Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Observations from the Smokies

As mentioned in a post yesterday, my wife and I made another visit to the Smokies last week. I wanted to share a few observations from our trip:

* We ran into a lot of rain during our visit and got absolutely poured on while hiking to and from Hen Wallow Falls near Cosby. What struck me on this hike was the lack of preparedness on the part of many of the hikers we saw. Many were simply walking without any gear and wearing just t-shirts. One man in particular was returning from the falls carrying a $500-$700 camera – without a protective bag or a backpack – not even a plastic bag. I would have to say that he would be extremely lucky if his camera is still working today.

* I had a chance meeting with Chris Hibbard from Your Smokies over in Cataloochee last Thursday. Chris is a volunteer with the National Park and is an absolute wealth of information on everything Smokies.

* Speaking of Cataloochee, as mentioned yesterday, this was our first visit to that area of the park. I wish we hadn’t waited so long. Although it’s not quite as scenic as Cades Cove, there’s only a fraction of the traffic, thus making for a much more enjoyable experience.

* Pete is dead! Since “discovering” Townsend about 12 years ago we always made it a point to visit Deadbeat Pete’s. Although not the greatest, the Mexican food was still pretty good after a long day on the trail. As if trying to live up (or down) to their name, the restaurant was shut down a couple of years ago for not paying their taxes. Apparently, as of May 20th, they’re closed again. No word on the reason why or if they’ll be returning.

* With Deadbeat Pete’s out of the picture we “discovered” two restaurants that we weren't aware of in the past. Both have been open for several years, but since they sit off the main road we somehow missed them - and sorry that we have. Both Miss Lily’s Café and the Sister Cats Café are excellent dining destinations (and, much better than anything we've ever had in Gatlinburg). The pork chops and the Chicken Janee that my wife and I had at Miss Lily’s were outstanding. Miss Lily’s also offers a fairly wide selection of beers as well.

Sister Cats is only open for lunch, but that’s no excuse to pass it by. Their Turkey and their Rueben Panini’s are outstanding. The very friendly owners also allowed us to sample their chicken salad, something I’ve never really been a fan of. However, this was an exception. The chef smokes the chicken and then adds dried cranberries, pecans, celery and a hint of a mild curry dressing. I’ll definitely be back to get a full order next time.

Beer Notes:

* While at Miss Lily’s I got a chance to try the Highland Brewery’s Black Mocha Stout that they have on draft. I was a little concerned that the coffee flavoring would over-power the beer. Fortunately it didn’t. As a fan of stouts and porters, I thought this was an excellent beer.

* Miss Lily’s also had Farmer Ted's Cream Ale (Catawba Valley Brewing Company) on tap as well. This is a light, refreshing ale - perfect for hot summer days.

* One other beer I had a chance to sample for the first time was Lazy Magnolia’s Southern Pecan beer. Although this was also on tap at Miss Lily’s, I tasted mine from a bottle purchased at the Townsend IGA. The brewery states that this is the first pecan beer in the world. As a big fan of nut brown ales as well, I thought the pecans offered a unique and tasty flavor to the beer.

Jeff Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.


smoky scout said...

It's always a treat to run into Chris Hibbard. I can't believe how that guy gets around! And I agree that Miss Lily's is a delicious way to end the day.

Susan said...

We were there last week also, hiking in the rain is always an adventure, all the senses get involved!