The story below is an excerpt from our May/June 2015 issue. For the rest of this story and more like it subscribe today, view our digital edition or download our FREE iOS app!
Cosby Creek Cabins invitingly dot the foothills of Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains.
Like a calling, in all seasons, Elaine Winter clamors for Cosby Creek. She seeks the soothing sounds of trickling water – at a place where mist rises above rocks and rapids. Such a scene, at Cosby Creek Cabins, lies little more than an hour from Winter’s home in Knoxville, Tennessee.
“I get there, and I’m enamored,” says Winter. “It’s just a wonderful place.”
Here, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Winter relaxes mind, body and spirit at a cabin called Creekside Memories. The retiree loves this two-bedroom cabin so dearly that she talks almost like she owns the place.
“It is so wonderful – that’s my favorite one,” she says. “It’s about 10 feet from the deck to the water. And that makes a difference.”
Winter comes prepared. She packs steak and lobster; Caesar salad; chicken sandwiches; biscuits, eggs and country ham.
“If it’s my vacation, I’m going to do better than I do at home.” And then? She climbs into Cosby Creek. Winter spends many summer days simply soaking in that stream, enjoying a frosty Coca-Cola or a glass of wine. “I love rocks,” she says. “And I move the rocks and make a little pool. It is heaven. I just love it.”
Oh, that creek: This rippling run has not only given a name to these cabins. You could consider Cosby Creek the fountain that inspired all.
Alan Strickland and his wife, Tedra, fell in love with these waters when they moved to Cosby in the late 1990s. The Stricklands rented their first cabin in 1998. Then they built a few more. Over time, the Stricklands branched into a cabin-management business, all the while branding Cosby Creek Cabins as complements to the quaint, quiet beauty of Cocke County, Tennessee.
Cosby Creek Cabins now boasts 35 rentals with names like Mountain Manor, Moosetrax – and, of course, Winter’s favorite, Creekside Memories.
Cabins vary in size from one bedroom to four. Among Alan Strickland’s favorites is Elk Run, a two-bedroom bungalow with a hot tub, porch, deck, dining area, large kitchen and creek access.
“It has most of everything that everybody’s looking for,” says Alan Strickland. “They want to be on the creek, and they want to be secluded. With Elk Run, you’re pretty much on the water, and you’re private, and that is a huge draw to people.”
What’s here, in turn, adds up to much more than pristine places to sleep, eat or steal a kiss.
Outside, the national park offers whitewater rafting, hiking trails and fishing holes. Cosby, too, is close enough to provide easy access to all that the “Smokies Strip” has to offer with the glitz and glamour of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville.
Coming from Longwood, Florida, Alfred and Farrell Culberson discovered Cosby Creek Cabins a few years ago while visiting Farrell’s former nursing school classmates from the 1950s.
“We chose it mainly because it’s the closest thing we could find from Newport,” Farrell Culberson says. “We cooked and ate and played cards and caught up on all kinds of stuff.”
Farrell Culberson grew up in Parrottsville, a tiny town near Newport – and too many miles from Cosby. “So this is like a homecoming,” she says. “And we love it.”