Tuesday, October 2, 2007

back to nature

There are some places that you go and say, "been there, done that, mark that off the list" (like last year's trek up Mount LeConte). And then there are other places that you keep going back to, places you cannot get enough of, places that are comfortable and peaceful, a place to get away from it all...

The Elkmont area of the Smokies is like that for us. We have been going there for at least 20 years to camp, picnic, hike. It is a beautiful place to be, with the Little River flowing by over big round rocks, campsites scattered along its banks.

The area is rich in history, and every time we go, we find something new to explore, old homeplaces, cemeteries, roads, trails.

These steps lead up to the old Wonderland Hotel, a remnant of an earlier time when this was a resort area, back before there was a Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The building was on a hill looking down on the Little River, with a view of the Smokies in the distance from the rockers on the big front porch.

picture from Wikipedia

The Wonderland has been in bad disrepair for a long time, its ultimate fate being decided by lawyers and the government. The decision was finally made to remove what was left of the old wood frame building, after fire and time had made it beyond repair.

This is all that remains of the old hotel, in operation from 1912 - 1992, demolished 2006. The area will go back to nature, but the fireplace and steps will remain for a long time, for future generations to discover and learn about.


June said...

Thanks for this little virtual trip. Sad about the hotel. It looks like it would have been a great place to have been restored.

Gypsy Quilter said...

What a wonderful vacation spot that must have been. Thanks for sharing it with us.

andsewitis Holly said...

I would love to visit a place like that with all that history. Thanks for the great pictures.

Kerri said...

Sounds like a perfect weekend. Such beauty to be surrounded by! The old hotel must've been quite a vacation spot. I'll bet some wonderful memories were made there. Your photos are lovely. I especially like the butterfly in the previous post and the river and forest look so peaceful.
I think I'll go and put on a John Denver CD.... :)

Sandy said...

We were thinking of going up to the Smokies this week, but then we were asked by our neighbors to look after their home and 3 dogs....because they were going to the Smokies.

You're right! The Smokies are a place you can visit over & over again and discover new things each time you go.

Motherkitty said...

You have such a way with words and pictures that your readers feel as if they were actually there with you. Thanks for taking us along on your woodsy hike. We have an old resort hotel out in the country here in our county just like that. Around the turn of the century, it was THE place for all sorts of travelers and famous people. Now it's just a pile of old rocks and lumber. Time marches on.

I wonder if our descendants will feel the same nostalgia about some of the "modern" structures of today (like the Trump Towers or the hotels/casinos of Las Vegas or Atlantic City)?

Kirk M said...

I always feel a bit sad when I see a place that once offered a little peace and solitude for so many at one time left empty and alone. It's good that they took it down instead of leaving it to rot. Much better that they removed it and left the place for nature to reclaim.

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Wow what a gorgeous place!!! This is a wonderful area to have or vacation. I can’t wait to visit here, it sounds like so much fun!

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