The first stop on our big trek across the US is Townsend, TN. Townsend, is a small town, at the West entrance to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. For the past 5 years, it has become the gathering place for our family. We stay at the KOA, located on the Little River, and spend our entire time floating in tubes on the river, going to goofy dinner shows and other such non stressful activites. About 100 yards from the entrance to the KOA is a country restaurant, The Riverstone Diner, that serves up great breakfasts and lunch.
The majority of our time in Townsend was spent floating in tubes on the Little River. Our entire family enjoyed this activity.
One of the great things to do while in the Smoky Mountains, is to catch a goofy, country show in Pigeon Forge. On this trip, we visited the Hatfield and McCoys Dinner Theatre. The food was good; very southern including pulled pork, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and other good stuff. The singing and dancing was very entertaining and fun for the kids. A tour of Cades Cove is always a must when visiting the Smokies. Cades Cove is a settlement that was established in the early 1800’s. It’s an 11 mile loop. On the loop are several historical buildings including dwellings, churches, and a working farm and mill located at the Cades Cove visitors center. As we made our way around the loop we saw plenty of wild turkeys and deer. Unfortunately, even though Cades Cove is known to have a large population of black bears, there were none to be seen on the day we made the tour.
There are a couple of restaurants in Pigeon Forge that are “must do’s”. First, we love breakfast at The Applewood Restaurant. The motif, is very country and has the feel that breakfast is at Grandma’s house. The portions are huge; the apple fritters are great and the applebutter is an excellent spread on the biscuits.
The other restaurant that is always on our list is The Old Mill Restaurant. The Old Mill is great for lunch or dinner. They serve up large portions of country food such as fried chicken, fried pork chops, turkey and dressing, and much more. The place is huge. After lunch or dinner, it is fun to stroll through the Old Mill village and check out the pottery stores or the moonshine store.
Make sure you are plenty hungry before going to either of these restaurants. The morning we were to leave the Smoky Mountains, Marti took a picture of a lone young boy, fishing off the banks of the Little River. The picture was taken early in the morning and capsulates what the Smoky Mountains are about: Peacefulness, Fishing, Smoky (mist), and beauty that is unique to the Smoky Mouuntains. Until next year….