Adventures With Family

Having Fun In The Smoky Mountains!

By Rachelle Siegrist

norris lake
Looking out over the lake by Norris Dam

Wes’ parents have been visiting us here in the Smokies for the past week, and we’ve enjoyed several adventures!  They arrived last Sunday evening in time for supper on the porch.  Monday we headed over to Knoxville to go to the zoo, and when we arrived, I realized I had forgot our good camera . . . oops!  “Not to worry” I said, lets go to Norris Dam State Park instead, and we’ll come back another day to the zoo.  So we did just that, deciding it was a great way to enjoy the gorgeous weather that day!

rachelle and wes siegrist at norris lake

The lake was beautiful and a cool breeze filled the air, as we visited different areas around the park, including an old mill and barn.  Of course I couldn’t resist getting in the water at every chance, at least up to my knees, and am anxious to camp there sometime soon and explore the area in our kayaks!

norris dam
Now that would be fun to slide down!

Blessed with another beautiful day on Tuesday, we decided to have a picnic by the water.  We enjoyed a lovely drive before finding the perfect lunch spot, with a wee bit of sun shining on me and the rest in the shade.  Afterwards, we talked with a nice couple who were fishing and who had the cutest little tan Chihuahua named Lucy.  She had light green polka dots all over her fur, and her owner told us right away we may not want to pet her, as she had found goose droppings and rolled in them, proudly decorating her fur with the perfectly round green splotches . . . Ha Ha!

flowers and lake

After lunch we took a leisurely stroll, stopping to admire flowers and watch birds.  We even saw a couple of Banded Water Snakes swimming just below the surface of the water!

rachelle siegrist
Jeanie and I admiring the flowers

Wes worked in the mornings, getting things done in time to spend the remainder of the day out and about.  We decided to try the zoo again, with all of us being sure to remember the camera that time!  It seemed every time we went anywhere during the week, we got behind a paving truck, stripe painter or something else in the Park.  While heading to the zoo we got to follow behind a trailer containing the Mayfield Dairy cow, which was really neat!

mayfield cow
The Mayfield Cow heads to the zoo

For me, the highlight at the Knoxville Zoo is getting to watch and listen to Georgie, the resident Gibbon sing!  He now has a big new beautiful enclosure, which has netted tunnels in the air, through which he can climb to different sections.  His favorite spot appeared to be the highest point, at which he could swing from the tree top and sing out loud and clear, broadcasting his beautiful opera voice throughout the park and surrounding area!

georgie gibbon knoxville zoo
“Wop…Wop…Wooooooo” sings Georgie!

The new Asian section and tiger enclosure is also very nice, and we were able to get some great reference photos of the tiger for future miniature paintings.

tiger at knoxvile zoo
“Oh . . . this will make a great miniature painting!”

We stayed until it was closing time, having enjoyed a great day at the zoo indeed!  One afternoon, we took a relaxing drive around nearby Cades Cove, and were delighted when we got to see a bear, standing up in the field!

bear in cades cove

This time we decided to hike by the stream for awhile, after walking around the grist mill and other historical buildings, finding a huge burl on a tree along the path.

rachelle siegrist hiking the smokies
George, Jeanie and me in Cades Cove


Another day, we packed a picnic lunch and headed over to Gatlinburg, to drive along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail.  It was another beautiful clear day, showcasing the mountain vistas that dotted the drive along the narrow winding road.

roaring fork drive in gatlinburg
Wes, Jeanie and George with fire damage near Gatlinburg behind them

We stopped to see some of the old historical cabins and barns located in the area, of which the little tub mill is always a favorite.

wes siegrist roaring fork drive
Wes and George with the trough leading to the historical Tub Mill

A gorgeous stream runs alongside the road throughout part of the drive, and affords great places to walk down and enjoy wading in the icy water, in several locations.  I thought this one particular spot to be really beautiful, as all the surrounding rocks were covered in lush green moss, and was so soft to the touch!  I spent some time there wading in the clear water and of course petting the moss!

stream in roaring fork motor trail gatlinburg

We said our goodbyes this morning, as Wes’ parents headed back to Indiana, deciding it had been a fun week, full of adventures!


~ See our miniature paintings in person this week at these three locations ~

13th Masterpieces in Miniature
May 2018: Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada

27th International Miniature Show
May 5 – June 2, 2018: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC

The Art of Miniature XXVI
May 6 – June 10, 2018: Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

Learn How to Commission A Painting by Clicking Here

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

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