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What Do You Do All Winter?

We hope your holidays were great. We enjoyed a few "family days" over Christmas, celebrated John Shell's (Lainey's dad) 80th birthday, and then closed up the inn after the Polar Express completed its run on December 30. Turns out, we closed just in … [Read more]

Merry Christmas!

It has been a while since I last wrote a blog. The reason has simply been that we've been busy with the Polar Express. For any who may not know of this event, the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad turns into the magical train ride to the North Pole, … [Read more]

The Wonder of Christmas

Even though it is still November, our thoughts are turning towards Christmas. The reason is the "Polar Express". Several years ago, the local excursion train, the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, began to do a holiday train based on the book and … [Read more]

October has come to an end

October has come to an end and for many that is the end of the leaf color season. While the peak has passed, Lainey and I were awed this past weekend as we drove to Knoxville to see our son Steven. The colors were still ablaze in parts of the park. I … [Read more]

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves…

It is mid October and in the mountains and all the attention is on the changing colors of the leaves. This is a great time of the year, the best time many folks feel. Right now, there are beautiful colors to be found all around. But there are still … [Read more]

When do the leaf colors reach their peak?

We are accustomed to answering a lot of questions at our inn. The two most often asked are "How do you get up your driveway in the winter?" and " When will the leaves be at their peak?" The answer to the first question is pretty matter of fact … [Read more]

Are you watching it?

PBS is showing a Ken Burns series on the National Parks. As with all of his work, this is very well done and tells the story of the formation of all the National Parks in our land. Of course, our special interest will be the feature on the Great … [Read more]

We can feel a change in the weather in the Smokies

We can feel a change in the weather in the Smokies. Not only have we had a fair amount of rain this fall (especially lately), but the temperatures are cooling off. We are experiencing temps in the 50's at night and 70's during the day. Some of the … [Read more]

The Light of Hospitality

From the very beginning, the lantern has been the symbol of innkeeping. Visualize the innkeeper standing outside his inn with the lantern, welcoming weary guests to his establishment. Outside Hemlock Inn, there is a lamppost and lantern near the … [Read more]

Hemlock Inn and the electronic media

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a bit of a throw back when it comes to electronic media. I would still rather go inside a fast food restaurant (when I have to eat fast food) or into the bank than use the drive through. I just like to see who … [Read more]