Thunderbird Mountain

Back in the day, one of our favorite family journeys included touring the Great Smoky Mountains and the surrounding areas; it was during one of our spring excursions that we stumbled upon a place called Thunderbird Mountain Resort.  It was situated on a beautiful expanse of shimmering lake water and located near Fontana Village Resort and the Fontana Dam.  These were the days of two-lane highways, and many campgrounds still had dirt and gravel roads. 

My parents were so impressed by the beautiful vista and the quiet surroundings that they made reservations for our family to return during the early summer for a few more intervals of relaxation.  What Brother David and I had not expected in the beginning was the accommodation was a complete house, instead of a motel suite, and that daddy would rent a motorized fishing boat and tie it to our private dock. 

For days we enjoyed boating around the lake and while the guys tried to hook the big one, momma and I frequently lounged on the boat dock and perused through fashion magazines.  One day we ventured over to Fontana Village and checked out their fishing contest, only to discover that the fish were brought in for the occasion, having been raised in another location just so vacationers could pretend they were sport-fishing.  Upon close inspection we discovered that the various fees and permits required made the investment too costly even for our leisure account. 

There were only a few restaurants near the resort but one kindly couple, who owned a family style, offered to prepare a family night fish-fry if daddy would provide the fish.  The evening was one to remember because they agreed to join in the fun, and we returned several times over the coming years to visit and eat with the kind and generous people.

Our summer adventure led to us return during the autumn season when we could enjoy watching the changing color of the leaves and journey through the area apple orchards and pumpkin patches.  I think we stopped at every roadside stand and flea-market that we saw advertised and brought home a trunk full of fresh produce to include root vegetables and assorted greens.     

As I remember, the honey was sweeter, the apple cider colder, and the atmosphere was fresher during the autumn than any other time during the year.    The treasured memories of our family holidays to the mountains still linger in my mind. 


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