These are really tall trees!
We got to the same place we'd stopped at on our last visit, where we'd seen some old buildings, but couldn't figure out how to get to them. Today we backtracked a short distance, to the visitor center of the Cradle of Forestry.
When George W. Vanderbilt purchased this land for his estate, he hired Frederick Law Olmstead to oversee the design and maintenance of the gardens and forest. Olmstead recommended the hiring of a Forest Manager, so Vanderbilt hired Gilford Pinchot, who ultimately became Governor of Pennsylvania as well as the first chief of the USDA Forest Service.
Dr. Carl Schenck took Olmstead's place as the Biltmore Estate's forest manager and taught at the forest school which was established on Vanderbilt's land as the first school of forestry in the country.
The Cradle of Forestry is a historic site of 6500 acres, set aside by Congress to commemorate the beginning of forest conservation in the U.S. There are several buildings that have been preserved or rebuilt on this site which are accessible by walking trails.
We took a quick look through the visitor center before setting out on the trail to visit several of these buildings.
This is the ranger's residence - with Mark sitting on the steps, taking a break from the walk.
The interiors all have furnishings, making it look like the occupants have just stepped away for a moment. Here's a beautiful loom in the main room:
This was one of the forestry student dwellings, looks like a great porch for sitting. I'm sure our friend Speedy would enjoy this porch!
We pose on one of the many bridges we crossed on the trail:
We finished the trail and got back to the visitor center in time to see a few more exhibits before they closed for the day. They even have a helicopter simulation where you can get the feel of flying over a forest fire.
It was close to closing time, so we headed out. It was too late to try to find Maggies Valley today, so we headed back towards town.
Along the way, Dortha asked Mark to be on the lookout for a bridge she had spotted on our first trip through this area. Here it is, sure glad we spotted it again!
Back to the rv park and another great, healthy dinner. We ended the day with a trip back into town for a TCBY treat.
What a beautiful day!