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January 29, 2018

Nature Trail Trees Provide Year-Round Beauty

Have you stopped to notice the many different trees on the Buckhorn Inn Nature Trail?  If you are here in the spring, you will be sure to notice our redbud trees with their striking magenta flowers.  They contrast beautifully with the white-flowered dogwoods.  

You also will find several specimens of American hornbeam, also know as ironwood or blue beech.  It is called “ironwood because of the strong appearance of the bark.  The saw-toothed leaves are very distinctive and turn orange to red in the fall.

Our trail features a southern red oak–an important contributor to our fall parade of colors.  Nearby you will find an eastern hemlock.  It has long horizontal branches, very small cones, and graceful foliage that nearly touches the ground.  Hemlock was once extensively logged, and the bark was used to make tannic acid for tanning animal hides.  We treat our hemlocks to prevent the wooly adelgid.  This pest has decimated hemlocks in many other areas.

Perhaps no other tree is a s beautiful as the red maple.  In the fall ours turns brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange–spectacular against the blue sky!

We have only one native pine on our property.  It is an eastern white pine with five needles to a bundle.

While you are walking the trail, do not miss our two fragrant cloud dogwoods.  Douglas Bebb discovered these trees on the Buckhorn property and patented them.  You can see documents relating to this on display in our library.  This rare mutation produces scented blossoms.  Like the many types of dogwood found in the Smokies, the fragrant cloud is noted for its showy blossoms and scarlet berries.  In the fall, these berries become an important source of food for wildlife.  Native Americans used the rough bark to obtain red dye.  

Trees are not the only highlight of the trail

If you have never walked our nature trail, we highly recommend you do so.  The walk takes about an hour and covers about a mile.  If you decide to only walk part of the trail, there are several points which make for an easy return.  Be sure to wear proper footwear and to watch your step.  Please stop by the Buckhorn Inn office to pick up a map that shows the route and the locations of numbered informational stakes.

A variety of trees provide visual interest year-round at the Buckhorn Inn.

The Nature Trail features many blooming trees.

January 23, 2018

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What is better on a cold, wintry day than a bowl or mug of delicious warm soup. The recipe below is one of our guest favorites! Try pairing it with a hearty whole grain bread for a warming lunch. This recipe makes four hearty servings.

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Smoked Cheddar

2 T. Extra-virgin olive oil
1 med. Onion, halved and thinly sliced
¾ c. Apple Cider
5 ¼ c. Butternut squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1” cubes
4 ½ c. Chicken stock
½ c. Heavy cream
2 T. Unsalted butter
1 Apple, cut into ½” pieces
1/3 c. Smoked cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
Salt and Pepper
Chopped chives for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot. Add onion and cook until golden. Add the apple cider and cook until syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add the squash and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the squash is very tender, about 40 minutes.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender. Return the soup to the saucepan and stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Heat butter in a medium skillet. Add the diced apple and cook over high heat until the apple is tender and golden around the edges, about 2 minutes.

Season the soup with salt and pepper. Garnish with the cheddar cheese, sautéed apples, and chives.

Swans Set to Return to Buckhorn

Many of you shared our heartbreak at losing Teller and his mates. But we are delighted to announce that two new swans will be joining us as soon as it is warm enough for them to be flown from Chicago.

Mute swans are at their most vulnerable during the nesting season. While our swans had a nesting box in a safe location in the pond, they insisted on nesting on the shore where they could become prey to coyotes and bears. When defending a nest they do not swim to safety. We knew that swans are happiest in pairs, and we could not face losing more swans and their cygnets. What we recently learned, however, is that same-sex swans form strong partnerships with each other. Therefor our new swans are two brothers who, our vendor assures us, are already bonded. Minimal sibling rivalry here!

Guests sometimes ask us why the swans are called “mute” swans. The answer is that they are much less vocal than other swans. That does not mean they are silent thought! Mute swans make a variety of sounds that could be called grunting, snorting, whistling, chirping, squawking, and hissing.

Swans are beautiful and graceful birds. In England, swans are considered royal birds and all swans in open waters belong to the crown. For many centuries, mute swans were raised for food with individual birds being marked on their feet or beaks to indicated ownership. These marks were registered with the Crown and a Royal Swanherd was appointed. Any birds not marked became property of the crown, thus leading them to be called royal birds. Mute swans were introduced to North America in the late 19th century. In the United States, swans were nearing extinction as recently as the 1930’s. Thankfully preservation efforts have allowed their population to grow again.

If you are not familiar with swans, here are some fast facts to “pre-introduce” you to our new guests!
• Mute swan fossils 6,000 years old have been found in post-glacial peat beds in Great Britain.
• Adult mute swans typically range from 55 to 63 inches long with a 79 to 94 inch wingspan.
• Mute swans are the second largest waterfowl after the trumpeter swan.
• The mute swan is one of the heaviest flying birds with a weight range of 20 to 32 pounds.
• They feed on a wide range of vegetation, both underwater plants and land plants.
• The swans’ threat display is called “busking”. A busking swan curves its neck back and half-raises his wings. Swans also use this pose to “windsurf” across bodies of water.
• The fairy tale “The Ugly Duckling” by Hans Christian Anderson is the story of a cygnet who is perceived to be ugly by his fellow fowl. Eventually he matures into a graceful swan, the most beautiful bird of all.
• In the ballet “Swan Lake”, the main character and her companions are turned into swans by a wicked spell.
• The mute swans in the moat at the Bishops Palace at Wells Cathedral in England have been trained to ring bells to beg for food. Swans have been trained there in this way for centuries.

The swans will have a beautiful home. Over the winter we have installed a fountain to help the pond stay healthy and to provide soothing sound; removed fallen trees and brush; and installed many new plantings. The plantings include evergreens to screen the pond from Buckhorn Road, flowering trees and bushes, and perennials to provide season-long color. Our spring-fed pond will be one of your favorite places on our property!

Watch future newsletters and ou to be among the first to know when our swans arrive! We also will provide instructions for accessing our “Swan Cam” so you can keep abreast of their activities from wherever you happen to be.

January 22, 2018

Wine Weekend will be a Fine Weekend!

The wine weekend will showcase products from many Tennessee wineries.

Gatlinburg offers many events and festivals for every interest, including wine!

Are you a wine aficionado or someone who would like to know more about wine?  Are you interested in exploring local Tennessee products?  If so, we recommend you plan to visit Gatlinburg April 13 & 14, 2018.

Two events will be taking place:  the Gatlinburg Wine Tour and the Smoky Mountain Wine Fest.  The Tour begins at 6:00 pm on April 13 and will visit local wineries and sipping establishments.

The Fest will be held from 1:00 to 6:00 pm on April 14 at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.  The $25 advance purchase tickets include a branded glass for tasting.  Organizers expect more than 18 Tennessee wineries to participate.  Some of the best restaurants in the Smoky Mountains will provide small plate tastings of their best dishes.  Tickets and more information may be found at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/gatlinburg-wine-weekend-2018-tickets.

Tennessee Wine

Tennessee has a long history of wine-making, with as many as 90,000 gallons being produced annually in the 1880’s.  The industry was introduced in this area by immigrants from Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.  Prohibition hit the industry hard.  However, in the 1970’s a resurgence of winemaking in the state was led by home vintners.  

The industry in Tennessee focuses on French hybrid and native grape varieties.  The grapes used in Eastern and Central Tennessee include cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, cayuga, chardonnay, chenin blanc, merlot, Riesling and viognier.  

The industry has grown and matured in the state.  Over the past few years Tennessee wines have earned gold, silver, and bronze medals in regional and international competitions.  Today’s Tennessee wineries have a wine for every taste, from sparkling to fruity, from dry to dessert wines.  

If you plan to attend the weekend, be sure to reserve your accommodation at the Buckhorn Inn soon!

 

January 15, 2018

Buckhorn Inn Celebrates 80th Anniversary

Throughout 2018 we will be taking a look back to 1938 to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Buckhorn Inn.  It was in 1938 that Douglas and Audrey Bebb first opened the doors to what has become the oldest inn in eastern Tennessee.  We thought it would be fun to take a look back at what was going on in the world 80 years ago.

The Inn is celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2018.

Hubert Bebb was the architect for the Buckhorn Inn, built in 1938.  

  • This is also the 80th anniversary of . . .

  • This week let’s take a look at what was going on in the arts and popular culture.
  • Benny Goodman and his orchestra became the first jazz musicians to headline a show in New York City’s Carnegie Hall.
  • The play Our Town by Thornton Wilder was performed for the first time in Princeton, NJ. The play earned him a Pulitzer Prize in the same year.
  • Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks premiers in Washington, DC.
  • Aaron Copland and Eugene Loring’s ballet Billy the Kid premiers in Chicago.
  • Superman appeared for the first time in Action Comics.
  • Margaret Hamilton’s costume catches fire during the filming of The Wizard of Oz.
  • The first cartoon featuring Bugs Bunny is released.
  • Information Please debuts on NBC radio.
  • Frida Kahlo had her first solo art exhibit.
  • Porky and Daffy, a Loony Tunes animated short film, is released.
  • Popular movies were Boys Town starring Spencer Tracey and Mickey Rooney, Jezebel starring Bette Davis, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
  • The comic strip Dennis the Menace first appears.
  • Northwestern University awards an honorary degree to Charlie McCarthy (a dummy).
  • The Howard Hawks film Bringing Up Baby starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant is released.
  • Orson Welle’s radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds causes widespread panic.
  • Kate Smith sings God Bless America for the first time on her radio show.
  • Ella Fitzgerald records “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”.  It hits #1 later in the year.
  • Al Capp creates Sadie Hawkins Day.
  • Notable births in 1938 include:  Allen Toussaint, Joyce Carol Oates, Lawrence Block, Natalie Wood, Christopher Lloyd, Kenny Rogers and Jon Voight.
  • The world lost in 1938:  Blues singer Robert Johnson, author Thomas Wolfe, soprano Alma Gluck, and Popeye creator E.C. Segar.
  • For more events, check out http://www.onthisday.com and http://www.thepeopleinhistory.com as well as Wikipedia.

Be sure to watch this space for periodic looks into the world in which the Buckhorn Inn’s first guests were living!

January 9, 2018

Latest Reviews from Trip Advisor

These reviews below were posted on Facebook about Buckhorn Inn in the last six months!   

ELEGANT PROPERTY
We arrived in the early evening and checked into a Cottage. We immediately recognized the quality of the furnishings, the cleanliness, and especially enjoyed the fireplace and view of the Smoky Mountains! The next morning we had breakfast in the main dining room of the Inn and were thoroughly impressed with the elegant surroundings, decorated for the holidays, the professional and friendly staff, and the great food. The Inn exudes a feeling of history and charm throughout its design and surroundings. We are already planning a return! Mike H.

FIRST CLASS ALL THE WAY…WE’LL BE BACK!
We reserved only one night in a private cottage here for a special occasion and after only a few hours we decided to spend another night. This Inn has incredible charm and first-class service! Our cottage was clean, spacious, convenient, and the view was superb. The Inn itself is just absolutely dreamy and we spent a lot of time enjoying the Inn along with our cottage. The food and service were impeccable—everything about the place made us want to go back, especially the incredible people! Jeff L.

GEM OF THE SMOKIES
The Buckhorn is a gem of a B&B in the Smokies. We loved our short stay and cannot wait to return. Lee is a gracious host and the staff is wonderful. We arrived just in time to grab a few late-night snack brownies, which were awesome. Our guest house was incredible and we did not want to leave. Comfortable bed, fireplace, and private screened-in porches for each bedroom with separate bathrooms. Great view from floor to ceiling living room windows, updated interior furnishings with wonderful art, and a full kitchen for use. We highly recommend dinner reservations as the service, presentation, and good quality is 5 star. Breakfast was included in our stay and it was over-the-top scrumptious. After breakfast we walked the property which is very well maintained and easy to wander. You cannot find another place to stay in this area that is so inviting and quiet. T42long

GREAT FIRM SUMMIT
Partners held a summit to plan our upcoming merger. Great comfortable rooms. The Inn is 80 years old so it is comfortable and warm, but a rare antique. Some stayed in the little cottages, some stayed at the Inn. Great meals. Provided a meeting space with living room, fireside atmosphere. Douglas W

ANOTHER WONDERFULLY MEMORABLE VISIT
We visit Buckhorn every Fall and look forward to our visit all year long. We feel pampered from the moment we make our reservations until we return home after our stay. The inn is beautiful and immaculate and every one of the staff is friendly and helpful. We are surrounded by the magnificent Smoky Mountains and enjoy walking the paths that surround the inn. The breakfast is the best I have had anywhere and beautifully presented. There are not enough superlatives to describe Buckhorn adequately. Lfmonroe2

ELEGANT COUNTRY INN
We have been going to the Buckhorn for about 30 years. It is quaint and elegant, has excellent hospitality and excellent food. It is a short drive from the Greenbrier entrance to the Great Smokies National Park, which can be reached without going through the touristy areas of Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. Overall a wonderful vacation or weekend getaway. Howard K

DELIGHTFUL
Our first stay at a B&B and it was great! The Tower Room was a fun change to cookie cutter hotel rooms, and the grounds were great for an evening stroll. Breakfast was delicious. John and his staff were so pleasant and welcoming. Mic553

CHARM AND NATURAL BEAUTY
Buckhorn Inn is full of charm in a beautiful setting a short distance outside the hustle and bustle of Gatlinburg. We couldn’t have asked for more from the staff, the room accommodations, and meals served. The breakfast menu and baked goods were wonderful. Our compliments to the chef and staff! Innkeeper John came around to all the tables our first morning there to personally greet us and chat a bit. Coffee on the terrace early morning and a drink on the terrace3 in the evening provided us with a grand view of Mount LeConte and other mountains across the lawn. The décor of all the inn’s rooms is elegant and artistic. An intimate inn with great charm! We were able to arrange box lunches from the kitchen one day to take with us for a day of hiking and touring the Great Smoky Mountains. We look forward to returning! PegAlbert

BEAUTIFUL LOCATION!
The staff at the Buckhorn Inn made us so welcome and fed us so so well. The Inn has a magnificent view of the Great Smoky Mountains from the dining room and patio lined with chairs. Our room was clean, comfortable and attractively decorated. We had use of a large library and sitting room too. The Inn was located outside of busy, touristy Gatlinburg but still very convenient to the national park entrance. I would definitely come back to Buckhorn Inn. Segal2017

5 STAR FOOD AND SERVICE
This restaurant is worth a visit even if you are not staying at the wonderful inn or cottages. The service is 5 star and the food is amazing. The night we dined, we were served a trout dish which was perfect. We also had breakfast the next morning and left stuffed and happy! T42long

LOVE THE BUCKHORN INN
We have been going to the Buckhorn Inn for over 30 years and it just keeps getting better and better! There are wonderful day hikes within a few miles or you can just sit and rock on the porch, taking in the incredible view of the mountains. Excellent dining experience every time!
Nmh45th

MY COMPLIMENTS TO THE CHEFS!
A culinary delight! Seriously the best food in all of Gatlinburg—and we have eaten at many places! If you do not stay here, at least get reservations for dinner there one night. You will love it!
julescw

January 8, 2018

Buckhorn Inn Pond Enhancements Continue

If you have been following the Buckhorn Inn on social media, you know we have been devoting much time and energy to being good caretakers of the pond on our nature trail.  This past summer we released grass carp into the pond to help us optimize the plant growth.  We also added a foundation.  The fountain not only is beautiful and provides soothing noise for visitors, but it also helps us maintain the good health of the water.  

A more recent project has been the removal of fallen trees around the pond.  Kevin Howard with Rex Howard’s Landscaping came up with a clever way to manage this work.  In Buckhorn Inn’s 80 years there have been few days when it was cold enough to freeze Buckhorn Pond enough to support about a dozen large men, but this winter was one for the records.  We had contracted with the firm to clear dead trees and debris on the side of the pond next to busy Buckhorn Road.  Rather than trying to clear this area from the roadside, Kevin had his men pile logs and debris on a heavy tarp and pull it across the frozen ice to the other side where it could be more easily loaded on trucks.  One of the fellows was assigned to sweep up all the debris from the ice–we expect him to go out for the U.S. curling team for the next Winter Olympics after all that practice!

The pond supported about a dozen men and equipment.

Our pond rarely freezes solid, but Mother Nature picked a perfect time for this cold snap!

We are so pleased with the work thus far.  The next step will be installing some beautiful plantings that will provide  screening from busy Buckhorn Road and add to the natural beauty of this space.  We will be adding native trees, bushes, and plants that will be at home in this environment.  Our spring-fed pond will become an even more special place to enjoy your sack lunch, read a book, and enjoy the quiet beauty of nature.  

Swans to Return to Buckhorn Pond

We know that many of you have expressed how much you miss the swans that used to grace Buckhorn Pond.  We have good news!  Innkeeper Lee presented John with two swans for Christmas!  The swans are coming from North Barrington, Illinois.  They cannot safely be shipped by plane until the weather warms up, so we look forward to their arrival this spring.  We are working on setting up our “swan cam” so that you can monitor the activities of this pair from anywhere!  In our January newsletter we will provide additional information on this pair and how we are preparing for them.  Be sure to read the article for additional information!

January 2, 2018

Public Library is a Local Treasure

Have you visited the Anna Porter Public Library during your travels to Gatlinburg?  From the windows one can see beautiful mountain views!  It is a very welcoming place to pull up a chair near the fireplace for a cozy read.  Visitors to our area are welcome to use the facility and may borrow books well as use the computers and wifi.  Services include books, movies, audio books, magazines, ebooks, newspapers and internet access.  The library has resources for geneologists and schedules adult art and craft classes with local artisans.

The Anna Porter Public Library serves both locals and guests.

Gatlinburg is fortunate to have a wonderful public library.

We are particularly fond of the library’s regional history special collection.  This collection includes more than 600 historical items detailing the cultural and natural history of Gatlinburg, the Great Smoky Mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and southern Appalachia.  A unique feature of the collection is the group of historical audio tapes, with transcripts, which were recorded as long as 40 years ago.  They also have oral history video tapes that were recorded more recently.  

Monthly Book Club at the Library

John and I take great pride in being founding members of the book club that meets at the library.  We meet at 6:30 on the 4th Tuesday of each month for lively conversation.  Our taste in books ranges widely and our diversity brings interesting viewpoints to the discussion.  This month we are reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and early feedback indicates our members are enjoying it.  Future books include:  Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler, A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, and The Trial by Franz Kafka.  If you are visiting, we would love to have you participate in our discussion.  The full reading list and directions may be found on the website http://annaporterpl.org.  

We suggest you visit the library the next time you are in our area.

December 18, 2017

Rachael Young: Second Mistress of Buckhorn Inn

As second mistress of the Buckhorn, Rachael Young left a lasting impression.

Rachael Young brought grace and charm to the Buckhorn Inn.

The second mistress of the Inn was my dear friend, Rachael Young.  Rachael passed away at age 98 on December 8, 2017.  Her love of  Buckhorn and her keen decorating eye are very much in evidence today.

Knoxvillians Rachael, Robert and Lindsay Young bought the Inn from Douglas Bebb in 1978.  Rachael explained to me that their key motivation was preserving the Inn as an important part of regional history and to protect it from commercialization.  Many of the pieces of antique furniture currently at Buckhorn came from the Young family.  Her background as an art professor at the University of Tennessee stood her in good stead as she guided the inn’s revitalization, including updating all the furniture and soft furnishings in the bedrooms and dining room and modernizing the kitchen.    It was Rachael who introduced air conditioning to Buckhorn and converted the water tower to a bedroom–still one of our most special places.  She brought a timeless, unstudied charm to this little mountain retreat. 

Second Mistress of the Buckhorn Lived a Life of Accomplishment

Rachael Young was a highly accomplished woman.  Intellectually gifted, she left Knoxville to attend Columbia University, a daring step for a young woman at that time, and went on in her lifetime to earn four academic degrees. During World War II, she worked for the Red Cross in England, France and Germany.  After marriage and two children, she became a beloved and respected art professor at the University of Tennessee.  A cancer survivor, she was anxious to begin a wellness community in order to provide cancer patients and their families the opportunity to be active participants in their healing.  Now called the Cancer Support Network, the organization plays a vital role in regional cancer care.  She was very interested in holistic medicine and she inspired the creation of our annual Mindfulness Meditation Retreat.    We created Rachael’s Labyrinth in her honor.   She was a woman full of effortless grace and full of laughter.  As I began my time at Buckhorn, we had Sunday morning phone calls about the goings-on up here in the mountains and, bless her, she never gave me a bit of advice but one:  “Don’t start your renovations in the kitchen as I did.  It will use up all your resources and you won’t have enough to do the fun things.”

Rachael passed on her love of Buckhorn to me, and every day, in every way, she inspires me still.  

 

 

November 28, 2017

Sugar Cookies Are a Handful of Goodness

Whether you are baking for guests or Santa, the buttery refinement of the sugar cookie can’t be beat!

Lore has it that the first sugar cookies appeared around the seventh century. It is possible that a baker around that time used mini versions of his cakes to test the temperature of his oven. When he began selling these mini-cakes, the sugar cookie was born!

The type of sugar used makes a difference in the texture of the finished cookie. Fine sugar granules will make a cookie that is flatter and crisper. Large sugar granules result in a thicker, chewier cookie. This is because the dissolving of the sugar causes the dough to spread. If the sugar is coarser, it will dissolve more slowly.

Our recipe makes about 4 dozen soft and scrumptious cookies. One way to make them uniquely yours is to use a cookie stamp. The die blocks transfer patterns to the cookies that you can then decorate with food paints and sprinkles. Enjoy!

Buckhorn Inn Sugar Cookies
1 cup Butter, softened
1 cup Vegetable Oil
2 large Eggs
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla
4 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
½ teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
½ cup additional Granulated Sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter, oil, eggs, sugars and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Form into 1 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until light, golden brown. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before placing them on a cooling rack.