Time stands still here in this sleepy, isolated valley nestled in by the glorious Smoky Mountains. This is Cades Cove, a verdant landscape with panoramic views of the mountains in all directions.
I’m with my 20-year-old daughter, Emma. We traveled here to explore this scenic and historical area before she left to resume studies at Bryant University.
To witness all of Cades Cove you can leisurely travel on an eleven mile, single lane, one-way paved loop. You can travel by car, bike or foot. This valley has an abundance of wildlife. We were able see deer, turkeys, horses and black bears.
There is rich history here too, from preserved settlements to primitive churches. These historic churches drew me in. Their simple design lends to a feeling of harmony and serenity in the mountain setting. The interior natural light and wondering about the congregation that once worshiped within these simple walls had me lingering.
Traveling the loop is ideal in the morning when the sun is rising and begins to expose the “smoke” and the light and shadows are dramatic. So too is the evening as the sun is setting and the shadows are long, the colors majestic and a peace and stillness can be felt. Although only eleven miles, hours can be spent wandering the meadows, exploring the primitive structures and fully experiencing the beautiful vistas.