In Praise of the Sound of Silence 13 Apr 2017, 2:16 pm
A remarkable number of our guests write poems about Buckhorn. Teresa Potter penned this gem about her experience in Cottage One.
The silence is deafening. Couldn’t a little birdie chirp for me? Couldn’t a small green grasshopper rub his sandpaper legs for me? Couldn’t a brittle twig that has been on a tree for a hundred years fall for me?
Why won’t I hear the pitter-patter of the redtail fox as he runs by my cabin? He’s there. Where are the snap, crackle, and pops that are ordinary in any old cabin.There must be a mother mouse nearby snuggling and feeding her young. Squeak. Oh no, the only sound is silence.
Best Spring Wildflower Walks 30 Mar 2017, 9:12 am
Although there are many parks that are larger, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has the greatest diversity of plants anywhere in North America. In fact, north of the tropics, only China has a greater diversity of plant life than the Southern Appalachians.
The Smoky Mountains contain over 300 rare species of plants, with as many as 125 on the protected plant lists of either North Carolina or Tennessee. Three plant species are protected by the Endangered Species Act, with 12 others currently under review for federal protection.
The following is a list of some of the best wildflowers walks in the Smokies in the Spring
Ace Gap – In late April, and into early May, look for yellow trillium, beard tongue, Solomon’s seal, spiderwort, fire pink, hawkweed, pink lady slippers, Catesby’s trillium, yellow mandarin, rue anemone, wild geranium, little brown jugs, Robin’s plantain and flame azalea. In May you can expect to find meadow parsnip, sweet shrub, four leaved milkweed, blackberry, mountain laurel and star grass. In late May and into June, look for fairy wand, false Solomon’s seal, galax and Indian pink.
Bradley Fork Trail – During the early spring season, hepaticas, violets, and foam flower are found on this trail out of Smokemont. As the season progresses, umbrella leaf and Fraser’s sedge begin to bloom on the higher elevations of the trail. You can also find wood and rue anemone, Vasey’s trillium, beaked violets and crested dwarf iris in April and May. From April through July, look for wild strawberry, Robin’s plantain and Canadian violets.
Chestnut Top – Spring beauties are usually the first to bloom on this trail in March. Throughout the spring, you can find white trillium, bloodroot, yellow trillium, hepaticas, violets, Jack-in-the-pulpit, bishop’s cap, purple phacelia, fire pink, plantain-leaved pussytoes, star chickweed and wild stonecrop. During the late spring and early summer period, look for hairy beard-tongue, rattlesnake hawkweed and squawroot. Many of these flowers can be found within the first couple hundred feet of the trailhead.
Cove Hardwood Self-Guided Nature Trail – This three-quarter-mile loop trail begins in the Chimneys Picnic Area. Many people say that this is one of the best areas in the park for wildflowers, with the best time being in late April. However, as early as March you can begin to see hepaticas and trout-lilies. Through April and May look for yellow trillium, white fringed phacelia, squirrel corn, wild ginger, white trillium and Dutchman’s britches. Solomon’s seal arrives in May and lasts through June.
Cosby Nature Trail – Located in the Cosby
Campground, this one mile trail passes through several forest
types, providing for a variety of wildflowers. Peak months for
wildflowers are March and April. Look for Vasey’s trillium,
squirrel corn, Dutchman’s britches, brook lettuce and squawroot.
Bleeding heart, showy orchis and Vasey’s trillium show-up in April
Deep Creek – Wildflowers are abundant along this trail just outside of Bryson City. You’ll find a variety of trilliums blooming at different times, as well as foamflower, galax, crested dwarf iris, beard tongue, Solomon’s seal, cinquefoil, bloodroot, bluets and blue-eyed grass. Jack-in-the-pulpit is also abundant, but is sometimes hard to locate among the wild geranium, clinton’s lily and large houstonia. As the trail rises in elevation along the Sunkota Ridge and Indian Creek Trails, you’ll notice rhododendron, mountain laurel and flame azalea.
Husky Gap – Husky Gap is accessed via Little River Trail in Elkmont. Expect to see yellow trillium, dwarf cinquefoil and stonecrop. Roughly half-way between the Little River Trail and Husky Gap there can be a riot of flowers: yellow, white and painted trillium, blue phlox, hepaticas and violets. Sometimes the hillsides throughout this section of trail can be covered in wildflowers. This is a great trail to hike in April and May if your goal is to spot wildflowers.
Kanati Fork – Expect to see early yellow violet as early as March on this trail. By April, you’ll begin to see cut-leaved toothwort, dwarf cinquefoil, large-flowered bellwort, white baneberry, Canadian violets, Vasey’s trillium, painted trillium, wake robin, Solomon’s seal, Northern white violets and brook lettuce. Most of these flowers will last well into May, but the best time to visit is in late April.
Little River Trail – This trail is best hiked between mid-March and April, if you’re goal is viewing wildflowers. During the early spring you can expect to see spring beauties and trailing arbutus. As the season progresses, look for hepaticas, yellow trillium, dwarf cinquefoil, stonecrop, Canadian violets and umbrella leaf. You may also see mountain mint, orange and pale jewelweed as early as June here as well.
Porters Creek Trail – This trail is well known for its spectacular wildflower displays from late March through April. We hiked this trail in late March and were treated to a forest floor carpeted with bloodroot, hepaticas, white fringed phacelia, violets and white trillium. As the season progresses into April and May, you can find yellow trillium, toothwort, wild geranium, May-apple, dwarf ginseng, blue phlox, baneberry, foam flower, halberd-leaved violets, woodland bluets and Jack-in-the-pulpits.
Oconaluftee – Late April is the best time for viewing wildflowers along the Oconaluftee River Trail. More than 40 species of wildflowers have been identified along the trail, making it an especially worthwhile walk in spring and fall. During the spring, hikers can find several varieties of trillium and violets, jack-in-the-pulpit, squirrel corn, stonecrop and May apple.
Rich Mountain Loop – This trail had the most diverse amount of wildflowers we’ve seen in one hike. During our mid-May hike we saw mountain laurel, flame azalea, purple phacelia, rattlesnake hawkweed, yellow ragwort, violets, sweet shrub, wild geranium, blackberry, fourleaf milkweed, everlasting pea and butterfly weed.
Schoolhouse Gap – The Schoolhouse Gap Trail is another excellent trail for spring wildflowers. We saw many Virginia bluebells on the lower portion of the trail. As we proceeded on, we saw beaked violets, pink lady’s slippers, fairy wand, golden aster, star grass, red clover, Robin’s plantain, sun drops, Catesby’s trillium and lyre-leaf sage. The trail also had its share of rhododendron and mountain laurel, which were just beginning to bloom during our mid-May hike. Hikers can also find cardinal flower, Carolina vetch and yellow ragwort on this trail.
Spence Field – Spence Field has the most spectacular display of mountain laurel I’ve ever seen. The hillsides and meadows were literally covered in the white and soft pink flowers from this member of the heath family. The best time to visit Spence Field is from late May to mid June.
Hilda Returns to Buckhorn After 60 Year Absence 30 Mar 2017, 7:09 am
Some of my fondest childhood memories are of the beautiful Buckhorn Inn. Our family rented a cabin there for a week for several summers in the 1950’s. The beautiful view from the porch of the Inn has remained with me all these years. I also recall the wonderful breakfasts at the lodge and all the books and bookshelves in the main gathering room. Even then I loved books and reading! The breakfasts at the Inn were another highlight of our day.
During our week at Buckhorn Inn we often took day trips into the park and I remember the delicious lunches the staff always packed for us. The innkeepers’ daughter Molly and I were best friends for that week each summer, and Molly often accompanied us on our trips into the park. (Maybe that’s why our lunches were so good!)
A highlight of my week was when Molly and her mother June would invite me to spend the night with Molly at Bebb House. Molly and I were pen pals for most of elementary school.
My husband and I are returning to Gatlinburg for a mini vacation later in March. Our son is our official “travel agent” so we asked him to book some accommodations for us in the area. Imagine my surprise when he told us he had booked a stay at Buckhorn Inn for us! He had no idea of my history with that wonderful place. I am excited and can’t wait to visit a place that has lived in my heart for many years with beauty and happy memories for me! I’ll see you soon!
Hilda Henderson Hagins
Dreamy Coconut Pie 7 Feb 2017, 2:28 pm
- 1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 4 tablespoons whole buttermilk, chilled
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Coconut Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
- Garnish: toasted sweetened flaked coconut
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- For crust: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, salt, and sugar. Using a fork or pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until a dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; shape into a disk. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate, pressing into bottom and up sides. Fold edges under, and crimp as desired. Top with a piece of parchment paper, letting ends extend over edges of plate. Add pie weights.
- Bake 20 minutes. Carefully remove paper and weights. Bake until golden brown, approximately 8 minutes more. Let cool 20 minutes on a wire rack.
- For filling: In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt; whisk in milk, coconut milk, and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut and vanilla.
- Spoon filling into prepared piecrust. Let cool 10 minutes. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on surface of filling. Refrigerate until firm, approximately 3 hours.
- Top with Coconut Whipped Cream, and garnish with coconut, if desired.
Ingredients for Topping
- 1 1⁄2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1⁄2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
In a large bowl, beat cream and sugar at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add coconut milk. Beat until stiff peaks form, approximately 1 minute.
Improvements Planned for Cottages 1, 2, 3 and 4 9 Dec 2016, 7:17 am
We have begun work on two major projects to improve accommodation for our guests.
Project 1: Many guests are now asking for
walk-in showers, so we are renovating the bathrooms in Cottages 1
and 2 to provide this amenity. When we are finished, each cottage
will have a large, beautifully tiled, walk-in shower.
Project 2: We are beginning a series of improvements in Cottages 3 and 4 which we will accomplish in segments over the next couple of months. These updates include re-painting all the woodwork, re-designing the fireplace, re-postioning the television, replacing windows, and purchasing some new furniture. We will be posting photos when the work is completed.
Beautiful book of photos and guest comments published 9 Dec 2016, 7:11 am
John and I are so excited about our newest addition to the Buckhorn Inn gift shop and we hope you will be, too. The Buckhorn Experience is a gorgeous 115 page book featuring 240 high quality photographs of Buckhorn Inn with annotations by Buckhorn Inn guests from the last 78 years. Writer Stephen Williford put this delightful coffeetable-style book together over the last two years and his skills have certainly paid off. Gift-perfect for Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays, first-time guests and for anyone who loves Buckhorn. $25 Paperback $35 Hardcover Click here to Order Your Book Today.
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Buckhorn Inn Escapes Fire 9 Dec 2016, 7:04 am
The fire that destroyed so much in Gatlinburg proper did not come our way. We and the whole of the Arts and Crafts Community were spared. We had a bit of wind damage but we are getting that taken care of. The morning after the fire all employees–even those who were not scheduled to work–appeared at 8:00 a.m. to get us up and going and our doors were open that afternoon. The caliber of our staff continues to amaze us. We are grateful to them and to all of you who called, emailed and texted us to find out how we had been affected by the fire and to wish us well.
Gatlinburg re-opened today, Friday, December 9. The main street suffered almost no damage from the fire and shopkeepers are eagerly awaiting the return of tourists. Cades Cove has remained opened throughout the crisis and the major part of the Park opened on Friday, including Highway 441 and the Spur between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. No matter, there are great hiking trails out our way–from Greenbrier to Cosby.
Spiced Chocolate Pecan Squares 26 Aug 2016, 11:39 am
Try our latest afternoon treat which has a surprising ingredient.
1 package (8 oz) semi-sweet chocolate baking squares
2 large eggs
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ cups chopped pecans, divided
Preheat oven to 375F. To prepare cookie base, place flour/ ½ cup sugar and baking soda in food processor or bowl of electric mixer. Process or mix 10 seconds. Add butter. Process or beat 30 seconds or until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Press evenly into bottom of greased 9-inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes.
To prepare topping, place chocolate in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 2 minutes or until chocolate is melted, stirring until chocolate is smooth. Set aside.
Place eggs/ ¼ cup sugar, corn syrup, Worcestershire and vanilla in food processor or bowl of electric mixer. Process or beat until well blended. Add melted chocolate. Process or beat until smooth. Stir in 1 cup nuts. Pour chocolate mixture over cookie base. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup nuts. Bake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with slightly fudgy crumbs. Cool completely on wire rack. To serve, cut into squares. 16 serving.
Buckhorn Housekeepers Save Hummer
This little guy knocked himself out on a glass door at one of our guest houses. Housekeepers rescued him and placed him on a bouquet of tiny roses. Revived, he flew off to Mexico in about 30 minutes. Buckhorn is a major stopover for the hummers, going and coming. We look forward to their southward journey to Mexico in September and seeing them dive bomb one another trying to get the sweet nectar from our chenille plants.
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Get a Look at Our Luxurious New Guest House 6 May 2016, 2:26 pm
Named for our favorite hiking area, Greenbrier House said welcome to its firsts guest in the middle of April–and it’s been busy ever since. When you walk into the spacious open living area with kitchen, you can’t take your eyes off the view out the multi-level windows, except perhaps to admire the floor to ceiling stone fireplace. There are two ensuite bedrooms with king beds and bathrooms with walk-in, tiled showers on the main floor. Upstairs is a grand spacious loft with king bed, private bath, bookshelves and a game table. A long deck furnished with tables and chairs runs the length of the house. There are even laundry facilities on the main floor. All rates include our hearty menu-based breakfast. Rate for two $285; Rate for four $320; Rate for Six $400.