The mountains are calling
The Smoky Mountains are one of my favorite places! We have been there in several different seasons. Our wedding anniversary is in September, so we have been there a few times in the early fall. Most of the leaves haven’t started to think of changing yet, though. We have been there in March and seeing the snow in the mountains was amazing. July 4th weekend is not a great time to go, however. Our family took a trip there with the motorcycles and it was bumper to bumper most of the time. Not my idea of a good time. However, we had an awesome cabin and we found things to do away from the crowds.
Romantic? Uh, no!
We just returned from an anniversary trip there a week ago. My husband and I rented a cabin to celebrate. I found the cabin on the site we’ve used before and always had amazing places to stay. It wasn’t a “bargain basement” deal, but it should have been.
It was listed as secluded and in the woods. I went expecting that we would not have cell service or TV channels. The cabin was off the main road 3/4 of a mile. It was a gravel road, very rutted and steep. Anything in your vehicle not strapped down would fly around! The road was so steep that at one point, there was a small loop around to bypass it. We were told we would have 2 parking spaces for our cabin. Seemed very odd because there was another cabin right next door and nowhere for them to park. All was well there as long as we returned before the neighbors so we could back into the area.
The cabin itself wasn’t bad. It was in clear need of maintenance and repair though. We were surprised that the one bedroom we rented was really a studio. It was very dark and had a lot of little quirks. One of which was you had to walk into a closet to get to the bathroom which had no door. But, you could watch TV in the bathroom. Still just super weird to me! I would have thought money would have been better spent making sure your cleaning company actually cleans. There was a moldy, mildew covered shower curtain liner hanging up for us! Wohoo! (Nope! Walmart to the rescue there.)
Jolly Green Giant must have stayed there before us. The mirror above the vanity in the bathroom was hung so high that I could barely see the top of my head. I’m 5’4″ tall. Not tall by any stretch of the imagination, however, not short either.
The cabin was kept cool by a small window air conditioner which was moldy. Ick. However, it was 87 degrees out and too hot to turn it off.
Cool your jets
We stepped outside totally excited to use the hot tub. It was a blow-up hot tub with grooved cushions inside. It wasn’t up to temperature since it had been cleaned so we didn’t use it anyway. The cover was thick with leaves and sap. It didn’t look as if it had been used recently. We didn’t see any wet areas where it would have been dumped out either. I am not a germaphobe, however, based on the knock out job the cleaning crew did inside I was not convinced this was clean. I can’t imagine it is even allowable for commercial use. Didn’t matter anyway, it was broken.
We were super unhappy with the place, but we had nowhere else to go, or money to go anywhere else. We decided to use the jacuzzi tub in the room. Apparently, there is a “glitch” with the well pump and the water will randomly turn off. I called the owner and he assured me this “happens all the time.” He said to just wait 30 seconds and turn it back on and it’ll work again. I imagine that’s really fun if you’re showering and have soap in your eyes. Ugh. That did work. The water pressure is very low so it took over 20 minutes to fill up the tub. We got in and were ready for the jets to melt away some stress. It didn’t work.
I sent a couple texts and emails to the owner about this and the hot tub. I didn’t call because I was trying to be courteous, thinking he probably worked somewhere else as well and it was late. Finally, late the next day he got someone out to fix the jacuzzi tub. He was super snarky informing me that this guy was a “handyman”, not a “hot tub guy.” Whatever.We were grateful after a day of hiking to be able to come back and relax in the jacuzzi tub. It was a hard surface and much more “cleanable” than a blow-up hot tub too. (Don’t misunderstand, those are probably perfect for a private home.)
We tried to make the best of it. Packed lunches and left early. Hiked and spent time peacefully having lunch next to the river. We did a strenuous hike and had lunch at the base of a 30ft waterfall. No crowds. Just peace and quiet. We stayed out until nearly dark just to minimize the amount of time we had to spend here. The cabin may have been historic. I think the mattress Abe Lincoln slept on was on our bed.
We got up early one morning and drove out to Cades Cove to do some wildlife viewing. Evidently, the National Quartet Convention that was in town, had lots of early risers. It was pretty crowded there. We did see some horses and turkeys. Oh and a squirrel and a chipmunk. Lots of people were pulled off supposedly looking at a bear. We didn’t see scat! At one point, I was looking up at the trees and I was taking a photo of how the sun was dancing off the leaves and I turned around and there were a long line of people in cars driving past us (we were pulled off the side of the road) pointing up at the trees I was photographing trying to see what I saw. Haha. We laughed over that one.
However, an idea was launched. If you see a sasquatch costume on clearance after Halloween in an Extra large, let me know. My husband wants to go there early in the day dressed up and run through the open valley. We thought it would be a thoughtful gesture for all the folks who go there and don’t get to see anything! Do you think anyone will suspect him if he wears the costume while he’s driving?
Not to be outdone, we have a second plan. We’re going to one of these pull-offs and we’re going to jump out of the car, race to the side of the road and excitedly jump up and down and point! I may cover my mouth with my hand for effect. I will also motion with a grand performance to my husband and snap photos like a crazy person. When we get a long line of people stopped and gathered around us we will reveal that we’ve seen a squirrel!
All in all, I think it’s a solid plan. Give the people what they want!