Visiting Cades Cove

Hiking through woods by a stream and wandering through meadows looking for spring wildflowers is the perfect day for me.

If you have curly hair, you already know that any style is a moving target, and you rarely hit it. You are seeing the result of taking a shower, combing out my hair, and leaving shortly after 6 AM with it still wet. I am wearing Beautycounter stick sunscreen on my face (here) and spray sunscreen elsewhere (here). My Lip Conditioner in Peppermint is here.

Cades Cove is an isolated valley located in the Tennessee section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The valley was home to numerous settlers before the formation of the national park, including my fifth Great-Uncle. Today Cades Cove, the single most popular destination for visitors to the park, attracts more than two million visitors a year because of its well-preserved homesteads, scenic mountain views, and abundant wildlife.

My sister has been researching our genealogy. When we learned that the brother of our fifth-great-grandfather homesteaded in this valley, we knew we had to visit the site.

These photos are of Tipton Place, built in the 1880s by the descendants of Revolutionary War veteran William “Fighting Billy” Tipton. (Another way back there great-grandfather) The paneling on the house was a later addition. Along with the cabin, the homestead includes a carriage house, a smokehouse, a woodshed, and the oft-photographed double-cantilever barn (above).

I’m standing by the Tipton-Oliver Smokehouse.

I wore Levis jeans (here), a gray tee from Chico’s (mine is about four years old), with a navy vest from Chico’s. (in black here) I was glad I brought that white cotton cardigan (above) from Cali & York a few years ago. (Similar sweater here.) The New Balance shoes are here. Similar sunglasses are here.

The highlight of the day came as we were leaving the Cove. We saw a young black bear sitting in a tree pulling limbs down so that he could eat the leaves. He didn’t seem to mind that those humans were getting way too close to him. The red arrow marks the location of the bear! I didn’t take the same risk, so my photo below him is zoomed in from a safer distance.

Live a long and happy life, safe from tourists and cars young bear.

  1. What a beautiful place and knowing your ancestors lived and worked there must make it extra special to you. I live in the UK and within an hour of my house I can visit 3 castles ( one is the last one built in Britain) thatched cottages that date from the 1600s, stately homes on huge expstates. So much history —- but no black bears !! You live in a stunning part of the world and I appreciate you sharing your photos.

  2. What a wonderful trip, Susan! How neat that you were able to go there with your sister and stand in rooms once occupied by ancestors. And I love the story (and the photo) about the young bear, but I’m glad you wisely kept your distance. I always enjoy your posts, but I especially enjoyed this one, showing this bit of history of that area of the country. Thank you.

  3. I went to UT Knoxville in the 1970’s and loved visiting Cade’s Cove. I too enjoy looking for Spring wildflowers only in Maryland. I have just seen Jack in the Pulpit, May Apples and Trilliums. And you look great and appropriately dressed for hiking!

  4. Enjoyed your post…….such lovely scenery. I have added the Cove to our places to explore. You also have in past posts mentioned some fine restaurants you and Mr. Mickey have visited. We live in NC part of the year and I hope to enjoy some of your dining recommendations. Thank you.

  5. Good for you for respecting the bear’s space. People need to remember that it is the home of wildlife and they should not invade it like a marauding horde. You showed good sense.

  6. What a wonderful way to start my day, looking at your beautiful photos. Thank you! Looks like it was the perfect day to spend with a loved one in a breathtaking place.

  7. What a fun day with your sister. I had been there many times as a visitor and always awed by the beauty of such a lovely place.

  8. Hi Susan. I love all your tips and have encouraged all my friends and relatives to follow you too! I would love a segment on what you wear when hosting guests. Could be for tea or an evening gathering. I am not into loungewear but like to look nice, while being comfortable while jumping up for tea or drinks to serve. I wondered how you entertain. Keep on sending us those great blogs! Jan

  9. Very nice pics and summary of your trip. I thought the Smoky Mountains were so beautiful to visit when we did so with our son and my sister’s family. I vividly remember much of it even though it was quite some time ago that we were there. My question to you is, did you see any of the sad and terrible fire destruction that happened two years ago? I hope that what was destroyed is coming back, green and lush as ever.

    I don’t know if I would have been so brave as not to run and get in the nearest car after seeing that bear! As curious as I would have been, I would have been more afraid of that young bear than you can imagine.

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures.

  10. Hi Susan, my maiden name is Tipton and our family came to CA from TN and MO. I think we must be distantly related. How fun!

  11. I got my scarf order yesterday. Thank you for the packaging! Because of that careful detail my scarves were not ruined by the liquid of something in transit. Much appreciated.
    Do you have another source of scarves as wonderful as you’ve had available?
    I’ve spent many Saturdays at Cades Cove. Even picnicked near the graveyard.

  12. I live vicariously through your adventures. You are so blessed to live in a beautiful part of the US. There are few scenic adventures where I live and even fewer wonderful restaurants. You could be wearing a sack and I know you would relish every moment of your travels and gourmet dining—-but you always look fabulous!

  13. Beautiful pictures…I’m with you, a walk in the woods is fabulous for making me feel wonderful and thankful. I’m fortunate to live in the woods overlooking a pond and springtime is my favorite time of the year.

  14. We love the Smokey National Park in Tennessee. We’ll actually be visiting there again next month and many of my ancestors settled in that particular area of Tennessee.

  15. My grandmother was born in Cades Cove. Our family has several books researched and written by my aunt. Your photos are lovely of a very special and precious place.

  16. I had the good fortune to visit the Smoky Mountains 2 years ago. We stayed in a home on a hilltop outside Gatlinburg. We saw the damage done by the fires. What a senseless tragedy. We also visited Cades Cove. Beautiful, peaceful part of the smokies. I loved the trip and hope to return again.

  17. What an exciting trip to find your ancestors homestead, and what a beautiful location. It looks like a great place to visit, maybe have to go on my bucket list if I get to that neck of the woods.

  18. Thank you for sharing your fabulous photos. What a great way to start the day surrounded by so much unspoilt natural beauty. Have a great weekend.

  19. What a treat to see your beautiful photos of Cades Cove! It’s one of my favorite places.
    My 4th great grandfather, Robert Burchfield is buried there in a family cemetery. I know the Tiptons and Burchfields were connected somewhere along the line.
    Thanks for posting!

  20. Susan,
    I just discovered your blog and youtube videos this month and have been enjoying them as I develop my sense of style. I’d never had much interest in fashion but after losing 30 lb. last year I started to enjoy shopping and pulling a look together – at 52! Your post about Cades Cove made me smile – my husband and I visited the Smokies on our honeymoon in 1998 and the words “peaceful valley” always brings to mind beautiful Cades Cove. Happy Spring!

  21. Gorgeous scenery! We hope to visit relatives outside of Nashville this Aug and will hopefully add a visit to the park! Discovered your blog recently and I’m really enjoying it.

  22. Cade’s Cove is a beautiful place and I love the photos!

    I received my scarves this week and they are so gorgeous! Thank you.

  23. Loved this post Susan! My husband Steve and I visited the Smoky Mountains in our 20s and thought they were SO beautiful! The purple haze is amazing. It rained lots and our sleeping bags in our tent got soaked, plus one night we slept downhill with a rock poking into us so that was our last tenting expedition, ha! Like you, not long after that we found Bed & Breakfast Inns as I prefer a mint under my pillow rather than a rock and that has long been our preferred method of lodging now. 🙂 But anyway, that area where you live is really really gorgeous and we loved visiting there so thanks for the memories.

    What kind and model of camera do you use? Your pix are exceptionally clear and vibrant on my computer screen.

  24. Your photos are awesome. They make me feel like I’m right there:) Be thankful for your curly hair….you could have been “blessed” with fine, straight hair like me!!!!

  25. There are two places I wish I could live. This is one of them. The other is where Holly used to live in Britain. I am so British at heart. Such wonderful memories when we were younger and could travel. It goes so fast. If you have your health, ladies and gents, go ———just GO.

  26. Hi Susan!!! What a terrific post!! My husband and I have been there!! Oh, how we enjoyed it. We, too, saw baby bears and visitors TOOOO close for comfort. Our first thought was “where is MAMA BEAR????”. ((We kept a safe distance!!)) Thank you for including us on your travels and tips.

  27. Funny… I never thought of you as a hiker! Thanks for sharing such a beautiful location with us!

  28. loved the pictures from Cades Cove..was there in ex lives in Knoxville, but I live in
    Texas… enjoy all of the topics in these newsletters

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.