Last week the boys and I gave the moving boxes a short break and we headed to the Smoky Mountains to see Cades Cove for an afternoon. First stop was an oil change for me and mini-golf for them. Lucky strike extra, since Wednesday’s special was $10 for 2 games mini-golf and game room tokens.
Everything is located along Kingston Pike, and we stumbled into this mini golf next to a Goodwill (shout out for my sisters, since we’re usually on the lookout for good thrift stores, both for donations and shopping). I had a happy accident when I missed the Jiffy Lube entrance and needed to turn around in a strip mall, and ran into a “Chic Resale” with all summer 40-70% off. It will be a longer fall in Knoxville, and since I’ve been wearing business casual to work for the past year, my casual wardrobe was slipping. Hello Chic Resale and 5 capri pants, 2 skirts, 5 cute tops, and a bathing suit for $98. Nice!
We headed to Townsend where the park entrance was located. Fun to watch the mountains get closer as we got further along.
Since I was driving, I had a designated photographer, Kevin. The drive into the park reminded me of entering Devils Lake State Park in Wisconsin, heavily forested drive uphill. But the drive to Cades Cove was about 20 minutes, winding wooded roads.
“Cades Cove is an isolated valley located in the Tennessee section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA. The valley was home to numerous settlers before the formation of the national park. Today Cades Cove is the single most popular destination for visitors to the park, attracting over two million visitors a year, due to its well preserved homesteads, scenic mountain views, and abundant display of wildlife.” Wikipedia
We stopped at an old church and wandered through the small cemetery adjacent to the church. Noticed that many men died before their wives, and was sad to see so many young children buried around the age of 3 or 4. One poor woman, Nancy Oliver, buried four young children in five years, including a set of twins. Poor Nancy. Interesting site.
We kept our eyes open for the abundant wildlife. At one point the chain of cars that made a slow procession through the 11 mile loop came to a stop for no apparent reason. When they started up again and we rounded the corner, we saw a large deer/buck w/large antlers loping away through the field. We stopped at a visitor center that had interesting information about what it was like living in Cades Cove 150 years ago.
Kevin told me excitedly he got a picture of a bear….he took the picture of a stuffed bear in the gift shop. Clever guy (can’t find the picture though, sorry).
Overall, a nice way to spend a couple hours getting introduced to the Smoky Mountains. There are other more spectacular views and many other places to visit in the coming months.
Oh, and I now know FOUR people in Knoxville! In addition to my realtor and my banana walnut bread neighbor across the street, a sweet next door neighbor came by with a pan of chocolate chip cookie bars last week. She and her husband are UT grads with one married daughter and have been in this home for eight years. As we talked about the area, she kept telling me about places to visit and see, and in her sweet southern drawl kept repeating “I think you’re gonna like it here.” Met her husband this weekend, and he told me a lot about the Oak Ridge area where Tom works and the top Knoxville employer, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory responsible for development of the WWII atomic bomb (with other labs).
I’m missing my family, neighbors and Chicago friends, but am keeping my eyes open for a fifth new friend. And I’m not counting the nice Walmart customer service lady who also had Graves disease on her thyroid like me, or the very pleasant bank manager I got to know while setting up new bank accounts. So many nice people here and I know I’ll find my Knoxville buddies soon.
One nice constant between Arlington Heights and Knoxville is church on Sundays. We checked out All Saints next to the Knoxville Catholic High School last week (simple nice church), and tried out St. John Newmann close to our home in Farragut this week (gorgeous cathedral). I’m thankful to God for the opportunities we are experiencing and am praying for those who are going through tough times and struggling right now.
I read something this week that with God, we can move mountains. He will make obstacles serve His purpose. And though we may pray for their removal, they are HIS mountains and He will not fail to keep his promise to us. “The meaning of trial is not only to test worthiness, bu to increase it; as the oak is not only tested by the storms, but toughened by them. (Streams in the Desert, Aug. 2). Gotta love good mountain inspiration! My friend Terry even suggested Moving Mountains as the name for this blog, clever lady! Thanks for reading, have a great Sunday and here’s to moving mountains this week.