Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Escape To Serenity Falls

As you may recall, we’ve had our 12 year-old grand-daughter, Alex, living with us for the past year and if nothing else, it confirms to me why it’s young people that have children. After reading Betsy’s post over at Joyful Reflections about Serenity Falls Cabins, we decided to spend some time there while Alex was visiting her other grandmother in North Carolina over spring break. Just before the trip, however, Bev’s mom was hospitalized and we were unable to make the visit, but had already made a deposit of two nights rent. The owners were gracious enough to let us postpone the trip, and by late May I decided I was ready for a little R&R and I wanted to go before it got too hot, so we spent the nights of May 21-May 24 there.

While it’s less than 2 hours from home, unless you get lost on the way, and in an area we consider pretty local, it was still just Bev and me in a cabin in the mountains. And this place is awesome – I consider our place Almost Heaven South and this is even better. It’s a remodeled grist mill that is right at the base of a 100+ yard long cascading waterfall on a small creek. It’s hard to believe that such a little stream could produce such a beautiful piece of nature - check Betsy's blog for more, and better, pictures. The house and cabins, of 1800's vintage, were in terrible shape when they bought them, with bare clapboard siding - they all looked like a 150 year old barn - but they turned them into something very nice. This is the house.

The three buildings - the first one the old community grist mill (where we stayed), followed by the general store and finally the barn.

The grist mill sits right on the stream and right at the base of the falls.

This is the falls from the cabin deck.

A close up shot.

The pool at the base contains some fish which I assume were trout as the water was very cold.

We took a couple of steaks and the makings for hot dogs with us and you cannot believe how good they were sitting on the deck overlooking the water fall and with the sound and cool breeze it produced. Turn on your sound and click on the play arrow.

Two of the things I really enjoyed were how quickly it cooled off at night and how great it was to sleep with the sound of the falls – think raining on a tin roof or in a heavily wooded area for similarity – I slept like a rock.

This the dining view.

While there, we took a 30 mile trip thru the mountains on a mostly gravel, very curvy road and ended up in the Cataloochee Valley of the Smoky Mountain National Park. Since the park began reintroducing elk into the park there, it’s a place I’d wanted to go, but didn’t want to make the drive all the way from home – I can mark it off my list now. It’s a beautiful area and I can picture it before the park was formed – it’s like a smaller version of Cades Cove. We were there at mid day and didn’t really expect to see any wildlife, but it was still worth the drive – actually the drive was worth the drive. This is a shot on the trip over.

One of the creeks in the Cataloochee valley.

The mountains on the drive back.

Another plus for the trip was the discovery that the area where we stayed, including the cabins, is called Catons Grove, as is the little church just down the road. Bev's maiden name is Caton and her family grew up four or five valleys further west so we're pretty sure it's the same family. We went through the old church cemetary and Bev took photo's of many of the head stones to review with her sis - she keeps up with these sort of things and has a family tree going way back.

If you're looking for a place from which to visit the Smoky's or a quiet place to relax and catch up on your reading away from the maddening crowd, this is your spot. I told Bev this would be the perfect place for a writer to go get some uninterupted work done. Well, it’s back to reality now and time to catch up on the work backlog, but I’d like to go back for a few days in the winter, when I know several inches of snow is predicted – they get more snow than we do. Another thing the trip accomplished was allowing me to pre-post all of the topics I had waiting in my queue - the past four. Thanks Betsy for letting us know about Serenity Falls via your blog.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.



  1. Wow, what a beautiful place. I can just imagine how peaceful and relaxing it was. And what a lovely view from the deck of the cabin.

  2. What a beautiful and peaceful place. Eating a tasty steak and potato by the waterfall is my kind of heaven.

  3. Absolutely beautiful. Did you have that whole cabin to yourself?

  4. It's nice to get away for a little while, but I'm sure you were glad to get home, too. I've been through Cade's Cove, and I'm afraid that's too much nature for me. Strange girl, eh?

  5. Great getaway! I love the soothing sound of water. I have a metal roof and heavy woods outside my window, and I DO sleep like a baby with that calming white noise.

    Interesting that you may have found some long lost relatives, too. What a nice little vacation!

  6. Hi, Glad you enjoyed it!!!! We've been twice now---both during winter. I want to go to Cataloochee sometime --but wasn't sure about that old gravel road. Was it in good condition --or bad????

    Of course, now that I-40 is open again, we could catch I-40 and get to Cataloochee that way... I really want to see the elk, but it will either have to be early morning or late afternoon... The timing is not right...

    Sometime, I want to go to Serenity when we can enjoy the porch/deck more. It's been too cold to sit out there the times we have gone. BUT--there was LOTS more water in the waterfall when we were there than when you were there... Oh Well--can't have it all I don't guess.

    Glad you enjoyed it.
    Hugs to you both,

  7. Awesome visit, Larry. My parents live in Franklin, NC and my dad has done a lot of research on Cataloochie. If you are interested, I have a PDF file of an out of print book that is all about the very rich history of the area.


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