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June 18, 2019

A Trip to the Cabin Dolly Parton Called Her Home

Dolly Parton is arguably this area’s most famous person.  She is a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, record producer, actress, author, businesswoman, and philanthropist.  And she was born right here in Pittman Center, Tennessee!

Our recent guests, Herb Galbreath and his family, have seen the replica of Dolly’s cabin at Dollywood.  While they were here they decided to track down the original cabin that Dolly had called home.  She was born in a small cabin near the Little Pigeon River on January 19, 1946.  http://www.memory.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/html/dollyparton  Dolly’s childhood home was rural and isolated.  She wrote about it in song:

Megan Galbreath gets photo credit for this picture of the Dolly Parton statue in Sevierville.

This photo of the Dolly Parton statue in Sevierville was taken by Megan Galbreath.

 

In my Tennessee mountain home

Dolly Parton entitled an albumn "My Tennessee Mountain Home".

Dolly Parton’s cabin is featured on the cover of her 1973 album.

Life is as peaceful as a baby’s sigh,

In my Tennessee mountain home

Crickets sing in the field nearby.

The Road to Dolly Parton’s Cabin

As the Galbreath family drove in search of the cabin, they reflected on the fact they were backtracking on a road that ends in Hollywood, having come from Nashville, Knoxville, Sevierville, and which starts in Caton’s Chapel.  They started their journey on Caton’s Chapel Road and followed GPS directions to get to Locust Ridge Road.  The houses became fewer and farther between and the roads narrower.  The road twisted up and up through the mountains. 

Finally, they saw a little tin-roofed house.  That was the Tennessee Mountain Home.  The road that leads to it was gated off, and the house appeared to be unoccupied, but well-tended.  The family speculated on the effect that growing up in a setting so majestic, but also inaccessible and lonely, must have had on Dolly.  This remarkable Appalachian woman acquired a unique view of life in these hills.  The Galbreaths felt they had gained a new insight into the mindset of this national treasure.

Replica of the Dolly Parton Cabin at Dollywood

A replica of Dolly’s childhood home can be found in the Dollywood theme park.  Visitors enter from a front porch.  A hallway runs along the cabin’s interior and a glass wall separates visitors from the two-room home.  Guests marvel that Dolly, her parents, and 10 siblings lived in this small space.  The kitchen walls are covered with floral wallpaper and old newspapers.  The table is set and a kettle sits on the stove.  By the stove are a broom and a butter churn.  In the bedroom lace curtains hang in the window and there are wooden toys under the bed.  Several photographs of her parents are in the bedroom. 

The sign in front of the cabin reads:  “This cabin is a replica of the Parton Homeplace where Lee and Avie Lee Parton raised Dolly and her 10 brothers and sisters.  The replica cabin was constructed by Dolly’s brother Bobbie, and the interior was reproduced by her mother Avie Lee.  Most of the items on display are original family treasures.  The original cabin still stands at its location in Locust Ridge.”

Our guests loved the scenic drive to the cabin, and we are sure you will as well. 

 

 

June 12, 2019

Frittata: Try This Italian Take on a French Dish

This year our kitchen herb garden is planted in pots on the veranda. The plants get lots of sun, the chefs have easy access to fresh herbs, and our guests love the scent! Our abundance of fresh herbs inspired us to make this fresh herb frittata. This is an easy recipe to whip up for brunch or a light lunch with whatever you have on hand, or in the garden, that is fresh and lovely. We used sharp cheddar, but this would also be tasty with tangy goat cheese. This recipe makes four servings.

8 eggs
2 tablespoons water
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped fresh herbs (thyme, cilantro, chives, parsley)
½ cup finely chopped red or green bell pepper
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a quiche dish. Whisk eggs and water. Add herbs, pepper, black pepper, and ½ cup of the cheese. Mix thoroughly. Pour egg mixture into quiche dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until top is puffed and golden. Let cool slightly. May be served warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle additional fresh herbs on top of each slice when serving.  

June 6, 2019

“Fireflies Display Left Us Speechless”

Yesterday’s USA Today headline read “See the Synchronous Fireflies Smoky Mountains Display that Left Us Speechless” .  https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/news/2019/06/04/synchronous-fireflies-great-smoky-mountains-tennessee-spectacle/1342743001/  Are you familiar with this amazing display?  How do these insects know how to flash together?  Is it some sort of count led by a leader?  Are they responding to some sort of scent?  The real answer is their search for a mate.  

Seeing the display of the synchronous fireflies is truly a bucklet list item for many.

The display lights up the forest in a magical way.

We owe the show to the Photinus Carolinus, commonly known as the Synchronous Firefly and the Phausis Reticulata, the Blue Ghost Firefly.  For about three weeks every year these species of fireflies unique to this area emerge for an annual mating ritual.  This ritual usually takes place in late May or early June.  National Park scientists use air and soil temperatures to predict the timing of each year’s mating season.  The males use their lights to dance for the females.  The females respond with a brief double-flash.  What makes this display so unique is that the males shine their lights in a synchronized display, followed by a synchronized period of darkness which allow the females to shine their lights.

Fireflies Display Lottery

This natural phenomenon has become so popular that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park conducts an annual lottery to determine which visitors are allowed in the park for the show.  Only about 1,800 visitors are admitted each year, coming from all over the world.  The lottery provides parking passes and shuttle service for the Elkmont area.  The lottery typically is announced in April each year.  

Some of our guests were fortunate enough to see the display at Elkmont last evening.  One guest described the experience as magical.  “It felt like the stars were coming down to light the forest!”

Both species of firefly are common in Southern Appalachia.  So if you are in this area in the month of June, stay outside a bit later.  When it is good and dark you might be surprised at the light show you see!