Friday, February 14, 2014

Cades Cove

The most interesting drive we did in the Great Smokies was the one-way loop road through Cades Cove.  This is a beautiful flat-bottomed valley that was settled in the early 1800's, and today provides a number of interesting old buildings and homesteads you can visit.  It really was a tranquil and scenic valley in the mountains.

This short drive illustrated to me how the park was developed from land that had already been settled or logged for the most part.  Land was finally acquired in the 1930's, mostly from forestry companies to enable the park to go ahead.  But this valley features the early farming settlement.

Each homestead had been restored to some extent, and provided information on who the actual settlers were.  It was fascinating for me to see the variety of log construction used in most of the homes and barns - part of our house is a modern log cabin, which we built ourselves 'with some help from my friends'.

There were more homesteads than we could take time to stop at; you would really have to allow a full day to see all the sights.

This is a second cabin, here framed by two large tulip trees.  We hardly ever get tulip trees in southern Ontario; they're considered southern 'Carolinian' species here. I could have spent a lot more time exploring the forest itself.

There were 3 churches, which provided more insight to life here than anything else.  All were well worth stopping to see.  As you can see we were there on a beautiful sunny day, about the 3rd week of April.

And some of the graves illustrated just how tough life was in those years.  This stone marked the burial of 3 Hill family children - two presumably died at birth; one lived 6 and a bit months.  Not an easy life!  We found several such graves in just this one cemetery.


  1. Beautiful views, and sadness and huge sorrow in those few words, how little we know about their life, the parents, and how they continued without 3 little ones. The graves are in a lovely part, with trees and greenery to soften the grief that lingers after all those years. Cheers from Jean.

  2. Lovely photos and thanks for the memories. I enjoyed the drive thru Cades Coves. The grave site is sad to see children die and so young!
    Have a great weekend and Happy Valentine's Day!

  3. Beautiful photos! We have several cemeteries in this area, and there seem to be a lot of children in them. Some from way back, and others more recent, my 19 year old nephew for one. Can't stand to think about it.

  4. It looks like a beautiful area to wander through!

  5. That looks like a great place to visit! I love those fences, lots of history there:)

  6. So many old cemeteries with multiple graves of children.

  7. I'm not sure if I have seen a tulip tree so now I will be on the look out for one. Such history and stories to be found in old cemeteries. It makes you stop and appreciate our healthcare and how far it has come.

  8. We're on holiday right now in Alberta so I haven't been able to visit much. I did look back at your posts on the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and gorgeous scenery though. The old log homes are wonderful. I've never seen a tulip tree, that I know of.