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October 29, 2019

Rennovated Tower Opens October 2019

Have you stayed in The Tower?  In the early days of Buckhorn Inn, the water tower actually was a water tower!  The tower held an enormous wooden bucket which stored water!   The height was sufficient to pressurize a water distribution system.  When electricity came to the Inn, this system was no longer needed.   Rachael Young, the second mistress of the Inn, had converted the space to a bedroom in the late 1970s for use by her and her husband Robert.

Guests have loved this unique accommodation.  Their reviews have often cited the “cool factor” of the space.  They especially have noted the third level with windows looking in all directions.  This floor has many times been described as a “tree house”!

New Tower Has Kept Charm 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Innkeepers John and Lee Mellor wanted to keep all of the historic charm of this room, but to make it more spacious and convenient.  The renovation has done just that!

Guests enter the new room from their own entrance from their private parking space in front of the Inn.  On the ground floor they find a light and airy bedroom with a king-size bed.  High windows on two walls flood the room with sunshine and look out upon a leafy skyscape.  A kitchenette, smart TV, sitting space and roomy closet provide for coffee and morning news while getting ready for the day.  The room is decorated with original art throughout.  One of our favorite pieces is a painting by local artist Susan Edwards.  The stairway has been transformed into a work of modern art with a cut-out and new railings.

 

The bathroom on the second floor features a new tiled corner shower and lots of natural light.  We call the top floor The Lookout.  Here guests can relax in comfy chairs and admire the 360 degree views.  We have provided binoculars for bird and wildlife watching.  This is a breathtaking spot to read and relax.  There also is a TV in this room–but we suspect the views will be more captivating than anything on television!

We welcomed the first guests to this room in October 2019.  The response has been overwhelming!  Here are some of the comments from the guest book:  “We are very honored to be the first to stay in The Tower at Buckhorn Inn.  I like the amazing design and the upper room with a good view of the sunset.  Service at Buckhorn Inn is excellent–friendly staff and helpful!  Yummy breakfast and dinner!  I enjoyed the natural splendor and peaceful atmosphere!!  If you are looking for a place/vacation to reflect and relax, this is it!  Thank you Buckhorn Staff!  The Chong Family, Phoenix, AZ”

 

October 24, 2019

Thanksgiving at Buckhorn Inn

 

Happy Thanksgiving

When someone mentions “Thanksgiving” we may think offeasting, football games, and four-day weekends.  The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 by the surviving Mayflower Pilgrims and Native Americans.  George Washington proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1789, Abraham Lincoln set it on the last Thursday in November in 1863, and Congress sanctioned it as a legal holiday in 1941.

What began as a simple expression of gratitude for survival has become deeply rooted in American tradition.  Generations of families have added their customs to this annual celebration.  At Buckhorn Inn it is a time to reflect on the family, friends, and good fortune that permeate our lives.  Our traditions include a devilishly hard Thanksgiving quiz and a bountiful buffet!  Here are some of the delicious dishes guests will find on the menu this year:

COLD PLATTERS

  • Smoked Salmon
  • Chilled Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce
  • Housemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange Essence
  • Devilled Eggs
  • Cheese and Fruit
  • Assorted Pickled Vegetables
  • Black Eye Pea Salad

HOT DISHES

  • Roast Turkey with Giblet Gravy
  • Baked Southern Ham with Pineapple Raisin Sauce
  • Cornbread Dressing
  • Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Green Beans Almandine
  • Butternut Squash Casserole
  • Maple Glazed Yams
  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts

DESSERTS

  • Traditional Pumpkin Pie
  • Fudge Truffle Pecan Tart
  • Sweet Potato Cheesecake
  • Maple Pecan Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream
  • Raspberry, Pear, Almond Tart

October 22, 2019

Late Fall and Winter Hikes Offer the Best Views

Unless you have been in the Smokies before in the late fall or winter, you might not realize that it is the perfect time to experience our amazing views.  Winter temperatures are more than 50 degrees on about half of the winter days.  Moderate temperatures coupled with low humidity make for comfortable hiking conditions!  Higher elevations are cooler, so dress accordingly.  Be sure to dress in layers and remember to wear a hat.  A thermos of hot cocoa is a treat during your rest breaks on the trail!  Grab a couple of sack lunches from the Inn and have a winter picnic while admiring the scenery.   

Here are some of our favorite winter hikes:

The Laurel Falls trail is 2.6 miles round-trip and paved.  If you are lucky enough to be here during a stretch of below-freezing weather, the frozen water fall creates a crystal castle.  The freezing and thawing from warm days and cooler nights makes an incredible display of dripping ice. 

The hike to Andrews Bald is about 1.8 miles with 1,200 feet in elevation changes.  The hike starts at the Clingmans Dome parking lot.  When you get to the Andrews Bald area, you will have the chance to take in the winter views of the snowcapped peaks of the Smoky Mountains.

Sparkling icicle formations can be seen at the Alum Cave Bluffs, about 2.3 miles from the start of the Alum Cave Trail.  The hike through the old-growth forest is especially quiet and peaceful without the summertime crowds.  The path goes from Newfound Gap Road to the top of Mount LeConte.  You will see log bridges and stone stairways. 

Porters Creek Trail is a gravel road for the first mile or so.  The trail then changes to a dirt trail and heads to Fern  Falls.  The hike to the Falls is about 4 miles, round-trip.  You will cross log bridges and see some of the stone walls erected by this area’s original settlers.

If you prefer to drive, Cades Cove is a favorite winter destination.  The valley is a great place to observe wildlife, such as coyotes, raccoons, skunks, and deer.  The Visitor’s Center is open year-round and can help you plan your visit to the historic buildings in the area.

Chef Frank Presents Exciting 2019 New Year’s Eve Menu

STARTER
California Shrimp Sushi Roll with Pickled Ginger, Wasabi, and Soy Sauce

SOUP
Duo of Roasted Yellow Pepper and Tomato Soup

DINNER COURSES
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Mexican Rice and Black Beans, Salsa Verde, and Jicama Slaw
And
Seared Alaskan Halibut with Creamed Spinach, Artichoke, and Lobster with a Sherry-Infused Lobster Cream and Micro Greens
And
Deconstructed Beef Wellington with Truffle-Infused Mushroom Duxelle, Herbed Mashed Potato, Roasted Asparagus, Honey-Glazed Baby Carrot with a Cognac Jus Reduction

DESSERT
Lemon Genoise Cake with Blackberry Malbec Sauce, and Lemon Curd Ice Cream in a Chocolate Tulip Cup

Pan-Roasted Pork Chops with Creamy Cabbage and Apples

Pork paired with apples is a classic combination.  The apples contribute a touch of sweetness and flavor to the chops and match well with the cabbage.  Mashed sweet potatoes would make a lovely autumnal starch to pair with this dish.  Pour yourself a glass of Riesling and say welcome to fall!

Pan-Roasted Pork Chops with Creamy Cabbage and Apples 

¼         Cup     Plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

4                      Thyme sprigs

1                      Garlic clove, coarsely chopped

4                      12-ounce bone-in pork loin chops     

3                      Thick slices of applewood-smoked bacon, cut into ½ inch dice

2          Tbl       Unsalted butter

½                     savoy cabbage, thinly sliced crosswise

1                      Granny Smith apple-peeled, cored and cut into 1/2–inch dice

1          Tsp      White wine vinegar

1          Tbl       Dijon mustard

¾         Cup     Heavy cream

¾         Cup     Milk

            Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

In a large, shallow dish, combine ¼ cup of the olive oil with the thyme sprigs and garlic.  Add the pork chops and turn to coat with the marinade.  Refrigerate overnight. 

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over the moderate heat, stirring a few times, until browned, about 4 minutes; pour off the fat.  Add the butter and cabbage to the skillet, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender, about 7 minutes.  Add the apple and vinegar, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apple is tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the mustard and cream and simmer uncovered over moderate heat until the cream has thickened, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, cover and keep warm. 

Preheat the oven to 325 F.  In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering.  Remove the pork chops from the marinade; discard the thyme sprigs and scrape off the garlic.  Season the chops with salt and pepper and add to the skillet.  Cook over moderately high heat until richly browned, about 3 minutes per side. 

Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the chops for about 12 minutes, turning once halfway through, until just pink in the center.  Transfer the pork chops to plates and serve with the cabbage. 

Yield:  4 servings

Grandma Gatewood and her Inspiring Story

Have you ever heard of Grandma Gatewood?  She was the first woman to hike the Appalachian Trail by herself.  She also was the first person to walk it three times.  Even more surprising is that she did all of this after age 65!

Ben Montgomery’s book “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk:  The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail” http://www.amazon.com was published by Chicago Review Press in 2016.  This is the story of a great-grandmother who left her small Ohio town with a change of clothes, a pair of thin-soled sneakers, and less than $200.  She did not have a tent nor any professional hiking gear.  By September 1955 she was standing atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin proclaiming “I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it.”  Emma Gatewood had lived through poverty, an abusive husband, and raised 11 children before she began her walk.  

Grandma Gatewood utilized the healing powers of physical activity and natural beauty.

The Appalachian Trail is a 2,180 mile long public footpath.

On the trail she faced fierce storms and saw the beauty of nature.  She walked up steep ridges and down treacherous ravines.  She often relied

on the kindness of other hikers or community members to keep going.  It is not only a tale of grit and determination, but also of the healing power of nature.

The author interviewed family members and others that Gatewood met along her journey.  He also had access to her trail journals and diaries as well as media coverage of her amazing journey.  

Grandma Gatewood Benefitted the Trail

Gatewood became a celebrated hiker.  She appeared on television programs with Groucho Marx and Art Linkletter.  Her celebrity brought public attention to the Appalachian Trail.  She was not shy about voicing criticism of parts of the trail which were not well-maintained and hence difficult.  This public spotlight led to enhanced trail maintenance.  Many believe that this attention very likely saved the trail from extinction.

At age seventy-one she hiked the 2,000 mile Oregon Trail.  By the time she passed away at age 85, she likely had hiked more than 10,000 miles!

October 7, 2019

Buckhorn Inn Memories Captured in Watercolors

What special memories have you created at Buckhorn Inn?  Long-time guest, Tanya Young, is a watercolor artist.  She and her husband have made the Inn their special space for rest and renewal.  On her visits she has found quiet time to create watercolors of scenes that are special to her.

Inspired by a desire to capture some of her own moments at the Inn, her paintings are created as vignettes.  These vignettes invite the viewer to remember their own experiences here.  They also function as an invitation to perhaps see differently, according to Tonya.  “Simple moments of beauty are always around us, if we have eyes to see them.”

Memories Vignettes Available in Gift Shop

Painted in a brighter palette, these watercolors are designed to be a reminder of your own Buckhorn Inn story.  They also remind us to appreciate the beauty before our eyes every day, just waiting to break through and be noticed.

The matted prints are $25 each and are found in our gift shop.  They measure 8.5″ x 11″, including the matting.  Her vignettes capture the meditation labyrinth, the path down to Cottage #1, a window table in the dining room, and the red-shaded lamps above the book case in the dining room.

The watercolor series is designed to spark your own Buckhorn Inn memories.

Tonya Young’s watercolors capture special scenes at Buckhorn Inn.

Watercolors are usually translucent.  They appear luminous because the pigments are used in a pure form with few fillers.  In the late 1700’s, William Gilpin wrote a series of books describing his travels through rural England.  http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search  The books were illustrated with watercolors of river valleys, ancient castles, and churches.  The popularity of these books culminated in the celebration of watercolors as a distinctly English “national art”.  

Watercolors are an expressive medium.  The brilliant hues in Tonya’s paintings paired with the ethereal luminosity evoke a dream or memory.  We are delighted with these charming images and know that you will be, too.