What’s Happening Locally

Blue and Red Ribbons for Award Winning Recipes at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center Blue Ribbon Country Fair!

Posted by on Sep 28, 2010 in What's Happening Locally | Comments Off on Blue and Red Ribbons for Award Winning Recipes at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center Blue Ribbon Country Fair!

Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Award Winning Pound Cake

Award Winning Pound Cake

From left to right- Elvis Presley's Favorite Pound Cake, Paula Deen's, and Joy of Baking Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

From left to right- Elvis Presley's Favorite Pound Cake, Paula Deen's, and Joy of Baking Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

For the fourth year in a row, the  Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center had a Blue Ribbon Country Fair on the same weekend as Old Timers Day in Cades Cove, the Nawger Nob Arts and Crafts Show, and the Fall Festival at the Townsend Visitor Center. Saying it is an action packed weekend is an understatement! Just about everyone in our small town is volunteering (or attending) somewhere, and it is tough choosing when they are on both Friends of the Library (food booth at the Fall Festival), Hearts and Hands Scholarship Fund, (Fall Festival), or the Guild at the Heritage Center (Country Fair) etc. etc.

Since September 1st, I have been steady every day with guests; I emptied out today for a few days, in time to get my act together for OCTOBER. The leaves are still green, but today we got some much needed rain and the temps dropped dramatically. I am sitting here with the doors open listening to the rain considering putting on a pair of socks! Life is good. The fall display is up and I have been blessed with business and blue ribbons.

Last year in preparation for the Fair, I worked on my blueberry almond pound cake for the entire year. Must have made it 20 times, 20 different ways. Won 3rd place. This year I waited till three days before the Fair, and started searching on the web for a perfect perfectly plain pound cake. Eccch! Wednesday morning, I made Paula Deen’s and served it to guests. Wednesday night, I made an orange cream cheese pound cake from the Joy of Baking, but was the only one still up to taste it warm out of the oven. Thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Six hours later I was up and made another one for breakfast, reportedly Elvis Presley’s favorite from the Epicurious.com website. I tasted it warm and thought it was the perfect plain pound cake. Had my guests taste all three and it was evenly divided between Elvis’s and the orange. (Dear Paula, you can’t win them all…)  On my way into town, I had the neighbors try them and all the folks at the Sunshine Chiropractic office. At room temp, hands down, the orange cream cheese won the vote. It’s a good thing I ran it by a few people because I probably would have gone with Elvis’s, thinking plain would be better this time around. What makes his recipe unusual is it contains whip cream and you put it in a cold oven, then turn it on!

At any rate, I made another orange pound cake Friday morning for the Fair. We had a funeral Saturday morning, and the bake sale at the Fall Festival, so four pound cakes went the way of the gooney bird! We won win a blue ribbon, thank you, Joy of Baking. Don’t know if they are related to Joy of Cooking or not; that has always been my recipe bible. Click here for the link to the recipe. We also won a blue ribbon for my mom’s apricot bread. Again I made three loaves in two days, changing the recipe each time while Mom and I bickered back and forth. :-)  Her pumpkin pie recipe got a 2nd place finish. I am not much for pumpkin pie, but after winning a ribbon guess we better make it this year at Thanksgiving! I did mess around with that recipe also, tried to attach some cut out pastry leaves to the sides of the crust and added pecans to the bottom of the crust. The leaves sank and the pecans floated to the surface! Blessings, mizkathleen @ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

Mom's Pumpkin Pie, 2nd Place Ribbon

Blue Ribbon Apricot Walnut Bread

Blue Ribbon Apricot Walnut Bread

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Scottish Festival and Highland Games held in Galinburg, TN, May 14th-16th, 2010

Posted by on Apr 9, 2010 in What's Happening Locally | Comments Off on Scottish Festival and Highland Games held in Galinburg, TN, May 14th-16th, 2010

Scottish Festival

Gatlinburg, Tennessee Scottish Festival

Scottish Games
Scottish Games

The 29thannual Gatlinburg Scottish Festival is a lot more than just a 2-½ day runner up to the week long Grandfather Mountain Highland Games held July 8-11, on Grandfather Mountain near Linville, NC.

The Gatlinburg, Tennessee games, held May 14-16, 2010 at Mills Park, 1230 E. Parkway, on the northeast side of Gatlinburg, spotlights Celtic Scottish history, culture, and events.  My family has attended a few times in the past five years, and one of my previous East Tennessee Smoky Mountains Bed and Breakfast guests, Roger Underwood, plays in the Knoxville Pipes and Drums which just appeared in the Dollywood International Parade.  He generously provided the photos for this blog.

The bag pipers lead off the festivities at 6 p.m., on Friday, May 14th, with a parade down the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg.  If you are a Scot, you may walk behind or follow in a trolley.  A gala reception follows at the Quality Inn Creekside.

For a small admission, events start at 8:30 a.m. at Mills Park both Saturday and Sunday.  Highlights for my family have always been the Border Collie demonstrations, the Celtic rock bands, and the competitive sporting events.  But, there are so many things going on, you can pick and choose.  Visit with over 60 heritage and clan societies to assist in exploring your heritage.  Be sure to stay for the Ceilidh Under the Stars, which starts at 7:30 p.m.

Center stage is a plethora of bagpipe bands.  Click here for a U-Tube video of the Knoxville Pipe and Drum Band. Under tents and on stages, you will find Celtic punk bands, balladeers on guitars, and highland dancing.  Sheep dog trials will be conducted twice daily.  Men, women, and kids compete in both amateur and pro competitions for several stone putting games: braemar stone, open stone, heavy hammer, turning the caber, tossing the haggis, sheaf, WFH and heavy and light WFD.  Vendors offer food, jewelry, books, music, and Scottish clothing.  Visit www.gsfg.orgfor more information or call (865) 368-2543.  Dress for the weather, no pets allowed, and consider staying at one of the many bed and breakfasts in the area!  mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast.

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A Spring Weekend Getaway, Golfing, Massages, & Shopping

Posted by on Apr 4, 2010 in What's Happening Locally | 1 comment

Laurel Valley Golf Course & Country Club, Townsend, TN

Laurel Valley Golf Course & Country Club, Townsend, TN

If you need to feel righteous about golfing while your beloved “makes do” with a massage and a half-day shopping the Pigeon Forge outlets, this is the event for you.  For the eleventh year, Friends of the Mary E. Tippitt Memorial Library are hosting their Golf Tournament Benefit on Friday, April 23rd, 2010 at the Laurel Valley Golf Course in Townsend, Tennessee. 

Proceeds from the tournament benefit the Library by helping fund the services that the Library provides to the community. (See below for the love story.)  Registration for the golf tournament starts at 11:30 a.m., with lunch provided for the participants.  The tournament starts at 1:00 p.m.  Entry fee for players is $80, with an available $20 mulligan package.  You can pick up forms at the Mary E. Tippitt Memorial Library, 120 Tiger Dr, Townsend, TN, at the Townsend Visitor Center on Highway 321, and the Laurel Valley Country Club.

In the past, a dozen or more teams of four players have enjoyed playing 18 holes at this beautiful mountain course.  Cash prizes are awarded to the best team, closest to the hole, longest drive, and longest putt.  This year a special plaque, which will be on display at the clubhouse, honors the winning team.  Numerous door prizes and a new car, for a hole-in-one add to the day’s excitement.  For more information call Mike Roach at (865) 448-8282.  For hole sponsorship contact Judy Krueger at (865) 448-6501.

Don’t you just hate the e-mails you receive that say “You have to read to the end”? Well, I’m glad you did.  In 1997, Charles Tippitt opened the Townsend library from scratch as a memorial tribute to his first wife Mary.  He rented the space and filled it with 5000 books for adults and children.  Over the years it has more than quadrupled in size and grown to a new location, and for a town our size, it is a marvel of information and activity including public access to computers and various children’s programs.  Later Charles married Ms. Sue Ann Schlosser, a librarian from Sikeston, Missouri.  Sikeston’s loss was our gain when Sue Ann relocated here.  Our community has been doubly blessed.  mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

At the Library and open to all, at 10 a.m. the third Thursday of each month is B.E.A.R. (Be Excited About Reading) Facts Book Club!

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Road Closures & Piecing the Puzzle

Posted by on Feb 28, 2010 in At The Inn, What's Happening Locally | Comments Off on Great Smoky Mountains National Park Road Closures & Piecing the Puzzle

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in early spring
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in early spring
Pieces of the Puzzle
Pieces of the Puzzle
New Years Day 2010, the morning after!  Allen, Jodi, Ashley, and Craig
New Years Day 2010. Looking far too cheery for the morning after! Allen, Jodi, Ashley, and Craig

While  the Cades Cove loop road or Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail are big draws for our guests at this East Tennessee Bed and Breakfast, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is doing some needed repairs on these heavily trafficked roads starting March 1st, 2010.  Roads affected and the targeted completion of these repairs are:

Cades Cove Loop (that will  also close one-way Parsons Branch & Rich Mountain Rd)  5/21 (an update from the Park, the Loop Rd. will open a month early on 4/24!)
Clingman’s Dome 5/28
The Sinks parking area 5/25
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail 5/28
& Cherokee Orchard past the Noah B Ogle cabin 3/19

While these are some of the Park site seeing highlights, these closures will not affect normal  “drive through” traffic on the artery roads.  Trails accessed from the roads under repair will be closed also, but with 900 miles of trails in the Park, you have a plethora of choices to choose from.  As always, for up to date information on closures call the National Park at 865-436-1200.  Extension 631 will give you road closures, and extension 630 is the weather report.

So you might ask yourself WHAT IS A PERSON TO DO while we deal with the face lift?  Jeepers, :-O not to worry!  There are enough outdoor nature activities besides the shop till you drop experience in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge to keep you busy for a week.  Or, why not order a picnic lunch or appetizer tray and stay here?  Come to breakfast in your robe and curl up in front of the fireplace with a good book,  game, or watch a little satellite TV afterwards.

Several years ago on New Years Eve, guests Craig and Ashley stayed here while their friends Allen and Jodi got married in the area.  The next year they came back and brought Allen and Jodi with them,  appearing to have become a yearly tradition.  (Lucky me…) After breakfast on New Years Eve this year, Jodi dug a 1000 piece puzzle out of the game cabinet and said she thought she would put it together.  This was the last full day of their stay and honestly I was thinking she is out of her mind.  It would take me the whole three days of their stay just to pick out the straight edge pieces and get the perimeter put together. A few hours later I took the middle photo you see on the left.  They broke for dinner and went out and about; afterwards, with the four of them watching TV, Jodi continued.  Occasionally someone else would plunk in a piece.  By midnight she was down to the last couple of hundred pieces and had the full attention of all of us.  I think we/SHE finished around 2 or 3 AM.  I believe the government is missing the boat by not offering her a job.  (“Should she choose to accept…”)  I can see her sitting in a room with no windows, low light, and piecing together something that saves us from ourselves.  With five minutes to spare. What a gift.   mizkathleen@ Gracehill

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Four Wheeling with ATV’s in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains

Posted by on Feb 22, 2010 in What's Happening Locally | Comments Off on Four Wheeling with ATV’s in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains

Keri and Tim Meeker on an ATV break at the top of Bluff Mountain in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Keri and Tim Meeker on an ATV break at the top of Bluff Mountain in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Keri and Tim Meeker, here at Gracehill Bed and Breakfast for four days on their 1st anniversary, ran the gamut of what Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Townsend, TN have to offer with one new activity, to me at any rate!  They went ATV four wheeling with Bluff Mountain Adventures  at 866-428-7711 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Bluff Mountain offers guided ATV Trail Rides at Walden Lodge on Bluff Mountain.  Guests sign in at the ticket office on the parkway in Pigeon Forge, and then proceed down Wears Valley Road to Walden Creek and the site where they pick up their ATV.  Keri and Tim did the hour and half tour that took them up the mountain, crossing streams, to get to the top of Bluff Mountain at 2300 feet.  They said the company not only went out of their way to provide a safe yet scenic tour, they were very conscientious about the strengths and weaknesses of the group and tailor made the ride for them.  Definitely an activity worth repeating as the Meeker’s gave it two thumbs up.  The hot tub was waiting for them when they returned to the B&B.  😉  mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

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Gatlinburg’s Craftsmen Fair at the Convention Center

Posted by on Oct 24, 2009 in What's Happening Locally | Comments Off on Gatlinburg’s Craftsmen Fair at the Convention Center

Fall Display 2009

Fall Display 2009

Sunday October 25th is the last day of Gatlinburg’s Craftsmen Fair at the Convention Center.  One guest said it was a step above most fairs of its kind; she is in retail and should know!  What is even more important, they made a lot of purchases for the holidays…

How do you go from the beginning of blueberry picking season to the middle of fall color without blogging about what is happening?  Guess I was too much in the thick of it to stop and write about it, but okay no excuses.  The good news is we have been incredibly busy.  It has been a roller coaster of a year, but concerning occupancy we had our best July ever, came within two nights of breaking the August record, and this October is the best month we have had since we opened ten years ago.

Fall color is a little late this year which is good if you want to stay in my empty rooms this November!  Had a long rainy season at the beginning and middle of October with cold temps.  Warmed up the last few days with some sunshine, and the colors are just starting to snap.  I’ll post a picture in the next couple of days taken from the top front veranda.

Cheese Enchiladas in Spinach Wraps

Cheese Enchiladas in Spinach Wraps

Have tried a number of new recipes in the last two months and have posted most of them on the recipe page of my website.  Have added photos to 20 or more of the 40 some recipes.  One of my new favorites is Cheese Enchiladas.  A real pain in the neck to make but oh my  gosh is it good.

Doing some more design work on my website, should be finished in a couple of days, hopefully. :-)  Mizkathleen

www.GracehillBandB.com info@GracehillBandB.com   866-448-3070

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