Romantic Cabins Scattered in Great Smoky Mountains Backcountry
The Great Smoky Mountains unfold in rolling peaks, which turn a hazy blue in the morning fog that gives the range its name. As Creekwalk Inn and Cabins innkeeper Janice Haynes describes, "It's the most amazing place in the southeast. There are 42 mountains in the Appalachian Mountain Chain over 6,000 feet; 40 peaks are in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park." The 50-acre inn is nestled beside these peaks and trailheads—and Janice encourages exploration, packing lunches for her guests and helping them plan hikes before they venture out onto the trails.
After a day spent in the wilderness, return to the romantic-and-isolated cabins located 18 miles from the inn or to the bed-and-breakfast-style rooms at the inn. The cabins have the secluded feel of backcountry camping but with the added bonus of hot tubs. Each cabin has an outdoor swing and access to the trout stream that runs by. There are no TVs to be found—you can step out onto a wraparound deck and "see sky and trees and no neighbors." Alternatively, the "nook and cranny" rooms inside the inn provide a more social setting, though each features unique furnishings and a private bath.
Each morning, Janice serves a complimentary homemade breakfast, with dishes such as sausage-stuffed pastry and brandied french toast. "Our breakfasts are like a party," she says. She also creates private five-course dinners; be sure to give her a week's notice so she can prepare your personalized meal with herbs grown onsite and with fresh produce from Carver's Orchard, located just a mile from the inn.
Cosby, Tennessee: Appalachian Wilderness near Lively Entertainment
Among the many Appalachian peaks rising above Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the nearly 5,000-foot Mount Cammerer stands out: it has a glassed-in fire tower at its summit, which boasts 360-degree views of surrounding hardwood forests. Starting near the town of Cosby, the Lower Mount Cammerer Trail wends up the alpine cliffs. Although challenging, the trail remains accessible year-round to well-bundled climbers and sniffles-prone mountain goats thanks to eastern Tennessee's moderate climate. Linking to the Mount Cammerer path, the Appalachian Trail forms a gateway to thousands of miles of hiking. The area also offers multiple whitewater rafting and zipline options.
About 20 miles to the east of Cosby, the entertainment enclaves of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge feature country-music revues and live comedy shows.
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