Hills and Dales

Visitor Center

This estate has been preserved by five generations of local families. It is open to the public for community enjoyment. The home is open for tour, however, no pictures are allowed. It is worth the fee to see the home, and take time to visit the gardens.

The Gardens

The Home from the garden..

The Home is decorated for holidays and the Visitor Center hosts workshops. Music and other venues also occur in the gardens.

Anakeesta The Place of High Ground

What a phenomenal place! And to think I almost bypassed the visit. A must see.

Suggestions for the visit..

  • Buy tickets on line
  • Arrive early, they open at 9 a.m.
  • Get literature on the Park, review it.
  • Bring a water bottle.
  • Park in the lot near the venue.
  • Enjoy, it’s the experience of a lifetime.

Up, Up, and Away……

The visit begins with a trek to the top of the mountain. This is done via an open chair lift, an enclosed chondola, or for those elevation fearful, a bus ride. The chair lift ride takes 20 minutes.

Once off the lift flowers surround and abound. The Park is a Garden of Eden developed as the brainchild of landscape architects. And all these gardens have the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains to enhance the floral beauty even more. I’ve traveled the world but never saw such a beautiful garden.

Continue down the brick path to..

At the top of the garden walk is Anavista Tower. Built in 2020, this 60 foot structure of organic wood and steel was built on the highest point of the mountain. Walking up stop at every level and enjoy the view as each level affords a different vista.

After walking down from the Tower follow the path to enjoy other sites.

Lovers

And check out the side view of wildflowers and mountains as you sit in the many rocking chairs in open and covered areas.

Don’t miss the wood cutter along this path,

Memorial Forest Walk – At the base of the Garden are signs describing the Smoky Mountain fire of November 28, 2016, when 14 lives were lost as well as thousands of forest acreage. It is a sad tale, however, it also describes the courage and resilience of the Tennessee people. Take some moments to read, reflect, and honor.

The Children’s Area

Bears welcome the children’s area of the Park

Let’s look at the obstacle courses here. They are only for the strong, so make sure you are before starting these. In some instances the only way out is through.

A child looking on in wonder and ready to go..

The Treetop Skywalk

What a fun walk, not too taxing, and you may even see a bear.

In closing, other rides and amenities..

Ziplining – a fun event, about $60

The Rail Runner Mountain Coaster – This single rail coaster speeds down the mountain at close to 25 mph. Many were in line signing up for this one. Another fun event.

Restaurants

Around the Park are also travel trailers which sell adult beverages and munchies.

One final look,

and a quote to sum it up.

Doris Duke Mansion

Was told of the nearby Doris Duke Mansion, and gardens by friendly medical personnel during my appointment. Intrigued, as I was aware of Ms. Duke’s horticulture expertise, I followed this tip to discover another delightful North Carolina site.

While the house is open for lodging, tours are not available, however, the gardens were free to explore and this was a true delight..

For those not familiar with Doris Duke, (1912-1993), she was the heiress to the American Tobacco Company, the only daughter of James Duke, her tobacco baron father. She lived a colorful life, and her philanthrophic donations were vast. She was an avid horticulturist, and art lover growing up in Hillsborough, New Jersey, where she has another amazing home with vast gardens which is available for tour, and a must see.

At the time of her death Doris had quadrupled her father’s wealth, and as she was without heirs her vast fortune was left to charities, medical research, education of the disadvantaged, the performing arts, wildlife, and ecology, to name a few recipients.

Another view of the home

Let’s take a garden tour…

Walkway into the Garden

Butterfly Garden with birdhouse

Adirondack Garden

Nice touch – children’s Adirondack chairs.

Herb Garden

Prayer Garden- never saw this before and what a wonderful idea

Children’s Garden

Porch View

What a wonderful visit.