Great Smoky Mountains, photos

Kiss the Clouds New Front Deck

We are very excited to be building a deck on the front of our cabin Kiss the Clouds. The front of the cabin gets a lot of sun and driving rain. And, it takes a beating. We thought that putting a double deck out front like the rear deck and a roof over it, it would protect the front of the cabin.

We started our deck build in late October. The weather and scenery were breathtaking. The above picture is taken from the side of our cabin looking out the back. The back of the cabin is mostly wooded. Not many homes to see out there. I feel like I am on top of the world when I sit out on the back deck. The back deck is shaded most of the day. So, it is nice in the summer because it doesn’t get too hot.

And, the project begins. It was a huge undertaking. And, we hit many roadblocks. But, we were determined to push on. Our first task was to break up the pavement, dig down deep and make concrete pads for the huge posts to rest on.

It was time to frame in the bottom deck. Every evening, we had to bring in all of the tools and nails and equipment. It took a long time to set up each morning. Bill and I thought this was something we could do to help. We don’t have much experience with this kind of thing. Bill was a banker, and I am a CPA. So, we don’t work with our hands.

Then it was time to lay the deck boards on the bottom deck. Bill and I were able to get the deck boards down ourselves. We had a shortage of help and we wanted to do all we could to get this project going.

The huge posts were extremely hard to maneuver. They are very heavy. The lower deck boards were painted and in the sun all day but still were tacky after a couple of days. The upper deck was framed, and it started to look like a deck. The 2x4s are just there for safety.

We changed out the log look railings on the back deck with black aluminum railings and put those log look rails on the front. It ended up being a lot more work trying to get the railings from the back deck to fit on the front deck. The steps were a lot more difficult than I ever imagined they would be.

We hit many setbacks. We had people getting sick. We had wood on backorder. We had the windows order lost and it took 4 months to get in. So, we didn’t get done in November like we had planned. Then, every time we set aside some time to work on it, it rained.

We tried again in January. But, we had issues with getting people to help. I can’t imagine building a whole entire house. We had enough issues with a deck build.

We allotted two weeks in February and framed in the roof.

The 2x4s could be removed and the bottom railings were painted.

Finally got the tongue and groove on the roof rafters and you can see the opening cut out for the French Doors. Bill got the little supports in the corners on the big posts on the bottom deck. At this point, I think the bottom deck is almost done. How exciting to be getting things done after all of this time.

It has been hard work, but I think my husband has enjoyed working with our handyman on this project. He says the more he works with him, the more respect he has for the old man.

The painting may need to wait until this summer. It seems to take a long time to dry and you are supposed to paint when it is warmer.

The windows and French Doors still need to be installed. And, the roof needs to be shingled. We may opt for a metal roof. Roofers are trying to talk us out of the metal roof. But, it sounds like there are options for shingles that can withstand high winds. It gets very windy up there sometimes. It is very nice sitting out on the back deck in the summer because it is shaded and there normally is a nice breeze.

The weather cooperated and my husband was able to get the rails painted. The French door is in. But, most of the windows will have to wait until we have an opening between bookings again.

The main level lower front deck is mostly done (above picture). The upper-level front deck is usable (Pictured below). However, still a lot of small things that needs to be done to it.

There is a nice view from the front deck (pictured above). However, the best view is still from the back deck (below picture). Here is a picture we took of the sunrise one morning. Definitely worth getting up for.

That is the progress so far. It’s been a little slow going. We just can’t seem to get it done within the time we allotted. Then, we have to wait until we get another span of time that we can work on it again. We hope to have everything completed soon. Thanks for bearing with us while we take on this project.

Took a week and got the windows in on the front of the cabin. Painted the trim around the French Doors. Had new roof put on.

Above is the view across the court from the new front top deck. Below is the view of a sunrise in March from the back deck. The back deck has black aluminum railings.

Just a few more finishing touches and it will all be done. We will have the entire cabin stained in May. Below is an example of why they call them the Smokies.

Above is the latest picture we have. It’s been a long project. A few finishing touches and we will be ready to enjoy sunsets from the new front deck.

Bryson City, Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, Parks, photos, Staying Active

Deep Creek Hiking Trail

The Deep Creek Loop Trail, which is located just outside of Bryson City, North Carolina, is a moderately difficult, 4.6 mile roundtrip hike with rewarding water views, plentiful wildflowers, and peaceful river sounds.

This loop hike takes you past three great waterfalls. Approximately 0.8 miles into the trail, turn right onto the Indian Creek Trail – this marks the beginning of the trail loop.

The first waterfall on the hike is Tom Branch Falls, an easy 1/4 mile from the parking area. The path is nice and wide. You will even find benches next to the water.

Approximately 0.8 miles into the trail, turn right onto the Indian Creek Trail – this marks the beginning of the trail loop. One-tenth of a mile after this junction, you will see a small trail on your left side – this trail leads down to a beautiful 45-foot waterfall and is well worth the jaunt. You take a slight detour off your trail to head uphill and then downhill to be at the base of the falls. This is very near the put-in point for any tubing. After rejoining the main Deep Creek Trail, it hits the horse trail and heads uphill. There are also a few bridges to cross. Continue hiking over a footbridge and past the Rhododendron-rich Indian River Valley on your right. Around 1.4 miles, you will reach a junction in the trail – continue straight ahead (one mile to the right is the Thomas Divide). When you get to the 1.7-mile point, there is an intersection with the Deep Creek Loop – turn left to stay on the loop and ascend 350 feet over the next half-mile.

Next, you will reach the Sunkota Ridge junction at around the 2.2 mile mark – to stay on the loop trail, continue straight ahead. This is the highpoint in the Deep Creek Loop trail and it is downhill or flat hiking from here! At approximately 2.9 miles, you will reach the Deep Creek Trail again – turn left. Now, you will continue across a footbridge.

The trail culminates in the Juney Whank falls. It’s a quick downhill walk from there to the parking lot. You can just sit on the bench, built into the bridge with Juney Whank falls running beneath us.

Directions to Trailhead:
From Gatlinburg, drive into the National Park on the main Parkway. When you pass the Sugarlands Visitor Center on your right, take note of your mileage and continue 32.1 miles through the National Park. Once you reach the intersection of Route 441 and Route 19 in Cherokee, turn right on Route 19 and continue for 10 miles to Bryson City. Turn right onto Everett and continue for 0.2 miles to Bryson Street. Turn right onto Bryson Street and continue for 0.2 miles. Take your third left, which is Ramseur Street. Make your second right, which is Deep Creek Road. Continue on Deep Creek Road for 2.8 miles to the Deep Creek Loop trailhead (you will enter park 0.5 miles prior to arriving at the trailhead).

It will take you about 2 hours to get to the trail from one of our Great Smoky Vacations cabins. So, plan on making a day of it.

Attractions, Great Smoky Mountains, Parks, photos

Sevierville TN Driving Tours

The Douglas Lake Fall Driving Tour wings the rolling hills and fertile river bottoms where the Knoxville, Sevierville & Eastern Railroad (later called the Smoky Mountain Railroad) once ran. Boyd’s Creek is a historic farming community dating back to the American Revolution. Highlights of this tour include historic homes, a See Rock City barn and the Battle of Boyd’s Creek Memorial. Visit an art gallery, drive by the Kyker Farms Corn Maze and take a walk along the Douglas Dam with great views of Douglas Lake.

Follow the Middle Prong Fall Driving Tour to see historic churches, a cantilever barn, and an early Methodist Mission. Or make your way along country roads on the English Mountain Fall Driving Tour. This tour features one of the few remaining covered bridges in Tennessee, a Civil War battle site and more.

Sevierville’s Bluff Mountain Fall Driving Tour This tour works its way to the top of Bluff Mountain noting important sites and historic buildings along the way. Enjoy spectacular views once at the top.

Off the Beaten Path Driving Tour

Start the tour at the iconic Dolly Parton Statue located on the lawn of the historic 1896 Sevier County Courthouse at 126 Court Avenue. If you have plenty of time, take a “Discover Sevierville Historic Walking Tour” brochure from the kiosk in front of the statue, and take a few minutes to see some of the points of interest in downtown Sevierville. Leave Court Avenue traveling north to East Main Street. Turn right at the traffic light. In two blocks the street becomes Dolly Parton Parkway (Highway 411). Continue to the junction of Long Springs Road (Highway 339).

Boyds Creek Fall Driving Tour To view a printer-friendly map of the Boyds Creek Fall Driving Tour, click here. Begin your tour in historic downtown Sevierville. Enjoy quaint shops and eateries and make a stop at the Dolly Parton Statue located on the lawn of the iconic Sevier County Courthouse at 125 Court Avenue. Created by Jim Gray, the six-and-a-half-foot statue was erected to honor Sevierville native Dolly Parton, an internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, actress, author, and philanthropist.

Attractions, Great Smoky Mountains, Parks, photos, Z00

Mini Sabbatical

A lot of us are working from home which gives us the opportunity to take a mini sabbatical.

Now that your garage has been cleaned out, cars are all vacuumed and everything else that you have been putting off is taken care of, you may want to take a mini sabbatical to a relaxing and inspiring place.

Sevierville has it all.  There is history, beauty and fun all in one area.  Imagine having your coffee on the deck every morning while waiting for the sun to come up.  Sunrise

All our cabins have high speed internet for your “work from home” sabbatical.   Geppettos Restaurant is on Wears Valley Road and is one of our most favorite Italian Restaurants in Sevierville.  They will deliver to our cabin “Kiss the Clouds”.  Enjoy your lunch on the deck while overlooking those amazing smoky Mountain Views.  framed_view_1_1920x1080

My cousin came with us on one of our trips and it worked out perfectly.  She got off work at 4 PM and I had dinner ready for us.  Then, we would go out and explore the area.  One night we went to Cades Cove and saw a lot of bears.  VID_20200526_174050_exported_21009_1598034565155

My daughter was missing prom season this past year, so we brought her old prom dresses and dressed up and took some pictures.  IMG_20200424_154100

One night we went to an exotic petting zoo.  It is off of Dolly Parton Highway.  We wanted to do something that was off the beaten path.  We didn’t want to be around a lot of other people.  We were very pleasantly surprised with the place.  It was a really nice place to spend some time and enjoy the different animals.  My daughter held a baby goat.  We got to feed the animals.  We pet an Elk and he was very soft.  IMG_20200601_150955

I have blogged about things you can do in the area that are less crowded.

If you haven’t been out in a while and want to take a nice “social distancing” vacation, consider Great Smoky Vacations for your next getaway.