This was our first visit to Anchor Down RV Resort in Dandridge, TN and hopefully not our last! We have been admiring other RV'er's posting envious pictures and reviews and now we finally get to experience for ourselves. From a budget perspective, we blew it for the month with our stay here, but we knew that going in. This place is not cheap, even with our military discount, but it was a chance to check this off our bucket list. We only wish the weather would have been better. I am getting to sound like a broken record!!! Hopefully that changes with our next stop.
To say this resort is a great place to stay is sort of an understatement. We timed it right from an occupancy perspective as it was a real quiet week and many of the sites were empty. However, we were on the cool kids block and had neighbors most of our stay but that really never bothered us. With these amazing views and amenities and just an overall top notch and well designed park, we were happy to share. We talked with several of the workampers who enjoy being there and it sounds very tempting, but with a 9 month commitment, that may be a little long in one place for us.
While here, we did get out to see the Great Smoky Mountains as well as some other locations in the area. We steered clear of the tourist strip from Sevierville to Gatlinburg as much as we could and did not set foot in one t-shirt shop or fudge factory. Our entertainment and misc budget stayed in tact, however, we did check out several restaurants local to the area. Delicious food and friendly service. Folks were genuinely glad to see you.
Outside of the parks we checked out Bush's Baked Beans Visitor Center and Museum. This is a free venue and you even get a picture of yourself and Duke taken for free. They had a nice movie of the history of the Bush family, the operations and some of the beautiful bean footage commercials. They even had a scale that you could get your weight in beans. That was pretty entertaining and thank goodness there wasn't a conversion chart to pounds! The museum did a really good job taking you through the years and we learned an interesting fact...Bush's original baked beans were developed at their WI plant! Well, huh! The gift shop was really cute and had alot of tempting items, but I refrained. There is also a cafe with food that folks rave about on Trip Advisor, however, there was quite a wait, so we did not stay for lunch.
We also went to the Douglas Dam that was created by the TVA (TN Valley Authority) for water management in the area as well as power production during WWII, along with other dams, for the Manhattan Project and other war time efforts. In driving around the dam property, we also stumbled upon a quaint little campground the TVA has along the picturesque river. Sites there were electric/water and ran about $25.
Our time here in the Smokies has come to an end and we are now off to visit with a dear friend from a previous job for the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving!!!
SHOP AMAZON HERE
Have any Amazon shopping to do for the holidays??
Do it from our Amazon link above! We participate in the Amazon affiliate program and we appreciate you using our Amazon link above to make your Amazon purchases. It does not cost you anything additional, you get the same great prices and helps us to support our blog. You can even save our link as a favorite and use it whenever you search Amazon and make a purchase. Thank you!!!
During our time here in TN, we have been able to gt out to many of the local parks, State Parks and even the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Even though the weather has been colder than usual (around 20 degrees colder!) and really rainy, we were able to get out to explore the areas we were in and can honestly say that TN is a beautiful place.
While staying in Monterrey at Belle Ridge Retreat, we were able to get out to several parks and explore the beautiful Cumberland Plateau. We found a wonderful little overlook, Bee Rock Overlook, which was named by the Indians for the bee hives that hung below the overlook. This place is an untouched beauty...and a bit dangerous. It is relatively easy to get to but once there it is a bit dangerous, especially for kids. There are no railings or warnings as this is not a public area, but there are plenty of signs at the trail head stating the dangers. You are literally standing out on the rock and could easily go right over the side. Even though it was a little unnerving to stand out there, it sure was beautiful!
Sergeant Alvin C. York State Park was another gem of a find. This state park is a bit different than most in that it is the homestead of one of the most decorated soldiers of WWI. The property included a visitor center that gave tours of the property, a grist mill, his home and outbuildings, hiking trails through the woods and a suspension bridge over the river to see his grave site. It also includes examples of life for a soldier in WWI, including a realistic replica of the trenches which were very well done with plaques explaining life in the trenches. Every year they have WWI re-enactments on the property to include ground and air troops.
Standing Stone State Park, Cummins Falls and Cumberland Mountain State Park reinforced how wonderful the TN state parks are. Nice roads, well kept trails and overlooks and great campgrounds, not to mentions beautiful views!
Another park we found was the Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville. This 315 acre nature center in the middle of the city has a wonderful visitor center and wildlife center, amazing trails for walking or hiking, access to paddling on the Tennessee River or Mead Quarry Lake and a treeline adventure park with zip-lines, tunnels and nets. We did not go on the zip-lines while were there but we did take a walk on their popular river-walk trail, which was a bit of a hike in areas. This property was owned by bird expert, Harry Ijams and his wife, Alice, known as the First Lady of Knoxville Garden Clubs. The area became a gathering place for bird and nature lovers for more than a century. In the 60's several Knoxville area clubs came together to turn the Ijams property into a public nature park and education center. Truly a gem in the middle of Knoxville.
Once we moved over to Anchors Down in Dandridge, north of the Smoky Mountains, we knew we just had to visit the first National Park that Rick and I visited while we honeymooned in Gatlinburg. The Great Smoky Mountains never get old for us. The area is just amazing and we wanted to see how the big fire of Nov 2016 affected the area. Throughout Gatlinburg area and the park itself, you can see remnants of the impact the fire had. There are some home and business sites that are just foundations still and mountainsides that are burnt. Even with that being said, the park is still beautiful and left us awestruck on our trip from the Gatlinburg entrance up to Newfound Gap.
On another rainy day we traveled the new, "Missing Link" of the Foothills Parkway. This is a picturesque 16 mile drive that runs from Wears Valley to Walland, just east of the Smoky Mtn Ntl Park. The road is of course new and the detail in the pulloffs stone parking area to the beautiful wooden guardrails is amazing. This section of the Pkwy was finally completed 52 years after the Pkwy construction was started. The ride is just beautiful and even though it was rainy and foggy, AGAIN, we really enjoyed what views we could see and the colors. Again, photo warning...they just don't do it justice.
We finished up our Smoky Mountain Park visit with a drive through Cades Cove. This area just shows how diverse the Park really is. With the various homesteads, fields, churches and cemeteries, it is a small glimpse into how people, many years ago, lived in the area. It's too bad the weather did not cooperate more these last couple weeks, but we still really enjoyed our time exploring these parks.
Shop AMAZON Here
By shopping through our link, you help to support our page and allow us to keep bringing you more exciting updates of our travels.
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies