Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Our Smokey Mountains Vacation - Day Five, Part Two: Mountain Farm Museum and Mingus Mill

This post is part of a travel series of our vacation in the Smokey Mountains.  To start at the beginning, go HERE!  The rest of the posts in chronological order are HERE, HEREHEREHEREHERE, and HERE!

One of my absolute favorite things about Smokey Mountain National Park is all the history!  The land on which the park now sits, was once a land filled with homesteads of early settlers.  Many of the log cabins and farms are still there.   Cades Cove and Roaring Fork Motor Trail are both great places to see the old homes and churches.  But if you really want to learn more about the farmer's life in the 1800's, then "Mountain Farm Museum" is the place for you!

The museum is located in the North Carolina portion of the park about 30 miles from Gatlinburg.   I really enjoyed this section of the park for it was far less crowded than the Gatlinburg area.  The Oconaluftee Visitor Center is located right next to the museum but we didn't go inside for we were there to see the farm.

The Mountain Farm Museum is a collection of historic log buildings from throughout the Smokey Mountains gathered and preserved on one site.  Here you can explore a farmhouse, barn, apple house, springhouse, blacksmith shed, corn crib, and hog pen.  Visitors can get a sense of how people lived and survived in the late 19th century.  

Front of corn crib

Every building was labeled with a description like the one below to explain the purpose of the building.  I found the corn crib so interesting because it was the settlers most important crop and they ate cornmeal products up to three times a day.  That is definitely not the low-carb diet most of us eat today.

Back of corn crib

The Farm Museum was so peaceful when we there.  Now granted, it was still very early in the morning, but we so enjoyed getting away from the crowds and being in a more peaceful atmosphere.  We also loved how the entire farm seemed encircled by the Smokey Mountains and a lovely river ran the length of the farm.  All we could hear was running water and birds singing.  It was so tranquil.

The woodshed

The Farm Museum also demonstrates historic gardening and agricultural practices including livestock.  In the picture below are apple trees which are fenced off to protect the trees from the elk.  If you watch the video at the end of this post, you will see the elk that were enjoying breakfast right on the road to the Farm Museum.

The next three pictures are of the barn.

Here is the beautiful river that runs all along the property.  You can see more of this river in the long eleven minute video at the end of the post.  This river is also a trail called the "Oconaluftee River Trail".  The trail follows the river 1.5 miles to Cherokee.  It is a stroller accessible trail, so it would be great for families or the elderly and handicapped.

This is the hog pen.  I was fascinated by the fact that they let their hogs free part of the year so that they don't have to feed them.  How they ever find them again, I have no idea.


After our visit to the Farm Museum, we then headed over to Mingus Mill which is only a half mile north of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center.  There is a spacious parking for the mill, and then you take a pretty walk across a bridge to get to the mill itself.  As I've said so many times in my Smokey Mountain travel posts, there is water EVERYWHERE in the smokies!  Beautiful rivers and babbling brooks constantly surround you providing the most soothing sounds.

Mingus Mill was built in 1886.  It is a historic grist mill that uses a water powered turbine instead of a water wheel to grind flour.  It is located at it's original site and is still used today to make corn meal and whole wheat flour.  You may purchase the products from the miller inside the mill. All proceeds go to benefit the park, so it's not just a great souvenir and meal, but a great charity as well.  Be sure to watch the Mingus Mill video at the end of the post where we meet and converse with the miller and purchase some cornmeal to take home.

This is the side front of the mill as you are walking down the path to get there.

And here you can see how the water is channeled from the river and into the mill to power the turbine.

Finally, here are all the videos.  The first one shows the mill and the miller.  The second one is just me and my hubby having fun and enjoying the little trail to the mill.  The third one is a long, eleven minute video of the entire Farm Museum, and finally, the fourth video shows the elk we encountered as we entered the park.

Our next stop on this action-packed day was Clingman's Dome!  Wait till you see the views from up there!

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!



  1. Such beautiful pictures and a nice area to explore. Especially the first picture would look so beautiful in a frame or a photo greeting card!

    1. Thanks Ellie! I love that first picture. It seems to capture everything the Smokey Mountains is about.

  2. These posts are really making me want to visit the Smokey Mountains!

    1. Lots of east coast people visit the Smokies, it's not a bad drive for you!

  3. Wow, so very beautiful. I truly would love to visit there.

  4. We always love places like this with so much history!! Thanks for taking us along Amy,

  5. We had the oldest, most weathered corn crib on my farm. It's still there. Sort of.

  6. What a nice place to visit - it looks so quite and like such a relaxing day! There's a historical village here near where I grew up I really need to take the kids there one day!

    Hope that you are having a lovely week :)

    Away From The Blue

    1. Yes, I think it would be such a fun, educational place for kids.

  7. We didn't do the mill when we were there: next time! We really enjoyed our stay last year so we need to plan to go back again. Beautiful pictures!

    1. Oh bummer! The mill was our favorite part. I especially loved that you could purchase the cornmeal. I'm waiting for my grandkids to come next week to make some cornbread.

  8. I always like these trips back the the olden days! What an awesome place.

    It's nice to see your link this week at 'My Corner of the World'!

  9. This looks like a great place to explore. I would love to have a get-away, here right now :)

    Thanks so much for linking up to The Weekend Link Up. I hope you can join us again tomorrow for Creative Mondays Link-Up. #TheWeekendLinkUp

  10. Very, very cool, Amy! I love old mills and seem to seek them out when I go traveling! These photos are all so fantastic. Thanks for sharing and linking with me.



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