The Swag

June 9, 2013

Today at 5,000 Feet

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Swag @ 5:18 pm


It’s been a great opening to our 32nd season! We’ve had a many guests with us this year celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, as families and as couples! We’ve had several families enjoy the entire property as their very own “home in the mountains”, all meals included of course. They’ve gathered here from all of the country to spend a few days together s family and friends to catch up with one another and play some games of horseshoes, cornhole, croquet. They’ve spent time on the trails hiking and enjoying a massage when they return. We also were the mountaintop destination for a family corporate retreat. A mix of business and family can even be a great getaway! It’s great to see our guests enjoying time together, as couples, family, friends or business partners, with no worries other than “what are we going to eat next?”.



The weather has been a mix of sun and rain, but guests always seem to be able to make the most of whatever the skies bring. Hiking through the foggy, moist and wet woodlands of GSMNP brings a completely different feeling of peace to your soul. After the hike, a warm and cozy fire in the fireplace following a rejuvenating warm shower in one of our 7 rooms with outside showers, is a perfect end to a morning hike, or afternoon hike…you choose! Trees have finally completed filling their branches with fresh, new leaves and the many beautiful wildflowers continue to say “hello” along the trails!


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Our Wednesday picnic has been filled with guests who hike up with our event leaders. Some guests choose to hike up to Gooseberry on their own. Others have chosen to ride in the ’93 Land Rover Defender, especially since we have completed major repairs to the ¼ mile road going to Gooseberry…we’re calling it “HWY 2300” now.



Malcolm the CatMalcolm is honoring us with his presence as he chooses. With rainy and cool days, he likes to stay in his garage snoozing rather than hanging out on the porch with guests. We do however see him from time-to-time on the front porch steps at check-in, waiting to greet arriving guests, in hopes of curling up on their laps once they get settled.
It’s always a great day at The Swag!

May 11, 2013

Today At 5,000 Feet

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Swag @ 5:52 pm

Our 32nd Season

The Swag opened on Monday, April 22 for our 32nd season and welcomed guests from Georgia, NC, Ohio and Texas on opening day!  The weather has been a bit on the rainy side with cool temperatures, but that hasn’t kept our guests from enjoying the miles of trails both here and in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Special event leaders have included storyteller Donald Davis and naturalist Bob Collier who have spent time leading hikes and identifying for guests the many spring wildflowers blooming along the trails; bluets (below), white and painted trillium, bear corn, bleeding heart, foamflower, fire pink and wake robin.  Bob Collier has spent several mornings birding on the front lawn before breakfast, introducing guests to the familiar sounds and identities of the mountaintop birds such as the rose-breasted grosbill shown below.



There’s even been a couple of sightings of the familiar baby bear.  Yesterday while hiking, some of our guests saw twins climbing 80 feet or so into the tree tops…Mama Bear is teaching them well. This photo is from last year, we’ve not been lucky enough this year to grab any new ones.






October 27, 2012

Details From Deener

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Swag @ 5:39 pm


Tommy Little and his wife Debbie have been coming to The Swag for many years.  Each year he writes a poem during his stay with us.  Enjoy his tribute below in recognition of our 31st season.  The painting is by Asheville artist, Ann Vasilik.




(A Tribute to The Swag Mountaintop Inn)

We come every year to see her, to make sure she’s o.k., holding her own. 

And she always is, waiting anxiously for her streams of guests in that old home spun dress. 

You know, the one she borrowed from Lonesome Valley Primitive Baptist. 

I love that dress, the one that catches my eye from the last gravel switchback.


She always keeps the old Blue Spruce out front to watch for us,

waving its branches laden with its weight of deep green years and lichen.


“Ya’ll come on in”, she always calls, wiping her hands on the apron of her porch. 

“There’s supper in the kitchen and a fresh bed made. 

It’s so good to see you again. 

I always miss my friends. 

They keep me going, you know.”


Then my heart warms when I reply,

“My dear old mountain home with your old homespun dress, wear it well. 

 Wear it a long, long time. 

We’ll be here every year to check on you.”




October 19, 2012

Details by Deener

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Swag @ 2:49 pm


Doug and Kathy Peters, Swag event leaders for our last week in September, led enthusiastic guests Larry and Caroline Thompson from Snellville, Georgia, Chuck and Carol Murray from Elm City, North Carolina, and Dean McCumber from Durham, North Carolina on a unique hike in Cattaloochee Valley on The Boogerman Trail.  The seven and a half mile “History Hike,” was highlighted by Doug and Kathy’s narrations of descriptions of life in the Cattaloochee Valley in the early 1900’s before formation of the Park.

Robert Palmer, also known as The “Boogerman,” was the grandson of George Palmer who, according to “History Hikes of the Smokies” by Michael Strutin, moved his family to isolated Cattaloochee Valley in 1848.  He and his family thrived in Cataloochee  and became leaders in the Valley.

The Boogerman Trail traverses approximately 250 acres owned by Robert Palmer which still contains rock walls, old fields, and remnant homesites.    Due to the Boogerman’s refusal to allow logging on his land, the hike is an incredible walk through old-growth forests with many stately trees and numerous stream crossings over foot log bridges.

Doug Peters, also our singer/songwriter at the Swag , entertained guests following dinner with his original song “Bridges on The Boogerman Trail” which contains the following lyrics so deftly expressing the importance of The Boogerman’s efforts to preserve these treasures and our responsibility to follow in his foot steps:

Some things in life we treasure

Some things we forsake

And in the end how much should we give

Or should we take?

And what will be our story

That our children’s children tell?

And will tall trees still be growin’ across

The bridges on The Boogerman Trail?

July 17, 2012

Details From Deener

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Swag @ 7:43 pm

ABC News and USA Today highlights the joys and wonders of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in a recent edition.  It is pointed out that our Smokies Park is one of the very few in the National Park system that is free.  Needless to say, when you stay at The Swag, it’s free every time you take the 15 steps from the dogtrot into the Park.


By Caroline Morse,
July 8, 2012

“America is the land of the free—and that applies to many of the country’s star attractions as well. Make the most of your summer by visiting these famous spots around the United States; you won’t have to pay a penny to do it.”

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the few major American national parks that doesn’t charge admission (and there’s actually a deed restriction on the land saying that no toll or fee will ever be imposed). The park has so much to offer. Into wildlife? Come here to spot hundreds of species, from bears to deer. Looking for a more cultural experience? Learn about the history of the southern Appalachian region. Active visitors will be endlessly entertained as well, with many options for hiking, biking, and riding.”

Read the complete story  at




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