James ventured to Tennessee for the first time last weekend so we went to Cades Cove to check out the National Park. We decided to do the somewhat touristy but interesting loop through Cades Cove that includes stop offs at historical buildings such as the John Oliver cabin. It is the oldest building in the park, built in 1820.
I was REALLY excited to try out my early Christmas present from James, a Sony NEX 5 camera. It is truly fabulous and I can use it during travels and for my dissertation work when I do ethnography like participant observation, fieldwork and interviews.
If you're into the changing colors of leaves during the fall season, the smokies are where it's at. We were about two weeks late for the full-on amazing display but there were still some blood red and golden touches throughout the scenery.
My favorite part of the loop besides seeing the wildlife, is checking out the old churches and cemeteries. The Primitive Baptist Church was built in 1827 and the building that is now the church was built in 1887. While we were there, a wedding was actually going on.
While we were walking through the cemetery, a guide was discussing the grounds. He said that people can still be buried there as long as they could prove they were descendants from one of the founding members of the church. The headstones date to the 1800s.
We saw deer, wild turkeys and even a bear! He was pretty far off and a national park staffer was on site to make sure no one got too close. The bear was just chilling behind a log while everyone tried to get a glimpse. If you look reaaaaaly closely, you can see a a tiny bit of black fur over the right side of the downed tree (kind of looks like a rock sticking up).
I absolutely loved the Cable place as well. There's a house, two barns, a smokehouse, corn crib and an amazing mill from the 1800s. These people were inventive and clearly hard workers back in the day. They diverted the creek to power a wheel that ground corn and also provided power for tools. It still works!
Cades Cove is fun and worth the drive, especially on a gorgeous fall day like we had (sunny and 65F)