Oconaluftee Visitor Center – Digging to China

Bradley Fork Trail - 2010/09/13

Yesterday, the phone rang at Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I picked it up and a woman from Alabama was on the line.

“You’re having the Mountain Life Festival on Saturday?”

I confirmed that it was still happening even though the new construction will be cutting down on the parking.

“Have you ever heard of a movie, Digging to China?”

Mam, I felt like telling her, you’re lucky you got me on the phone. “Yes, I’ve seen it.”

“Well, I stayed in the motel and the room where it was filmed in Cherokee. Do you know if the motel is still around? It had tepees in front.”

“I’m sorry, I have no idea.” Though I’m in Cherokee every week, I stick to the main roads and I’ve never seen it –  I would have recognize it.

At about one o’clock, Libby Kephart Hargrove walked in the visitor center. She’s the woman I interviewed on Saturday at the Great Smoky Mountains Association meeting. She and her husband were still in Bryson City. He wasn’t feeling well so she was exploring the park.

She had her big 40% off on $150 coupon and she was going to spend it all. (If you’re a member of the GSMA, you get a once-a-year coupon for 40% off on $150 of merchandise – It’s a good way to get all your gifts.) Libby bought a print of the newly discovered Masa pictures.

Then I took her on my roving tour of Bradley Fork trail. See above. Fall is definitely here. A few jewelweeds, here and there, but mostly the only color were in the changing leaves.

BRP - Rag weed on ParkwayThe fall theme was even more pronounced when I drove back on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

BRP-Autumn Blooming Clematis Autumn blooming clematis, ragweed and of course, the start of changing color.

It’s going to be a spectacular fall.

I stopped at the Big Witch Overlook, just to look. See below.BRP - Big Witch Overlook


Once I got home, I searched for the mysterious motel. Not so mysterious. It’s opposite Food Lion.

The motel is Mac’s Indian Village

at 60 Teepee Drive.

Here are the directions: It’s a mile or so south of town. There is a traffic light at the intersection of
US-441 and Business 441 outside of downtown Cherokee, opposite Food Lion.

Some websites report it closed. I’ll check it out next week.


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