Under $1000: Dancing Bear Lodge
After zigzagging one of the mountain tops and passing through rural towns nestled against Chattahoochee National Forest, the splendor of Dancing Bear Lodge appeared an appropriate culmination to the bucolic four-hour drive from Atlanta. Its primary building, peering from thick forest, appears like the granddaddy of Lincoln subsequently Logs projects. Massive brighten trunks function as posts while watching primary entrance. Inside, the airy lodge is knotty beams and boards, a timber panorama interrupted only through the two-story stone hearth. Chandeliers illustrate frolicking deer and walnut leaves, however the proprietors keep your kitsch low. This really is Appalachian style polished with comfortable luxury.
Dancing Bear Lodge and it is thirty-six acres sit from the primary highway that stretches through Townsend, Tennessee, an urban area referred to as most tranquil from the popular tourist gateways towards the Great Smoky Mountain tops Park. The proprietors of nearby Blackberry Farm, plus managing partner Matt Alexander, bought the home, formerly known as Walnut Leaf Lodge, in 2004. Blackberry Farm has collected many awards because of its extravagant make of hospitality, despite the fact that Dancing Bear far less delicious (plus much more affordable), it upholds that feeling of next-level graciousness. I experienced it immediately upon arrival, after i required to send a company e-mail. Alexander observed I had been getting trouble connecting my aging laptop towards the lodge’s Wi-Fi. “Here, use our Web connection,Inches he stated without hesitation, ushering me behind the leading desk to some computer.
With work taken care of, my pal and that i could settle into the process of relaxing. The primary lodge houses twelve spacious rooms, but we checked right into a two-bed room cabin. With wood flooring and walls and cathedral ceilings, the cabins mirror the primary lodge aesthetic. Our place had an inside Jacuzzi as well as an outside spa. Rocking chairs beckoned around the deck. King-sized beds sported extra-fluffy feather duvets.
Dancing Bear accommodates languorous and adventurous types equally. Exhausted urban travelers can silently disappear right into a book or movie (DVD loaners can be found), have a calm walk round the tree-covered grounds, or call lower to inquire about an in-room massage. Yet this corner from the South also enthralls the outdoorsy set: The lodge offers touring and tandem bike rentals, organizes half-day or full-day led fly-fishing journeys which include all necessary equipment, and happily suggests prime hikes one of the Smoky Mountains’ 800 miles of trails. A course is 10 mins away.
Regardless of the day’s activities, converge around the primary lodge for supper, once the living room fills with tables and shifts into restaurant mode. The caliber of the cooking sets the lodge aside from every other dining option nearby. Chef Shaun Carter honed his technique within the Blackberry Farm kitchen, and the food resembles the cuisine at forward-thinking Southern restaurants in Atlanta for example Cakes & Ale and Miller Union. Highlights from your meal incorporated creamy crab and bacon soup, a charcuterie plate with two-year-aged pork from Allan Benton (see above), succulent whiskey-brined pork tenderloin with spoon bread and roasted tomato jus, pan-roasted trout with roasted mushrooms and farro (a nutty grain resembling barley), and blueberry cobbler for dessert.
On the second night, we embarked to Maryville, a university town 20 minutes away, to test the Foothills Milling Company, the area’s other Southern fine-dining destination. Unpretentious and full of a contented crowd, it provides satisfying dishes for example fried oysters with eco-friendly onion remoulade, Vidalia onion and goat cheese tart, and meatloaf full of pork shoulder.
Everything eating necessitated something each morning. After talking to having a lodge staffer, we headed to Cades Cove, among the National Park’s most trafficked pockets, for any five-mile round-trip hike to Abrams Falls. The diminutive falls were anticlimactic, however the invigorating hike was absolutely well worth the effort-a scenic mixture of even, smooth pathways combined with climbing and climbing down trails among jutting rocks.
Driving through Cades Cove is definitely an exercise in persistence. (We likened it for an Appalachian safari procession.) At occasions, traffic inched along at two miles per hour, with visitors literally chilling out home windows to place a bear. (We didn’t glimpse one.) A minimum of the scenery was regal. “Cove” is definitely an Appalachian idiom for “valley.” We’re able to imagine pioneering families trudging into this recess and saying, “Yes, we’ll stay here.”
LODGING AND DINING
Dancing Bear Lodge
137 Apple Valley Way
Weekends from $209 nightly in October
Foothills Milling Company
315 Washington Street
Photo thanks to Dancing Bear Lodge