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Wildlife watching in Blount County, Tennessee
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Views of Cades Cove valley in Blount County, Tennessee
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A historic house at Cades Cove in Blount County, Tennessee
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View of the Great Smoky Mountains in Blount County, Tennessee
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Hiking the Appalachian Trail in Blount County, Tennessee
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Scenic view of the Great Smoky Mountains in Blount County, Tennessee
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Spectacular views of nature in Blount County, Tennessee
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If you are looking for somewhere you can switch off for few days and relax, visit “the Peaceful Side of the Smokies,” Townsend, Tennessee.

Located in eastern Tennessee, Townsend is where nature shows its beautiful side. Less than an hour’s drive south of Knoxville, Townsend sits at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. And Blount (pronounced “Blunt”) County, which also includes the towns of Alcoa and Maryville, offers fun and relaxation for the entire family.

Historic Cades Cove

A brilliant place to start your tour is Cades Cove, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cades Cove lies in a lush green valley surrounded by gorgeous scenery, where horses graze on meadows full of yellow flowers. After stopping at the visitor center to rent a bicycle, ride the 17-kilometer, one-way loop road that circles the Cove and takes you past restored houses from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Prior to it becoming part of a National Park, Cades Cove had human inhabitants. Even after the area became a national park in 1934, a few people continued to live in the Cove, and the last remaining resident did not leave until 1999. More than 80 historic residences, many of original log construction, remain in the park today.

Stop at the lovingly restored houses, granaries and churches, where you can get a great impression of the lives of the early settlers in this region. Wildlife is plentiful in this area. Keep an eye out for black bears, deer, wild hogs, wild turkeys and raccoons.

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Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center

After a delicious lunch at Barbob’s Burgermaster Drive-in in Townsend, visit the nearby Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, which has countless exhibits dedicated to the region’s rich history. There, tour the historic village and learn what life was like in an Appalachian community in the early 1900s. Inside the center, there are exhibits with Native American artifacts, which give you a glimpse into how the Cherokees lived. Especially impressive is the outside area of the museum, in which you find 11 originally restored historic houses and interactive exhibits.

Impressive Tuckaleechee Caverns

Later in the day, head to Tuckaleechee Caverns. The caverns were carved over tens of thousands of years ago and are estimated to be between 20 and 30 million years old. Known as the “Greatest Site Under the Smokies,” the caverns are a must-see. On the 1.5-kilometer tour, pass rock formations millions of years old. The highlight of the tour is the so-called Big Room. The cave walls are 45 meters high, with stalagmites measuring 7 meters high – forming one of the largest cave rooms in the world. Simply stunning!
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Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

All around Townsend and nearby Alcoa and Maryville you’ll find many beautiful accommodations for every taste. If you love the wide views of the endless Smoky Mountain range, check out the beautiful Gracehill Bed and Breakfast in Townsend. Repeatedly voted the bed and breakfast with the most beautiful views in the U.S., this huge house on top of a hill really lives up to its reputation. The rooms are luxurious and elegant and the breakfast is a real treat – the owner prepares a three-course breakfast every day. Townsend will captivate you with its vast nature and stillness. Whether it’s an escape for two or the entire family, Townsend promises a dream holiday!

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