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Through Children’s Eyes

It is July, near the middle of our season, and it has been an interesting year already.


Harper Davison is our summer intern from Arkansas Tech and she has been learning all the adventures and challenges of a family business and inn.  She has spring cleaned rooms, waited tables, washed dishes, worked in our office, and helped with two weddings at the inn.  She is seeing it all.  Who knows, she may still end up in the kitchen some time.


Ashley Hackshaw, along with her husband Brett and daughter Sienna, arrived a month ago.  We have enjoyed watching them adapt to a whole new environment.  We hope you have been following them on Ashley’s blogs; www.yearatthehemlock or as they find their way around town and the area, discover their favorite places for lunch, take beautiful hikes, all the while fixing up their cottage.  Ashley’s passion is writing and she is now able to do just that more and more everyday; not only on her blogs, but also on a book she is authoring.  Brett has taken up mountain biking with a vengeance.  He rides whenever he can and can be often found down at the Bike Shop in Bryson City or at the Tsali Campground, where there are wonderful mountain bike trails.  Then there’s Sienna, some of us call her Boo.   She is full of enthusiasm and just loves being at Hemlock Inn, exploring and playing, meeting new friends, playing board games with Miss Lainey, and just generally having fun.  She even likes to help setting and clearing the tables.


And that brings us to the point of this post. Children, like Boo, have the unique ability to see things that we as adults sometimes miss.  It is pure exuberance for life and simple pleasures.  Those of us who are parents remember the time in our children’s early lives when everything was a wonder.  They would walk (and run) around with wide eyes exploring all that was around them.  A bug could fascinate them for an hour.  They took nothing for granted.  That is why we love this time of the year at Hemlock Inn.  We enjoy watching the children and the sheer joy they have exploring and playing outside, meeting new friends.


There have been times when parents expressed concern about what their children would do here.  After all, we have no TV in the rooms, no swimming pool, and just a limited area for WiFi.  They are nervous their kids will be bored and their vacation ruined.  Several years ago, we had such a set of concerned parents. Upon finding out there was no TV, they immediately began calling around to locate local movie theaters.  When they found a movie of interest, they went looking for their teenage boys who had made their way to our patio, met some other kids, and were involved in a hot game of ping pong.  When they announced they were leaving to go to the movies, the boys said they didn’t want to go.  They were having too much fun right here.


We regularly ask our guests what attracted them to Hemlock Inn.  For returning families, the answer is very often that the children wanted to come back.  We believe that “….children bring the parents back” and it is so true.


Sometimes, I wish all of us adults could just sit back and look through the eyes of our children at all the wonder around us…the simple joys, the delight at little things, no agenda or worries, just plain fun.  Life is real, often complicated and filled with obstacles.  We cannot avoid that reality but it is nice to escape it just for a little while, look at things differently, and spend our time on what and who is really important.


When that happens,  it is an added bonus because families will spend more time together and that is really what the kids really want.   We often quote a note written by a nine year old girl a few years ago.  She and her family were here to ride the Polar Express Train.  While that was great fun, what was really important to her was that  “…my dad finally had time to play a game with me”



Summer is here.  It is a chance to get away from whatever consumes us.  May we suggest that this summer you consider what is really is important.  Rather than look for a place that will entertain your children, find a place without distraction so you can interact with them.


We have the place for you.  Boo will be waiting.


  1. Shelley Swenson says

    Thank-you both for your love of children and for being wonderful host and hostess! A stay at the Hemlock Inn is a breath of fresh air to the lungs and spirit!