Monday, May 7, 2012

Smoky Mountains: Day One

On a pre-Easter trip in April, our first full day in the Smoky Mountains was packed but leisurely. We had stopped for the night in Dillsboro, NC. An early morning view from our riverside balcony revealed a slightly ominous looking stream and an attractive but wet terrace. In contrast the nearby hillside was a symphony of misty spring green.
No breakfast al fresco on the terrace today

A refreshing view to start the day

Husband Walter found a lifelike model of downtown Dillsboro above the motel lobby. 

Alas, the train, the Smoky Mountain Railroad, once a big tourist draw, has moved operations to Bryson City, although it does include a Dillsboro stop.

Tribal Grounds, our first stop in Cherokee, NC, for coffee and tea

Our second stop was for boiled peanuts. We like them in the Southern tradition rather than the spicy Cajun variety. And our favorite source is the cast-iron cauldron we have visited for years.
Boiled peanuts ready to eat

Jack’s Boiled Peanuts served up about six tons of the salty snack in 2011. They are hoping to hit nine tons this year.

Emmitt scoops up our quart of steaming hot peanuts.

Equipped with abundant paper towels and determination, we cracked the peanuts open and indulged as we drove to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. We had toured the mountain farm at the location in 2010 when the fields and kitchen garden were ready for harvest. The visitors center was bustling but tiny. 

New Oconaluftee Visitor Center
The new center is spacious and seved a steady stream of visitors. Best of all was the generous porch that overlooks a spirit-lifting vista.

A porch and a patch of shade equals a happy hubby.

Inviting rockers would be even more welcoming facing the farm and mountain.

Now, isn’t that better?

On our way to the western side of the mountains after our jaunt to Waynesville (See that post here.), we stopped at the Cherokee showroom of Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc. Walter parked me in a comfy chair surrounded by a visual feast of baskets, quilts and other items created by artists and crafters of the Eastern Cherokee.

The Cherokee babies below were a new addition. Their creator is Mildred Queen. The tag listed felt cloth as the material she used. I just had to get up out of my chair and snap pix of these endearing little ones.

And unlike my grands, these little ones were easy to photograph. They sat absolutely still!


  1. These Cherokee babies are adorable, was the price reasonable? And I want a porch just like this one!!

  2. Great pictures, Linda. I wanted to be there.

  3. i love love love boiled peanuts. and what a view you had. also love rocking chairs. the little model of down town reminded me of something your hubby would like. we have an Amish restaurant here, Millers dutch Kitchen, the entire building has a model town and a train that runs round and round at ceiling level whie we eat. it circles the hole restaurant. we can look up or go and look down on it from the second floor.

  4. The Smoky Mountains really do have some beautiful places. I would love to go there sometime. It would be good to spend some time just rocking in the chairs on that wonderful porch.

  5. How serene and peaceful! I would love to drive there with hubby someday. Just beautiful. My grandkids would love those cute dolls.

  6. Oconoluftee, I haven't thought of it for years. My little brother once vomited all over the place. That's what comes from traveling with chain smoking parents, alas. Love the Indian dolls. I collected dolls and would have bought one years ago. Dianne

  7. You are in one of my favorite spots in the US. Love that porch and yes the chairs should face the view. Love the eyelashes on the dolls.

  8. Absolutely love big porches with rocking chairs. I could sit and watch the river for hours.
    I must get to the Smokey mountains someday. They look so inviting.
    I don't think I could have resisted the cute little Indian dolls. Love the scrunched faces.