When my parents retired and moved to Tennessee, their dearest friend Bernice came for her first visit. My mom was pointing out the beauty of the mountain views which were lost on Bernice. Being a gal who loved to be where the action was, she looked at the mountains and said "half an hour of that view and I'm done." She thrived on the constant activity going on near her Florida beach home.
I often think of that little conversation when I am gazing at the mountains. This past weekend brought just such a moment.
A short getaway into the Smoky Mountains brought us to our home away from home for the next couple days.
Upon reaching our destination, we happily spent a few moments checking out our new surroundings.
It was hard to resist the lure of the front porch rockers.
Particularly when the view in front of us looked like this:
Hills, valleys and the Smoky Mountains all combining into a beautiful, tranquil landscape.
In the foreground the croak of the bullfrogs could be heard loud and clear.
The greening of the springtime earth was evident as far as the eye could see as was the sound of the birds singing their sweet melodies.
Definitely not a fast-paced place, but that was just fine with us.
A walk around the garden revealed that the irises were the star of the show at the moment.
Little hand painted ladybugs were hiding in amongst the plants courtesy of one of the innkeeper's granddaughters.
The story of how this inn came to be is one that is best told by the owners.
Twenty-Seven years ago the idea of owning a bed and breakfast inn began to grow in the minds of Norman and Sarah Ball. Sarah, an elementary school teacher, particularly was intrigued with the idea. The 60-acre farm where she had grown up would make a perfect location. Once the idea turned to passion, she quit her job. Norman, an educator himself, was also an architectural draftsman and started drawing the plans for a Victorian-style farmhouse to sit on top of a hill overlooking the rolling hills and mountains. (He kept his job.) The inn opened in July 1987, when Norman and Sarah had a daughter in college, a fifteen-year-old son, and a five-year-old son.
And this in reference to the "blue mountain mist" part of the name :
The mist rises from every hollow and ravine, and the hills and mountains appear layer upon layer—their hazy-blue color giving meaning to the Cherokee phrase “Shaconage” (land of blue smoke). This land has a wonderful, mysterious, magnetic pull. The lush vegetation, varied wildlife, and spectacular views have an appeal that attract the Smoky Mountain visitor.
Each morning the tables were beautifully set.
Unfortunately I didn't think to take pictures until the meal was over and the tables were cleared. Oops. Guess I was too busy enjoying the scenery and the mouth watering food. Speaking of food, it was all prepared by one of the sons, served family style and extremely delicious.
On this weekend they had a full house. We shared breakfast with another couple who were about our age. While making introductions, they told us that their getaway was a Christmas gift from their kids who think that they have too much stuff :). We smiled and said that ours was a Christmas gift from our son who thinks we need to get away more often. We all could relate to this stage of life where vacations may be more about a change of pace and scenery than visiting the local tourist attractions and purchasing souvenirs. If however one was interested in that, Dollywood and Gatlinburg are just a hop, skip and a jump from here. Since we had been there before with our kids when they were younger, we opted to avoid them this time.
Each evening homemade desserts, coffee and iced tea were set out at the "Temptation Station". Did I manage to get a picture of the chocolate cake or the apple cobbler? Of course not... but, trust me, they were scrumptious (and also made by one of the Ball's sons).
All too soon it was time to head down the stairs, past the little frog pond and bid farewell to the Blue Mountain Mist Inn.
Pulling away from the picturesque country setting I felt thankful for the decision Norman & Sarah Ball made all of those years ago to share their land, home and gentle southern hospitality.
Also thankful for a thoughtful son who made it all possible.