Monday July 8th was the 1st day of my two-week vacation and I chose to start it off with a visit to Cades Cove, TN. (note – some pics are below, but you can find all my pics from this day here.)
For the past 5 years, I have been the county coordinator for Blount County as part of the TNGenWeb Project, but I’ve never been there. I have learned a lot about the history of the area from my work through TNGenWeb in helping others, but it was a wonderful experience to actually BE there and see the places and names that I have become familiar with. Cades Cove in particular has been of interest to me – it is an isolated valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and I have seen gorgeous pictures of the views there.
Seeing the Cove involves an 11-mile loop road and it was neat to travel along it. We spent about two hours driving through and seeing it, but could have easily spent a whole day. There is much to see, trails to follow, etc. To help with learning even more, I downloaded an audio tour that was quite entertaining. Our first stop in the Cove was John Oliver’s cabin.
One of the stops we did get out of the car for was the Primitive Baptist Church. Buried here is John Oliver and his family – they were the first European settlers to the area. Also buried in this cemetery are some distant relatives of one of my co-workers, the Shields family. I recognized so many names so it was just cool to actually be there where they were.
We saw horses in the cove and Kaleya went bezerk – she loves horses. Seeing them run across the valley was amazing.
Here is a video she took while I was driving.
After our visit to the cove, I then headed to my friend Billie’s house. To get there from the Cove, we went through Pigeon Forge. Can I just say who knew TN had a Vegas-strip? That place was crazy! But, I know I’m gonna have to do the touristy-thing and take the kids there for a weekend. With places like MagiQuest, a Titanic museum, a Hollywood Wax Museum with a big King Kong on top, and a Hatfield & McCoys dinner theater, who can resist? Besides, I’ve already promised Kaleya.
We made it to Billie’s (one of my genealogy buddies) and settled in for the night. Billie was definitely the “hostess with the most-ess”. Kaleya was treated to a food in bed. How do I top that? Then, Billie set us on our way Tuesday morning with a great breakfast of scrambled eggs, biscuits with her very own homeade apple butter, and some Benton’s bacon – a Monroe County original. I don’t each much bacon but that was some good stuff!!!
In all, we covered about 180 miles on Monday according to Google Latitude. You can even see a loop where we were going around the Cove (the placement on the map isn’t quite right, but Google does know I did a loop). Neat.