I have lived in this area for nearly 11 years and I am so excited to report that one of the most verdant, beautiful locations of the area is soon to be re-opened. The Natural beauty of this area of the country is legendary but one of the most awesome places we have visited in this area for sheer wonder and natural beauty is Cades Cove. After buying our B&B, a trip to this pristine location was our first outing and our first exposure to autumn in the mountains. This scenic wonder has been closed undergoing it's first major renovation since 1978. The work began in February of this year and was slowed a bit due to the vile atypical winter Asheville experienced this year. The workers pressed on and even finished ahead of their May time slot.
A bit of history and some lore regarding our beloved Cades Cove.
Initially this property had been a part of the Cherokee Indians domain.
In 1821, William Tipton obtained approx.640 acres and to this he added over 3,000 acres in the Cove and surrounding mountain sides. White settlers followed and soon the entire area was forest cleared and planted in crops, orchards and some left as pasture land. Isolated by the sheer ruggedness of the surrounding mountains it was 3 days to the nearest town & back by horseback.
The noted self reliance of these rugged pioneers was responsible for the continued isolation of some three or four generations that followed the original settlers.
Schooling was actually maintained and confined in the Cove from 1825 until the 1940,s. Church's followed first in 1927 by the Baptists and followed in 1930 by the Methodists.
Daniel D. Foute bought up large parcels of the land in the 1820's and later for the purposes of establishing forges. Due to financial hardships he had to sell much of it but was able to keep 20,000 acres in the Cove and immediate surrounds at the time of his death.
As mentioned earlier, provisions were 3 days away so a major contributor to the mountain diet was corn. Its versatility made it and the mills that rendered it into meal crucial. Small "tub" mills were built on many of the streams of the Cove as precursors to the larger ones to follow such as the John P. Cable Mill.
Though the folks of this region did little actual travel, they kept in touch with people on the outside. It is documented that as early as 1832 a mail route was in operation between Sevierville, Wears Cove, Tuckaleechee Cove, Millers Cove, Cades Cove, Carson Iron Works and Chilhowee. The round trip was accomplished weekly increasing in later years to two times a week. As you might imagine, with the coming of age of automobile roads slowly the isolation of the mountain people came to an end.
Summer, fall, winter and spring each deliver their own magic to the Cove. Fortunately, I don't have to choose as I am blessed to call Asheville my home. So, come ahead,schedule your getaway, bring your tennis shoes and be prepared to be enchanted.
Patti and Gary Wiles