There’s no doubt good food and fabulous restaurants are in abundance in the Gatlinburg area, but sometimes you find a gem that just stands out above the rest.
That’s what happened to Global Connections Graphic Designer Tiffany O. when she stayed for a night at White Oak Lodge and Resort on her way to North Carolina. Tiffany’s experience at Carver’s Orchard & Applehouse Restaurant was so good she had to write about it!
While Carver’s Orchard & Applehouse Restaurant isn’t on the beaten path of the regular attractions associated with Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, it is certainly worth the 20-minute drive. The only way that we even came across it was a Google Maps mishap that landed us at the top of a mountain. On our way back down, we just happened to see this restaurant off Highway 32. It sits up on a hill overlooking the apple orchard with picturesque views of the mountains in the background.
We made it in time to still eat breakfast (one of my favorite meals). While we looked over our menus at all the delicious options, our friendly server came out with a basket of fried apple fritters with homemade apple butter and a glass of apple cider for each of us. To me the apple fritters just looked like hush puppies but boy did they taste amazing, especially with some apple butter on them. The cider was a perfect little start to this meal, too.
I ordered eggs over easy with bacon, grits, fried potatoes and toast. It was a true southern breakfast at its best and absolutely delicious. It’s hard to find a place that can make truly good grits and they nailed it here with the perfect amount of butter-to-grits ratio. The fried potatoes were probably the best I have ever had (including my father’s, which were knocked down to second place after these).
There wasn’t anything left on any of our plates after this meal. Even my daughter, one of the pickiest eaters I know, finished her plate.
The prices were reasonable and in line with what I would normally pay for breakfast out. The service was nothing short of what you’d expect: pure southern hospitality. Our server was nice enough to give us directions back to the highway and even gave us a shortcut on a beautiful scenic byway were we stopped for photo ops.
On top of the outstanding food and scenic views, they also had a little farmer’s market right next to the restaurant. This was filled with all sorts of little finds, including a variety of fruit butters, cider, pickled and fresh vegetables, and handmade crafts.
I went a little crazy in there and ended up buying blackberry butter, apple butter, apple butter BBQ sauce, and a half gallon of peach cider. Everything was so reasonably priced that I really didn’t break the bank and I was able to bring home a little taste of my experience there.
The beaten path is rather boring to me and this little adventure was one of the most memorable stops on our trip. Next time you visit White Oak Lodge and Resort, I highly recommend checking out this diamond in the rough.
Have you found hidden gems on your trips to Gatlinburg? Tell us about them in the comments below.