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About the Valley

Welcome to the September 2008 issue of About the Valley. This issue is all about the fall colors that will soon be traveling down the mountains plus information about Cades Cove bus tours.



FALL IS HERE!

Fall colors are remarkable in the Smokies, mainly due to the large diversity of trees. There are about 100 species of native trees in the Smokies and the majority of these are deciduous. The autumn leaf season usually lasts several weeks in the Smoky Mountains National Park as the fall colors move from the high to low elevations. It is impossible to predict in advance the exact time the colors will reach their peak. Elevation plays a major role in the timing of fall colors. At higher elevations, color displays can begin as early as mid-September with the turning of yellow birch, American beech, mountain maple, hobblebush, and pin cherry. From early to mid-October, fall colors develop above 4,000 feet. The fall color display usually reaches its peak at mid and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. The color display includes the sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and the hickories. Even though the Smokies has experienced drought conditions this summer, a Western Carolina University foliage forecaster predicts above-average lead colors this fall. To help you in planning your trip to view the beautiful colors, there are telephone hotlines that monitor the progression of the fall colors:

National Forest Service Fall Color Hotline: 800-354-4595
Tennessee Fall Color Hotline: 800-697-4200

America’s Best & Top Ten website (http://www.americasbestonline.net/index.php/pages/fallfoliage.html) ranked the Smoky Mountains National Park Fall Foliage second in the top ten places in the USA for fall foliage. The place to see fall foliage in North Carolina and Tennessee is in the Smoky Mountains, w! hich straddle the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. Each year, the park attracts more than 9 million visitors. The Smokies are a hiker’s paradise with over 800 miles of trails.

There are scenic drives and hikes to help you enjoy the beautiful colors. Check out the following web sites for more information:

Autumn Drives and Hikes: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fall-suggestions.htm
Fall Colors: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fallcolor.htm
Auto Touring: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/autotouring.htm
Hiking: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/hiking.htm

 

CADES COVE TOURS

Plans are currently underway to offer tours of Cades Cove from the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center this fall, possibly as early as October. Two 19-passenger vans will be used to take visitors on an interpretive tour of Cades Cove.

These tours should improve the traffic in Cades Cove plus enhance visitors’ experience. Drivers will serve as interpretive guides at some locations along the 11-mile loop road. Tickets will cost $13 for adults, $11 for seniors, $10 for children and children under 6 are free. Tours are expected to last 3 to 3 1/2 hours, depending on traffic and other factors.

For more information on tour schedules, contact the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center at 865-448-0044 or visit http://www.gsmheritagecenter.org/.


EASY CHEESECAKE
This is a delicious recipe from one of our local TV stations—Chef Walter

1 1/2 cups Honey Maid graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
4 8-oz pkgs Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
2 tsp vanilla, divided
16 oz sour cream, divided
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 deg. Line a 13x9 inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan.

Mix crumbs, butter and 2 TBSP sugar and press firmly onto bottom of prepared pan.

Beat cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar and 1 tsp vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add 1 cup of the sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour over crust.

Bake about 40 minutes or until center is almost set.

Mix remaining sour cream, 2 TBSP sugar and 1 tsp vanilla until well blended. Carefully spread over cheesecake. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Cool.

Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Lift cheesecake from pan using the foil handles. Cut into 16 pieces. Store any leftover in the refrigerator.

You may top this cheesecake with fresh berries just before serving.

IF YOU ARE PLANNING A TRIP TO THE SMOKY MOUNTAINS, PLEASE CONSIDER STAYING AT PINE CONE LODGE. THE COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE OF A CHESTNUT RIDGE CABIN MAKE YOUR VACATION MORE FUN! CHECK AVAILABILITY AND RESERVE YOUR DATES EARLY -- MANY RESERVATIONS ARE MADE WEEKS AHEAD.

A GREAT INVESTMENT!!

If you are interested in owning a vacation home or rental home in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, we are offering Pine Cone Lodge for sale. For purchase information, contact Timbercreek Realty & Cabin Rentals, 3121 Wears Valley Road, Sevierville, TN 37862, 1-800-837-7022, or visit www.timbercreekcabins.com. For a brochure describing Pine Cone Lodge, e-mail us at chestnut_ridge_cabins@comcast.net for more information.

Thanks for subscribing to About the Valley. We look forward to bringing you more news next month. As always, if you have any questions or comments or want to share your favorite place to visit in the Smoky Mountains, e-mail us at chestnut_ridge_cabins@comcast.net.



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