Secret Spot in the Smoky Mountains: the Voorheis Estate and House of the Fairies

Leconte Creek in the Smoky Mountains
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We love uncovering secret spots in the Smoky Mountains and sharing them with you so you can find them during your vacation! Next time you feel like doing some exploring, make the trip to discover the House of the Fairies in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This old springhouse is actually part of a larger estate that dates back to the early 1900s, the Voorheis Estate. Read on to learn more about this secret spot in the Smoky Mountains and where you can find it!

History of the Voorheis Estate and the House of the Fairies

mill creek in the smoky mountainsFrom 1928 to 1944, a man named Louis E. Voorheis developed a mountain retreat that spanned across a 38-acre site. This area, which he called the Voorheis Estate, is located about a mile from Gatlinburg off of Cherokee Orchard Road. It was known as Twin Creeks Orchard because of the two creeks that run east to west on the property. Voorheis used natural materials to convey a rustic appearance on the estate in the buildings and landscape features. The two creeks and several mountain streams that flow through the estate boundary were used in his landscape design, and he also planted flowers, shrubs, and trees throughout the estate.

In 1933, Voorheis deeded the property to the National Park Service. In 1952, the National Park Service took full management of the property.

The Voorheis Estate Today

Much of the Voorheis Estate is still present in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park today. The estate consists of the main house, 2 guest cabins, a horse barn, and an apple barn. There are also remnants of the landscape features Voorheis designed. However, the National Park Service has removed several buildings and historic landscape plantings, and a majority of the original landscape features have faded because of lack of maintenance. Although the landscaping of the Voorheis Estate has changed, many of the buildings remain in good condition.

House of the Fairies

creek flowing in the smoky mountainsOne building you’ll want to see when you visit is the House of the Fairies, which is the springhouse at the Voorheis Estate. Hikers love stumbling upon this old stone house while they’re exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can find the House of the Fairies in the Twin Creeks area of the park. To get to the springhouse, you’ll hike the Twin Creeks Trail, a 1.9-mile trail anyone in the family can do! You’ll have to veer off the trail a little bit to uncover this secret spot in the Smoky Mountains, but it will be well worth it to explore the House of the Fairies.

Other Secret Spots in the Smoky Mountains

The House of the Fairies and the remaining Voorheis Estate are just some of the best secret spots in the Smoky Mountains. There are plenty of hidden gems for you to search for during your visit. Here are some of the top hidden spots:

Secret Tunnel Under Clingmans Dome: We know you’ve heard about Clingmans Dome, but have you heard about the secret tunnel underneath it? The Thomas Divide Tunnel was built under the roadbed to keep hikers from having to cross over Clingmans Dome Road. You can find the tunnel less than a mile west of the junction between Clingmans Dome Road and Newfound Gap Road.

pond in cades coveGourley’s Pond in Cades Cove: This pond is often overlooked by visitors who come to Cades Cove, but it shouldn’t be! It’s not visible from the Cades Cove Loop Road, so you’ll have to do some hiking to find it. You can leave your car at the LeQuite Cemetery after you pass the south end of Sparks Lane. From there, you’ll walk down the loop road for about 200 feet until you see the path on your right. Then, you’ll follow that path for about 100 feet until you see the pond.

Secret Entrance to the National Park: If you’re searching for a quieter entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, try the Wears Valley entrance. This is where many of the locals go to enter the national park. This secret entrance to the national park has you drive on a bridge over a river, where you can watch as the scenery changes from views of the park to views of the wooded forestry.

Now that you know more about the House of the Fairies and other secret spots in the Smoky Mountains, it’s time to plan your visit to discover them for yourself! Learn more about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, then plan your trip.

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