Cades Cove is so special to me that it deserves its own post. Part of the reason that it's my most favorite part of the GSMNP is that you get something different every time you go there. It's simply magical! Weather conditions control the feeling and I always see something new or see something in a different light. I spent just under 6 hours there last Thursday and it was amazing! I got to the gate before it opened, but I wasn't alone. There were probably 20+ cars in front of me. That has never happened to me before, but once the gate opened, people did spread out along the one way loop. As always, I turned on to Sparks Lane to see the beautiful tree lined gravel road.
After Sparks Lane, but just before exploring the John Oliver Place, I took in the view of the fog covered valley and mountains. I had so much fog that day that it obscured the sunrise.
I love the John Oliver Place. It's just surrounded by such beauty and the view from the front porch is amazing. When you go through my Cades Cove photo gallery, you will notice that I titled almost every picture, especially the structures. If you are really curious about the history of these places, there are plenty of websites filled with information. The official national park page is here: GSMNP Cades Cove
On my walk back from the John Oliver Place, I set up my tripod to take a picture of me and the view. Did I mention that it was 37 degrees that morning?
The next 3 stops along the loop are churches. The Primitive Baptist Church is down a long dusty road and is a one way in/out drive. Next is the Methodist Church and then the Missionary Baptist Church. I did not go inside the Baptist Church this time, but I did take a couple of interior shots inside the other two churches.
Oh boy am I always happy to see wildlife! I always see deer and I did come across a few fields with them in it. They all wanted to be far away that day, but my zoom lens did a pretty good job of it. So yeah, deer are great, but I still haven't seen a bear! While photographing the bucks below, a lady asked me if I saw the bear earlier near the entrance! It's all about timing I guess.
For the first time ever, I took a drive to the end of Hyatt Lane and back. There were some beautiful trees, open fog filled fields and mountain views.
Next stop was a first for me. I've always skipped over the Elija Oliver Place, as you have to hike a mile round trip. Since I saw a couple of other people on the trail, I braved it. I'm so glad I visited this site, as it is very cool. I have to give you a little history here...the house was built in 1866. Elijah was the deacon and clerk of the Primitive Baptist Church for 37 years. Cove people were known for their hospitality and typically took in travelers. You will see in the third and fourth pictures below a small enclosed room with a window in it that was built off of the front porch. This room is called a stranger room.
So as I was hiking my way back alone from the Oliver place, I heard something in the trees. Oh gosh please let this not be the time that I see a bear! Thankfully it was only this lone deer and it sure looked as surprised to see me as I was to see it! We both froze in our tracks.
From here I stopped at the Visitor Center and Historic Cable Mill area for a bathroom break and snack. I did not look around the historic site this time around, but I did get several compliments on my "I don't need therapy, I just need to go to Cades Cove" t-shirt. The lady in the gift shop said that she recently had someone asking her where to get one. So here's a silly looking picture of me that I wasn't going to include, but I will just for humor. This was from the back of the Tipton house.
So I visited a few more structures towards the end of the loop and before I knew it, 6 hours had passed! As I made my way out and contemplated going around again and staying though sunset, I saw the line of traffic trying to get in! Oh my gosh I have never seen anything like it. That pretty much secured my answer and I moved on to the Tremont area of the park.