Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pigeon Forge/Wears Valley, TN via Two Overnighters

We pulled into the Walmart right across from the airport in Roanoke and spent Thursday night, 10/6.  Weather has been really nice the past few days and we're hoping it holds out for a few more as we make our way over to the Tennessee side of the Smokies. 
 A short drive from the Walmart in Roanoke is the Homeplace family style restaurant.  It is an old converted farm house.  It is Catawba, half way between Tech and Roanoke.  We visited here several times when we would go to the campus in Blacksburg to see her in the mid '90s.  They serve fried chicken, roast beef, pulled pork and country ham with about six different side dishes, all in platters or bowls, family style, and the end it all with blackberry cobbler alamode.  hmmmmm!  yummy!  I was afraid that the swing below might not hold me after what I just ate.  I can hardly move.  I am ashamed of myself.  lol

We got up Friday morning and drove over to Blacksburg, VA (can you say Virginia Tech Hokies?).  Our daughter attended here on her way to her Civil Engineering degree.  We needed to pick up a few Christmas gifts for her at the Tech Bookstore.  We took a couple of pics while there to bring back some memories for her. lol
So we left Blacksburg and headed for Bristol, VA/TN.  It depends on what side of the street literally, as to what state you're in.  The city is in both.  Wild!  We spent Friday night uneventfully in the Target parking lot just off I-81 in Bristol, VA.  On Saturday we packed up and headed for Wears Valley, just south of Pigeon Forge, TN.  We would stay here at Cove Creek RV Park for one week, as this area is one of our favorite places to visit in North America.  We could really live here.  And all around us the beauty of the Smokies embraces you like a long lost relative.  So comforting!  And here is the main reason for us being here.  Great Smoky Mountains NP.
We have been here many times before and never get tired of returning.  There is just so much to take in and if your inclined to do a little research and reading, you'll discover a rich history that is so inviting to keep reading more and learning more.  Just facsinating!  I have taken about 500 pics during our two weeks here and over in Cherokee, which I'll blog next time.  I'll only post a fraction of the pics we took.  The others can always be viewed at our Picasa website:
On the way to Elkmont, inside GSMNP.  From Wiki:  Elkmont is a region situated in the upper Little River Valley of the Great Smoky Mountains of Sevier County, in the U.S. state of Tennessee. Throughout its history, the valley has been home to a pioneer Appalachian community, a logging town, and a resort community. Today, Elkmont is home to a large campground, ranger station, and historic district maintained by the GSMNP.  This a large campground, but we visit it for the past history when it was pioneer and logging community. 
Most of these cottages haven't been lived in since the late '80s or early '90s.  They were owned by the affluent from Knoxville and were built right after the forests were clear cut but before the GSMNP was formed.
The cottages have been a topic of discussion for many years as to what to do with them  Because the NPS has fallen on bad budget times, indecision has thwarted any attempt to preserve this wondrous part of the history  of Elkmont.  There is much to read on the subjects of Elkmont, Tremont and Smokemont, all communities from the past and formed mostly from the presence of the Little River Lumber Company, formed in the early 1900s.
Above, part of the old road (formerly the rail bed) that served the Elkmont community.  Below, a few more pics of the cottages.  If only they could tell their stories of times past.
There was also a hotel in the community, the Wonderland.  The main building was demolished in 2006 by the NPS as it became dangerous for folks to be around.  Here are a few picks from the annex, that still stands, but barely.  Plans are sketchy but it appears that the annex is headed for the same destiny.  Shame!
 Below, the remains of the steps leading up to the front porch of the old hotel.
To the right was the main hotel, and to the left was the annex.
Above, the stairs to the hotel from the rail station below.
Above, some of the local beauty of the season.  Well, I have so many photos and info on other visits around the GSMNP, I am going to end this blog for now.  The next blog will be about the Little Greenbrier School just above from where are camped, but in the GSMNP.  So, till then, Joe & Nancy.

Newmarket, VA Area

We pulled in the NASCAR RV Park just south of Newmarket, VA Monday afternoon ready for some nicer weather.  The park shares another local landmark, Endless Caverns.  We didn't go in the Caverns as I am a little squeamish about being in such places.  So we nixed that in favor of above-ground explorations.  If you've never been to this little town, let me explain that the one thing Virginia is noted for, and it may be a solemn one for most true southerners, is the Civil War, or as the southerners refer to as the War of Northern Aggression.  And Newmarket is one of those areas where there was a less-than-memorable (for Southerners) battle between the two sides.  What was memorable was the small contingent of "boys" from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) that was called into action during this battle.  We visited the Newmarket Battlefield Museum and Park and will share with you what we saw and experienced.  Above and below are the museum grounds and theater.
Above is the Bushong Farm where the battle mostly took place, with regard to the cadets from VMI.
 Some inside views of the Bushong farm house.
 Some of the outbuildings of the farm.
Above, the spring house.  Below, atright is the old house before the newer one was built to the left.
 Below is the kitchen house, separate from the main house.
 Below, another view of the big main house.
 Above and below is the huge basement where the large family took refuge during the battle which lasted all day and into the next.
 Above and below are some of the artifacts from the battle.
 Above and below are some of the fiews of the beautiful Shenendoah River & The Valley.
 And below is Miss Nancy from the lookout above the Valley.
Above, Nancy attempting to re-enact the lighting of the canon.  Don't quit your day job honey.
 Here are a few pics of Meems Bottom covered bridge across the south fork of the Shenendoah River just off the Valley Pike near Mount Jackson.
And above is a scene exhibit from inside the museum.  It didn't come out very well.  There are many other exhibits and storyboards as well as a 20 minute really nice video on the battle.  And thus ends our visit to the Newmarket Area of the Shenendoah Valley along the Valley Pike.  There is a lot of history in this Valley and one would need to spend many weeks exploring and reading about the events of the horrible period in our country's past.  We left the NASCAR RV Park Thursday morning (10/6) and headed for Roanoke, VA.  So, till the next time, Joe & Nancy, the RVing Beach Bums.