Walking shady trails through the village and sunny trails through the Farm Museum about 1 mile. Evening visit at over 6000' elevation.
Dining room buffet.
Our morning adventures begin with a moderate level trail hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We’ll walk about a mile into the shady, green, wild forest and cross a rushing stream on a footbridge. Our expert will assist with plant identification and talk about the history and culture of the Southern Appalachians and the peoples who settled here as we walk through the forest. This time of year we might see wild turkeys, a turtle, songbirds, butterflies, a snake or two, and maybe some signs of bear and elk.
At a scenic location in the park, we will enjoy a picnic-style meal with boxed lunches, including a sandwich, fruit, cookies, and chips, plus water.
We’ll then ride the bus to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and the Mountain Farm Museum sit in a beautiful meadow by the river where elk are often seen. The Visitors Center displays walk us through the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Steps away, the Mountain Farm Museum is a collection of historic buildings used by Appalachian settlers. The buildings were selected for preservation during the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and carefully moved from their original homestead locations to re-create an early farmstead. We will have a scavenger hunt while exploring the gardens, barns, log cabin, spring house, and blacksmith shop. Afterwards, while gathered on the shady Visitor Center porch, we will hear some of the geologic history and resulting array of semi-precious stones mined here in the Southern Appalachians from our Group Leader. A short bus ride away, we’ll try our hand at panning for gemstones as a grandparent and grandchild team.
At Granny's Kitchen in Cherokee, we will enjoy a family-style buffet featuring salad and vegetable options, bread, fried chicken, beef, and a choice of pie for dessert. Coffee, tea, water included.
We’ll ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Waterrock Knob, at over 6000', to enjoy spectacular views, or climb the short, steep paved trail.