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October 16, 2017

Fall Color in the Great Smoky Mountains

Guests often ask us when is the best time to see the beautiful fall color in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Our honest answer:  “It depends”!  Fall color timing depends on a wide variety of variables, making peak times impossible to predict.

The fall color makes this one of the best times to be in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Many guests plan their trips hoping to see the fall color.

We do know, however, that the autumnal hues light up the landscape for as long as seven weeks each year.  The colors begin first in the higher elevations, then gradually move downward.  Adding to this extended show is the fact that the Smokies are home to more than 100 varieties of native trees, most of them deciduous.  

Most years the displays in the very highest elevations may be seen as early as mid-September, with colors visible from Clingman’s Dome Road.  The colors in the middle and lower elevations can peak anywhere from mid-October through mid-November.  According to http://www.gatlinburg.com/event/autumn-color-in-the-smokies, visitors can expect to enjoy beautiful colors from sugar maples, scarlet oak, sweet gum trees, red maples, and the hickories.

What Causes the Fall Color Change?

Cooler temperatures and longer nights cause the green pigment in the leaves to deteriorate.  Carotenoids, the pigments that makes the leaves yellow (and carrots orange!) become more prominent.  Red and purple colors come from anthocyanins.  This pigments are formed when leaf sugars break down in bright sunlight.

We recommend the Roaring Forks Motor Nature Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway as being especially scenic drives this time of year.  The National Park Service http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fall-suggestions recommends the following fall hikes:  Appalachian Trail, Inspiration Point on Alum Cave Trail, Oconaluftee River Trail, Look Rock Tower, and Sutton Ridge Overlook.

Whether you have made your Great Smoky Mountain trip plans for this year, or are looking forward to 2018, remember that the fall color season typically lasts from mid-September through early November.  This is a busy time of year, so we advise making your travel plans far in advance.  Feel free to check with us at the Buckhorn Inn periodically–we sometimes have cancellations and then you can book accommodation with short lead times.  Our dining room fills up quickly this time of year, so we encourage you to make your dinner reservations early.  And don’t forget that Buckhorn Inn guests can pre-order hearty sack lunches to enjoy on a scenic drive or beautiful hike.

Happy fall!

July 10, 2017

Arts & Crafts of the Smokies

The Arts & Crafts Community was established in 1937.

More than 100 artisans can be found in the Arts & Crafts Community.

The Buckhorn Inn is fortunate to be located in the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community.  Established in 1937, this community is the largest group of independent artists in North America.  The 8-mile loop features more than 100 shops.  There visitors can watch the artisans at work and browse their creations.  Many of the artists specialize in traditional Appalachian arts.  You may pronounce it “Ap-pa-LATCH-a” as many locals do, or “Ap-pa-LAY-cha” as is the case  in many other parts of the country.  Regardless, it is the birthplace of many unique arts and crafts.  

Background of Arts & Crafts in the Smokies

The people of the Smoky Mountains have been described as self-sufficient, creative, and inspired by the natural beauty around them.  Practical items used everyday have taken on the role of folk art by virtue of the excellent craftsmanship and elegance of design.  Folk art typically is defined as works that are artistic but also have practical use.  Crafts, on the other hand, are items usually produced for a practical use but are decorated.  Sometimes solely practical items become objects of art by being repurposed.  
Examples might be jugs used for decoration or rugs used as wall hangings.    Traditional Smoky Mountain arts & crafts include painting, woodworking, and weaving.  This area also features glassblowing, basket weaving, and metal working.  The community has shops focusing on pottery, leathercraft, and broom making.  Many of the artists in our community are second- and third-generation artisans.  They use traditional methods that have been passed down to them.  These traditional pieces are finding a resurgence of popularity.  Many collectors appreciate the timeless quality of uniquely handcrafted works.  They look forward to handing down these treasures to future generations.  

The Gatlinburg Convention center will host the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community Thanksgiving Show from November 21-26.  The Holiday Show will be held from November 27-December 3.

Thanksgiving and Christmas Arts & Crafts shows are right around the corner.

Be sure to visit the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts shows.

For more information on the shows please visit http://www.GatlinburgCrafts.com  Please watch this blog as we feature some of our artistic neighbors!

 

July 3, 2017

Solar Eclipse Will Happen on August 21

Where will you be when the sun goes out?  The Great Smoky Mountains National Park reports that the guided trip to Clingmans Dome for the August 21 solar eclipse already is sold out.  The park can provide information on other viewing areas http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/2017-solar-eclipse.htm

The solar eclipse against a dark sky is a magical sight.

The August 21 total solar eclipse will be visible in our area.

 

Some Fun Facts About The Solar Eclipse:

  1. Prussian astronomer, Friedrich Bessel, developed the complex mathematical formula for predicting solar eclipses in 1824.
  2. The speed of the moon as it moves in front of the sun is approximately 1,398 miles per hour.
  3. Total eclipses cannot be seen from either the North Pole or the South Pole.
  4. The Citizen Cate (Continental-America-Telescope-Eclipse) Experiment has enlisted scientists from 60 sites across the country to film the eclipse.   When edited together, the film will be the longest video of an eclipse ever recorded.  It is expected to help investigators research the corona which normally is invisible.
  5. In Mark Twain’s 1889 book “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” the protagonist saves himself from being burned at the stake by predicting a solar eclipse in the year 528.
  6. One of the most memorable eclipses in filmdom is the crucifixion scene in “Barabbas” which was filmed during an actual eclipse in February 1961.
  7. The Science Fiction Writers of America named Isaac Asimov’s “Nightfall” the best story written prior to 1965.  The plot revolves around pending darkness in a world perpetually in sunlight.
  8. The sun is about 400,000 times brighter than the full moon.  Be sure to invest in special filtered glasses to preserve your eyesight.
  9. Venus should be visible to the upper right of the eclipsed sun.  
  10. The sun’s diameter is about 400 times larger than that of the moon.  But because of the distance between the sun and the moon, both appear approximately the same size when viewed from Earth.
  11. Total solar eclipses are rare.  One can be viewed from somewhere on Earth about every 18 months.

Happy viewing!

June 22, 2017

Eclipse Visible in Lower 48 for First Time since 1979

In 1972, Carly Simon sang to a lover who flew his “Lear jet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun”.  Luckily, on August 21 you only need come to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to view the Moon pass between the Earth and the Sun!

The website http://www.greatamericaneclipse.com names the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as one of ten great places from which to view the eclipse.  The park offers great vistas from areas such as Clingman’s  Dome.  These expansive views offer the chance to see the shadow of the moon scurrying across the landscape–sure to be a dramatic sight, indeed.

Solar eclipse with corona

A rare solar eclipse will be visible in Tennessee on August 21.

Park Preparing for Eclipse

The blotting out of the sun will be visible from the entire western half of the park.  Park officials are preparing public viewing events for three locations:  Clingman’s Dome, Cades Cove, and Oconaluftee.  You are welcome to view from other areas within and without the park on your own.  The park expects large crowds, so we advise that you make your plans well in advance of August 21.  For information and updates on events in the park, please visit http://www.nps.gov/gsm

Eclipse Details

During a total solar eclipse, the moon covers the sun so that only a sliver of the sun’s corona is visible.  In our area, the disappearance of the sun will last for one minute and 17 seconds with totality beginning at 2:35 pm EDT.  It is recommended that eclipse viewers purchase solar protective glasses far in advance, wear them while watching, and only remove them during the totality of the darkness.  At the Buckhorn we expect to fill up quickly during this time period, so please reserve your accommodations soon!  

Buckhorn Inn for the eclipse

The Buckhorn Inn provides a serene oasis from the crowds viewing the eclipse.

http://www.buckhorninn.com/lodging

 

March 30, 2017

Best Spring Wildflower Walks

Although there are many parks that are larger, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has the greatest diversity of plants anywhere in North America. In fact, north of the tropics, only China has a greater diversity of plant life than the Southern Appalachians.

The Smoky Mountains contain over 300 rare species of plants, with as many as 125 on the protected plant lists of either North Carolina or Tennessee. Three plant species are protected by the Endangered Species Act, with 12 others currently under review for federal protection.

The following is a list of some of the best wildflowers walks in the Smokies in the Spring

Ace Gap – In late April, and into early May, look for yellow trillium, beard tongue, Solomon’s seal, spiderwort, fire pink, hawkweed, pink lady slippers, Catesby’s trillium, yellow mandarin, rue anemone, wild geranium, little brown jugs, Robin’s plantain and flame azalea. In May you can expect to find meadow parsnip, sweet shrub, four leaved milkweed, blackberry, mountain laurel and star grass. In late May and into June, look for fairy wand, false Solomon’s seal, galax and Indian pink.

Bradley Fork Trail – During the early spring season, hepaticas, violets, and foam flower are found on this trail out of Smokemont. As the season progresses, umbrella leaf and Fraser’s sedge begin to bloom on the higher elevations of the trail. You can also find wood and rue anemone, Vasey’s trillium, beaked violets and crested dwarf iris in April and May. From April through July, look for wild strawberry, Robin’s plantain and Canadian violets.

Chestnut Top – Spring beauties are usually the first to bloom on this trail in March. Throughout the spring, you can find white trillium, bloodroot, yellow trillium, hepaticas, violets, Jack-in-the-pulpit, bishop’s cap, purple phacelia, fire pink, plantain-leaved pussytoes, star chickweed and wild stonecrop. During the late spring and early summer period, look for hairy beard-tongue, rattlesnake hawkweed and squawroot. Many of these flowers can be found within the first couple hundred feet of the trailhead.

Cove Hardwood Self-Guided Nature Trail – This three-quarter-mile loop trail begins in the Chimneys Picnic Area. Many people say that this is one of the best areas in the park for wildflowers, with the best time being in late April. However, as early as March you can begin to see hepaticas and trout-lilies. Through April and May look for yellow trillium, white fringed phacelia, squirrel corn, wild ginger, white trillium and Dutchman’s britches. Solomon’s seal arrives in May and lasts through June.

Cosby Nature Trail – Located in the Cosby Campground, this one mile trail passes through several forest types, providing for a variety of wildflowers. Peak months for wildflowers are March and April. Look for Vasey’s trillium, squirrel corn, Dutchman’s britches, brook lettuce and squawroot. Bleeding heart, showy orchis and Vasey’s trillium show-up in April and May.
Deep Creek – Wildflowers are abundant along this trail just outside of Bryson City. You’ll find a variety of trilliums blooming at different times, as well as foamflower, galax, crested dwarf iris, beard tongue, Solomon’s seal, cinquefoil, bloodroot, bluets and blue-eyed grass. Jack-in-the-pulpit is also abundant, but is sometimes hard to locate among the wild geranium, clinton’s lily and large houstonia. As the trail rises in elevation along the Sunkota Ridge and Indian Creek Trails, you’ll notice rhododendron, mountain laurel and flame azalea.

Husky Gap – Husky Gap is accessed via Little River Trail in Elkmont. Expect to see yellow trillium, dwarf cinquefoil and stonecrop. Roughly half-way between the Little River Trail and Husky Gap there can be a riot of flowers: yellow, white and painted trillium, blue phlox, hepaticas and violets. Sometimes the hillsides throughout this section of trail can be covered in wildflowers. This is a great trail to hike in April and May if your goal is to spot wildflowers.

Kanati Fork – Expect to see early yellow violet as early as March on this trail. By April, you’ll begin to see cut-leaved toothwort, dwarf cinquefoil, large-flowered bellwort, white baneberry, Canadian violets, Vasey’s trillium, painted trillium, wake robin, Solomon’s seal, Northern white violets and brook lettuce. Most of these flowers will last well into May, but the best time to visit is in late April.

Little River Trail – This trail is best hiked between mid-March and April, if you’re goal is viewing wildflowers. During the early spring you can expect to see spring beauties and trailing arbutus. As the season progresses, look for hepaticas, yellow trillium, dwarf cinquefoil, stonecrop, Canadian violets and umbrella leaf. You may also see mountain mint, orange and pale jewelweed as early as June here as well.

Porters Creek Trail – This trail is well known for its spectacular wildflower displays from late March through April. We hiked this trail in late March and were treated to a forest floor carpeted with bloodroot, hepaticas, white fringed phacelia, violets and white trillium. As the season progresses into April and May, you can find yellow trillium, toothwort, wild geranium, May-apple, dwarf ginseng, blue phlox, baneberry, foam flower, halberd-leaved violets, woodland bluets and Jack-in-the-pulpits.

Oconaluftee – Late April is the best time for viewing wildflowers along the Oconaluftee River Trail. More than 40 species of wildflowers have been identified along the trail, making it an especially worthwhile walk in spring and fall. During the spring, hikers can find several varieties of trillium and violets, jack-in-the-pulpit, squirrel corn, stonecrop and May apple.

Rich Mountain Loop – This trail had the most diverse amount of wildflowers we’ve seen in one hike. During our mid-May hike we saw mountain laurel, flame azalea, purple phacelia, rattlesnake hawkweed, yellow ragwort, violets, sweet shrub, wild geranium, blackberry, fourleaf milkweed, everlasting pea and butterfly weed.

Schoolhouse Gap – The Schoolhouse Gap Trail is another excellent trail for spring wildflowers. We saw many Virginia bluebells on the lower portion of the trail. As we proceeded on, we saw beaked violets, pink lady’s slippers, fairy wand, golden aster, star grass, red clover, Robin’s plantain, sun drops, Catesby’s trillium and lyre-leaf sage. The trail also had its share of rhododendron and mountain laurel, which were just beginning to bloom during our mid-May hike. Hikers can also find cardinal flower, Carolina vetch and yellow ragwort on this trail.  

Spence Field – Spence Field has the most spectacular display of mountain laurel I’ve ever seen. The hillsides and meadows were literally covered in the white and soft pink flowers from this member of the heath family. The best time to visit Spence Field is from late May to mid June.

October 2, 2015

Fall Means OktOBER Fest in Gatlinburg

OktOBERfest returns to its Gatlinburg-style roots with 38 days of merrymaking from September 25 through Nov.1, 2015 as the resort commemorates the 205th anniversary of the popular festival held in Munich, Germany.

The Bavarian Fun Makers Band, in authentic costumes, will perform traditional Bavarian folk dances, schuhplattling, oompah music, sing-a-longs, yodels and more with daily shows and multiple performances every day during Oktoberfest. Special Oktoberfest Biers will be served along with traditional German wurst, schnitzel, sauerkraut, strudel, pretzels and more.

129933291521785010The first Oktoberfest was not really a festival at all, but the public celebration of the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Bavaria on October 17, 1810. Held on a large meadow named the Theresienwiese in Munich, the party featured a horse race, beer, food, music and dancing. Anniversary celebrations continues each year, usually starting in late September and ending in the first week of October, with some six million people attending annually.

For more information on OktOBERfest call 865-436-5423 or visit www.obergatlinburg.com

September 26, 2015

Fall Has Started Falling

Fall Red Dogwoods Bertram HenryFall is a beautiful, fascinating period in the Smokies and at Buckhorn Inn.  This photo of the leaves of one of our dogwoods was taken by Bertram Henry, a Buckhorn Regular, when he was here this week.  The main fall leaf season is still several weeks away (mid to late October), but color has begun to develop over the past week in high elevation areas. Many birch trees are showing muted yellows, and species such as witch hobble, sumac, and blueberries are sporting red leaves at higher elevation. It’s still early in the season though, so colors should continue to develop over the next week or two along the crests of the mountains.

At low to middle elevations, dogwood trees have a reddish cast that will develop into brilliant reds later in October. Species such as sourwood and red maple are also turning red. And the brilliant reds of Virginia creeper vine can be seen climbing the trunks of many trees. Overall however, the forests are still very green at these elevations. There’s not a lot fall color to see yet — just scattered trees here and there.

Fall flowers displays are glorious now. Flowers such as purple asters, white asters, black-eyed Susans, pale jewelweed, ironweed, great blue lobelia, closed gentian, and goldenrod are blooming profusely along roadsides and trails. In the forests, look for the vibrant pink, purple, and red fruits of hearts-a-bustin’ bushes and the brilliant reds of dogwood berries.

August 14, 2015

Have Fun at This Old Fashioned Heritage Day in September

Pittman Center Heritage Day

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Boogertown Gap

picnic

Pittman Center Heritage day photo

basket-weaving

 

 

 

 

Free Admission

Food and Refreshments Available 

Since 1992, town residents have celebrated their mountain heritage, highlighting the region’s food, music, entertainment and crafts of the past.  The event is actually hosted in remembrance of a community fall festival that first took place in the early 1920’s. It is a day full of fun that is celebrated with great food, live music, games, crafts vendors, prettiest dog contest, and more! 

About Pittman Center  Just minutes away from downtown Gatlinburg nestled in the mountains of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the quaint community of Pittman Center. Pittman Center provides a unique blend of history, culture and natural scenic beauty that captures the imagination.

 Proud of their mountain heritage, residents work hard to preserve the historic landscape and mountain culture that beckons visitors to come and stay awhile. Time seems to stand still as one ventures forth to rediscover the beauty of the natural surroundings and rich history that defines the Pittman Center experience.

Directions from Gatlinburg  From Buckhorn, take Highway 321North and turn left (north) to Scenic Route 416. Turn left and go to mile marker #2.   Turn right to 2839 Webb Creek Road.

 

 

June 27, 2014

Ice Cream with Everything

ice-cream-In July you can ice cream with everything at Buckhorn Inn.  In 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July as national ice cream month. Chef Robert Neisler celebrates each year by offering up some decadent ice cream desserts like Strawberry Smoothie Ice Cream Pie, Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich, Old-Fashioned Mud Pie, Mint Chocolate Grasshopper Pie, Peach Melba Ice Cream Pie and Peanut Butter ‘n Chocolate Treat, Turtle Ice Cream Pie with Caramel, Chocolate and Pecans.

Check out our weekly menus to see when your favorite ice cream dessert will be served.  In honor of the celebration, we are sharing a recipe for Strawberry Smoothie Ice Cream Pie (see below).  But–it tastes so much better if we make it for you. 

 

 

Yield:  10-12 servings

Ingredients

1 (7-ounce) package waffle cones, broken into pieces

6 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 (1-quart) containers premium vanilla ice cream, divided

1 (16-ounce) container fresh strawberries (1 quart), stemmed

1/4 cup powdered sugar, divided

1 pint fresh blueberries

2 ripe bananas

Garnishes:  waffle cone pieces, fresh whole strawberries, fresh blueberries 

Preparation  Process first 3 ingredients in a food processor until finely crushed. Firmly press mixture onto bottom of a lightly greased 10-inch springform pan.  Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Let vanilla ice cream stand at room temperature 20 minutes or until slightly softened.  Process strawberries and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar in a food processor until pureed, stopping to scrape down sides; remove strawberry mixture, and set aside.  Process blueberries and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar in food processor until pureed, stopping to scrape down sides; set aside.  Mash bananas with a fork in a large bowl; stir in remaining 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Set aside.  Place 1 quart of ice cream in a large bowl; cut into large (3-inch) pieces. Fold strawberry mixture into ice cream until blended. Place in freezer until slightly firm.

Divide remaining quart of ice cream in half, placing halves in separate bowls. Stir blueberry mixture into half and mashed banana mixture into remaining half. Place bowls in freezer. Spread half of strawberry mixture evenly into prepared crust in springform pan. Place pan and remaining strawberry mixture in freezer. Freeze 30 minutes or until strawberry layer in pan is slightly firm. Spread banana mixture evenly over strawberry layer in pan; return pan to freezer, and freeze 30 minutes or until banana layer is slightly firm. Repeat procedure with blueberry mixture. Spread remaining strawberry mixture over blueberry layer in pan, and freeze 3 hours or until all layers are firm.  Let pie stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving. Garnish, if desired.

April 24, 2014

Come to the Spring Garden Celebration

Lucinda Ogle QuiltBuckhorn Inn and five other inns are opening their gardens to the public on Wednesday, May 7 as a part of the Gatlinburg Garden Club’s Spring Garden Celebration.  You can purchase the $10 tickets for the tour at the Sevier County Bank in Gatlinburg, phoning 865 453 6101, extension 481.  Tickets may also be purchased at participating inns on the day of the event.  All proceeds benefit the Lucinda Ogle Historic Cabin Restoration Fund.  

Other inns participating in the tour are Foxtrot, Quail Ridge, Tudor Inn, Laurel Springs and Blue Mountain Mist.  

You can also purchase tickets for a wine and cheese party at Buckhorn Inn on Tuesday, May 6 from 5:30 until 7:00 pm and a Meet the Author Luncheon at Foxtrot Inn on May 6 at 11:30 am.