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March 12, 2018

Aquarium Is a Great Place to Visit

Have you visited Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg?  Currently it is the top-rated aquarium in the United States.  If you had planned to hike, but Mother Nature did not cooperate, then this is the place to spend a rainy day!

More than 100,000 exotic sea creatures live in the 1.4 million gallons of water.  

The Aquarium is home to more than 100,000 sea creatures.

Kathy Cuppy took this beautiful photo.

Buckhorn Inn guest Kathy Cuppy visited the Aquarium and shared her spectacular photos with us.  

Underwater Tunnel is Highlight of Aquarium

One of the most unique features of the facility is the 340-foot-long underwater tunnel.  It is one of the longest underwater tunnels in the world.  A motorized sidewalk carries you through the watery home of many unique fish and several species of shark.  They are swimming within inches of you!  

Another unique opportunity is the splash-with-stingrays!  You will be able to get into the water at Touch-a-Ray Bay and swim with the stingrays.  

For an up-close-and-personal tour of Shark Lagoon, you can take a glass bottom boat ride.  You will be surrounded by the colorful and fascinating forms of marine life that call the Atlantic and Caribbean reefs home.  Three inches of glass will separate you from a giant green sea turtle, 12-foot sharks, and 75 types of other colorful sea creatures.

You also have the opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility.  A guide will take you through the “staff-only” doors to see the control room, life support rooms, and the many ways the staff ensure the sea life remains happy and healthy.  

It takes about two hours to tour the facility, which is easily navigable for wheelchairs and strollers.  The city-owned parking garage behind the aquarium makes parking very convenient.  This is a very popular local attraction.  For that reason, we recommend visiting on weekdays when their are fewer visitors.  For more information or to buy tickets, go to http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/gatlinburg.

March 5, 2018

St. Patrick’s Day — Soup Hits the Spot

Although it’s roots are Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated the world over.  The day is marked with parades, green beer, and huge corned beef and cabbage dinners.  Contrary to popular belief, however, corned beef is not a traditional dish from Ireland.  According to http://www.history.com/news/hungry-history/corned-beef-as -irish-as-spaghetti- and-meatballs,, corned beef and cabbage was a dish developed by Irish immigrants to the United States.  Many working-class Irish struggled economically in the New World.  “Corning” beef was a way to preserve  meat.  The taste reminded the Irish newcomers of their beloved boiled bacon from back home.  Cabbage was one of the cheapest vegetables in the markets and paired well with the salty spiced beef.  When cooked in the same pot, the dish was easy-to-prepare, inexpensive, and delicious!  Its roots are so American that the dish was served at President Lincoln’s inauguration dinner in 1862.

Our guests love our corned beef soup, and so will you, whether or not you serve it on St. Patrick’s Day!

Corned Beef Soup for St. Patrick’s Day or Not

2-3 lbs Corned beef

1 cube Beef bouillon

2 cloves Garlic, diced

2 Cloves

3 Carrots, sliced thickly

6 Potatoes, peeled and diced

7 cups Water

1/2 cup Onion, chopped

6 Peppercorns

2 Bay leafs

6 cups Cabbage, coarsely chopped

A hearty soup is perfect for St. Patrick's Day.

For a quick version of this soup, purchase pre-cooked corned beef.

Cover corned beef with water in large soup pot.  Bring to boil and reduce heat.  Simmer for 15 minutes and skim.  Add bouillon cube, onion, garlic, peppercorns, cloves and bay leafs.  Simmer for 3 to 4 hours until meat is tender.  Remove meat from broth and cool.  Skim fat from broth.

Cut meat into bite-size pieces and return to broth.  Add carrots and potatoes; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.  Remove the peppercorns, cloves and bay leaf before serving.  This recipe pairs nicely with soda bread or other rustic bread.