My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. [originally: ,:] —Yesterday morning was warmer, with a clear blue sky and sun. We started a few minutes after 9, each of us driving in the front seat of an open car, with a ranger out ahead of us in a truck with all his fire-fighting paraphernalia in the back, to clear the road. I felt these many preparations were a little elaborate, but the open car was so delightful, and, being in the front seat, I was not blown at all. My chauffeur companion at once introduced himself as one of the mountaineers and then, with a smile, he added: "I was born and brought up here. I know every inch of this country, but I've never left it, and I couldn't find my way around a city." The last part of this I rather doubt, for he was very interesting to talk to and told me a great many things which showed a rather wide acquaintance. We talked of teachers and their salaries, the cost of board in the mountains, farming, the average cash income, life in general as compared between city and country folk, and he remarked that "even if you didn't have much in the country, you were better off than you were if you were poor in the city."

The drive was first through a deep gorge, and the Redbud was out in great profusion, giving the hills on either side an almost purplish look mixed with the green of the hemlock. Then some glorious mountain views, and finally we came down into Cades Cove, completely encircled by mountains, looking as though it might once have been a lake, but they tell me the formation does not indicate that it ever was one. There we left the cars and walked up about two miles over an easy trail, crossing and recrossing a lovely little brook, seeing giant hemlocks and pines and finally a really tremendous giant poplar. This is virgin timber, and I've seen nothing like it anywhere in the East. I can hardly wait to get back here some June, when the rhododendrons, mountain laurel, and azaleas are out. It must be unbelievably beautiful.

We were the guests of Mrs. Will Myers at lunch in a mountain cabin, immaculately clean and delicious food, so of course we ate far more than we would ever eat at home—ham, not smoked, but air-cured, which is very delicious; biscuits and corn bread; beans and cauliflower; mountain honey; cottage cheese; coffee; and coconut cream pie. Luckily our four-mile walk gave us an appetite!

A good part of the drive home was over a road built by the CCC boys, and it was just as lovely as it had been on the way up, though in the gorge the shadows were already falling, for the sun could not reach down into its depths.

This is a center for craft work, as there is a settlement school run by the Pi Beta Phi and also a good deal of furniture making and smaller wooden articles are also made here.

We are off this morning to see a spot which is noted for a profusion of wild flowers. Then we will be on our way again, and I'll tell you tomorrow where we end up.

E.R.
TMsd 13 April 1937, AERP, FDRL