At least twenty years ago, I went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for a trade show. We chartered a white limo to haul our show merchandise and luggage. The limo was parked outside of the hotel and in front of a row of trees full of colors. That was my first time riding in a limo. My co-worker took a picture of me in a fuchsia color sweater standing by the white limo, and the full spectrum of fall colors was in the background. I cannot find that picture anymore, but that striking and colorful scene has always been in my mind. That is one of the reasons that I decided to go back to Tennessee.
Gatlinburg has become a very touristy town. Pigeon Forge is a small scale of Las Vegas except for no casinos. I was bombarded by souvenir shops, family fun places, and restaurants. With barely fall colors around, the Smoky Mountains are charming on their own. I like the smoky look and the layers, but fall colors are what I had in mind before I made the trip.
One of my goals in TN is to meet Jean, my college classmate who I have not seen since my school days. It was a total excitement to meet her after four decades. After a few hours of short visits cannot finish downloading everything I wanted to, but it was sweet and precious. With her recommendations, we took one full day to drive through Blue Ridge Parkway, and thanks to her, I was able to come home with some colorful pictures. It is unexpected for me to see so many thriving and luxuriant trees in this region (the Appalachian Mountains range in Eastern Tennessee).
Trees here are mostly deciduous and grow densely. When they release their fall colors, it is stunningly gorgeous. I believe they look even more dramatic at their full-blown stage right now. One thing I noticed and simply love is the layers of the mountain ridges which go on and on. The borderless spread is vast and seems to expand forever. I tried to use my tripod to catch the depth of field, but it was not easy. There are open spots to view the scene better, but most of them are not completely open. Besides, it was shaky enough for me to stand by the edge of the road above 5-6000 feet elevation.
It is easy to understand why the freeway is named Blue Ridge Parkway. See what I meant about the ridges? This is surely not the same as what I’ve experienced in Oregon. I don’t doubt that many artists are being inspired in the Northwest. I can also understand why Pee Wee King (Kentucky born) named his all-time favorite country song The Tennessee Waltz. Art is in the Nature. Nature is a masterpiece of art. The above-all mountain top experience is refreshing and nourishing to the soul. It is an internal encounter with the universe that my snapshots do not do justice.
When we cruised around towns in this region, I saw the sophistication of architecture and the orderliness of the surroundings. There are barely any farms or ranches (non-agricultural), but if there is a farmhouse, it usually looks tidy and established. The appeal of Tennessee seems to be established on a matured cultural background.
I was just wondering why I have not seen much water around, I mean rivers or lakes like what we have an abundance of them here in Oregon… Towards the end of our drive when the sun was already under the horizon, I was happy to finalize our day with these two shots:
Jean lives in Tenneesee and I live in Oregon. Both States are not regular tourist destinations they can be the more or most desirable sightseeing locations for you. That is my conclusion.