Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Over the Smoky Mountains to Maggie Valley

Despite having lived in East Tennessee for almost 7 years now, we rarely drive over the Smoky Mountains for sightseeing purposes.  With a couple of exceptions, whenever we have gone over the mountains, it was to travel to the historic cities and the seashore.

Consequently, when Larry, (aka. Big Dude at and his better half Bev, invited us to take a day trip with them to Maggie Valley North Carolina, we jumped at the opportunity.

Larry and Bev’s purpose for the trip was to check out the suitability of an RV park in Maggie Valley for an upcoming RV rally or gathering.  They have become an RV family, traveling all over the USA…

This was the pretty little stream that flows through the RV park that they’d selected for their gathering.

We spent some time driving around the Maggie Valley area in order to check out what might be of interest to the RV group.  However, it was lunch time so we decided to check out a popular local restaurant. 

With almost 400 reviews, Country Vittles is ranked #4 out of 27 restaurants listed in Maggie Valley.  I always look for a 10:1 ratio in the ratings…dropping out the average reviews and just looking at Excellent and Very Good vs. Poor and Terrible.  Country Vittles came close to my desired ratio with 312 positive and 36 negative reviews.

As one might expect in a restaurant named Country Vittles, the dining area is decorated in country kitsch.  It was past 1 PM when we stopped by so the restaurant was quiet and almost empty.


·       Maggie Valley has a population of about 1,250 people.  The town gets its name from Maggie Mae Setzer.  Her father John "Jack" Sidney Setzer founded the area's first post office and named it after one of his daughters.

·       Maggie Valley is the birthplace of Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton, a famous moonshiner.   He committed suicide in 2009 rather than report to federal prison after being convicted of offenses related to moonshining and illegal firearm possession.

Larry ordered the Farm Raised Catfish Platter.  It came with 2 sides, catfish with cornbread and biscuits as well as those hush puppies.  As you can see, he chose the French fries and green beans for his sides.  Larry rated the meal as OK…but nothing special.

This is the basket of biscuits and cornbread that came with our meals.  Larry thought that the biscuits were OK but Laurie and I thought that the cornbread was way too dry… 

Bev, Laurie and I all opted for varying fried chicken options.  Good fried chicken is a real treat when you can find it!

The cooked apples were good and I liked the coleslaw.  However, we all agreed that the chicken had been overcooked or fried up for the lunch crowd and had been sitting for a while.  The breading was decent but the chicken was dry…not at all moist. 

This little gift shop occupies the space at the front of the Country Vittles Restaurant.

I’d have to give Country Vittles an average rating at best.  The prices are right but this was just a ‘fuel stop’ and it wasn’t a place I’d seek out if I was in the area.  This restaurant is located at 3589 Soco Road in Maggie Valley North Carolina.  Phone: 828-926-1820.  They are open daily from 7:00 AM – 8:30 PM.  Website:

Returning to East Tennessee later in the day, Larry drove us over the mountains on US Hwy. 441.  This highway passes right through the middle of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Schools weren’t quite out for the summer and traffic was fairly light. 

The view shown above is from Newfound Gap which is at an altitude of 5,048 feet.   I didn’t know this but prior to the development of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Newfound Gap was an ‘undiscovered’ pass 2 miles east of Indian Gap, which was long thought to be the lowest mountain pass over the Great Smoky Mountains.  This National Park is far and away the most visited National Park in the United States…

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. It was a fun day and glad you guys could join us.

  2. Sounds like you guys had a good time! The food and scenery look great, gorgeous area!