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3 Surprising Facts About the Cherohala Skyway in Tennessee

March 24th, 2015 by Whitestone

cherohala skyway tennessee scenic trail



Not far from our Tennessee Bed and Breakfast, a world of opportunities and new experiences exist on and around one of America’s most fascinating routes, the Cherohala Skyway. I was fortunate to discover it several years ago with a friend, and I will never forget my first glimpse of fall foliage from a height that placed us above endless groups of mountains clothed in color.

cherohala skyway pictures

I have learned three surprising things thus far on my trips across the beautiful Tennessee Cherohala Skyway:

1. It is entirely possible to ride a motorcycle through an actual cloud (not your run-of-the-mill fog, but a real in-the-sky cloud)

2. It is possible, on a dry sunny day, to round a corner and suddenly find oneself in a land of snow; and

3. It is conceivable on a stifling hot day to achieve relief by simply driving a mile into the sky (it’s sweater-weather up there!). Even before these experiences, I was taken with the awe-inspiring beauty of this 40 mile drive, but these unexpected incidents placed this winding road at the top of my “To Do Again and Again” list.

cherohala skyway photos tennessee

The Cherohala Skyway in Tennessee crosses through two national forests and connects Tellico Plains in southeast Tennessee to Robinsville, NC. It took 30 years to build, and was designed to display all of the area’s natural beauty via a roadway that takes travelers from a height of 950 feet at the Tellico River, to a height of over a mile (5, 390 feet at the Santeetlah overlook). From its highest point, it begins a gradual descent, offering more spectacular views along the way. Picnic tables, hiking trials, overlooks, and wheel chair accessible facilities can be found in various locations, making it possible to enjoy a leisurely, as well as scenic trip. Whitestone offers brochures that detail the many trial heads and enjoyable stops along the way.

cherohala skyway tennessee

Many people think of Whitestone Country Inn only as a destination in itself. The beautiful rooms overlooking Watts Bar Lake, the great dining, the many available activities, and the pampering of guests seem more than enough to enjoy. But Whitestone can also serve as the hub of a wheel, with spokes that lead to the amazing variety of gifts East Tennessee offers its residents and its guests. Consider a stay at the “hub of the wheel”. Sleep well, enjoy a bountiful Whitestone breakfast, grab a brochure for the Cherohala Skyway Tennessee Day Trip or another East Tennessee attraction, and spend the day exploring. Come back for one of Whitestone’s delicious dinners. Then sleep, eat, repeat… so many adventures so close to so much relaxation. Who knew?

cherohala skyway accommodations east tennessee

by Valerie Bryant Bennett

Photos by Gorilla Girl on Flickr and Dzmitry on Flickr. Photo of Whitestone courtesy of Your Reflections.

Whitestone Receives AAA 4-Diamond Award for 18th Year in a Row

March 6th, 2015 by Whitestone




Paul_receiving_Whitestone_s_AAA_4_Diamond_award_for_the_18th_year_in_a_rowFor nearly 80 years AAA has published ratings of quality hotels and restaurants throughout North America. Their 4 Diamond rating accounts for 5.4 percent of the more than 28,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels. To receive and maintain that distinction each and every property is secretly inspected for excellent quality and hospitality. With only 5 bed and breakfast inns being selected in Tennessee they set a high standard!

Before the first brick was built at Whitestone we planned the property to the 4-Diamond standards. And continuing that tradition has allowed us to receive this prestigious award every year since we opened – 18 years!

Since our first year we’ve added several awards such as Select Registry, One of 10 Most Romantic Inns in America, and the Southern Living Hotel Collection. However, being a part of our entire history, the 4-Diamond award holds a special place with us!

We’re thankful and excited for another year to serve guests beyond the AAA 4-Diamond standard. Ya’ll come visit!

Congratulations to the four other Bed and Breakfasts and Inns in Tennessee who received the award!

  • Eight Gables Inn – Gatlinburg, TN
  • Mayors Mansion Inn – Chattanooga, TN
  • Lodge at Buckberry Creek – Gatlinburg, TN
  • Christopher Place – Newport, TN

Oh, my gosh! It’s Lord of the Rings!

March 6th, 2015 by Whitestone




by: Valerie Bryant Bennett

One cool afternoon, on a visit to Whitestone with a friend, I decided to strike out through the woods across the road for a hike on one of the many trails suggested by a map of the property. My friend was agreeable (actually, she’s always agreeable…we’ve been friends since high school), so we set off through the trees and crunchy leaves on a path that was marked only by a curious wooden sign that read “Scottish Highland Cattle” accompanied by an arrow pointing up the path. 128-423Neither of us (being from Atlanta) would have known a Scottish Highland cow from a rock badger, so the sign was of little relevance, but we had been told that there was a bell we could ring once we came to a pasture, and when the cattle heard the bell, they would come toward a little shed where we could feed them alfalfa pellets from a covered barrel. To be honest, we were more about the hike than the animals, but it sounded interesting, and the woods were beautiful, so if we could make a cow or two happy along the way, why not ? It was an easy hike, and we enjoyed getting reacquainted. I had not seen my friend for years. She decided in her late 30’s to go medical school, and was accepted by Georgetown University, graduating with honors, while I changed countless diapers for years, and then became a first grade teacher whose biggest intellectual challenge was how to explain to a six year old why “a” sounds different in “apple”, “apron”, and “autobot”.

129-424Our time at Whitestone allowed the perfect setting for reminiscing, catching up, and reconnecting, and we continued this along the trail. Sure enough, before long, we burst out of the woods into an open field, and just up a hill sat the small shed. We rang the bell. The cattle weren’t visible in any direction, and we waited patiently with our enticing little alfalfa pellets, but finally turned to go down the hill. Suddenly, we  heard a rustling behind us, and turned to see a wooly head emerging from the other side of the hill. I was speechless. This was the strangest animal I had ever seen, and it was followed by others. There was only one time I remembered seeing anything resembling such creatures, and I blurted out my first thought, “Oh, my gosh! It’s Lord of the Rings and we’re on the Shire!” Both of us approached the shed cautiously, gathered our pellets again, and warily began to feed what I still suspected were make-believe animals. I seriously expected Bilbo Baggins to come trudging up the hill with a staff any minute to retrieve his missing cows.

I don’t think my friend and I spoke again for much of the hike back. We were still pondering that only a few steps away from an elegant B&B, we had stepped into what truly seemed another time and a fictional place. Over dinner in the Inn, (such food!), we relived the afternoon. I’ve often thought since that the shared experience of shock and awe that day cemented a beautiful friendship, and gave us amusement for years to come.

Go to Whitestone. Take a hike. There are numerous ones to choose from, but only this one will land you on the Shire.

Video: Recap of the Whitestone 30K Race

March 5th, 2015 by Whitestone




For more than 8 years Whitestone has been privileged to host the Whitestone 30K in partnership with the Knoxville Track Club. A beautiful race that starts and ends by the Whitestone Chapel.

The entire event with approximately 200 runners is put on by 30 volunteers.

The record for the course was set in 2010 by Stewart Ellington at an amazing 1:41:00 and still stands after this years race.

Watch the start of the race by our Tennessee wedding chapel and see the photos below.


If your planning a visit to our Tennessee Bed and Breakfast there are many trails and places for a great run. Check out our property map to start planning your run during your visit with us.

Learn more about the race on the Knoxville Track Clubs website.

whitestone 30k knoxville tn bed and breakfast

30k race at whitestone country inn a bed and breakfast near knoxville tn

runners waiting to start the whitestone 30k race near knoxville tn

Map of the Whitestone 30k Race at the east tennesse bed and breakfast inn

Is the Road to Hell Really Paved With Good Intentions?

March 5th, 2015 by Whitestone




In coaching sessions since the first of the year I have listened to clients express their intentions for change and progress in 2015. I do see a problem that’s wide spread with these good intentions.

It’s easy to state our intentions – a “purpose”, but never translate that purpose into a measurable goal or specific action plan. Proclaiming your purpose makes you feel good but unless you take 2 additional steps you are likely to fail.

road_to_hell_paved_good_intentionsLet me illustrate:

If your purpose is to save more money in 2015, even though that’s the right thing to do, having that as a purpose is not enough.

Move that purpose to a measurable goal – “I want to save $2,000 in 2015″. That’s progress but one more step is vital to your success.

Break that goal into specific increments. If you get paid every 2 weeks, then the plan is “I will save $76.92 every pay check.”

Whatever you want to accomplish, don’t dissipate your motivation by being satisfied with proclaiming a purpose. Have a measurable goal. Then develop specific incremental action plans that get you to your goal.

  1. States Purpose
  2. Measurable Goal
  3. Specific Plans

= Success

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