We love the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!

Archive for March, 2011

It’s One Of The Nation’s Most Popular State Lines

Like these two travelers from Germany, most people visiting Newfound Gap can’t resist standing with one foot in Tennessee and the other in North Carolina. They were riding one of Cherokee Transit’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park shuttles connecting Cherokee, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. On nice days, the drivers make a ten-minute stop at Newfound Gap to let passengers enjoy the view …and straddle the state line.

Cherokee Transit’s shuttles run back and forth across the mountains several times a day March thru October. Riders can then transfer to local transit systems in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Cherokee.

Photo courtesy Cherokee Transit

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Hammer Branch – A Beautiful Little Mountain Stream

Just below the third bridge on the Deep Creek Trail, little Hammer Branch bursts out of the thick Rhododendrons and tumbles into Deep Creek. Writer and Deep Creek historian Jim Casada tells us that this spot was once the home of Sam Hunnicutt, a legendary mountain sportsman and author of the extremely rare book, Twenty Years Hunting & Fishing in the Great Smokies. Casada added “You can still see the yellow bells (forsythia) blooming there about this time of year. Old Sam was a mighty bear hunter. He always wore high boots, thanks to having been snake bitten at some point in his life.”

Click here for a PDF map of Deep Creek’s trails and waterfalls.

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Deep Creek Wildflowers Signal The Arrival of Spring

A Saturday walk along the Deep Creek trail revealed an indisputable sign that Spring has arrived in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — a small cluster of Hepatica on a rocky ledge. Home to more than 1500 species of native plants, the Smokies provides an ever changing display of flowering plants throughout the Spring and Summer.

To learn more about Deep Creek and wildflowers in the Smokies, follow these links —

Hiking in the Bryson City area
Deep Creek’s trails and waterfalls (pdf)
Wildflower blooming calendar (pdf)

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Something is Brewing in Bryson City

Against a backdrop of gleaming steel fermenting tanks, Jen Huston draws a beer for Joe Rowland at the Nantahala Brewing Company’s new tasting room, which had its grand opening Friday. For several months, the Bryson City craft brewery has been supplying area restaurants with kegs of their IPA, Brown, Stout & Pale Ale and seasonal ales. And now, customers can enjoy the local brews at the 61 Depot Street brewery.

Jen, Joe and brewers Chris and Cristina Collier are initially opening the tasting bar on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 4 pm to 10 pm and Sundays 2 pm to 6 pm, with an expanded hours April thru mid-November. For more information and hours of operation, visit their website.

Updated 3/6/2011 with expanded March hours