Tucked away in the midst of the Smokey Mountains is a valley that is a step back in time. A “cove” in mountain vernacular, is a relatively flat valley between two mountains or ridges. In this case, Cades Cove, now part of the Smokey Mountains National park, was once a settlement for 132 families dating from 1821.
Tennessee, either through outright purchase or by eminent domain, acquired the settler’s land in 1934 and donated it to the Federal Government for park development. Some fought the procurement all the way to the Supreme Court but ultimately lost. The residents of the cove were able to continue to live on the property until their deaths. Their descendants were not. The last Post Office closed in 1947.
Some of the homesteads have been preserved along with a few churches and their cemeteries however most have given way to time.
Driving to the Cove takes you along a fast moving winding stream and tunnel of trees. Once there the road narrows to one lane and one way for the next eleven miles past the restored homesteads and over looks.
Gaze across the valley and you might catch a glimpse of a Black Bear with cubs or a herd of dear. Spot either and you will surely to be in a massive traffic jam! On our day, waaaayy off in the distance was a bear……… BEARLY (Oh I just had to!) visible. Traffic? Well no one was moving …except the bear! And if you squint real hard……..You get the idea! Oh well..It’s a nice shot anyway.
A visit to Cades Cove is a nice change from the commercialism that exist in other parts of the Smokies. It’s definitely worth the trip!
For us, it’s time to move on to the final leg of our return to Michigan. It’s family time!