at least two times every year my family heads east. we head to the mountains for a little break from the farm and a time to visit one of our favorite places in the world, cades cove. cades cove is, well, a cove. its a special cove though because it is tucked away in the great smoky mountains national park.
long before it was a national park though is was home, home to several families whose ancestors chose this beautiful place to call home and over the years as the families grew so did the homes in the cove. when the land for the national park was purchased the remaining families agreed to donate their land too, sort of as a way to protect their heritage and their land.
my family loves history more than most families so we make the 30 minute drive into the national park every day, sometimes twice a day, just to visit the cove. we just can not get enough of this beautiful place. its like stepping back in time. and we also love looking for bear too. here are some pictures from our recent trip in may.
here is map of the cove, its a big loop. the loop is 11 miles long and the traffic goes one way. there are places to pull off and park, hike, eat lunch, etc.
the main loop road is recently paved, which makes for a much smoother ride. this picture is of one of the cut through roads to cut back to the other side of the loop, which is still gravel.
at one end of the cove is the visitors center along with a few homes, barns and this mill. its one of my dad and brothers favorite stops. its one of their favorite stops because the want to build one on the farm. every year they talk about it, or more or less my brother talks about it. maybe one day. maybe one day.
we always see lots of bear. probably because we consider ourselves professional bear spotters with the number of trips we have made to the cove. this year we saw three sets of baby triplets. they were too cute. even though they could eat my foot off.
here is the momma and her three babies.
cades cove will forever be one of my favorite places on earth.
if you would like to visit cades cove, visit the national parks website here.
and the best place to stay would be townsend, tennessee. lots of people like to stay in gatlinburg on pigeon forge but we like townsend, its known as the peaceful side of the smokies. there may not be a ripleys believe it or not but sometimes you just need to lock up the family in a cabin for a few days and place scrabble for hours on end.
you can find where we rent our cabin here.
happy vacation planning.