Sunday, January 25, 2009

Knoxville, Tennessee and the mountains

Growing up in the Knoxville, and Maryville, Tennessee area, I can offer some great places to see. But, for a short weekend, and if you want to get away and see some great mountains, go through Knoxville into Maryville (or through Sevierville, off interstate 40, take exit 406), or take 321 through Maryville, Walland and Townsend, into Cades Cove off of interstate 40 from the UT exit (exit 386 (I think, maybe 389, but it is well marked)). The mountains have excellent camping and picnic areas, with beautiful scenery.

You can take the 'loop' once in Cades Cove, and it's a wonderful 11 mile trip (drive or take a bicycle if its warm), or they rent horses as well. There is a ton of rivers and streams, do some tubing (you can rent tubes in Townsend), or drive through Wear's Valley, which will end up in Sevierville. Then on to Gatlinburg. You should see plenty of deer and maybe some black bear.

Sevierville has all the touristy things, Gatlinburg as well, but a great area to visit and walk around in. Try some camping in Cades Cove, they have all the facilities you could ever need. Or walk the nature trails, they are all marked well.

If you stay in Knoxville, I would recommend the Marriott on Summit Hill, then try Calhouns for great ribs, or the Copper Cellar. My recommendation is the Calhouns or Copper Cellar in West Knoxville.

For a mountain trip, you just can't go wrong in Cades Cove and a hike. Also, on the way to Cades Cove, if you are on 321, you may want to detour on the Foothills Parkway for some beautiful views, and head over to Chilhowee Lake, and back.

It's great for family outings, but definitely plan it for a weekend at least. Unfortunately, no pictures now, but I will upload some later.

Gatlinburg also has all the hotels or mountain cottages for rent for a weekend stay, and good mountain shopping. It shouldn't be too expensive, but if you want to go a little pricier, you always have Blackberry Farms in Walland, a class act and a leading hotel!

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