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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.

 

 

February 26, 2018

Hikes to Cemeteries of the Smokies

Did you know that their are roughly 150 cemeteries scattered throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?  The land for the park was purchased from families, many of whom lived in this area since the 1800’s.  Along with homes, churches, farm buildings, and stone walls, many of their cemeteries are part of the park land.  Some are near main trails, others can be found with a map, and a few are slowly becoming overgrown and disappearing.  

The book "Cemeteries of the Smokies" includes directions to all 152 cemeteries within the park.

More than 150 cemeteries can be found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“Cemeteries of the Smokies” Guidebook

One of the most popular books published by the Great Smoky Mountains Association is “Cemeteries of the Smokies”.  The book provides directions to all 152 graveyards in the park.  For each site, the book provides a complete listing of burials and dates, kinship links, and epitaphs.  There is also an index of local family names.  These historic spots provide a tangible link with our area’s past.  They can provide us with insight into customs, religious beliefs, cultural and ethnic influences, and the community development of our ancestors.

The Hiking 101 program sponsored by the Great Smoky Mountains Association takes its inspiration from this book.  They have designed 12 guided hikes and a bus tour to take participants to the sacred spaces within the boundaries.  These hikes are not all easy, but the hiker is rewarded by coming to know those who lived and died here, and remain buried in lost graves, family plots, and in church burial grounds.  Registration for these hikes is now open.  For program details and to register, please visit http://www.smokiesinformation.org.

The hikes are limited to 15 individuals each and run from March 17 through October 16 2018.  It is important to note that the Park Service frowns on creating “rubbings” of inscriptions on the headstones.  The pressure needed to make a clear rubbing can damage the surface.  The Great Smoky Mountain Association asks for your help in ensuring the preservation of these plots for future generations.

 

February 23, 2018

Five Star Ratings from Trip Advisor–February 2018

Here are some reviews posted in the last month on Trip Advisor.

Reviewed 1 week ago
Wonderful and Relaxing Atmosphere!
We have been several times to Buckhorn Inn to celebrate our wedding anniversary and usually rent Cottage #7. It has never been a disappointment! Last year we went somewhere else to celebrate so this was our first time back in two years. When we opened the door to Cottage #7, I said “Oh….we’re home”! That’s how it felt….like we were coming home. One of the highlights of the trip is the fantastic food that is served for breakfast and supper. It can’t be beat! And you leave stuffed! Definitely a place I would very highly recommend.

Reviewed 1 week ago
Such a beautiful, peaceful place
The cottages are quaint and very private. We love turning on the fireplace and just soaking in the breathtaking view. It is nice to have the kitchenette for snacks, etc., but you must eat at the Inn. The food is excellent.

Knoxville, Tennessee22
Reviewed 3 weeks ago
So lovely – every year!
Banana Foster’s French Toast for breakfast. It’s the first thing I think of when I hear the words “Buckhorn Inn.” I cannot praise the inn highly enough. The inn is comfortable, warm, and inviting, as is the staff. My husband and I return annually for a weekend to unwind after the holidays. I have recommended this inn to countless family and friends, and they come home saying the same thing. The highest compliment? Many of my single girlfriends have stayed here – traveling alone – and they have felt safe, nurtured, and well taken care of – a high compliment in this crazy world. I cannot wait to come back.

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
A Great Idea
Sometimes you just need to get out of town and the Buckhorn Inn is the perfect place to escape to, if only for one night. Debbie made reserving and checking in a delight, even arranging for a pitcher of our favorite spiced tea in our cabin. Of course, freshly baked treats and coffee were also waiting in the downstairs sitting room. A pleasant walk to the pond and back and quiet reading time left us ready for one of the best dinners we’ve ever enjoyed there. The cottages are our favorite accommodation when we visit, offering comfort and privacy. We enjoyed the usual great breakfast and wonderful mountain views from our morning table. Upon leaving, our only comment was “this was a great idea.” We hope you get the chance to visit this unique and charming establishment.

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
Just love it
Here on a package deal (2 nights in a cottage, includes 2 dinners and 2 breakfasts) and loving it. Our cabin has a great Mountain View, a fireplace, and a jacuzzi tub. Cozy, comfortable and spotlessly clean. Mini kitchen means we can pack a lunch for adventures out, and there is a screen porch that is lovely if it wasn’t too cold to use it! Food has been absolutely delicious, and staff is great. We have already booked our August visit!

February 19, 2018

Swans Make Frequent Appearances in Literature

One of the most famous stories in children’s literature is “The Ugly Duckling” by Hans Christian Andersen.  The story is about a cygnet who thinks he is an unattractive duckling, but grows into a beautiful and graceful swan.  Andersen also wrote “The Wild Swans”.  This tale features an evil stepmother who turned her stepsons into swans.  They carry away their sister to save her.  The sister is mute, but spends her days knitting shirts from nettles.  She is about to be burned at the stake as a witch when her brothers descend from the sky and save her.  They don the magic nettle shirts and turn into human form.  Their sister regains her speech and all live happily ever after.  

Perhaps the Buckhorn Inn swans will be the subject of children's literature.

The graceful swans at the Buckhorn Inn could star in their own story.

Greek mythology shares the story of Leda and the swan.  This story recounts the conception of Helen of Troy by the Queen of Sparta and Zeus, disguised as a swan.  This myth was expressed powerfully by W.B. Yeats in his poem “Leda and the Swan”.  Yeats also wrote “The Wild Swans at Coole” which expressed his search for lasting beauty in a changing world where beauty was temporary.

In Norse mythology, two swans drink from the Well of Urd.  The water is so pure that the swans turn white, as do all their descendants.  

The Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario used the swan as inspiration.  His most famous poem perhaps is “Coat of Arms”.  His use of the swan made it the symbol of the Modernismo poetic movement.

Works of classical literature reference the myth that otherwise mute swans sing beautifully at the moment of their death.  This idea gave birth to the phrase “swan song”.

Because of their lifelong, monogamous pairing, swans are often a symbol of never ending love.  Swans were a favorite bird Shakespeare.  Many of his works feature them, including this passage from “As You Like It”:

And wheresoever we went, like Juno’s swans, still we went coupled and unseparable.  

Buckhorn Inn Swans to be Named in Mid-March, Literature Provides Inspiration

Our two brother swans arrived at the Inn on February 14.  Innkeeper John is contemplating the many clever names submitted by our guests.  Please refer to our earlier blog listing potential names.  Please let us know your ideas if you have not yet done so!

 

February 12, 2018

Love is in the Air at Buckhorn Inn

February 14, St. Valentine’s Day, is a day for celebrating love.  In addition to the United States, the holiday also is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, Italy and Japan.

The One you Love would be delighted by a stay at the Buckhorhn Inn!

A night in one of our Premier Room’s is a great way to celebrate your love!

According to a survey done by Hallmark, more than 141 million cards are sent each Valentine’s Day.  http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/valentines-day-facts  This number excludes the packaged Valentines that children exchange in the classroom.  This same research shows that more than half of these cards are purchased in the week leading up to the holiday.  

Origins of February 14 as a Day of Love

The medieval poet Geoffrey Chaucer may have inspired Valentine’s Day as a day for lovers with his 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules”.  The poem refers to February 14 as the day when birds (and humans) search for a mate.  His work links traditions of courtly love with the feast of St. Valentine. 

Charles, Duke of Orleans, is credited with writing the oldest known Valentine.  He wrote a poem to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415.  This poem currently is part of the collection of the British Library in London.

While Richard Cadbury did not patent the heart-shaped box of chocolate, experts agree he likely was the first to produce it in England in 1840.  In a stroke of marketing genius, he promoted the boxes as having a dual purpose.  They were so beautiful that after the chocolates were eaten they could be used to store love letters and other trinkets.  The boxes grew increasingly detailed and elaborate.  That is until World War II.  Sugar was rationed, so the candy-giving aspect of the holiday was scaled down.

If you have not yet found the perfect token of affection for your Valentine, we can help!  Our Valentine’s package includes a night in a cozy cottage or a luxurious premier room, both with fireplace.  You and your sweetie will enjoy a delicious four-course dinner.  The next morning you will enjoy a hearty breakfast in the dining room, or delivered to your accommodation.  This $265 package is available through the end of February.  Just let us know if you would like to add wine and a dozen roses to your experience. 

Wishing you a special Valentine’s Day!

February 5, 2018

Clever Guests Send Great Suggestions for Swan Names

Buckhorn must have the most literate and wittiest group of Inn friends.  Wow!  We are so impressed by the terrific response from our guests for names for our new swans and the range of those suggestions—inspired by sports, politics, the personal, popular and classic music, literature, Greek and Roman myth, television and movies.

Nominations are open until March 15, so it’s not too late to send your entry.

• Wilbur and Orville (multiple nominations)
• Prince Harry and Prince William (multiples)
• Jakob and Wilhelm (Grimm) (multiples)
• George and Ira (Gershwin) (multiples)
• Doug and Hub (Bebb brothers) (multiples)
• Rogers & Hammerstein (multiples)
• Gilbert & Sullivan (multiples)
• Eli and Payton (Manning) (multiples)
• Bert & Ernie (multiples)
• Trevor and Bayne
• Andy and Barney
• Robert and Lindsay (Young twin brothers and former owners of Buckhorn)
• Zig and Zag
• Larry and Other Brother Darryl
• John and Jim, for the Belushi brothers who are from Chicago
• Pops and Peanuts, for the Panezko brothers, Chicago’s famous jewel thieves
• Marshall and Field, for department store
• Eliot (Ness) and Al (Capone)
• Wrigley and Soldier, for the baseball and football stadium
• Shakespeare and Van Gogh
• Cain and Abel
• Romulus and Remus
• Zeus and Poseidon
• Groucho and Harpo
• Blue and Ridge
• Elvis (Presley) and Carl (Perkins)
• Apollo and Zeus
• Buck & Hornsby
• Buckin * Bronco
• Bubble and Squeak
• Walter (Matthau) and Jack (Lemmon)
• John and Lee (We thank you but these names might confuse new guests!)
• Andres and Tchaikovsky ( both associated with the tale of swan lake- by Tchaikovsky- Andres was the writer of Black Swan( the movie remake of swan lake)
• Rozencrantz and Guildenstern.
• Fiachra and Conn (Irish legend about the children of Lir who were brothers turned into swans)
• How about “Karom” and “Azov”… as in Dostoyevsky’ s “The Brothers Karamazov”?
• Max and Val
• May I suggest Hansa (Sanskrit word for swan) and Hugh (patron saint of swans—who knew they had one?)
• Castor and Pollux, the Gemini boys
• Laurel & Hardy,
• Simon & Garfunkel
• Mellor and Bucki
• Marsden and Hartley
• Kelly and Declan
• Some combination of the Marx brothers…Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo…
• Jake and Elwood (as in the Blues Brothers)
• Duane and Gregg (as in Allman Brothers Band—one of our favorites!)
• Zeus and Poseidon
• Peter and Anatoly – two of the Tchaikovsky brothers (Peter wrote Swan Lake)
• Snip & Snap
• Holliday and Earp
• Douglas and Audrey
• Adonis & Narcissus
• Lincoln & Apollo
• Constantine and Alexander
• Winston and George
• Maverick and Iceman
• Lennon and McCartney
• Bow and Derek Sewanee
• Love and Hope
• In Tennessee only Jack and Daniel will do.
• Albert and Ernest? Those names reflect the royal British history of the swans, and Albert and Ernest are the brothers who came from Germany to become a part of the royal family in England in the 1840
• William and Andrew, the current princes of the British realm
• Sam and Dave.
• Swift and Sure
• Malcolm and Angus
• Mikhail and Rudolf
• Holly and Oak (in honor of the Celtic legend of the Holly King and the Oak King – representing the struggle of the waxing and waning of the seasons)
• Stonewall & Jackson
• Elliott & Emmett
• Name one of them “Brodrick”, which is an old Scottish name that means Brother. Name the other one “Brother”.
• Conner & Murphy
• Seigfried and Roy…
• Calloway and Beethoven and call them Cal and Bay
• Turner and HoochLuke SwanWalker
• Hekel and Jeckel
• Starsky and Hutch
• Obi-Swan Kenobi
• Herman and Melville
• Marc & Anthony
• Julius & Caesar
• Matt & Damon
• Anderson & Cooper
• Sean & Hannity
• Elton and John
• Billy & Joel
• Willie and Nelson

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.