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🍁Fall for Cades Cove🍁

Updated: Oct 30, 2022

Since moving to Tennessee from a state with no real weather changes, we've been obsessed with the beauty in each season here in the mid-South. From a white winter wonderland, to the gorgeous blooms of spring leading to a massive amount of fun on the lake, each season has brought its best out for our family to savor and experience. But the true stand-out season for us has been the fall. Just amazing.

The wonder of God's creation comes alive in all the vibrant striking colors of fall in our beautiful Smoky Mountains each October. And with the mild temperatures still hanging on, the vast amount of outdoor adventures become top priority when visiting the Gatlinburg area.

In early November of last year, we took our family for a day trip through Cades Cove, just 33 miles away from Gatlinburg. Some of our new Tennessee friends had raved about it, so we had to go. According to Wikipedia, "Cades Cove is an isolated valley located in the Tennessee section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The valley was home to numerous settlers before the formation of the national park. Today, Cades Cove is the single most popular destination for visitors to the park — attracting more than two million visitors a year because of its well preserved homesteads, scenic mountain views, and abundant display of wildlife." Wow, it did not disappoint!

Cades Cove is open from sunrise to sunset all year long, with weather permitting. We missed it this year, but on Wednesdays during the summer (May through September), Cades Cove is open to cyclists and pedestrians only! No vehicle traffic! It's on our bucket list, for sure. Gotta buy some bikes first.

Since it's so popular, the drive is quite slow on the 11 mile loop around the valley. But there is so much to see, so that didn't bother us at all. We stopped quite a few times to walk through some of the buildings that are still standing, and to chat with some of the guides who are scattered throughout the park. We were fortunate enough to run into an ancestor of one of the families who settled in the valley, and received quite an education on the real backstory of Cades Cove. It truly was fascinating.


Because we loved hearing the history of Cades Cove so much, we ended up purchasing the book below for the cabin in case our guests are interested in reading about what actually happened there long ago. I ended up reading his bio after I bought the book, and now I'm even more happy about the purchase... He actually lived it.

A. Randolph Shields was born in Cades Cove on April 8, 1913, and lived there until age 13. He graduated from Maryville College, then went to earn master of science and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Tennessee. He worked as an elementary school teacher, an aquatic and fisheries biologist, an associate professor of Biology at Emory and Henry College and Roanoke College, an instructor in botany at the University of Tennessee, and as a professor and chairman of the Department of Biology at Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee. He also served as director of the Maryville College Environmental Education Center. He served six summers as a ranger-naturalist in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Shields was intimate with the Great Smokies as a national park and as the place where he was born and raised.




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