knoxville smoky mountain retreat
I came rolling into town through the open fields of the freeway. A nice introduction to the area before entering the city; one I had always wanted to see being raised on the west coast. From the open fields to a sprawling little city with its downtown perched right along the Tennessee River.
After the sun began to set I headed out on foot to walk S. Gay St. to the rivers edge. A great calm walk with my leather slip ons through 19th century buildings and fantastic food, arts and more. At the rivers edge you take in the great view and you're ready for dinner. Just back up the street I decided on Bistro At the Bijou. A classic dimly lit vibe with live jazz and seasonal comfort fare. Then it was time for some shut eye. A packed day starting early in the morning.
After a quick power breakfast it was time to head to the Smokey Mountains for a hike. But first a bit of a drive. And one such area along this drive that I had no idea about was Pigeon Forge home to Dollywood. I mention it because its the most random and eclectic drive-bys you'll ever see. Its like the Vegas strip hallucinated. Its great. I'll leave it at that for you to experience. After that you start heading into the mountains and the Alum Cave Bluffs Trailhead is 35min away. A fantastic hike with beautiful sights and a-hell-of-a-view if you get to the top Mt. Le Conte.
After the hike to extend the days outdoor recreation I chose to stay with Under Canvas. Just back outside of Pigeon Forge. The drive and stay to this area is just as classic as it gets for this area. Big open-rolling-grassy-hills with cozy homes dotted around with barns. The Under Canvas grounds is in a large open meadow field, its a wonderful stay. This is my second location with them now and its always A+. After a fantastic dinner, under the strung lights of the outdoor gathering area and some great conversation, it was time for bed.
Early morning at this location is something special. A light misty fog hovers through the quiet area as you enjoy your fresh cup. After a light breakfast, and another fresh cup in the holder, I was headed back to town for my flight. I nice drive back in great appreciation that I had finally seen the Smokies.
Pro Tip: The University in Knoxville is a great architectural viewing walk. And to further the outdoors experience consider lodging in one of the great little cabins at the top of Mt. Le Conte. Its a serviced little community o the top of a mountain :D!
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