I was raised in Elkmont, a cabin community within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. My parents also had a home in Knoxville where we spent the most of the year, but I still believe I grew up in Elkmont. It is there that shaped who I am. In fact, it wasn't until years after we were evicted that I learned fireflies (we call them lightnin' bugs) were not all synchronous. I thought that was the norm! I was surprised when I found out there are only two of these populations in the world. One right here in Elkmont, and the other in Malaysia.
Growing up I was an enthusiastic horse lover, and rode professionally as a backcountry guide and horsemanship instructor in Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida and Montana. It was Montana that caused a major shift in my plans.
Before I worked in Montana, I attended FSU as a theatre major. I was positive I would live in "the big city," preferably New York. But after my experience in Montana I realized the mountains still called to me. I returned to East Tennessee, graduating in Wildlife Biology. I then became a zookeeper at the Knoxville Zoological Gardens. But all that changed when I was diagnosed with Late Stage Lyme Disease, a nasty debilitating version of what most people are familiar with. Once I became disabled it was clear I had to be more creative in ways to support myself, and Airbnb was a life saver! My favorite thing about hosting is having the pleasure of meeting new people from all places and all walks of life.
I was blessed with this wonderful cabin by the river left to me by my parents, who purchased it when it became clear the NPS was kicking us out of Elkmont for good. They knew none of us could survive without the mountains and they were right! I live here with my dog and when I sip my coffee looking over Webb Creek I can't imagine living anywhere else. I hope you experience at least a taste of this when you visit Fern Gully.
There is one thing I request from all of my guests. No matter how insignificant or large it is, please do not hesitate to offer suggestions and constructive criticisms at any time! Don't be shy. You can let it all out with me! It is extremely important to me to be the best host possible, for you to get the most value for your hard-earned money and most of all, that you have the most fun and relaxation possible!
At Fern Gully, *everyone* is welcome, regardless of race, color or sexual orientation. This is where you can truly be yourself, regardless of what that means! Be relaxed, refreshed, revived and rejuvenated in your own little cabin in the woods!