Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Wears Valley, TN

I’m finishing out the last day of our spring Carolinas and East Tennessee journey which I have kept forgetting to post. I left off when we arrived in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and as I had written about our trip in my May Busy Bee “Letter from the Publisher” I don’t have to try to strain my brain and think back! Here goes…

As the mountains were so beautiful, we decided to make Pigeon Forge our destination for the next two nights. We found a little cabin on Wears Valley Road available, which was surprising as it was spring break and Easter weekend. Once we got past all of the Pigeon Forge “tacky-town” strip and onto Wears Valley Road, we gave a sigh of relief. Our little cabin on the hill was roomy and nice with wildflowers blooming in the yard.

Our “Bear Naked” cabin was at the very top of the hill on the left

For dinner we went to the Smoky Mountain Brewery for pizza and wings and to sample their brew. I really liked the Velas Helles light German lager I sampled. They had The Masters on their big screens and a good band playing, and it was a great Friday night “date.”

We had intended to go to Dollywood on Saturday but after seeing all the traffic, Wally chose a trip to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park instead. It was so neat to see families having picnics, playing ball and flying kites in Cades Cove! We stopped at many of the historic sites and one of my favorite pictures was of the dogwoods in bloom in front of a Methodist Church. I bought some of their stone-ground meal from their grist mill and am looking forward to Wally making cornbread with it.

One of the Methodist Churches in Cades Cove

This is my first attempt at a photo gallery so there may be some duplications… once you click on an image, there will be an arrow on the far side of the page that you can view the gallery as a slide show.

As we were SLOWLY leaving Cades Cove (20 mph), we came upon a stretch of road where people were standing on the shoulder. Wally looks over and yells “BEAR!!!” I got the zoom lens on the camera and jumped out. The bear ambled very close along the road snuffling in the dirt, and I was able to get some great shots. I heard a “crunch” behind me and turned to see one car had tried to pull off on the shoulder only to get high-centered on the curb. Folks helped get them righted, and I ran on to catch up with Wally. This is what the locals call a “bear jam”.


We exited through the Townsend park entrance to head back to Wears Valley Road. Spying a cluster of buildings with wood-carved creations all over the yard, I begged Wally to stop (he can only take so much in one day). It was Captain Dave Lavoie’s “Little River Artistry” cooperative and they had chainsaw art and wood-carved bears, eagles, horses, mermaids, and all sorts of other characters, along with a resident potter.

On Easter morning it was time to head home. For our route, we chose to go through Wears Valley to Walland and then on to Maryville, which was new territory for us both. There were several antique stores along the way that were closed, but I dropped off Busy Bees for them.

We arrived home to see our fields of crimson clover in full bloom – and of course the yard in need of mowing, so it was back to work for us!

Categories: Travel: THE SOUTH | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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