If you arrive in the Maggie Valley area without a prior reservation, you will notice a lot of retro-style motor courts. Yes, I used the word “motor court” deliberately, because they remind me of the places we used to stay when my family took vacations back in the 50’s and 60’s. Basically a bed and a bathroom with very few frills. There are plenty to choose from, and I’m reasonably sure the prices would be very moderate. But, maybe you want to stay in a place that is more unique and has more “character” or mountain flavor, shall we say. If so, then here are two recommendations:
- Cataloochee Guest Ranch. You’ll find it at 119 Ranch Drive in Maggie Valley. Rooms are available in the Main Ranch House, in individual cabins scattered throughout the 1000 acres of the ranch or the Silverbell Lodge which is great for large families. The ranch sits at an elevation of 5000 ft. making gorgeous vistas possible in every direction. There’s so much to do when you visit. If you love outdoor activity, then help yourself to horseback riding, hiking, bird-watching, wildflower walks and wagon rides. Snow skiing and snow boarding are also available on the slopes adjacent to the ranch.
Meals are a big part of the allure of the ranch. Three meals a day are served in the large dining room. The website includes recipes for Onion Casserole and Zebra Cake, but you can also order a cookbook created by a daughter of the original owners. Cataloochee Cooking by Judy Alexander Coker is available in paperback or hardback. Mountain Fever by Tom Alexander tells the history of the ranch along with much information about this part of the Smoky Mountains.
Here are some scenes from the ranch:
2. Smoky Shadows Lodge. Located at 323 Smoky Shadows Lane in Maggie Valley, the Lodge is only 30 minutes from Ashville, N.C. With the motto “Life is better at 4500 feet,” this is a great place for relaxing in a rustic, peaceful setting. Rockers are placed all along the expansive porch taking in possibly the best view of the Smoky Mountains. Rooms are available on both the courtyard side and the mountainview side of the lodge and in two separate cabins.
A continental breakfast is served for overnight guests, but if you’re going to be in the area, be sure to call to see when one of their gourmet dinners will be served. I’ve heard rave reviews. As with Cataloochee Ranch, Ginger Shinn and the staff of Smoky Shadows has compiled a cookbook of recipes passed down for generations. Call the lodge to request a copy.
Check out these photos in and around Smoky Shadows Lodge.
Stay tuned for two more very unique suggestions in next Monday’s post.