Monday, August 7, 2017

Travel: Sevierville, Tennessee

Our home for a little over a week this summer was this adorable and well appointed three level cabin named Paradise View. Of the three other cabins we have rented in the past, this easily boasted the best views and most entertainment. A hot tub, jacuzzi bath tub, ping pong table, pool table and air hockey table, along with a fireplace, several TVs and wifi came in the cabin for around $185/night for the season we chose. It easily could sleep 8 and is great for splitting with other families. 

I would happily use this exact cabin again if we ever stay in Sevierville in the future.

This was the view each morning, noon and night and the various weather and times of day made for a mercurial illustration of the Smoky Mountain folds. 

Sevierville was a short 5 minute drive into Pigeon Forge, where we shopped at Kroger for groceries and ate a couple of times. We had dinner at the Applewood Farmhouse the first night. The homey decor, complimentary apple punch and apple fritters were pleasant but the food overall was run of the mill. I would not necessarily go back.

The second day brought a trip to Cade's Cove, which I discussed in a previous post. It was well worth the visit. Beautiful countryside.

We did go into Gatlinburg early the third morning and ate a big breakfast at Crockett's Breakfast Camp. My brother-in-law had the Black Bear Camp Skillet, which I totally had envy eyes over. The rest of us ate biscuits and gravy and pancakes and what not. The pancakes were cornmeal based, so very different and very huge. We all enjoyed it and would go back. Here is my sister and brother-in-law hamming it up after indulging in the gut busting good breakfast. 

We strolled about Gatlinburg and shopped, browsed and picked up a few things. My sister and I liked the Village area. 

Later in the trip we hiked it out a little way to tour the Tuckaleechee Caverns. A very casual and fun cave experience. We were actually allowed to touch the formations (which you normally aren't but I think this is a privately owned cave system) and were treated to a serenade and a lights-out, total darkness experience. 

The only thing that sometimes sucks about vacations is that I pretty much take the photos and it is very hard to find anyone who can use my old school camera. But this was the only whole group shot we got all trip, so dang it, I am posting it. 

Of all the dining experiences we had in this area of Tennessee, the Dancing Bear, by far, holds the honor of being the most incredible epicurean experience. 

Fine dining but we were all dressed casually. The menu is printed everyday and features produce grown at the foot of the mountain and trout caught in mountain rivers in Sevierville. We shared a domestic cheese board and an Appalachian Lunchable. 

"Appalachian Lunchable Deviled Eggs, Pickled Shrimp, Benne Seed Bacon, Smoked Gouda Poblano Spread, Wheat Crackers, Herb Biscuits, Country Ham, Berry Pineapple Compote, Pickled Vegetables"

I had the Cast Iron Beef Tenderloin and it was mouth melting tender. We even did dessert, the chocolate whiskey ice cream. Yes. Highly, highly recommend eating here. 

A fun, but more traditional approach to food was the Pottery House Cafe in Pigeon Forge in the Old Mill area of town. Great food and a nice shopping area. Darby and I did end up picking up a pottery piece or two next door.

The Smoky Mountain Cat House is located directly behind the Pottery House Cafe and the girls and I made a bee-line for it right after we ate. In fact, we ended up going there twice during our trip. I wasn't sure what to expect but it ended up being a fun store that sold all sorts of cat memorabilia and paraphernalia. There were about 3 or 4 cats lazing about in windows or on the counter top. I purchased Toddles some mouse toys and even picked up a knick knack for Deb there. 

We did go white water rafting down the Little Pigeon using River Rat as our service. They had a rafting/tubing combo where you got a one year pass to go tubing as much as you wanted. It was worth it, as we ended up going tubing twice. Our guide was fantastic and the experience will be cherished for a long time.

We let the girls each pick out an activity during the planning phase, Savanna wanted to go gem mining and Scarlette desired horseback riding. The gem mine was a fluke find as it was the least commercial and most whimsical of our random stops. 

Gnorbert the Gnome had the cutest gem mine I had ever seen, wild chickens, fairies in the trees and gnomes peeking out everywhere greeted us. 

Another fun excursion was hiking up to Clingman's Dome, one of the highest points in the Smoky Mountain range. The view from the top was breathtaking.

The Clingman's Dome hike was very steep and though only a 1/2 mile we all had to stop to take breaks and slurp up any extra oxygen we could find. It was also bracingly chilly, about 58 degrees. The Appalachian Trail intersects the Clingman's Dome trail and I got a kick out of that. 

At one point there was this field of red flowers and tiny flocks of hummingbirds were all a buzz over the flowers and chirping sweetly. The girls, my sister and I were mesmerized to see so many and it was a first seeing a hummingbird in real life for them. 

I chose the Smoky Mountain Riding Stables both because the trails were actually in the Smoky Mountain National Park, crossing streams and climbing mountains and the price was great, only $25 for a 45 minute ride. Each girl got their own horse and we had our own private guide to lead us. We saw a fawn and some turkeys while riding and many beautiful butterflies and views. 

We had a nice trip. The area was beautiful and there were many activities and places to eat. 

We would go back in the future. Do you have any Tennessee or Smoky Mountain recommendations? 


  1. What a magical trip! The dining experiences sound amazing and I'd be all over the Cat House! The gem mining looks really fun too.

    1. It really was great fun! The Cat House was one of those unplanned, pleasant surprises. The gem mining too. I seriously wanted to go back there again. I cannot wait to see your run down of your big trip!! Are you getting excited?

  2. Yes, what a wonderful trip! And what a wonderful way to record it, too - isn't it neat that our memories no longer need to malinger on a forgotten camera somewhere, or be confined solely to, say, descriptions in our journals or in an e-mail to friends? I always think that's a pretty cool thing to blogging - it breathes new "life" into the story. :)

    That cabin, though - how gorgeous. That's just stunning, to say nothing of the surroundings, and at a really reasonable price, too. And that little town is the cutest darn thing I've ever seen - it looks like Epcot. Or Mont Tremblant (posh ski village in Quebec. Now, THERE'S a mountain vacation for your family! How's your husband on downhill skis?) ;)

    1. You are exactly right. I have gone back and re-read about my Tokyo and NYC trips and I look forward to hopefully either reading them in the far future or seeing about getting my blog printed into a book format for personal reading one day.

      We thought it was a pretty good find too. It took us several months of searching and planning to find one that had everything we wanted and was in our budget but it happened. I love Epcot. Seriously my favorite park. A posh ski village in Quebc you say?? I would love to do more international travel. Neither Adam nor I have ever gone skiing. I really have only seen snow flurries too, too light to create a blanket on the ground. So that would be exciting in and of itself.

  3. P.S. SHUT UP with that meal at the fancy pants restaurant, it sounds so amazing. Ugh, I want to shove that entire cheese plate - plate and all - in my face right now.

    1. Girl. I am all about finding some good food to eat while traveling. Some folks are funny about spending a pretty penny on food but I won't blink an eye if it makes me moan. And that cheese plate made me moan a few times.

  4. That cabin looks and sounds like a dream. I'd probably be content to just spend the whole vacation there and take in the views.

    I had to smile at "bracingly chilly, about 58 degrees." You silly southern folks.

    Yay for horseback riding! It's been probably 30 years since I've been on a horse. There used to be some rinky dinky riding stables around here that we'd go to once in a while. The horses were usually ornery sway-backed nags, and the trails seemed like death traps at times. lol

    Oh and that Village! I would have loved that part too! And I'm super excited to see what kitty dodad you picked!!


    1. It really was a great experience. I was very content to just sit on the porch and read, gaze at the mountains and drink some coffee or tea.

      LOL! I am sure you got a kick out of that but when I am sweating ovaries at over a 100 degrees each day, to go down to 58 seemed like a mini winter wonderland.

      Your sway-back nags made me literally laugh out loud! Ours were very sweet and had obviously trotted the same trailed many many times over. The trail did have a few mucky and stony areas that I felt bad for the horse for, but there were nice dry and flat patches too. You should go horseback riding again one day, see if you still enjoy it.

      I think you would have liked the Village for sure! Old fashioned candy kitchens with people pulling taffy and making caramels in front of you, a tiny coffee store and donut store, an Irish/Celtic/Scottish store, a pajama store, trinket store, and a few other cute places. I can't wait to mail you your fall friendship box. I still have a few things I am collecting but it will go out within August. <3

  5. What an amazing trip! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful adventure. What a fantastic family memory-making experience! :)

    And wait - you don't have hummingbirds?!?!?! I had them in Orlando! They are so cute :)

    1. It was a wonderful trip and memory maker for sure!!

      We don't!!! I have tried setting up feeders and whatnot but nada. Maybe I am doing it wrong. I would love to attract some hummingbirds for the girls to see. We have to have some somewhere around here if you had them in Orlando, it's only 30 minutes away. Hm. I will ask around a garden store or something.

  6. Reading this makes me want to go back. I miss it already! Thank you for capturing every memory so beautifully. I love looking back on our adventures.

    1. It was so much fun!! Glad you liked it too! As soon as I get some Shutterfly codes I will make us a photo book!