Gatlinburg Stories and Tips

Surprising Find of National Historic Landmark

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Photo, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

On our drive to Gatlinburg which is approximately 750 miles from NYC we stopped for the night after being on the road about 7 hours.

We spent the night in Natural Bridge VA. The next morning as we were ready to get back on the road we discovered that we were about 15 minutes away from a National Historic Landmark. "Natural Bridge" is located on US 11, 15 minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway off I 81. This natural rock bridge is 215' tall and 90' wide was once owned by Thomas Jefferson. A pleasant descent into the ravine to Cedar Creek can be reached in about 35 minutes walking leisurely to the end of the trail where you view a waterfall. Unfortunately due to lack of rainfall, there wasn't much of a waterfall to look at when we visited but there were a bunch of huge yellow colored fish in the nearby creek, I believe they were trout but I can't get anyone to confirm if yellow trout exists.

It was a pleasant walk in the woods on mostly level ground. Included with admission ($12 adults and $6 children) was a visit to an Indian Living History Village with descendants of the Monacan Indians where they depicted the way of life from 300 years ago. Two women descendants and a young boy dressed in Indian garb told of how things were done in the past. They told us that there were only about 1500 true descendants of the Monacan Indians still living in the area.

We spotted a wild turkey roaming around outside the area as we were walking. You can visit the village going to or from your walk to the bridge.

A visit to Natural Bridge is definitely a worthwhile stop. We got on the road to resume our trip to TN approximately 6 more hours of driving.

If you have time there are also other interesting things to see here; caverns, wax museum and behind the scenes was museum factory tour. www.naturalbridgeva.com

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