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January 14, 2019

Gatlinburg Goes for World Record in Number of Scarecrows

Did you know that Gatlinburg is set to attempt a world record for having the most scarecrows in one display?  The record has been held since 2014 by an English city, Burton-upon-Trent, which is innkeeper John’s birthplace!  Cincinnati held the most recent U.S. record.  John also lived there.  If Gatlinburg succeeds, we think John could hold a world record for living in the most cities that held the record for scarecrows!  Sounds like we will have an exciting fall 2019!

The current world record is 3,812 scarecrows all in one display.

Will Gatlinburg be able to bring the record back to U.S. soil?

The Battle for the World Record

Burton-upon-Trent’s record is 3,812 scarecrows in one display.  Photos of their scarecrows can be seen at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-28956395.  The population of Burton is approximately 76,000.  The display was erected on the National Forest Adventure Farm.  According to the director, visitors brought many of the scarecrows.  Some even made them on-site.  In fact, guests added more than 100 scarecrows every day.  Seeing thousands of scarecrows in one place is a stunning visual.  Some of the mannequins had plain white cloth heads.  Meanwhile others bore the faces of celebrities.

Jim Downs, director of events at the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, says that local businesses are encouraged to purchase scarecrows.  Other ideas include having a scarecrow drive.  Individuals could make a scarecrow in exchange for a donation to a local charity.  Or residents could donate scarecrows.  The population of Gatlinburg is about 4,100.  Will being so much smaller than Burton impact our chances?  According to an article in the Knoxville News Sentinel, Gatlinburg began the effort in the fall of 2018.  Many local businesses displayed scarecrows and visitors were charmed.  For example, Anakeesta had about 35 scarecrows, and The Holler had nearly 60.  The two tallest scarecrows so far are 9-foot ones in downtown.  In 2019 the efforts will intensify.  The organizers feel that whether they ultimately succeed or not, they are doing something positive for the community.  For more information, contact Jim Downs at [email protected]  

January 7, 2019

Plenty of Winter Activities in our Area

Need a winter get-away?  While summer is the peak tourist season, our area offers plenty to see and do.  

Gatlinburg is gussied up through February for Winterfest.  Literally millions of lights and displays make the area glow.  This is a great time of year to stroll the downtown streets, admire the lights, and visit some of the shops and restaurants.  Because there are not the crowds of summer and fall, now is the time to visit some of the local indoor attractions.  You might want to check out Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the new Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and the Guinness World of Records Museum.  The mild

Winter vistas are beautiful.

When the leaves are down the views go on forever.

seasonal weather also makes it a great time to visit Ober Gatlinburg.  The resort has eight ski trails with varying levels of difficulty for beginners, intermediate, and experienced skiers and snow boarders.  Certified instructors are available and an on-site shop rents skis and other equipment.  The view from Anakeesta goes on for miles!  Enjoy a meal or a snack, try your hand at zip-lining, or enjoy the treetop walk.

Winter Hiking

In this area about half the days in winter have high temperatures at more than 50 degrees F, making it very comfortable for hiking.  Fewer tourists means more quiet.  The absence of the leaves opens new vistas.  It is easy to spot the stone walls, chimneys, foundations, and other reminders of past residents of the area.  If there is snow on the ground, spotting and identifying animal tracks adds to the fun of your hike.  If the weather has been below freezing for a length of time, you will see frozen waterfalls, sparkling icicles, and azure blue skies.  Please note that as of today the federal government shutdown is still in force.  That means that for most national parks there will be no park-provided services such as restrooms, trash collection, facilities, or road maintenance.  For information go to the park website https://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.html.  Before you start out, be sure to check the weather in the area you intend to hike.  In addition to temperature and precipitation, wind is an important consideration.  Limbs blowing down create danger.  Our guests report that some of their favorite winter hiking trails are:  Rainbow Falls, Porters Creek, Max Patch, and Andrews Bald.  Please share some of your favorite hiking adventures!

 

December 10, 2018

Get on Board the Buckhorn Inn Belle!

Are you familiar with the Buckhorn Inn Belle?  For New Year’s Eve 2018 we will transform the Buckhorn Inn dining room into a Mississippi River steamboat gambling salon.  We look forward to welcoming our guests to our celebration of the year that was and the year that will be aboard the Buckhorn Inn Belle!  As we cruise down the Mississip, we promise not to make any bights in the bend too sharply and no gentlemen will be asked to back-and-belly any heavy freight.  Festive attire is encouraged for this night to remember.

The Buckhorn Inn Belle will be piloted by Sharon Mellor for the evening.

Our own Sharon Mellor will be in the pilot house for the evening.

The evening will begin at 6:00 pm with champagne, hors d’oeuvres and Ragtime and Dixieland piano.  Our house gambler, Two-Eyed Jack, will be on hand to deal you a hand of poker for prizes to both winners and losers.  Dinner, presented by Chef Frank Downs, will be served at 7:00 p.m.

Buckhorn Inn Belle Dinner Menu

Departing from Minneapolis

Wild Mushroom Gruyere Phyllo

Mediterranean Skewer with Anchovy Aioli

Arriving in Cairo

Shrimp and Lobster Ceviche with Cucumber, Chives and Frissee

Meet me in St. Louis

Argula, Prosciutto, and Beet Salad with Chevre and White Balsamic Herb Vinaigrette

Gettin’ the Memphis Blues

Seared Five Spice Duck Breast with Asian Slaw, Hoisin Sauce, and Micro Greens

Let’s Geaux to Baton Rouge

Horseradish-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with a Leek and Roasted Garlic Cream, Chateau Confit Herbed Potato, Hone-Glazed Baby Carrot, Minted Peas in a Tomato Cup

Arrival in N’Awlins, Dahlin’

Orange, Raspberry and Chocolate Cake with Crème Anglais, Fresh Berries, and Floral Garni

During dinner, watch out for any card sharps who may try sleight of hand at your table–we understand rounders may be about.  And remember that all Gamblers and Fancy Women must register with the captain before the steamboat leaves the dock!

 

December 3, 2018

We Are Looking Forward to the New Year

 

At Buckhorn Inn we will be spending the last evening of 2018 aboard the “Buckhorn Inn Belle”, dancing, dining, and toasting the year that was and the year that will be. What will be ahead of us in 2019?

The Chinese Zodiac year begins on February 5. We will be leaving the Year of the Dog and entering the Year of the Pig. Predictions say that this will be a year of good fortune and luck! The zodiac says that the Pig attracts success in all spheres of life and 2019 will be a time of joy, friendship, success, and love.
We will take that!

On the other hand, Nostradamus prophesized that we will be more open socially and extend our circle of friends this year. However, many parts of the United States may be subject to earthquakes and hurricanes in 2019.  Oh no!

We are hoping your new year will be warm and wonderful!

What will 2019 have in store?

Events Scheduled for the New Year

If, you are looking for sure things, rather than predictions and prophecies, we note that 2019 has been designated as the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements by the United Nations General Assembly. During the next 12 months the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. Emperor Akihito of Japan will abdicate from his position. 

On the sports front the Cricket World Cup will be held in England and Wales, the FIFA Women’s World Cup will be held in France, the Pan American Games will be held in Lima Peru, and the 2019 Rugby World Cup will be held in Japan. The Super Bowl will be played at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.  In October climbing Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia will be banned. So if this has been on your bucket list and you have not done it yet, you are sadly out of luck. In December a solar eclipse will be visible from South Asia.

We are wishing you and yours much happiness!

November 28, 2018

Sunny Carrot-Ginger Soup

 

Wintertime is perfect for wrapping your hands around a warm mug of soup and sitting in front of a crackling fire. This soup is bright and sunny enough to lighten even the darkest winter day! The spiciness of the ginger plays well off the natural sweetness of the carrots for a creamy and delicious soup.

 

 

 

4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced

6 cups chicken broth
8 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
¼ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon sugar
½ cup sour cream
Salt to taste
Additional sour cream and chopped chives for garnish

 

Sautee onion and ginger in butter until soft. Stir in the chicken broth and the carrots. Cover and cook over low heat about one hour or until the vegetables are very soft. Cool slightly and puree in batches in a blender or food processor. Return to a simmer and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and sugar. Stir in sour cream. Heat but do not allow to boil. Ladle into mugs or soup bowls and garnish each with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chives. Makes six servings.

November 12, 2018

Stay Toasty with Mugs of Something Warm

This cool and crisp weather makes it the perfect time to fill your Buckhorn Inn mugs with a warm beverage.  Coffee and hot tea are good ways to start the day but we have some other ideas to warm your hands and heart.

Your Buckhorn Inn mugs will hold a satisfying warm beverage.

Our orange Buckhorn Inn mugs are quite popular with guests.

Hot Chocolate

This “from scratch” recipe makes a superb hot chocolate.

2 1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup cold water

3/4 cup sugar

Dash of salt

6 cups milk

Whipped cream

Cinnamon and/or chocolate sprinkles

Melt chocolate with water over direct heat, stirring constantly.  When creamy and smooth add sugar and salt.  Return to heat and cook four minutes longer.  Slowly add milk and heat until chocolate mixture and milk are well-blended and hot throughout.  Pour into mugs, top with whipped cream, and garnish with cinnamon and/or chocolate sprinkles.  Fills four large mugs.

Mugs Full of Mulled Cider

Served with a dash of nutmeg, mulled cider is wonderful to wake-up to on a chilly morning.  

1/2 teaspoon allspice

2 sticks cinnamon

6 whole cloves 

1 quart cider

1/3 cup brown sugar

Tie the whole spices in a cheesecloth bag.  Heat the cider and sugar.  Drop in the spice bag and let simmer until the cider is fragrant and spicy to your taste.  Top each serving with a sprinkle of nutmeg and a curl of orange peel.  This recipe is also refreshing served chilled during warm weather.  

Mulled Wine with Cranberries

This easy recipe comes to us from Real Simple magazine http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes.

1 1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail

1/2 cup sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

2 pieces star anise

3 cups dry red wine (try a cabernet sauvignon)

1/2 cup fresh cranberries

Combine the cranberry juice cocktail, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and star anise.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir in the wine and cranberries and bring back to a simmer.  Serve warm with a few cranberries in each mug.

These are some of our favorites, but we would love to hear yours.  Please feel free to send us your warm-up recipes and we will share them on this blog.

 

 

November 5, 2018

Five of the Best Activities in the Great Smoky Mountains

Today’s guest blogger http://www.trip101.com shares five of the best activities to enjoy in the Great Smoky Mountains.  

Perhaps the most renowned mountain range in North America, the Great Smoky Mountains border North Carolina and parts of Tennessee, and offer a virtually unlimited selection of world class outdoor activities.  Opportunities abound across the “Smokies,” an iconic portion of the Appalachian Mountains, where diversified forest ecosystems thrive among untouched and protected spaces alike. From spruce-fir forests to river valleys, the Great Smoky Mountains offers a proven solution for outdoor adventure in the American southeast. Check out our top five activities worth pursuing in the Smoky Mountains, to fill your travel itinerary with easy, lifelong memories.

1. Clingmans Dome

Dedicated hikers and lovers of awe-inspiring sights and sounds will fall easily in love with Clingmans Dome. Welcome to the highest mountain peak in all of the Smoky Mountains, with an elevation of more than 6,600 feet. Venture to the peak of this coniferous environment, for sweeping, uninterrupted

Clingman's Dome is a great activity.

The observation deck of Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains.

panoramas of the surrounding landscapes, together with a simply unmatched sense of accomplishment.

Clingmans Dome is halfway in North Carolina and halfway in Tennessee, and provides hours of hiking enjoyment to dedicated travelers. Drive Clingmans Dome Road, and then take to a rather steep pathway up to the summit itself, fitted with an observation tower for extended viewing enjoyment. When visibility is at its best from the top of Clingmans Dome, you can see for more than one hundred miles in all directions, and into seven individual states. Take in a picture-perfect sunrise or sunset from the peak, and cross-country ski to the destination come wintertime.

2. Cades Cove

Located in Tennessee, well within the confines of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cades Cove qualifies as a staple site in the southeastern portion of the United States. The original home to decades-old settlers, Cades Cove is today beloved for its easy access and scenic wildlife surroundings. The historical element of the site alone is enough to satisfy qualifications for the National Register of Historic Places.

A geological “limestone window” defined by dated erosion, Cades Cove is home to rock formations that are more than 400 million years old. Take note of the fact that you must plan ahead if you plan on visiting Cades Cove, given the fact that it is the single-most visited location within the confines of the National Park itself. Home to Cherokee natives, European settlers and now generations of satisfied travelers, Cades Cove offers the unique synthesis of panoramic landscapes and educational immersion alike.

3. Mount Le Conte

For a truly unique Smoky Mountains experience, you need to stop by Mount Le Conte. The pride of Sevier County, Mount Le Conte offers you access to the highest peak housed entirely within the state of Tennessee. Better yet, on the way to the summit you will have ample opportunities to experience more than 5,000 feet worth of forest. The sandstone and the shale that comprise large portions of the

Buckhorn Inn offers views of Mt. LeConte.

Mt. LeConte offers spectacular views.

mountain are easily 450 million years old, if not more.

Annual snowfall at Mount Le Conte totals nearly forty inches per year, so if you plan on visiting this site during the winter you would be advised to dress accordingly. Interestingly, Mount Le Conte is also renowned for its lodge near the summit itself, so if you’re looking for some award-winning hospitality along your way to the mountain’s peak, that’s an opportunity worth pursuing. If you spot a train of llamas trekking alongside of you, don’t be alarmed: llamas deliver supplies to the lodge three times a week during peak operational months. Intermediate hiking conditions and frequent opportunities for photos make the hike up Mount Le Conte worth every second of your investment.

4. Andrews Bald

From the bottom of the mountain to the summit, you can expect an elevation gain of nearly 900 feet, coupled with lasting opportunities for photos and fresh, outdoor air alike. If you’re looking to reach Andrews Bald, you’re going to want to embark on the nearby Forney Ridge Trail, which eventually delivers you to your destination. Well-maintained hiking endeavors and stone steps pave the way to the summit itself, part of a park-wide manicured effort to keep this location easily accessible to all guests.

Andrews Bald is the destination for you if you’re looking to bring the entire family along for the ride. Again, this hike is an all-time favorite among dedicated Smoky Mountains hikers, so you’re going to want to get an early start, and prepare to accommodate other hikers en route to Andrews Bald itself. All in all, the hike’s popularity witnesses to its worth, as a family-friendly, worthwhile endeavor in the Great Smoky Mountains.

5. Roaring Fork

A drive along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a wonderful activity.

Water stream flowing along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park

With a name like Roaring Fork, you know the experience is worth your investment. A stream that cuts through the Great Smoky Mountains in the Volunteer State, Roaring Fork today is the home of both a historic district and a nature trail of the same name. Straight from the Little Pigeon River, the Roaring Fork stream is a must-see in the Great Smoky Mountains. Take the trail direct to the stream, along the way experiencing waterfall background, ample opportunities for relaxation and the chance to take life at a pace comfortable for you. Activities include touring historic sites.  Historically preserved cabins, mills and more will greet satisfied hikers upon arrival, making Roaring Fork an ideal outing, especially for those individuals looking for a quick immersion into local lore.

The Great Smoky Mountains Abound with Family-Friendly Activities

No matter the corner of the Great Smoky Mountains in which you elect to spend your time, the massive acreage allows you to capitalize on authentic outdoor adventure, at a moment’s notice. From the waterfalls of the Andrews Bald trek to the limestone structures of Cades Cove, There’s an outdoor endeavor at the Great Smoky Mountains that can comfortably accommodate anyone’s individual preferences. Provide the entire family with the outing at the Great Smoky Mountains that they deserve, with any one of these five activities virtually guaranteed to deliver lifelong memories outdoors in Tennessee and North Carolina! If you are looking for more destination guides and accommodation reviews, hotels and vacation rentals, check out http://www.trip101.com

October 29, 2018

Soft Ginger Cookies are Perfect taste of Fall

By popular demand, we are posting the recipe for our soft, sweet, and spicy ginger cookies.  We find the rich, warm tastes to be perfect for fall. 

The ancient Chinese first cultivated ginger root, where it was often used as a remedy for stomach ailments.  Traders on the Silk Road brought the spice to Europe.  The term “gingerbread” came to refer to any baked good that included ginger and a sweetener such as honey or molasses.  Europeans made hard gingerbread cookies, sometimes gilded with gold leaf.  These were a popular treat at festivals and fairs.  Ladies often gave their favorite knights a piece of gingerbread for good luck in a

These soft, sugar-crusted cookies are perfect with a mug of hot apple cider.

Ginger and spice make these cookies nice!

tournament.  Queen Elizabeth I is given credit for popularizing fancily decorated ginger cookies and they came to symbolize all that was elegant in England.  http://time.com/4602913/gingerbread-men-history  The colonists brought ginger baked goods to the New World.  Early Americans appear to have preferred softer gingerbread and the first American cookbook contains three different recipes.  The Marquis de Lafayette was partial to the soft gingerbread served to him by George Washington’s mother.  Buckhorn Inn’s soft ginger cookies offer a delicious taste of history.

Recipe for Soft Ginger Cookies

1/4 pound butter at room temperature

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup molasses

3 tablespoons dark corn syrup

2 tablespoons milk

4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

extra sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter, sugar, and egg until light and fluffy.  Then mix in molasses, corn syrup and milk.  Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, creating a stiff dough.  Pinch off small pieces of dough and shape into 1 1/2″ balls.  Roll in sugar.  Place 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake 11 to 12 minutes until tops are puffed.  Cool cookies 2 minutes on baking sheets, then remove to racks to cool.  These freeze well.  The recipe makes about 40 cookies.

 

 

October 15, 2018

Harvest Festival Comes to Gatlinburg

 

The City of Gatlinburg is celebrating autumn and the harvest September 7 through November 25, 2018 with the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival. This is a fabulous time of year to visit Eastern Tennessee. You can enjoy the beautiful fall colors, visit talented artists and craftsmen, enjoy the whimsical decorations, or take in one of the area’s special events. Many of our guests have marked their calendars for the November 8 Chili Cookoff. More information on this and other events is available at https://www.gatlinburg.com/event.

Gatlinburg is embracing the season with brand-new autumn-themed displays, life-size scarecrow people, and scarecrows created by individual business establishments.

Scarecrows Have Long History as Harvest Helpers

Scarecrows are used by farmers to protect their crops from birds.  Historians tell use that people the world over have used scarecrows for more than 3,000 years.   The first record of scarecrows is by the Egyptians who used them to protect their wheat fields along the Nile.  Each culture designed their scarecrows differently.  Greek scarecrows looked like one of their gods, while German scarecrows are distinctly witch-like.  

Scarecrows are the perfect symbol of the harvest season.

Gatlinburg is celebrating the season with whimsical scarecrows.

Most scarecrows in the U.S. are human in form and dressed in old clothes.  Some farmers use aluminum strips tied to the scarecrow to catch the light and scare away birds.  Inflateable tube men have also been used in this fashion.

The scarecrow has been a powerful symbol in literature.  Nathanial Hawthorne’s short story “Feathertop” features a scarecrow brought to life by a witch in Salem, Massachusetts.  Whether you prefer Ray Bolger’s scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz” or Michael Jackson’s in “The Wiz”, we all root for the scarecrow who bemoans “If I only had a brain . . .”.  And Indiana-born John Mellencamp featured the agricultural anthem “Rain on the Scarecrow” in his 1985 album “Scarecrow”.  

Some of the most colorful names for scarecrows come from the United Kingdom.  There the figure may be called hay-man, murmet, hodmedod, tattie bogle, mommet or mawkin.

By whatever name, we find scarecrows to be the iconic decoration of the harvest season!

 

 

October 8, 2018

More Favorite Food Scenes from Movies

In the last issue of our newsletter we celebrated some of our favorite movies scenes involving food.  We invited our readers to contribute to the list, and many of you replied.

Our Readers at the Movies

Roger Meyer from Georgia reminded us of one of our favorite movies, “Tom Jones.”  Roger captures the movie well:  “One cannot forget the 1963 movie “Tom Jones” in which Tom, played hilariously by Albert Finney at age 26 is a rascal of the highest (or lowest) order.   He attempts to seduce an older woman in a tavern over a plate of food such as oysters and lobster.  The acting, photography, and dialogue are spot on.”

We are glad are guests have shared their favorite food scenes from movies with us.

Many of our favorite movies have food scenes.

Roger also reminds us of the 2015 movie “Chef” which we have only seen recently.  In the film Jon Favreau leaves his top shelf job as a chef de cuisine to start a food truck.  “The food scenes, especially when he begins to cook for the food truck, will make you salivate and leave the movie theater dying for some good ethnic food.”  We agree!

And who can forget “Tortilla Soup” from 2001.  Hector Elizondo invites his daughters home to dine with him every Sunday.  They discuss everything about life and love over these meals.  Raquel Welch plays a widow trying to become a love interest of Elizondo.  The food scenes look delicious.  As Roger says, “You won’t need popcorn with this movie, the food scenes will sate you!”

Several readers mentioned “Goodfellas” from 1990.  They called to mind the dinner scene in prison.  Remember the garlic sliced so thin with a razor blade that it would “liquefy in the pan with just a little oil”?

A member of our own team chided us gently for not including “Leave the gun, take the cannoli” from “The Godfather”.   This team member also referenced 1967’s “Cool Hand Luke” where Paul Newman earned the respect of his fellow inmates by eating 50 hardboiled eggs.  In the words of one prisoner, his stomach was so swollen “like a ripe watermelon that’s about to bust itself open”.

We have plenty more scenes that you have submitted–keep watching this space for more!