...with a husband and 5 sons, I am truly outnumbered....stories and thoughts on life from a mom in a houseful of little men!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Cove to Love: day 29

At risk of overdoing it, allow me to indulge one last time in raving over living so near the Smokies.

Cades Cove.

John Oliver's cabin, War of 1812 veteran
It was the first place on my list to visit here in East Tennessee.  For the last few years, I have pored over photos and articles of this place in magazines.  I had no idea we would actually live so near it, affording the opportunity to visit as often as we like, during all times of the week, and in all seasons. 

Back in a day, this was prime, Cherokee hunting ground.  Later, it was settled by Europeans in the early 1800's. 

Cades Cove boasts the widest variety of historical buildings in the Park.  I still can't get over the fact that the buildings are all left open to walk through at any time.  If you time it just right, you can have the place all to yourself, enjoying the silence except, of course, for the imaginings of former inhabitants' voices in your mind. 
You can walk through and picture the family who lived there, getting along with regular life.  You can look out the windows and see the same, timeless view they enjoyed, or position yourself in front of a fireplace and imagine all the times that took place there. 

Nobody lives here anymore, except for so many deer, elk, and many other critters which call Cades Cove home.  Along the 11-mile loop, there are a working grist mill, numerous barns, log homes and other structures.

There are also 3 churches, which are always a favorite of mine, because you can sense the part these buildings played in the settlement. 

They were a place of gathering, of worship, of community.  They were places of celebration, and places to find comfort in grief.
Walking along the grounds, there are so many tiny gravestones.  I am saddened by so many lives seemingly cut so short.  But I am also heartened to see how precious and valued these little ones were.

To me, the magic of Cades Cove is meandering through such a large space that is in essence left as it was.  So much history.  So many stories. So much to learn.  God-willing, we'll be spending a lot more time here, delving into all.

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