Enjoying a Visit With My Parents!

A Fun Week With My Parents!”

By Rachelle Siegrist

fall homcoming at the museum of appalachia

Dad, me and Mom at the Museum of Appalachia

After almost 3 weeks of blue skies and sunshine, it started raining 2 days before my parents arrived from Florida last Sunday, and rained daily until what was supposed to be their last day here, when amazingly the rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sun shone down, showcasing brilliant blue skies above! With squinted eyes, one couldn’t help admiring and looking at the great ball of fire in the sky! However, the juicy weather didn’t hinder us from having fun together. Last Monday morning, we headed to the Museum of Appalachia, where we spent much of the day. Firstly we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the restaurant located inside the museum, featuring yummy Southern style food. With a tantalizing list of things to choose from, one couldn’t go wrong! We enjoyed everything we ate, especially the sweet potato casserole and shared piece of carrot cake, which was scrumptious, and the best I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant! Moreover, we enjoyed the group of people gathered and seated in a circle inside an adjacent area, playing lap and hammer dulcimers, creating a truly memorable experience!

larry davis at museum of appalachiaDad makes a new friend

rachelle siegrist by Tom Cassies cabin

Mom and me by Tom Cassie’s one room cabin

With happy tummies, we started our journey back in time, when Appalachia was void of paved roads, cell towers, and many of the other modern conveniences, which tend to ruin and clutter the natural world, and many times, our personal lives! We visited the two large, indoor museums and were delighted to enjoy bluegrass music, played by a talented family of six, while exploring the largest museum, the Appalachian Hall of Fame. Leaving the indoor museum, we walked along a curved path while stopping to visit an assortment of historical cabins, barns and small outbuildings rescued from a 200-mile radius around the museum. Walking into the old cabins, filled with the scent of old wood, offered a glimpse back to a time and place, when much of a family’s life was spent just trying to survive. I must say a highlight of our visit to the museum for me, was of course petting the resident horse and mules, as well as watching the sheep and goats, especially the adorable babies!

rachelle siegrist huggin a horseI was delighted to get several hugs from my new furry friend!

larry davis in museum of appalachia jail cellDad “serves time” in a historic, moveable  jail cell at the museum

With a morning free of rain on Wednesday, we decided to take advantage of it, with a picnic at nearby Metcalf Bottoms, where we ate accompanied by the sounds of the adjacent, rushing river! We spent the afternoon driving the narrow, winding, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. The narrow paved trail, snaking its way through dense woods, invites you to slow down and take time to enjoy the forest and historic cabins located along the drive. After visiting almost every cabin along the way, we were treated to a splendid finale along our journey, that being a “Wet weather waterfall” called the Place of a Thousand Drips! We then enjoyed a relaxing drive to Cosby, TN, where we went to Carver’s Orchard. As we walked into the large, old building, the deliciously intoxicating aroma of fresh apples filled the air! Several bags of apples and squash later, we headed back to Townsend, where we feasted on a yummy pizza at Pizza Hut!

ephraim bales cabin at roaring fork

Me, Dad and Mom beside Ephraim Bale’s historic cabin located inside Roaring Fork

tub mill inside roaring fork motor trail

Dad and me beside a tub mill

rachelle siegrist with cabin in roaring fork motor trail

Mom and me beside a house for little people

stream inside roaring fork motor trail

I decided that this large rock looked like a big turtle trying to swim upstream . . . and the turbulent water made it appear as if it were blowing bubbles out of its nose!

Thursday we visited the Cades Cove Museum located inside the Thompson-Brown House in nearby Maryville. The historical cabin is filled with interesting relics and stories from people who lived inside Cades Cove, before leaving their homes, so it could become a National Park. The volunteer was most informative, and we left with a greater appreciation of the history of the beautiful cove! Thankfully, the seemingly never-ending rains, stopped Thursday night, and we awoke to a gorgeous sunshine-filled day Friday morning! With a picnic lunch packed, we headed into Cades Cove, to spend the glorious fall day! After a picnic lunch, we walked up to Gregory’s cave, where we listened to several turkeys nearby clucking to each other. When they stopped I would make clucking noise, which they would immediately answer!

rachelle siegrist by gregory's caveDad and me at the mouth of Gregory’s Cave

The remainder of the afternoon was spent enjoying visiting a few of the cabins and walking through the open sun drenched fields to a couple of small cemeteries. Of course no trip to Cades Cove is complete, unless we stop to watch and pet the resident horses and mules! Upon returning home, my poor mom decided that what we thought was a sprained muscle, was most likely a broken foot, which happened when she twisted it on a rock buried under the leaves, while hiking to the cave earlier that day. So after a memorable trip to the ER, our worst fear was confirmed, and it was indeed a broken bone in her foot, ending in a soft cast being put onto her foot! Thankfully the ER staff was extremely friendly, helpful and most entertaining as well!

picnicing at metcalf bottomsEnjoying a picnic at Metcalf Bottoms inside the Smokies

Needless to say, they had to postpone their return trip home by a day. So while my mom took a much needed nap yesterday, my dad and I hiked to Spruce Flats Falls, to enjoy both the beautiful fall foliage and the raging falls, thanks to the recent rain! It was as splendid as always, water crashing down, completely surrounded by bright yellow and orange foliage! Dad and I stayed there awhile, completely mesmerized while watching the multi-colored leaves floating along and plummeting over the smaller cascades. Then all of a sudden a strong wind came, and within seconds, the air was full of swirling, descending, bright yellow leaves, creating a stunning 3-dimensional effect to the gorgeous setting! After several stops along the hike back, to admire the view and for me to pet the moss, we found ourselves back at the trailhead once more. While eating our supper last evening, we decided that we had indeed made many memories during their visit. Thankfully all but one, were wonderful ones!

fall in cades coveDad, a barefooted me, and Kit enjoying a walk through a grassy fiend in Cades Cove

rachelle siegrist with mule in cades cove

Dad takes photos while I pet and talk to the mule

~ ————— ( ) ————— ~

~ The latest paintings off of the Siegrists’ Easels ~

Wes recently finished a miniature painting of a Mule Deer near our friends’ home in Colorado.  His other recently completed paintings from last week can be seen on the mammals page on our website

mule deer painting by Wes_SiegristLil’ Mulie ” by Wes

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Until next time . . .
~ Rachelle

A Visit With Wes’ Parents . . .

“Organic buildings are the strength and lightness of the spiders’ spinning, buildings qualified by light, bred by native character to everyone and married to the ground.”
~ Frank Lloyd Wright

photo at museum of appalachia

An historic barn and mill at the Museum of Appalachia

Wes’ parents arrived last Sunday evening for a week long visit. It was a very busy week as we drove to different destinations to see new sites! The first day was spent at the beautiful Museum of Appalachia about an hour drive from home. It was a gorgeous day, as we walked around looking at the old historical homes, buildings and barns on the property. The best part of the visit was watching the resident peacocks, chickens, goats and sheep! There were several lambs and kids, that were all so adorable, and the male peacocks were extremely handsome, as they walked gracefully about the grounds, sporting their gorgeous plumage! The resident roosters were prancing about as well, with their full and fluffy tails waving in the breeze. There was so much to see, and the setting itself is so beautiful, with the pastures skirted by the densely tree-filled forest.  There was a couple of large old buildings too, which were filled with historical artifacts. Some things we had never seen before and found completely amazing. We walked about in them, for a couple of hours looking, reading and simply trying to take it all in. So sit back and relax, as you take a photo journey around the museum with me . . .

photo of sheep

A few of the precious resident sheep

photo at museum of appalachia

A beautiful old mill on the grounds

photo at museum of appalachia

Me in a portable old jail cell

photo of male peacock

One of the handsome males, strutting his stuff!

photo of male peacock

A “bird’s eye view” from atop an old barn

photo at museum of appalachia

Looks like a perfect spot for a summertime picnic!

The next day, we went and saw the Norris Dam, and the surrounding area, including a historic old mill and barn. Unfortunately, we were there on the wrong day, so the mill wasn’t working and the museum wasn’t open, so this is on our “to do again” list for the future. We were blessed with another beautiful day, as we drove around the curvy road leading up to the dam, where we were offered a beautiful view of the man-made lake and surrounding area. A highlight for Wes and I was when he spotted a beautiful water snake, laying by a small stream that descends from where the mill sits. Needless to say, that was certainly a photo we had to take!

photo of old mill

Me along with George and Jeanie in front of an old mill near the Norris State Park

photo of water snake

A nice sighting!

photo of Norris Dam

Wes and I in front of the Norris Dam

photo of Norris Dam

George and I hamming it up a bit

photo of the Trigonia Elm

Wes standing by a slice of the Triginia Elm, which was stated to be the largest American Elm in the US, and probably world, in 1961

Wednesday was a rainy one, and thus a perfect day for riding around the loop in Cades Cove. The mountains appeared lush and moist under the thick cloud covered sky, creating a perfect afternoon for the deer to come out and enjoy the fields of fresh grass. We saw deer and turkey in many of the open fields, as well as two Black Bears, with one being a mommy with her precious cub. As we drove around the cove,  small puffs of clouds rose between the mountains in areas, making it look like there were scattered fires burning below. This is actually where the Smoky Mountains got their name, not from the pollution that hangs around here in the summer, making the mountains look hazy. The cloud formed smoke is really a very neat thing to see!

photo of cades cove

Clouds appearing to be rising smoke, with deer in the foreground

Thursday morning we drove over the mountains and through the Smokies, as we headed over to Cashiers, NC. We arrived in time to eat lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, Cornucopia, before visiting a couple of the local birding and wildlife shops. After looking at the beautiful Lake Glenville, and the downtown section of Cashiers, we drove the short, but pretty drive through curvy mountain roads, to see the gorgeous Whitewater Falls. It was a spectacular site as always, running with full speed as it crashed down the mountainside, to the river below. We walked down to the viewing platform, where we just stood and admired it for a time. We stood there listening to the music of the falling water mixed with the jubilant sounds of birds singing, with an occasional knocking of a woodpecker on a nearby tree joining the symphony, all to the peaceful background sounds of the breeze blowing through the pine trees! Nature’s symphony . . . there’s nothing quite like it!

photo of Whitwater Falls

The stunning Whitewater Falls

After lunch on our back porch Friday, we spent the afternoon walking around nearby Elkmont located in the Smokies and enjoyed looking at the old cabins that are being restored, and can now be explored inside.  It was quite interesting, as we walked back in time, imagining what life must’ve been like for the folks that spent their summers there by the river.  We then walked up a nearby hiking trail that follows along the river for some distance before we turned and began our walk back.  There were several different wildflowers in bloom, all adding to the beauty of the trail surroundings.

photo at museum of appalachia

Jeanie and I in front of some of the newly restored cabins in Elkmont

photo at elkmont

Wes gives me a big kiss at Elkmont!

After enjoying lunch at our favorite Thai restaurant, Lemon Grass, Saturday, we drove up the road leading to the “Dragon” to see the Calderwood Dam. After driving down a short distance we realized one couldn’t see much from there, so we continued going along, and quickly realized, that we were on the Dragon, and on a Saturday at that! Oh well, when given lemons, one makes lemon aide, so we decided to enjoy this adventure, all of us that is but poor Wes, who was doing the driving! The “Dragon” is known as the road with the most curves in the US per mile and was filled with motorcycles ripping around the curves some lying almost completely sideways as they flew around the sharp curves. There were people scattered about some of the curves taking photos of motorcycles and vehicles as they passed, so we decided to make the most of this opportunity and roll down our windows and smile at the photographers as we passes them! We stopped on the way back to get a photo of the dam in the distance, but must admit we felt totally out of place in our minivan! It was quite thrilling to watch these thrill seeking cyclists fly along this winding road! We returned home in time for me to make my homemade spaghetti for an early Mother’s Day dinner for Jeanie, which we enjoyed on our back porch. This morning we said our good-byes, and so tomorrow it’s back to painting for Wes and I.

photo of calderwood dam from the dragon

Jeanie and I in front of the Calderwood Dam

photo from the dragon

A gorgeous view from the Foothills Parkway

motorcycle photo

We all thought this bike looks a lot like a Praying Mantis!

~ Upcoming Events and Exhibitions of Our Paintings This Week ~

diVINI sorsi d’ARTE Event with the MiniaturArte Association of Italy May 19th at the National Archaeological Museum of Spina, in Ferrara, Italy

21st International Miniature Show at the Seaside Art Gallery in Nags Head, NC

 The Art of the Miniature XX at the SnowGoose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

  20th Annual International Juried Miniature Show at the Parklane Gallery, Kirkland, WA

Up Against the Wall Gallery, Kingsport, TN – This gallery has over a dozen of our paintings on display!

Blossom II: Art of Flowers at the Greenacres Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH

51st Society of Animal Artists “Art & the Animal” Exhibition at the Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala, FL

Art of the Dive: Portraits of the Deep at the Wildlife Experience, Parker (Denver), CO

To view all our many exhibits: http://www.artofwildlife.com/exhibitschedule.html

“Collect the future’s history today while it is still affordable.”

Until next time ~ Rachelle