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May 21, 2018

New Reviews from Buckhorn Inn Guests

Thank you to all our guests who take the time to write reviews about their Buckhorn Inn experience on TripAdvisor.  Travel websites are trusted advisors for so many vacationers.  Your first-hand experience helps them know exactly what to expect.

slkratz1 wrote on May 21, 2018:  “Great food, wonderful service.  I had dinner two nights during my stay at Buckhorn.  Great wine list as well as menu.”  5 stars.

Renee B wrote on May 20, 2018:  “This was the first time for my husband and I, staying at a B&B inn and it was incredible!  From the beautiful views from our room, the Premier 1, to the incredible breakfast every morning.  We also booked a dinner our first evening there and it was also fantastic!  The staff made sure they waited on our every need and we could not have asked for anything more!  We will be back!”  5 stars.

Claire O wrote on May 18, 2018:  “We stayed in the Lindsey House which was perfect for the three sisters.  We had a lovely deck with wooded scenery and lots of birds.  Lee and John are the perfect hosts and the food was excellent as always.  The Inn is close to the Greenbrier with great hikes and historical information.”  5 stars

bdcook wrote on May 15, 2018:  “We spent two nights in one of the cabins at the Buckhorn Inn while we hiked and visited the sights in the Smoky Mountains.  We’d definitely stay there again when we visit the area.  Good value in a comfortable cabin with living room and small kitchen.  Wonderful, quiet property and such nice people.  Loved our glass of wine while sitting in the rocking chairs with a view of the mountains while meeting interesting people staying there.  We hadn’t planned on meals there, but had a wonderful dinner there in the end.  Wish we had a fluffier pillow is the only idea for improving on the experience.”  5 stars

Three weeks ago Eric V wrote:  “The Buckhorn Inn has long been our favorite place for celebrating special occasions.  The food is excellent.  The setting is peaceful and relaxing.  The staff is friendly and welcoming.  An added bonus:  The spring wildflowers are breathtakingly gorgeous right now, so short easy hikes in this part of the Smokies are rewarding.”

We appreciate the positive reviews on our food, rooms, and grounds from our guests.

Thank you for sharing your experience with other travelers.  

Thank you to all those who take the time to share their reviews of the Buckhorn Inn.  We look forward to welcoming you back!

 

 

 

May 15, 2018

Great Sights in the Great Smoky Mountains

Guests often ask us our favorite sights in the area.  There are so many!  Luckily for us the Smokies Guide Spring 2018 issue includes information on five top visits.  http://www.nps.gov/grsm

  1.  NEWFOUND GAP.  A “gap” is a low point in a mountain ridge.  Newfound Gap is about 16 miles from Gatlinburg.  Visitors will see spectacular views and be able to walk along the Appalachian Trail.  
    Newfound Gap has spectacular sights.

    Newfound Gap is a beautiful area in the Great Smoky Mountains.

    The Gap is nearly a mile higher in elevation than the surrounding lower areas so can be significantly cooler.  You will see spruce-fir forests and beautiful wildflowers.

  2. 2.  OCONALUFTEE MUSEUMS.  A 32-mile drive from Gatlinburg will take you to the Oconaluftee Museums.  The free indoor and outdoor museums depict the life of families from the Cherokee to the creation of the national park.  The outdoor farm is an agricultural paradise which features older breeds of animals and an heirloom garden.  The 2-mile hiking trail begins at the museum and often enables sightings of elk and beaver.
  3. CADES COVE.  In this area you likely will see deer and may also spot bear, coyote, and wild turkey.  Historic buildings in this area include a gristmill, several barns, three churches, and many log homes.  An 11-mile one-way loop road takes you around the cove.  The distance from Gatlinburg is about 27 miles.
  4. OLD ELKMONT TOWN.  This was once a booming logging town.  Today you will find a variety of hiking trails that vary from easy to moderate-difficulty.  Good trout fishing can be found in the nearby Little River.  The restored Appalachian Clubhouse, Spence Cabin, and four other historic buildings offer a peek into bygone days.  Elkmont is about 7 miles from Gatlinburg.
  5. DEEP CREEK.  This area has beautiful streams and waterfalls.  This is one of the few park areas where bicycles are permitted.  The distance from Gatlinburg is about 48 miles.

Share your Favorite Sights with Us!

What are some of your favorite places to visit in eastern Tennessee?  Please share your pictures and stories with us at info@buckhorninn.com.  We would love to share your experiences with other members of the Buckhorn Inn family through Facebook and Instagram.

 

May 7, 2018

Spring Salad Days at Buckhorn Inn

The beautiful salad greens we have been growing in the Buckhorn Inn gardens have made us love our dinner salads even more!  This spring we have been harvesting and serving a sweet mesclun mix from Burpee Seed Company http://www.burpee.com.  The mix includes Beet Bull’s Blood, Spinach Bloomsdale, Black Seeded Simpson lettuce, Red Salad Bowl lettuce, and Mustard Tendergreen.  

Our inn-grown lettuce salad creations are fun for the gardener, the chef, and the diner!

Your salad, from the garden to the kitchen to the table.

Soon we will be harvesting our Heatwave mix which includes a blend of crisphead, romaine, and looseleaf types that mature a bit later than the spring mix.

Caesar’s Salad Dressing

Guests love our Caesar salad.  It was first made by restaurateur Caesar Cardini in Tijuana.  In 1924  a rush of diners depleted his ingredient supply.  He made do with what he had and added his own flair by making it tableside.  Our version of the tangy dressing omits the raw egg.  We recommend you serve it at room temperature on romaine with crisp croutons.

 

3 Anchovies

1 T  Worcestershire sauce

1 T Chopped garlic

1 T Dijon mustard

1/3 C Mayonnaise

1 t Pepper

1 t Salt

1/2 C Lemon juice

1 1/2 C Olive oil

1/2 C Shredded Parmesan cheese

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a food processor.  Slowly add the olive oil, processing until creamy.  Stir in the parmesan cheese.  Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

This is one of Chef Bob’s most popular dressings.  We especially like it over a bed of tender spring greens with grilled asparagus and tomatoes.

1/4 C Diced onions

1 T Minced garlic

1 t Dijon Mustard

1/2 C Fresh basil leaves

1 t Salt

1/2 t Pepper

1 T Sugar

1/4 C Mayonnaise

1/2 C Lemon juice

1 1/2 C Combined olive and canola oils

Combine in a food processor, adding the oil slowly at the last.  Chill.  Makes about 2 cups.  We love using the fresh basil from our Buckhorn Inn herb garden for this recipe and many others.  When making a basil-based dish, such as a pesto, blanching the basil will help it retain that sunny green color.

We hope you enjoy many salad days ahead!

April 30, 2018

April Gardening at Buckhorn Inn

We love gardening at Buckhorn Inn!  Our guests from other parts of the country often are curious about our growing season.  So we thought we would give you a peek into what we are doing this April.  

We find gardening to be satisfying because of the feedback!

Keeping our gardens in good shape is a labor of love.

Our display of spring bulbs was beautiful this year.  We are marking their locations so we will know where to fertilize this fall.  We are diligent about removing the faded flowers to make everything look better and to keep seeds from forming.  Our Siberian irises are blooming now.  After they finish we will divide them and replant.  

We have pruned the perennials that have not yet started to grow, and renewed our mulch so that is about 3″ deep.  We pruned our trees, removing dead and diseased limbs, before they began to leaf out.  

The annual flowers we have set out bring color now, and throughout the entire summer.  Even though some early balmy temperatures and sunny days were seductive, we waited until we were sure spring had arrived for good before we put them out!  

Gardening for Edibles

This month we filled our new raised-bed vegetable gardens with seeds for early and late lettuce mixes, kaleidoscope carrots and okra.  Last week we planted tomatoes and a mix of sweet and hot peppers.  We are especially pleased with our new kitchen herb garden.  It is planted right outside the kitchen door for easy access by our chefs.  

Herb gardening is a wonderful boon to the Buckhorn Inn chefs.

This month we planted our kitchen herb garden.

Our selections include dill, cilantro, basil, curry, rosemary, majoram, oregano, thyme, and sage.  We look forward to seeing how the supply of fresh herbs and vegetables will inspire our chefs!

The school of agriculture at the University of Tennessee is a wonderful source of information and inspiration.  Check out their website http://www.agt.tennessee.edu/utg for information and inspiration!  They also have information on upcoming events, such as their May 6 Plantapalooza and hosta sale!

We wish you a wonderful spring and hope that your gardens grow and flourish!

 

April 23, 2018

Rhododendron Provides Stunning Spring Display

Have you been lucky enough to come upon a rosebay rhododendron on the Buckhorn Inn Nature Trail while it is in full bloom?  You can see several beautiful specimens toward Cottage 1 and also growing along the edge of Buckhorn Pond.  They reach their blooming peak in June.

The Spring 2018 issue of Smokies Life Magazine http://www.smokiesinformation.org/smokies-life-magazine celebrates this beautiful shrub.  There are four native species of this wonderful plant in this area.

In the Smokies you can find four species of native true rhododendron.

Rhododendron are seen along many trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The rosebay grows at lower levels and can be found throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The small-leafed variety also grows at lower levels.  The Carolina and the Catawba can me found at mid- to high-levels.

The word “rhododendron” means rose tree.  The Smokies Life article by Courtney Nix contains this marvelous description, written in 1799 by explorer John Fraser, Jr.:  “We had been traveling among the mountains, and one morning we were ascending to the summit of Bald Mountain in the midst of a fog so dense that we could not see farther than a yard before us.  As we reached the top the fog began to clear away, and the sun to shine out brightly.  The first objects that attracted our eye, growing among the long grass was rhododendron catawbiense in full bloom.  There was no other plant there but itself and the grass, and the scene was beautiful.”  Indeed, it must have been spectacular!

Growing Rhododendron Shrubs

These evergreen bushes prefer moist, acidic soil.  They do well in light shade.  High winds can harm the plants, so be sure they are planted near wind-breaks.  Pine needles are good used as a mulch as they add acid to the soil and keep the ground moist.  

Rosebays, such as ours, do not bloom every year.  They have an irregular bloom cycle.  Some years, perhaps due to good weather, lack of a late frost, or good patterns of rainfall, more shrubs than usual bloom.  Count yourself lucky if you happen to be in the Great Smoky Mountains during one of these “Big Bloom” years!

April 17, 2018

Celebrate England on St. George’s Day

St. George's Day is a time to fly the flag.

St. George’s Day is celebrated on April 23.

Are you familiar with St. George’s Day?  As the website http://www.st.georgesday.com points out, the Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and the Scottish have St. Andrew’s Day.  All English people should come together on April 23 to celebrate England’s own patron saint.  Traditionally one flies the St. George flag and wears a red lapel rose.

The history of St. George’s Day is a long one.  The Council of Oxford declared April 23 to be the day of recognition in 1222.  In 1348 St. George became the Patron Saint of England and the protector of the royal family.  In 1552, during the English Reformation, banners for all saints, except Saint George, were banned.  The April 23 holiday remembering St. George’s death, was a major one, on a par with Christmas, until the 18th century when England and Scotland united.  Recently many societies, including the English Heritage and the Royal Society of St. George, are working to reinstate the major holiday.

Who Do We Celebrate on St. George’s Day?

Saint George was a Roman soldier.  He was put to death in AD 303 for refusing to recant his Christian faith.  He was especially venerated as a Christian martyr by the Crusaders.  In medieval romance stories, St. George slew a dragon with a lance called Ascalon.  Interestingly, centuries later Winston Churchill used the name Ascalon for his personal aircraft during World War II.  He is often depicted seated upon a white horse, slaying a dragon.  

George is regarded as a protective saint.  His cross forms the national flag of England and is featured on the union flag of the United Kingdom.  

One of our favorite local places to hoist a pint in honor of St. George is the Fox and Parrot Tavern located on Glades Road.  Perhaps we will see you there!

 

April 9, 2018

Honeybees Benefit Tennessee Agriculture

Honeybees pollinate numerous crops.  In Tennessee the value of crops benefiting from their pollination exceeds $119 million annually.  Unfortunately, diseases and pests have caused annual losses of bees, in some years as many as 50%.  

Honey bee hives add to our landscape at Buckhorn Inn.

Two honeybee hives have been added to the Buckhorn Inn grounds.

 

We are pleased to be telling you that Buckhorn Inn is doing its part to protect and support these important pollinators.  Thanks to our son Jack, two new hives have been put up and two colonies of bees installed.  Queen Bee Elizabeth and her minions are on the left, while Queen Bee Victoria has her kingdom in the hive on the right.  Our immediate goal is to increase the population of honeybees.  But ultimately we hope to produce enough delicious honey to supply the Buckhorn Inn kitchen and to offer some to guests.  We thought you might want to learn about honey bees along with us!

Facts about Honeybees

Honeybees of such a precise sense of smell that they can differentiate hundreds of different flowers.

Honeybees produce honeycomb made up of hexagonal cells.

  1.  1.  Honeybees have six legs, two compound eyes, three simple eyes, two pairs of wings, a nectar pouch, and a stomach.  http://www.benefits-of-honey.com
  2. 2.  Honeybees can fly as fast as 15 miles per hour and can travel as far as six miles.  Their wings beat about 200 strokes per second.
  3. 3.  In order to collect one kilogram of honey, a hive of bees will fly the equivalent of three orbits around the earth.
  4.  4.  The queen bee can live up to five years.  Her colony consists of 20,000 to 60,000 bees.
  5. A forager bee visits 50 to 100 flowers on each flight from the hive.  She repeats these trips all day, averaging as many as 2,000 flowers per day.
  6. It takes six to eight pounds of honey ingested for bees to produce one pound of beeswax.
  7. The only bees that sting are the worker bees.  They will only sting if they feel threatened, and will die once they sting.
  8. In the lifetime of a worker bee, she produces about 1/12th teaspoon of honey.
  9. Bees overwinter by clustering in their hives to keep the queen and themselves warm.  They feed on the honey collected during warmer months and on syrup provided by the beekeeper.  
  10. Forager bees find flowers then return to the hive and share detailed directions.  In 1973 Karl von Frisch received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for cracking the code of the bees–the waggle dance.

Watch our blog and Facebook and Instagram posts for more information about our bees.  We are proud members of the beekeeping associations of Sevier County and Tennessee.  You may visit http://www.tnbeekeepers.org for information on the resources they offer.

 

April 3, 2018

Elk Thrive in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park look forward to spotting our large wildlife–namely bear and elk.  We are fortunate indeed to be located near such splendor.  

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to a herd of elk.

A bull elk is a magnificent sight.

Did you know that once large numbers of elk freely roamed the Appalachian Mountains and eastern United States?  Unfortunately, overhunting and destruction of habitat severely lowered their numbers.  Conservation groups became concerned that the animals would eventually become extinct.  The last of the magnificent beasts disappeared from Tennessee in the mid 1800’s.  

In 2001 the National Park Service reintroduced elk to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Twenty-five of the animals were moved to the park then, and 27 more were placed here in 2002.  The elk (or wapiti) wear radio collars and ear tags to aid conservationists in tracking their range and movements.  The herd now numbers as many as 200 animals.

These are the largest animals in the Smokies.  The bulls weigh 600 to 700 pounds, measure 7 to 10 feet long, and sport antlers that can measure 5 feet from tip to tip.

Safe Viewing of Elk in the Park

The best times to view these animals are early in the morning and late in the evening.  They also are more active after storms or on cloudy days.  Most of them are located in the Cataloochee area in the southeastern section of the park, easily accessible from the Buckhorn Inn.  This is a lovely area to hike and picnic as well.  Always view these wild animals from a safe distance, using binoculars or a camera for close-ups.  Be especially careful of  calves as there likely is an anxious mother nearby.  The males may perceive you as a challenger and charge.  The National Park Service offers a short video about safely viewing elk.  You may find a link to it at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/elk.htm 

During March and April the animals begin to shed their antlers.  Please note that it is not legal to remove antlers from the park.  The discarded antlers are a rich source of calcium for other wildlife in the park.  

 

 

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.