"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Falling Inn Love with Evins Mill

We spent the night at The Inn at Evins Mill in nearby Smithville, TN. It's a place we have been wanting to check out for a long time and a recent Groupon.com purchase allowed us to do so at half the price. The weather couldn't have been better for mid-March with sunny, warm temps in the low 70's. After having lunch in Watertown on the way, we arrived around 2 PM to check-in. We were shown to our room, the Lawrence Two, which was just about perfect. It sits on a fairly steep bluff overlooking babbling Fall Creek with our own porch complete with rocking chairs. Their are only 12 rooms total in the whole complex with three buildings of 4 rooms each (2 upstairs and 2 downstairs) plus a main lodge (photo below) all nestled in among the forested bluffs of the creek.
After getting settled in our room, we headed over the walkway above the dam (also photo left) to the south side of the creek past the original Evins Mill which was built back in 1939. Our destination was about a half-hour hike downstream. Carmac Falls, (photo below) is the gem of this 40-acre facility. This 90-foot beauty is the main reason we wanted to come to this place, and it's also the reason we have known about this place for so long. It's ranked the 10th highest waterfall in Tennessee and it's one of the few major falls in the state that we had not yet visited.
The hike was a bit challenging to get to the base of the falls but well worth the effort. We were rewarded with two other smaller falls dropping into the gorge as well. The great swimming hole beneath Carmac Falls looked inviting with the warm temps, but a little wading in the creek showed us the water was still too painfully cold to immerse oneself in. We instead just enjoyed the sights and sounds of this beautiful place. We met two other couples coming in and out of the gorge, but otherwise the place was ours alone. The stream and surrounding areas were clean and free of trash, graffiti and other signs of an uncaring public that you unfortunately see on a regular basis at waterfalls with public access and no protection.
As the sun started to drop lower in the sky, we climbed back out of the gorge and headed back upstream. We stopped in Evins Mill itself on the way back. The innkeepers have turned the ground floor of this cool old building into a game-room complete with a pool table, ping-pong table, dart boards, a large TV and sitting area, and a bar with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages. After a spirited and close-scoring game of ping-pong, we headed back to our room to grab a shower and relax in our rocking chairs before dinner. We also had free wi-fi to access which was a nice perk.
Dinner (as well as breakfast the next morning) is included in your per night cost and is served in the main lodge. The inn offered some yummy appetizers before dinner and while nibbling on them out on one of the lodge's huge porches overlooking the mill dam and pond, we ordered a great-tasting bottle of Italian sparkling wine (prosecco) at a very reasonable price from their full bar. Dinner was scheduled for 7 PM, but the staff offered us seating at little early and we were happy to oblige since we were famished from our afternoon hike. Now, we came here specifically to check out Carmac Falls, and we figured anything else we enjoyed would be gravy. And let's just say, the gravy was delicious!! This four-course meal blew us away. It was easily one of the best experiences we've ever had dining out. The first course, ginger-infused soup, was amazing. The pineapple salad up next was creative and refreshing. Our entrees, organic pork loin from a local farm, and wild Tasmanian salmon, were incredible. Dessert was a light strawberry meringue that went great with the delicious coffee they served.
Our great meal experience. the mild temps and the "supermoon" (hey, that's what the experts were calling it as the largest full moon in 18 years thanks to its proximity to the Earth - photo below) inspired us to grab some flashlights and take a quick hike back out to the overlook of Carmac Falls about ten minutes downstream on the south side of the creek again. Wow! What an experience! Seeing and hearing the roaring falls under dazzling moonlight was breathtaking and one of those moments in your life you just have to be thankful you got to experience together (photo above).
A game of pool and a sad attempt at darts back inside the mill concluded our evening and brought the end of a surprisingly great day. We dropped another blanket on the bed back in the room and decided to leave a window open so we could let Fall Creek rushing over its rocky course put us to sleep. The bed was comfortable and although the inn was full, the entire place was very quiet and peaceful.
Breakfast the next morning was not served until 9 AM, so that gave us time after waking up around 8 AM to take another quick hike to work up our appetites. We opted for what we were told was the "easy" north side of the creek trail, but actually found it to be a bit more harrowing than we expected. The trail that hugged the high bluffs of the creek gorge disappeared at points along the way either washed away from recent heavy rains, or perhaps not properly maintained for a while. We made it to the overlook without incident, but thought the view of Carmac Falls on the south side was much better. This trail does lead you the brink of the second falls dropping near Carmac which is kind of cool.
Breakfast was an all-you-can-eat buffet-style, and again the food was excellent. They even had an omelette station that we had to skip because will filled up so f
ast on the wonderful sausage, bacon, fruit, pastries, etc. We ate out on the porch where we had enjoyed our wine the night before and the weather was once again just perfect.
Check-out isn't until noon and since we had a couple of hours, we decided to take one more hike over on the south side of the creek and say goodbye to Carmac Falls from the overlook. We thought we were alone on the trail until we happened upon the little fellow in the photo above sunning himself on the trail. Looks like spring has officially arrived! We got back to our room and packed up and reluctantly checked out of The Inn at Evins Mill. We were home in less than an hour and we vowed along the way to definitely return to this wonderful place where even paying full price is well worth the money.

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