MY MIND : The Great Smoky Mountain road trip

One of the most memorable road trips I have done recently was the Great Smoky mountains in Tennessee, USA. We started our trip from Greenville in South Carolina and soon hit the highway. Our destination was the beautiful city of Gatlinburg. The morning had to start with a grand breakfast at ‘IHop’, one of the most famous breakfast places in the States. This sumptuous meal included pancakes, eggs, potatoes, sausages and whatever your heart desires! Once on the highway, it was very clear that we had big competition with trucks, they were everywhere, in all sizes and colours, and I have to admit not seeing so many trucks as I saw on American highways.

First stop

Our first stop was Henderson, a small town with a lovely downtown and famous for its organic honey with comb. It was a great break to walk under the warm autumn sun, digest our breakfast and do a bit of shopping in the small boutiques alongside the road. There is nothing like finding unique items to purchase, ones that are made locally and not duplicated in hundreds as found in big malls.

Asheville’s great coffee

We then drove towards the next city, Asheville. Here, after some sightseeing we decided to look for a coffee shop. It is very interesting that the concept of proper coffee shops as found in Europe, is not as frequent in the States. Here, they are mostly related to some kind of food joint, so we had to look around for a while, and luckily ended up in a wonderful cafe called ‘World Coffee cafe’. The clientele of this very interesting place seemed to be artists and musicians and the coffee aroma and taste was one of the best I had in the States.

Cherokee town steak

After a walk in the market, it was time to head to our next destination, Cherokee town. Of course if you have been watching Western movies all your life, this name evokes in you a lot of sentiments and makes your eyes wonder around looking for the great Cherokee chiefs. Unfortunately, during that visit we were not lucky to see any. The only chief I met was a picture printed on tourist guide books that we found in many souvenir shops we stopped at. It was time for lunch and just to live the full American diet, we went to a famous steak house, the portions were so huge, that one serving could easily feed two people, it was tasty.

By now we were driving through mountainous roads, and luckily for people like me with serious motion sickness, there are many stops where one can have a break, use the facilities and take photos. This amazing road trip to Gatlinburg is a must for every visitor of the Smoky Mountains.

Something interesting I found in most markets, even in the first American airport I landed in –Philadelphia-were T-shirts with the Pope’s picture printed on them. A reminder of his just concluded visit to the United States, Thinking of it, I missed buying one!


The Great Smoky Mountains are a mountain range rising along the Tennessee–North Carolina border in the southeastern United States. They are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, and form part of the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province.