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A Trip Back In Time

Well, kind of.

Back in March, my sister (by another mother and father haha) Vanessa (yup, the same one that brought me Rio and the one that took me on a trip to Wisconsin), came to Tennessee for a few days.

She was only here for a few days (sadly) and the first few days weren't the prettiest. Saturday dawned early (well, as early as it normally does for this household LOL) and she was wanting to get out of the house. We racked our brains on where we could go (with both kids in tow) and after some thought, I thought she may like to take a trip through the mountains, to see the countryside. I also wanted to go somewhere *I* hadn't been in awhile and that's how we decided on Cades Cove.

We got started a little later than we should have, it's quite a drive up there (and of course I wanted to take the scenic route instead of the boring ole freeway LOL). We still got to see quite a bit of neat stuff and I hope she comes back soon so she can see the beauty in the Summer (hint hint LOL).

Enough with the chit-chat, y'all came for the pictures, so here they are but I WILL warn you that this is extremely picture heavy and I mean EXTREMELY picture heavy.

The first thing we spotted, was the group of turkeys crossing the road. Unfortunately, they were passing in front of a couple of cars in front of us, so I was only able to get a shot of them once they were in the woods.

The first thing you come across is spacious pasture land. We were honored with a gorgeous view of the mountains and the horses in front.

If you look real close, the dark spots are deer in the field. :-)

Thanks Vanessa for the great family photo!

The first dwelling you come across is the John Oliver Place. (I've included the info from the signs below each picture but if you don't want to read, then just scroll past to the I could stop you anyway LOL)

About 1/4 mile across the field in front of you stands the home of John and Lucretia Oliver, among the first Euro-American settlers in Cades Cove. The Olivers arrived here in 1818 and completed their permanent home, which survives here, probably by the early 1820s.

If you walk the home, think how life there changed over time. When the Olivers built the house they were relatively isolated, but as early as the 1850s five roads had reached Cades Cove. Today the home is restored to its early "pioneer" appearance, but it did not always look that way. Life evolved here just as it did throughout rural America.

When you visit the John Oliver cabin, treat it with respect. It stands as a memory to those who built it. Historic buildings like this are treasures that, once lost, can never be regained.

(Upper Right Photo)
The John Oliver Cabin as it looks today (left).The National Park Service restored the house to its appearance of the early "pioneer" days, rather than a later period.

(Middle Right Photo)
The Oliver family made many changes during the decades that they owned the home. Notice the addition to the basic cabin (below).

(Bottom Right Photo)
The John Oliver Cabin (below) when it was still occupied. Descendants of John and Lucretia Oliver lived here until the mid-1930s

I circled the cabin in red.

Among the first Euro-Americans to settle in Cades Cove, John and Lucretia Oliver arrived here in 1818. Probably by the early 1820s they had completed the 1 1/2 story cabin that you see here. Though its exact construction date is not known, it is one of the oldest structures in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Members of the Oliver family lived here for more than a century.

When you explore the house, notice the details. How were the logs joined at the corners? How tightly do the logs fit? What are the chimney stones like? A story lies behind each detail.

(Bottom Left)
Hewing logs for walls, painstakingly preparing notches, and splitting shingles was tedious, sometimes backbreaking work. Building a log home was not the idyllic, pastoral labor we might naively imagine.

(Uppermost Right Corner)
Notice the cabin's condition in 1957. Maintaining historic structures requires unending care.

(1st Bottom Picture)
Examine the corner notches. Oliver used half-dovetail notches. The outward-sloping angles drain water away from the notch, thus discouraging rot.

(2nd Bottom Picture)
Imagine making--by hand--each of the 3,000 shakes (wood shingles).

(3rd Bottom Picture)
Doors and windows were small and few to conserve precious heat and minimize cutting structural logs.

(4th Bottom Picture)
Then, as now, the weather-fighting chinking between longs demanded ongoing maintenance.

And look at this view from the yard!

Sad that they have to put a sign up. :-(

Then we saw the Methodist Church.

The Methodist Church had 2 doors so that men could go in on one side, while the woman and children went in on the other side.

I sincerely apologize for the blinding

Notice the thing hanging down from the ceiling? That's where the
chimney used to be.

And this is what they (don't know who)
did with some of the bricks.

Then we had a break of more beautiful scenery.

At this point we were quickly losing daylight and were rushing through to get pictures. So these pictures aren't the greatest and I wasn't able to figure what a couple of the dwellings were called.

I think this next cabin is the Dan Lawson Place (but I could be wrong, just basing that off of my pictures vs the link's picture).

The last Cabin we saw was set too far back in the trees to get any good pictures, so all I managed to get were the buildings across the road from it. :-(

There's soooo much more to see out there and I was really bummed that we ran out of daylight but John has promised to take me back up there soon. It's a truly beautiful spot unmarred by the hustle and bustle of living now. I hope that its simplicity is preserved for years to come. And if anyone is interested, here's the link to Cades Cove that has little bios about each homestead and the churchs (many more that I didn't get to share here).


  1. I LOVE the Smoky Mountains! My family took a vacation to Gatlinburg in 1996 and it was so beautiful! :D If you live near there you are actually only about a full day's drive from me lol. Great photos by the way! The cabins are so cool!

    1. We love it too! It's so beautiful! We're not too terribly far away from there, close enough to make it a day trip if we wanted too. Maybe we should get together sometime and go horseback riding at Cades Cove. ;-)

      Thanks for the compliments on the pics! I'm LOVING my new camera and really enjoying how the pics are turning absolute FAVORITE of this bunch is the first one, the one of the door handle...I don't know why, but I just love it. :-)

    2. That would be fun! Do they have guided horseback rides or horses you can rent at Cades Cove? It would be too far to haul my guy but I'm game for renting some hehe. I'll let you know next time I'm headed in the Tennessee direction. :D

    3. There's a horseback riding stable ON Cades Cove. I'd figure they'd be guided tours since you go THROUGH Cades Cove and they probably don't want a lot of possible damage. While I'm not too fond of horses with stables like that, they tend to be on autopilot, I won't be too picky on where I can ride! It's been a few years! LOL

    4. Oh that would be awesome!!!!! I'll have to talk to hubby about planning a trip out that direction. :D Auto pilot might not be a bad thing. I'd be so busy talking and taking pictures it'd probably help hehe.

    5. Haha! Good point! Auto pilot could have it's advantages! Just let me know when you think you might be able to do it, I'll have to talk to the hubby too and figure out what to do with the kiddos. I've been DYING to go horseback riding for ever but I don't know anyone that likes horses, let alone HAS horses to go. :-(

    6. Okay I'll let you know! We usually try to plan things well in advance... that or it's totally spur of the moment, but I'll try not to catch you off guard hehe. :D

    7. Sometimes planning works for us and other times it falls to the wayside so we fly by the sit of our pants. LOL If I mention it now to John, he won't be caught so off guard when we actually get a date/time set LOL


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