Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day 51 - (09/29) Townsend, TN

We toured the Smoky Mountains today. It was a great, but contrasting, bookend for our trip to the southwest. It was green, cool and crowded.

We drove to Cades Cove and took the 11 mile driving tour first. The scenery and historic sites were outstanding. The tourist congestion was the worst we’ve seen in the past 7 weeks … it looked like hordes of retired people came out to look around.

Cades Cove

John Oliver Place … built in the early 1890s; it’s the oldest home in Cades Cove

Methodist Church … a blacksmith and carpenter built this church in 1902 in 115 days for $115

Missionary Baptist Church, built in 1915 ceased to meet during the Civil War because members were mostly Union sympathizers and the Confederates held the upper hand here

Blacksmith Shop

John P. Cable Grist Mill was built about 1870. It was originally a grist mill and a sash sawmill

Corn Crib

Drive-Through Barn

Smoke House (and snake resort ... they warned us not to go inside)

We were tired and hungry after spending 4 hours on the Cades Cove tour. We drove to Gatlinburg for lunch and got a big surprise … we don’t like it. It’s a tourist city with a circus atmosphere and no parking. We’re really grateful for the visitor center worker who suggested on Monday that we stay in Townsend “on the quiet side of the mountain”.

Over the Mountain
We drove over the mountain to Newfound Gap and to Clingmans Dome after leaving Gatlinburg.

Smoky Mountains from the Newfound Gap (5046 ft) … looking toward North Carolina

Clingmans Dome (6643 ft) … the temperature dropped to 42°F and clouds covered the peak

Clouds at the Dome

We headed home through Pigeon Gorge and discovered it’s much like Gatlinburg. The main road was a lot wider, but it tipped the scales on the “circus meter.”

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