In early November, Mr. Handsome and I made the short drive over to the Smoky Mountains for a weekend getaway. We had met a like-minded couple at a conference a few weeks prior, and they had invited us to stay at their house.The fall colors were at their peak, and the scenery was just incredible. We were also able to see the “smoke” (aka fog) that gives the Smokies their name.
On day one, we explored Cades Cove, a mountain farming community founded in the early 1800s. It is no longer inhabited, but you can drive along the 11-mile, one-way road and view more than 80 historical buildings and settlements. We enjoyed pulling off into the many parking areas and walking through the old buildings. (We were shocked that all of them were open to the public.)
At the entrance to Cades Cove, we drove past a beautiful, dusty-colored horse grazing in a vibrant, green meadow.
The scene was picture-perfect.
Our first stop was the John Oliver Place. Built in the early 1820s, the cabin is the oldest in the Cove.
The cabin, which was owned by the Oliver family until the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in the 1930s, is a five minute walk from the road. It is a simple, one-room house with a loft.
Next, we stopped at the Primitive Baptist Church, established June 16th, 1827. (The current building was built in 1887 to replace a log structure.) We learned that the church closed during the Civil War because its members were Union sympathizers and felt threatened by the many Confederates who lived in Cades Cove.
There was a wedding that day, so we didn’t go inside, but we walked through the cemetery and came across multiple tombstones of men who had fought in the Revolutionary War.
We also found the tombstone of the man after whom Gregory’s Bald, a mountain in the park, was named. A Union supporter, he was killed by Confederates three years into the Civil War.
We passed the Methodist Church, built in 1902 (although the congregation was established in the 1820s). Customarily, old churches with two doors would have been designed that way to seat men and women on separate sides. We chuckled as we read that this church did not carry that custom but that its congregation had borrowed the blueprint from another church that did. Apparently, sticking to the blueprint and cutting two front doors was easier than deviating and installing just one.
We stopped at a pull-off and hiked a short distance the Elijah Oliver Place, built by John Oliver’s son after the Civil War. On the left side of the house, the family added a “stranger room.” With a separate entrance, the room provided a place for overnight acquaintances to stay without jeopardizing the safety of Elijah’s family.
Hope you enjoyed these photos. More coming soon.