In the Smoky Mountains, a cove is any wide valley. Cades Cove is a historic part of the park where several farmsteads and other buildings from the 1800’s have been restored and preserved. The park service has built wonderful split-rail fences around several of these old structures and fields, adding another bit of realism to the whole experience.
The great westward migration of people into the frontier of early United States started, in no small part, through Cumberland Gap. Located at the junction of present day Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia, the mountain gap was well known by Native Americans, who followed the annual migrations of big game animals (like bison). When Daniel Boone blazed the Wilderness Road through the Gap it opened the continent’s interior for migration and settlement by early colonists.
The modern day village of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee sits at the eastern end of the Gap. This is a photo taken from the overlook, about 1400 feet above the town. Not long ago, an highway also ran through the Gap. In the late 1990’s, a tunnel was constructed to allow the road to by-pass this history area. The landscaping has since been restored to conditions similar to those found in the early 1800’s and the entire area is now part of Cumberland Gap National Park.
My folks live, quite literally, on the side of the hill; their home overlooks one of the flood control and recreational lakes built by the Tennessee Valley Authority (or TVA). Surrounding their property is a chain link fence and gate to keep their several pet dogs well contained. A visit entails parking by the road and walking up several concrete steps to the house. Not long after installing the fence, Dad installed this bell by the gate for visitors to ring if they didn’t want to brave walking all the way up the hill (or if they were concerned about all the little dogs running around in the yard). It was already old (Dad found it at a flea market) when installed, and I think it has weathered quite nicely!
See 7 States from Rock City atop Lookout Mt! Several years ago when I was living and working in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, I would drive by this barn on my way home after visiting my folks. Located on State Route 11W just south of Bean Station, the barn and its large advertisement have become quite a local landmark. Local legend maintains that the farmer was paid the grand sum of $25 by the good folks of Rock City and, once a year, they send a crew by to re-paint his barn.
When my son was very young, I took him for a day trip to Rock City and Lookout Mountain to find out if we could really see all seven states. I have no idea if we actually saw all seven of them, but it didn’t really matter because we had a grand day . Turns out that Lookout Mountain was also a battle site during the American Civil War, sometimes referred to as the “Battle Above the Clouds”, so we spent some time exploring the battle field.
I drove out to photograph this wonderful old barn while visiting my folks over this past weekend and was thrilled to see it in such wonderful condition. Looks like the local legends might really be true!