I've been meaning to write this review forever, as my husband and I *loved* our stay in the Ivy Cottage at the Welcome Valley Village in Benton, TN back in April of 2013. The Cherokee National Forest is a wonderful playground for outdoor lovers, but we had no intention of camping in a tent after a long day of hiking (I'm a real big fan of indoor plumbing). The Welcome Valley Village was the perfect retreat at the end of each day, and the grounds are a beautiful, natural fit with their setting in the forest. The cabins are sparkling clean and have a lot of the little touches that make a place seem more like home than a hotel.
The Ivy Cottage has one bedroom and an attic loft that could sleep at least three, but this cabin is really suited as a honeymoon cottage. The bed was comfortable (although the springs were a little noisy...I did mention this was the honeymoon cabin, right?) but the kitchen, bathroom and living space are just too small for more than two people. If I were staying with the family, I'd rent one of the larger cabins, but the tiny space wasn't a problem for just the two of us. The cabins are all spaced for maximum privacy, and even though there were other guests staying in the village, we didn't see or hear anyone except when passing them on the roads.
The owners are friendly and eager to help you enjoy your stay in the area. At check-in, they give you a list of the local places to eat, and while we would have located the Ocoee Dam Diner since it's right on the main road, we probably wouldn't have found Lottie's on our own. It's off the beaten path, and I would have hated to miss that good country cooking.
On the topic of cooking, even though the kitchen was tiny, it was well stocked with pans/dishes/utensils. The ability to prepare our own meals was an added value, since it cut down on our meal costs. Again, the little touches (plenty of trash bags and dish soap, fabric softener on the towels, an outdoor fireplace on the deck, frilly curtains on the windows) added to the overall experience. If you like the outdoors but hate camping, this is where you want to be.
The owners have stocked the cabins with packets of information regarding the Cherokee National Forest and the Ocoee River. While we could have looked this up ourselves, it was nice to have the hiking trail information at our fingertips. There are also guest journals in the cabins, and it was fun to read through the comments and remembrances about the Ivy Cottage going back to 2006.
The Welcome Valley Village is about an hour from Chattanooga, and about 15 minutes drive into Cleveland, a decent sized city. We had every intention of visiting Chattanooga, but instead we were caught up in exploring the beauty of the local area. This place is definitely on our 'must return' list.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome Valley Village is a privately owned and operated 17 acre riverside retreat. Our 5 log cabins are nicely appointed with fireplaces, jacuzzis, and fully furnished kitchens. Guests enjoy swimming, fishing, hiking, photography, biking, basketball, horseshoes, and every cabin has its own campfire pit. Take a guided whitewater rafting trip on the Ocoee River, site of the 1996 Summer Olympics whitewater paddling events. Float trips are also available on the milder Hiwassee River. ... more less