The mountains are our happy place. The place we choose to go when we want “to get away.” Burdens seem to roll off as we come in sight of the stately mountains. The Smokies are our place to retreat from the busyness of life and to be restored and refreshed by their beauty and serenity. Life is just better in the mountains.
I grew up in Gatlinburg. The splendor of the Smokies greeted me each morning as Mt. LeConte stood majestically outside my bedroom window. My childhood was filled with the joys of living in the mountains. My days were spent outside exploring, hiking, picking blueberries, sledding, building forts and eating family meals on our front porch picnic table.
My parents’ love of the mountains not only overflowed to my siblings and me but also to everyone they met. They welcomed relatives and friends into our home who wanted to visit the Smokies.
In the 1970’s, Gatlinburg’s popularity grew and the local mom and pop hotels could not meet the demand for rooms. Visitors found themselves stranded with nowhere to stay. Because the hotel owners trusted Mom and Dad, they asked them to take these desperate vacationers into their home. Our family would scramble to clean a bedroom and bathroom in time to welcome weary travelers to our home. We were Airbnb long before there was Airbnb!
My parents’ opportunities for hospitality continued to grow. Neighbors with vacation homes on the mountain began to leave their keys with Mom and Dad so that my parents could rent these homes. As Gatlinburg grew into a year-round vacation destination, people begin to buy properties as a rental investment. As a result, Mom and Dad managed more and more rental properties and Mountain Laurel Chalets Management Company was born – a true family business. My siblings and I answered our home phone, “Mountain Laurel Chalets, how may I help you?” We were reservationists, cleaners, laundry workers, customer service representatives, remodelers, and decorators. While in college, my siblings and I recruited friends to help us clean cabins on busy fall and holiday weekends. We had a blast with our friends and they enjoyed the extra spending money they earned.
What a privilege to grow up in a family who loved doing life and business together as we sought to bless others through hospitality.
Mom and Dad are gone but they have left us with a wonderful legacy.
My husband and I desire to carry their legacy on into the future. We want to share “our” mountains with each of you. We would love for you to come and stay at one of our Trillium Family homes.
Welcome to the Smokies,
Brent and Carol