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May 13, 2019

Reflections of an Apprentice Innkeeper

“What is it like being an apprentice innkeeper?”  “How do you and Jack like Tennessee?”  “What do you do at Buckhorn Inn?”  “What do you do when not at the Inn?”  So many of our guests have asked me these questions.  Now that Jack and I have lived here for two years this week, I feel that I can finally answer them!  

Life in Chicago

Jack and I both moved to Chicago in 1981 after completing our undergraduate degrees.  I went to Purdue University and he went to the University of Kentucky.    We met on the commuter train from the western suburbs to downtown Chicago.  We both loved reading, college sports, and exploring our new city and quickly became best friends before we became sweeties and then husband and wife.  By 2011 we both had completed our MBA degrees and I had my PhD under my belt.  I was serving as CEO of the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) and Jack was a founder and CFO of Business IT Source (BITS).  

Moving to Eastern Tennessee

Jack and I built the Greenbrier House  three years ago with the idea that we would offer it up as part of the Buckhorn Inn for “5 or 6 years” until we were ready to retire.  

Life as an apprentice innkeeper includes spending more time with my wonderful husband.

Our plan was to offer the Greenbrier House as part of the Buckhorn Inn until we retired here.

 

But once the house was built, retirement became an incredibly alluring thought!  I had just finished leading OREF through a complete refocusing of our business model and was deciding if I wanted to simply maintain our new organization or go on to a new challenge.  Jack had a 90-minute commute each way to and from work and was finding that to be really wearing.  So, we clasped our hands together and jumped into the unknown of moving to Eastern Tennessee!

Life as an Apprentice Innkeeper

Jack and I serve breakfast at Buckhorn Inn on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  I began as a new face, but guests immediately recognized Jack as John’s son.  In fact, I often tell my pop-in-law that looking at him lets me know how my husband will look 30 or so years from now–and the prospect pleases me!  Jack works with Lee on the payroll and accounting.  I work in the office checking out guests and taking reservations on Saturdays.  We get to participate in regular management meetings and have spearheaded some projects, like the new landscaping around the pond.  Lee has entrusted me with Buckhorn Inn social media and many of you read my blog posts and follow us on Instagram and Facebook.  I admire Lee greatly and enjoy spending time with, and learning from, her.  

Cooking, Gardening, Beekeeping

I grew up on a farm in Indiana and greatly enjoyed 4-H.    So our work at the Buckhorn Inn gives me a great opportunity to further explore some of the activities I have always enjoyed–namely cooking and gardening.  I am somewhat a “chef groupie” and feel so fortunate to get to observe Chef Frank in the kitchen.  His knife skills are astounding and everything he plates looks beautiful and tastes delicious. 

I love to cook, so sometimes I get to provide salads and desserts for special luncheons and bake desserts for dinner https://www.buckhorninn.com/dining.  I got to consult with Frank on revamping the Buckhorn Inn wine list.  A wine aficianado, I am taking a wine expert certification course so that I can help more in this regard.  Our friends Brian and Dana at The Rampant Lion have a very nice wine list and have really helped me when my “homework” involved tasting different wines.  A new cookbook is in the works–I am hoping to finish the draft in the next month or so. 

Jack and I created some raised bed vegetable gardens to grow fresh produce for the Inn.  Jack has installed two bee hives and I am his “bee girl”, helping with their care.

The Buckhorn Inn guests have been so welcoming and so kind to me.  Well, for the most part.  When Purdue played Tennessee in the NCAA tournament this year I served breakfast in my Purdue shirt.  Who knew that cultured, well-mannered people could boo me so soundly?!!

Other Activities

How marvelous to be so close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!  Jack and I enjoy taking early morning hikes before work.  Jack is still working remotely for BITS, so we have to get back before his day begins.  I am still a flatlander, so am working to conquer the uphill portions of the trails! 

This past year I finished my time on the board of CreatiVets, a national nonprofit that serves veterans with post-traumatic stress gain healing tools through the arts.  We have programs at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Southern California as well as writing opportunities with professional songwriters in Nashville.  We are a new foundation, but have accomplished much in five years.  Feel free to check us out at http://www.creativets.org.

I also have been elected to the Board of the Anna Porter Public Library and enjoy helping guide our programs.  I belong to two books clubs, and have gotten to meet many new friends through our book discussions.  We met some local friends through frequenting the same restaurants and love being part of this community.

Family is Important

We enjoy spending time with my brother-in-law Bill and his wife Louise.  Bill, Jack and I are trivia fiends and have spent some delightful afternoons matching wits with trivia contestants nationwide.  We get to spend off time with John and Lee.  Currently we gather together at Buckhorn House on Sunday evenings for supper and to watch Game of  Thrones.

I very much miss my mother and my brother Herb and his family in Indiana.  But now I have the flexibility to take a week every few months to spend with them.  One of my nieces and I went to New Orleans for the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival and another joined me for a trip to Boston.  Next spring I am hoping to travel with my third niece.  Being an auntie brings me great joy.  

Thank you to all the Buckhorn Inn guests who have expressed an interest in how we are finding Tennessee.  It is beautiful here and we love it.  

Your apprentice innkeeper,

Sharon

 

April 22, 2019

Great Golfing in Sevier County Tennessee!

Do you enjoy golfing?  If so, you need to pack your clubs the next time you visit Buckhorn Inn!  We have several beautiful courses that you should not overlook.

Sevier County is a great destination for a golfing vacation.

Our moderate climate makes golfing possible all year.

Gatlinburg Golf Course

Golf Digest named this course the “Best Municipal Golf Course in Tennessee”.  With its breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains, the course has been celebrated as one of the most picturesque courses in America.  The  natural landscape lends itself to quite a few unique holes.  Hole #12 is known as “Sky Hi”.  It is 194 yards in length and drops 200 feet from tee to green.  It is one of the most dramatic holes in the country!  The 529-yard, par 5 hole #3 is aptly called “Long Lane”.  The course is open year-round and features a fully-equipped pro shop and food services area.  http://www.gatlinburg.com/to-do

Golfing Challenges at Sevierville Golf Club

The River Course is a par 72 that plays along and across the Little Pigeon River.  The Highlands Course is a par 70 course that winds through lush, rolling hills and fresh water mountain ponds.  If you are short on time, you can play the Highlands Front Nine Course, which is a par 37.  You may book your tee times online http://www.seviervilletn.org  Additional amenities include a driving range, a putting green, and a chipping area.  The club also boasts Mulligan’s Bar and Grill.

Creekside Golf Course and Practice Facility

Creekside is located in Seymour, TN.  This nine-hole course provides challenge for every golfer’s skill level.  It has gained a reputation for its comfortable environment to play a quick and satisfying round.  The course is open 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on Monday through Saturday.  It is open 10:00 am to 8:00 pm on Sunday.  The clubhouse has a pool.  

Bent Creek Golf Course

This Gatlinburg course is a par 72 designed by Gary Player.  The front nine hugs the valley floor while the back nine offers a challenging mountain course.  A beautiful sparkling mountain stream meanders throughout the entire course.  Southern Living Travel Guide named Bent Creek one of the “Top Fifty Golf Courses in the South”.

 

March 25, 2019

Lemon Panna Cotta is Perfect Spring Dessert

What could be more spring-like than a lemon dessert?  Panna cotta means “cooked cream” in Italian.  The sweetened, thick cream is the perfect ending to a meal any time of year.  The brightness of lemon makes this version taste light and sunny.  Panna cotta is sometimes called a custard, but a true custard is thickened with egg yolks, not gelatin.  

Panna cotta is a gluten-free dessert.

Lemon adds a bright note to this creamy dessert.

Lemon Panna Cotta with Blackberry Sauce

1 cup whole milk

1 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup crème fraiche

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Lightly oil six custard cups and set aside.  Mix milk and cream in a heavy saucepan.  Bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat, cool slightly, and add vanilla.  Pour lemon juice into a small bowl.  Sprinkle gelatin on top of the juice and let stand about 10 minutes.  Stir sugar and gelatin mixture into milk mixture.  Stir over low heat just until sugar and gelatin dissolve, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Whisk in crème fraiche and lemon peel.  Divide among custard cups.  Cover and chill until set, at least six hours.

Sauce

2 cups fresh blackberries

2 tablespoons packed golden brown sugar

2 tablespoons crème de cassis

Puree 2/3 of the blackberries, brown sugar and crème de cassis.  Strain into a medium bowl, extracting as much liquid as possible.  Stir remaining berries into sauce.

To serve, run a small knife around each custard cup.  Place bottoms of cups, one at a time, in a bowl of hot water for 45 seconds.  Place dessert plate on top of custard cup and invert, shaking gently, to turn out the panna cotta.  Serve with sauce.  This recipe make six servings.

Our chef notes that if you cannot find crème fraiche, heat one cup of whipping cream to lukewarm.  Remove from heat and mix in two tablespoons buttermilk.  Cover and let stand in a warm area about 24 hours until slightly thickened.  Chill until ready to use.

February 18, 2019

Why Stay at a Bed and Breakfast Rather than a Hotel?

Why opt to stay in a bed and breakfast rather than in a large hotel?  The website http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/info/trav discusses the many reasons travelers opt for smaller, independent inns and bed and breakfasts.

A Bed and Breakfast Offers Value

The article points out that hotels usually do not offer a big bang for your buck.  The rooms can be small, you may pay for parking, and if there is a free breakfast it typically is a continental breakfast.  Most amenities are available for an extra cost.  At the Buckhorn Inn, you get a comfortable room and free nearby parking.  We offer complimentary Wi-Fi, which has been newly upgraded.  One of the best perks about staying with us is the hearty and delicious breakfast that comes as part of your stay.  You enjoy fresh fruit, juice, and fresh-baked biscuits and sweet breads while you contemplate your choice of entrée.  You may opt for a savory dish, like Country Eggs Benedict, a sweet dish like Bananas Foster French Toast, eggs cooked the way YOU like them with a breakfast meat, or a hearty bowl of oatmeal with delicious optional add-inns.  And while you enjoy that, your mug will be kept filled with robust, regular or decaf coffee or tea.

Unique Rooms

Many people prefer the inns because they like a room with character.  At the Buckhorn Inn you may

A typical bed and breakfast offers unique rooms as this traditional Buckhorn Inn room.

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

choose from several different traditional inn rooms, premier suites, cottages, or guest houses.  Each has its own personality and décor.  Many of our guests find their favorite and always try to book “Cottage 5” or “the Red Room”!

Rich History

Many B&Bs have rich history and stories.  At the Buckhorn Inn, we are proud of our 80-year history of serving guests.  We have tried to keep the original charm and feel of Douglas Bebb’s vision, while providing our guests with the most modern amenities.

Personal Attention

Innkeepers go the extra mile to make sure you feel comfortable and welcome.  Innkeepers John and Lee Mellor provide personal attention and assistance to all their guests.  The bed and breakfast staff are great local experts and can provide you with great advice on what to see and do in the Gatlinburg area.  Part of that personal attention is providing fresh-baked treats in the afternoon and providing a library of good books and DVDs.

Please let us know why you choose to stay at Buckhorn Inn!

January 7, 2019

Plenty of Winter Activities in our Area

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

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

Winter vistas are beautiful.

When the leaves are down the views go on forever.

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

Winter Hiking

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

 

December 10, 2018

Get on Board the Buckhorn Inn Belle!

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

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

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

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

Buckhorn Inn Belle Dinner Menu

Departing from Minneapolis

Wild Mushroom Gruyere Phyllo

Mediterranean Skewer with Anchovy Aioli

Arriving in Cairo

Shrimp and Lobster Ceviche with Cucumber, Chives and Frissee

Meet me in St. Louis

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

Gettin’ the Memphis Blues

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

Let’s Geaux to Baton Rouge

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

Arrival in N’Awlins, Dahlin’

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

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

 

November 12, 2018

Stay Toasty with Mugs of Something Warm

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

Your Buckhorn Inn mugs will hold a satisfying warm beverage.

Our orange Buckhorn Inn mugs are quite popular with guests.

Hot Chocolate

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

2 1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup cold water

3/4 cup sugar

Dash of salt

6 cups milk

Whipped cream

Cinnamon and/or chocolate sprinkles

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

Mugs Full of Mulled Cider

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

1/2 teaspoon allspice

2 sticks cinnamon

6 whole cloves 

1 quart cider

1/3 cup brown sugar

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

Mulled Wine with Cranberries

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

1 1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail

1/2 cup sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

2 pieces star anise

3 cups dry red wine (try a cabernet sauvignon)

1/2 cup fresh cranberries

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

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

 

 

November 5, 2018

Five of the Best Activities in the Great Smoky Mountains

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

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

1. Clingmans Dome

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

Clingman's Dome is a great activity.

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

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

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

2. Cades Cove

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

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

3. Mount Le Conte

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

Buckhorn Inn offers views of Mt. LeConte.

Mt. LeConte offers spectacular views.

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

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

4. Andrews Bald

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

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

5. Roaring Fork

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

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

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

The Great Smoky Mountains Abound with Family-Friendly Activities

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

October 29, 2018

Soft Ginger Cookies are Perfect taste of Fall

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

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

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

Ginger and spice make these cookies nice!

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

Recipe for Soft Ginger Cookies

1/4 pound butter at room temperature

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup molasses

3 tablespoons dark corn syrup

2 tablespoons milk

4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

extra sugar for rolling

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

 

 

October 15, 2018

Harvest Festival Comes to Gatlinburg

 

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

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

Scarecrows Have Long History as Harvest Helpers

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

Scarecrows are the perfect symbol of the harvest season.

Gatlinburg is celebrating the season with whimsical scarecrows.

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

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

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

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