture looks.  Thank goodness, my camera lens does a great job zooming in.

There were several beautiful old churches in the area.  This is the Missionary Baptist Church built in 1915.

We arrived at the Mill Area Walking Tour.

The grist mill is on its original site.  Other historic buildings were brought from elsewhere in the park.  The grist mill still operates.

There are lots of great tunnels throughout the park.

After following the loop in Cades Cove, we followed the river down Laurel Creek Road. What a beautiful drive!

We stopped to see Meigs Fall which is right off the road.

Unfortunately, we are missing the peak fall foliage, but we have also missed the big crowds that will be here in October.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

We left Nashville Tuesday for our next destination, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  We arrived safely at the rv park and settled into our spot for the next week.  We're on Eastern time now and it has been hard getting used to the time change.

Friday, we drove over to the Bush's Baked Beans plant.  The visitor's center is located in the old A.J. Bush General Store.

Fall decorations were everywhere,

as well as Jay Bush and Duke.  Jay is a fourth generation member of the Bush family and Duke is actually his dog.

There was a movie presented with lots of clips of Duke and then a guide through the plant.  You cannot actually go into the plant any more.  There are too many people visiting to accommodate all of them.  The film was very good and gave a great overview of how the beans are made.

There is also a museum to tour.  This large can of beans was just one exhibit.

We ate lunch there and on our way out, I took this picture of the Bush house across the street.

It is located right next to the plant.

Today, we made our first visit into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Our first stop was this view overlooking Gatlinburg. There were clouds still hanging on the mountains.

The trees are just starting to change colors.

Fall is in the air!

We reached the Newfound Gap Overlook to see the view at the boundary of North Carolina and Tennessee.

We visited the Mingus Mill, a water powered grist mill that still operates.  You can even buy the flour that has been ground there.

At the Oconaluftee Visitor Center you can tour the Mountain Farm Museum.

Today was kind of an exploratory visit into the Smoky Mountains.  We're looking forward to more visits! 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


We loved Nashville! We spent two weeks visiting the sights and could have easily spent two more weeks there.

There was the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Mammoth Cave National Park was 100 miles away, so we took one day to drive over there

to tour the cave.

President Andrew Jackson was a famous resident of Nashville

and his home is a great place to visit.

This is the final resting place for President Jackson and his wife, Rachel.

We made several trips downtown seeing the sights.

There was the self-guided tour of the Ryman Auditorium.

The Ryman is the "mather church" of country music.

It was the home for the Grand Ole Opry until 1974.

It was restored and is still a premier entertainment venue.

The Musicians' Hall of Fame is in the old Nashville Municipal Auditorium.

The Parthenon is a full scale replica of The Parthenon in Athens built for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897.

 It is pretty impressive.

Nashville is the capital of Tennessee, so we had to visit the capitol building on top of a hill overlooking the city.

President James Polk is buried on the grounds.

I thought the statue of Andrew Jackson looked familiar. After reading the sign, we found out this same statue was used as the guide for the statue of Jackson in New Orleans and Washington, D.C.

We watch the television series Nashville and had to make a trip to The Bluebird Cafe where a lot of the show takes place.  We were surprised to see it was a tiny place in a strip mall away from downtown.  The Songwriters' Association has purchased the cafe because it has been so important to music.

We loved our spot on the lake at Seven Points Campground.  It was a great place to relax after full days of sightseeing.

Goodbye, Nashville! We will return!