We live in the East Tennessee area and have been in the Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg many, many times. We always recommend to friends that they take a drive on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which is not far off the main streets in Gatlinburg. It is a one-way paved road similar to Cades Cove, but easier and faster to get to. You will find old cabins and buildings along the route where you may park and get out and explore. There are a few little waterfalls that you can see from the car (depending on the rainfall), and there are clearings in the vegetation with magnificent mountain vistas. At the end of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, you will pass right by Ely's Mill. It is open whenever the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is open. It is an old building that now houses an antique store. The owners are family members of the original builder. They also have home made candles and things that you just don't find everywhere. They also have two rentals there that are fantastic. Our family stayed there a couple of nights and we plan to make it an annual trip, especially in the summer since the rental house is right on the creek. The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail comes out at Traffic Light 1A on Hwy. 321 that leads from Gatlinburg to Cosby, just a couple of miles from busy downtown Gatlinburg.
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