Cades Cove is unlike the typical cove, e.g., Peggy's Cove (Nova Scotia) or television's Cabot Cove. A Smoky Mountain "cove" is a relatively flat valley between mountains or ridges. Cades Cove is a serene setting that can be traversed via an 11-mile, one-way, one-lane loop road. On a summer weekend, it can take four hours to travel this loop due to bumper-to-bumper, wildlife-watching traffic. Today we proved that it can take over four hours to travel this route without either wildlife or other travelers on the road.
We reached the start of the loop road soon after sunrise. The Smokies are named for the blue mist that always seems to hover around the peaks and valleys. The Cherokee called them shaconage, (shah-con-ah-jey) or "place of the blue smoke". But early this morning, the clouds hanging over the mountains appeared like plumes of smoke rising from the mountains.
There is something calming about fog as it envelopes people and buildings. I think the same feeling applies to these clouds as they seem to wrap around the hills and valleys.
There are over 70 historic buildings in the park. On the left is the John Oliver cabin. The land was purchased in 1824 and remained in the family until the park was established in 1934. The stone chimney is held together with mud mortar.
The first floor is one room and it was here that the parents, infants, daughters slept; sons slept in the loft.
This was the view the family would have out the front door.
As we walked the quarter mile through the field in front of the home, we could imagine the field being worked and members of the nearly 125 families (around 1900) gathering to help with the harvest.