Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Visiting Gatlinburg, Tennessee

On Tuesday morning, June 17th, we packed our cooler with Pure Leaf bottled tea and accompanying snacks, and began our 573 mile journey to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  Ten hours later we arrived.

The last time I was there was August 1974 - 40 years ago!  Lori was only 7 years old, Steve was 5, and Jeremy wasn't even born. Now the kids are grown, and our nest is empty. That skinny lady sitting on the rocks... well that's me.  Amazing what 40 years does to you. ;-) Both Lori and Steve returned to Gatlinburg for their honeymoons.

~ 2014 National Park sign. ~

As a tourist attraction/destination, Gatlinburg has become so commercialized - it was almost unrecognizable to me from 40 years ago.   Downtown was bustling with people everywhere. Below is a photo of Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg taken from the hotel balcony early Wednesday morning. Not a creature was stirring, because none of the tourist stores or attractions had opened yet for business. 

In 2002 my Pastor and his wife visited The Wild Plum Tea Room in Gatlinburg, and gave me the 1999 issue of their cookbook.  

It contains a recipe for their signature Wild Plum Tea [served hot or iced].  I have made it for numerous church gatherings, and it's always a hit.  

The cookbook piqued my interest to visit the tea room, so we went Wednesday morning shortly after it opened at 11:00 a.m.

It's located in the historic Arts & Craft Community - 555 Buckhorn Road, but if I hadn't have previously known it existed, it's unlikely we would have discovered it.  It's located in a log cabin, on an obscure road, nestled among National Park trees.  It's not a 'typical' tea room, but that's what made visiting it fun and enjoyable.

 ~ The tea room entrance is in the back. ~

We had our choice of eating on the outdoor deck shaded by large walnut trees [notice how they built the deck around the trees], but rain was in the forecast so we opted to eat in the covered porch area instead [also pictured below].

Becca was our server.

~ Wild Plum menu ~

Since the weather was hot, we ordered their signature Wild Plum [citrus] tea, iced. It was delicious and refreshing.  Becca saw to it that our glasses were continuously refilled.  

We were served their signature miniature Wild Plum muffins.

Jerry ordered the Fresh Fruit, Cheese and Crackers Plate to begin our meal.  When I remembered to take a picture we had already eaten the Kiwi slices.  The plate contained Brie, Blue, and one other cheese that I've forgotten. 

Becca took our picture.

We both ordered their Salmon Burger - fresh salmon mixed with herbs and spices, coated with Panko bread crumbs and baked.  Jerry ordered his on a bun, and I ordered mine on Salad Greens with a side of their Pasta, Cheese and Pea Salad [the recipe is in my cookbook].

Restaurant seating inside the log cabin.

When we first arrived there was lots of seating available, but by the time we left, people were waiting outside to get in.  The tea room/restaurant has been in business since 1984, so they have a very established clientele.  

Another tea room checked off my "must visit" list!  If you're ever in Gatlinburg, stop by the Wild Plum. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal there.

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Today I'm joining Bernideen's Tea Time Blog for Tea in the Garden


  1. You were about 2 hours from me! I've been to Gatlinburg many times, and I agree about how commercialized and crowded it has become. I've never been to this tea room, though, will have to remedy that!

  2. I definitely need to stop by for a visit next time I'm up that way! The food sounds good and the atmosphere quite pleasant. I went to Gatlinburg a lot on family vacations when I was a girl, so that photo from 40 years ago is the Gatlinburg I most remember!

  3. That is so cute I am just imagining it is the fall and at Christmas as the atmosphere would be so fun. The food really looked unique too! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Forgot to say "please come link" to Tea In The Garden!

  5. We nearly always have lunch at the Wild Plum Tea Room when in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area which is frequent because we live 3 hours north. I have the recipe book, too.


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