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July 16, 2018

New Breakfast Dish Tantalizes Guests’ Taste Buds

If you have stayed at the Buckhorn Inn, you know that breakfast is truly a highlight.  Each morning we offer fresh coffee, biscuits and coffee cake right from the oven, fresh fruit, and a choice of a sweet or savory hot entrée.  One of our newest breakfast dishes is chicken and waffles! 

Can't choose between savory and sweet for your breakfast entree?  Chicken and waffles covers both bases!

Our new breakfast entree was a hit with this guest!

Not Just for Breakfast

Chicken and waffles is truly an American dish that draws both on soul food and Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine traditions.  

There are several theories about the origins of this dish.  We do know that European colonists brought waffles to America in the 1600’s.  When Thomas Jefferson bought a waffle iron in France in 1789, the popularity of the dish soared.  One origin theory says that in the early 1800’s Philadelphia restaurants served waffles with fried catfish.  Chicken gradually became more popular than catfish because it was available year round.  The Pennsylvania Dutch enjoyed Sunday dinners of waffles, chicken and gravy.  So much so that the dish became a symbol of Pennsylvania Dutch country by the end of the 19th century.

In the early 20th century Harlem, New York, chicken and waffles was served by such restaurants as Tillie’s Chicken Shack, Dickie Wells’ jazz nightclub, and the Wells Supper Club.  In 1935 Bunny Berigan composed a jazz instrumental called “Chicken and Waffles”.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wike/Chicken_and_waffles

Fried chicken and waffles came to Los Angeles by 1940’s.  The dish was served at The Maryland and marketed as a Southern specialty.  Interestingly, the combination of chicken and waffles does not appear in early Southern cookbooks.  

Whatever the origins of the dish, chicken and waffles has become a popular breakfast item at Buckhorn Inn.  We make a light, fluffy waffle, top it with crispy fried chicken, drizzle it with a bit of Tennessee honey, and serve warm maple syrup on the side.  What could make a better breakfast?

 

July 9, 2018

Black Bears in the Smokies

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a large, protected area where black bears can roam freely.  The park service estimates that about 1,500 bears live in the park–that translates to a density of about two of the animals per square mile.  Sighting one of these magnificent creatures is a highlight of a vacation, but caution is necessary for the protection of the bear and of the tourist.  Bears can live 12-15 years or more in the wild, but those which have had access to human food and garbage have a life expectancy of only half that time.  

This mother black bear will defend her cub.

Black bear (Ursus americanus) mother standing in the road with young cub peeking out from the bushes.

Behavior of Bears

Like us, bears are omnivores.  Berries and nuts make up about 85% of their diet.  Insects and carrion are valuable sources of protein.  These creatures have a very keen sense of smell.  Feeding bears, or allowing them access to human food and garbage causes a number of problems.  It causes them to lose their instinctive fear of humans.  Over time this means they may begin approaching people and may become more unpredictable and dangerous.  They may begin to pose a risk to public safety and must be euthanized.  In other cases they come close to human areas and are hit by cars or become easy targets for poachers.  The park service warns us that Garbage Kills Bears!

What Do I Do If I See Bears?

They are beautiful creatures.  But remember that they have color vision, a keen sense of smell, are good swimmers and tree climbers, and can run 30 miles per hour.  The park service provides a short video to help tourists understand what to do if they see a bear http://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/black-bears.htm  If you do see a bear you should remain watchful and not approach it.  Do not allow the bear to approach you.  Being too close may promote aggressive behavior from the bear.  For these reasons, willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet) or any distance that disturbs or displaces a bear, is illegal in the park.  Use binoculars or a telephoto lens to view them.

If the bear approaches you, don’t run but rather back slowly away.  The bear will probably do the same.  If he continues to approach you, change your direction.  If he continues, stand your ground and talk loudly or shout at it.  Make yourself look as large as possible.  Use a stout stick to intimidate the bear.  It is very rare that you would be physically attacked, but if so you should not play dead.  Fight back aggressively with any available object.

Remember, the goal of bear management is to keep these magnificent animals shy, secretive, and afraid of people.  

 

July 2, 2018

Guests Find Inner Harmony on Labyrinth Path

Whether you are seeking inner meditative peace, or just a nice walk, following the path of a meditation labyrinth may be for you.  The Buckhorn Inn “Rachael’s Labyrinth” is named for Innkeeper Rachael Young.  The path is constructed of local fieldstone and is encircled with native wildflowers and plants.  Our labyrinth is of the medieval style.

Walking the path of the Buckhorn Inn labyrinth is a peaceful journey.

Guest Amanda Writesman took this beautiful photo of the Buckhorn Inn labyrinth.  

Path for All Faiths

Labyrinths were in use long before recorded history.  They all feature a single path that leads into the center of a space and then back out.  Most cultures have a type of labyrinth.  They have been associated with mini-pilgrimages and walked to reinforce protection, to bring good fortune, or to overcome difficulty.  Today’s labyrinths offer the opportunity for meditation and slight concentration.  Every journey is a personal one–everyone gets something different from the walk.  The world-wide labyrinth locator http://www.labyrinthlocator.com lists 4,977 labyrinths in 80 countries, including the one at Buckhorn Inn in Gatlinburg, Tennessee!  The Smithsonian Magazine highlights six labyrinths which have been heralded for their beauty and history.

The Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France dates back to the year 1205.  According to the magazine, scholars believe that the path symbolizes “the human journey from sin to redemption”.

When you walk through the Old Summer Palace in Beijing, China, you are walking through a structure built in 1709.  The path is housed in a garden called the Garden of Perfection and Light.  The 864-acre property was intended to be a private garden for Chinese emperors, but was destroyed by the British and French forces in the 1860s.  The remaining ancient landscaping is like nothing anywhere else.

Dunure Castle in Scotland was a 13th century stronghold.  The stone labyrinth is on the beach near a park and offers walkers a wonderful view of both the sea and the castle’s remains.

Lands End, San Francisco was built by artist Eduardo Aguilera in 2004.  The labyrinth is located on a rocky outcropping overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.  The path is tucked away from view.

Do you enjoy walking labyrinths?  Please share your pictures and stories.  We would like to feature them in a future blog post.