Bob and I got away this weekend and spent two nights in Townsend, Tennessee, the gateway to the 'quiet side of the Smokies."
We discovered a charming little motel named Dock's in Townsend. Located on the banks of the pristine Little River, Dock's isn't fancy, but we're not either. It suited us to a tee.
Our room was large, clean and rustic with knotty pine walls and ceiling. We had a full kitchen outfitted with pots, pans, silverware, and a Gevalia coffee maker, which was a big deal for serious coffee drinkers like us. And though I wasn't expecting Wi-Fi, I was pleasantly surprised that Dock's has it.
We arrived on Friday evening, checked in and unloaded the car. Then we decided to meander around Townsend for a bit. There was a festival going on at the visitors' center and we spent a little time there listening to old timey music. But there was a cemetery across the street and as usual, I was irresistibly drawn to the tombstones and spent a lot of time traipsing, wondering and pondering the lives of the folks buried there. Some of the graves were very old. The oldest one I saw belonged to a man born in 1740 and buried in 1787.
On Saturday morning, we started our day at Cades Cove, driving the scenic loop and getting out at several spots to mosey around old cabins, churches and graveyards.
We saw lots of deer and a couple of bears. I did manage to get one good photo of the black bear we saw browsing on undergrowth in the forest.
After a picnic lunch of apples, cheese, corn chips and chocolate, we headed out of the cove and back to Laurel Springs Road to hunt for White Oak Sinks. Bob had been wanting to go there ever since a neighbor told us about it a few weeks ago.
The White Oak Sinks trail isn't marked and it's not on the park trail maps either making it a little hard to find. It's also a hard, steep slog in and out, but it's well worth the effort.
Trail into White Oak Sinks
Never have I seen so many wild flowers in one place: masses of pink, white and yellow trillium, tiny wild irises, purple phlox everywhere, and the rare native Tennessee orchid, the beautiful pink Lady Slipper.
Lady Slipper, a native Tennessee orchid
There are many varieties of trillium. We saw so many white and pink ones with leaves like this in the Sinks.
I've blogged about trillium before, one of my favorite wild flowers. We only have the yellow and red ones with variegated leaves around my house. I saw all kinds at the Sinks, however.
Are these wild geraniums? I think they are, but I'm not sure.
I love moss!
Wild iris. These are relatively rare. Very tiny and low to the ground.
Cascade at the Sinks.
After hiking all afternoon, we were ready for a good dinner. On Friday night, I'd noticed a log building off the main highway in Townsend with a sign that read "Miss Lily's Cafe."
Miss Lily's was a great choice! We both had the mountain trout. Bob got his grilled, but I threw caution to the wind and ordered the fried. Delicious! Miss Lily's desserts looked to die for too and I thought a long time about her Hello Dolly bars, but decided to just say 'no.'
Bob on the footbridge across the Little River near Miss Lily's Cafe
After dinner, we walked by the river until dark, then drove back to Dock's and collapsed.
Waking to a beautiful Sunday morning, we drank Gevalia in bed and read until mid morning. Check out time was 11:00 and it seemed to come awfully fast; time to say goodbye to Dock's and our little escape from 'real life' in Oak Ridge.
We had a wonderful weekend! We're already planning on going back to Dock's for another little get away this fall.
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Be Well and Good Luck, Martha