Deep within the Tennessee wilds of Big South Fork, a newly-arisen enclave has grabbed the attention of nature lovers, campers, hikers, and horseback aficionados. It’s called Charit Creek Lodge, and they’re offering a beautiful, uniquely-rustic experience only two hours outside of Nashville.
Big South Fork is renowned for its bewitching wilderness. A naked park fleeced with chestnut oaks and pines spanning nearly 125,000 acres, the area is consumed with hair-raising views of nature and wildlife. A 600-foot gorge bends through the innermost heart of the park’s plateau, giving the area its distinct charm, while the park pinnacles at the Twin Arches Summit—a topmost point accessible by trail with spectacular views spanning below.
Hikers in particular will enjoy the many trails winding throughout the Lodge’s surrounding area. Abundant with natural swimming holes, waterfalls, and earth-formed arches cambering overhead, these hike-able paths are available to anyone staying at the Lodge. The Sheltowee Trace trailhead—a 300-mile trail that courses through Big South Fork’s entirety—even begins at Charit Creek Lodge, making the lodge an invaluable starting point for resident hikers. The majority of trails here are even navigable by horseback or mountain bike.
Horses may be stabled in their own building near the cabins, and lodge-owned mountain bikes will become available to residents in Spring 2015. Those seeking the alternative solidarity of canoeing or kayaking may paddle the Big South Fork River, the water only a few miles from the Lodge. And for less adventurous, horseshoe tossing and bocce ball are readily available. The list of activities available to guests of Charit Creek Lodge is seemingly endless.
What makes the Lodge interesting is it withholds some of the oldest-standing cabins in the National Park system today, some existing since the early 1800’s. Hand-built fences zigzag the collective area, encasing it within a hollow, emerald grassland peppered with wildflowers. All cabins offer toasty, wood-burning stoves and comfortable bedding. Though electricity isn’t featured, the area has fully-operable plumbing, showers, sinks, and clean water. But let’s not forget: the experience is fully-private, offering full-service accommodations at only $80 a night.
When it comes to meals, breakfast and dinner are served free with this initial price. Every meal is fully-prepared beforehand by the staff, dinner experienced by the comely flicker of kerosene lamps. Chosen foods are familiar to Southern, home-style cuisine, featured plates ranging from cornbread and cast iron skillet-grilled meats, candied yams and spicy turnip greens. Bellies filled, residents may proceed to the rocking chairs upon the decks to stargaze into the infinitesimal beauty of the Cosmos, exceedingly clear amongst the solitude of nature. Novels may be read by candlelight or roaring fires kindled outside, all the while listening to the chorus of cicadas, glow bugs streaking the star-ridden sky above.
The experience of Charit Creek Lodge is true charm. It offers a classical feel like no other. It returns visitors to their center, their sense of peace and belonging in the world. The spirit becomes reawakened by the placidity of nature in this place, and after gazing back in time here, one returns to the daily grind at home increasingly self-aware.
–Story by R.F. Grant, a Denver-based freelance writer. View more of his work at rfgrant.com.
For more information visit the Charit Creek Lodge website at www.ccl-bsf.com.