Today, we moved to Townsend, Tennessee after stopping for 1 night at the Silver Spring Vineyards in Riceville, Tennessee. Our spot at the RV park is between the river and the splash pad.
The Cove has been used by many people over the years. It is known that different native tribes have hunted in the cove no evidence has been found of a long term occupation. In the early 1800s, settlers came to the area and cleared land for fields and build log cabins. At its maximum, the cove had 685 residents but that did not hold for very many years.
When the park was created in 1934 the remaining residents were allowed to live in the cove but had to live by strict rules set by the park. Most sold out and left the park instead of living under the rules. As each that did stay passed away their land was transferred to the parks service control. The last original resident died in 1999.
Everything we have read says that the best time to visit Cades Cove is in the afternoon. Traffic in the morning is supposed to be awful with the 11 mile drive taking over 4 hours.
We found out that depending on animal "road blocks" even in the afternoon is can be a very slow drive. Soon after we started the one way loop, everyone came to a stop. It took over an hour to travel 2 miles. Pull up 10 feet then stop for a minute or two then pull up 10 feet. There were several horses in a pasture near the road and a few turkeys.
We found out later that the roadblock was from a small herd of deer that was standing on and just off the road. By the time we got to that spot, they were so far out in the woods we could barely see them. We decided to get away from the crowds and took a side road to one of the churches in the valley.
Once we got past that roadblock we did get to see some wildlife. First was a bear. Yes, a bear was off... off...off the road. It was so far of the road that it was hard to identify without looking with the cameras telephoto on maximum magnification.
While I was trying to get a picture or two, Shawna took some pictures of another of the churches and some flowers.
We had our second bear encounter a few minutes later. This one was very close to the road.
Pretty view of the Cove. Then on to the visitor center which has one of the largest homestead sites.
The homestead contains a home built in 1879, a Blacksmith Shop, Cantilever Barn, Flume and Grist Mill, Smokehouse, Corn Crib, Cane Mill with Sorghum Furnace, and Barn.
On the drive out of the cove, we passed several more homesteads and a few deer..
We arrived at the cove at 2:00pm and after a hour spent going 2 of the 11 miles and then finished the loop at 6:00pm. WOW! Now the 38 minute drive back to the campground that is only 14 miles away. Curvy mountain two-lane roads with speed limits of 25 to 35 for 6 of the miles back.
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...