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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 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 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!

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 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 9, 2018

Latest Reviews from Trip Advisor

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

“A memorable B and B”   My husband and I had the wonderful experience of staying at the Buckhorn Inn last month. This was our first visit to this charming B & B and hopefully not our last. Any B & B that has return guests over and over again from many and faraway states says something about the owners, chefs, employees, etc. Why do guests return more than once? You must experience for yourself and see why! The lovely accommodations, delicious breakfasts and dinners, ambience, “special treats”, all contribute to a stay that you will always remember. My only regret, Lee, is that you are quite a distance away from our home that prevents us from coming as often as we would like. However, we do plan to hopefully return in the near future and stay again in the Premier 1 room. Many thanks for making our stay so memorable!

A wonderful stay, as usual  This is a beautiful old inn, meticulously furnished, with a great view of the Smokies. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming. We enjoyed a Premier Room, complete with gas fireplace and large bath. Dinner and breakfast were delicious; a roaring fire in the old stone fireplace was welcome on a cold morning. We’ve stayed here many times, and look forward to our next visit.

Relax  I have been to the inn many times,,it’s older and maintained very well,food is presented nicely,I find many people returning year after year,,staff always sweet and helpful,,I here people say they have come here for 40 years,,

Perfect  The perfect location ( at the foot of Mt. LeConte), the excellent room with all the amenities, the labyrinth, the meditative gardens, the wonderful food, the friendliness of the staff, the peaceful and natural surroundings make for a perfect getaway. Our visit there was the perfect solution for us.

Lovely place and people  It was wonderful to escape the crowds and relax at the Buckhorn. The breakfasts were fantastic and the staff friendly and helpful. The grounds were well kept and we could walk along the gravel road to see the swans in the pond, the mountain views or drive down the road to the art shops.

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!

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.