Press & Blog
What’s New at Apple Valley
It all started with a TikTok…
One day, while browsing TikTok for market research, our Marketing Manager Emma came across a video of a condiment dispenser that was like no other. She saw customers dispensing their condiments from a cow – that’s right, a cow! So her research began…And to her surprise, a simple search of “Condiment Cow” on Google brought up an entire website dedicated to this remarkable dispenser – www.CondimentCow.com.
She saw the potential this could have at Apple Valley Cafe, and felt like it would be the perfect addition. It was time to take this idea to her team, starting with the Marketing Director Ashley. Ashley loved the idea, but she told Emma she would need to do some further convincing to get the owners on board, as this would be a pretty big change at Apple Valley Cafe. So after she further research and a few phone calls, Emma was ready to present her idea to the owners.
Their response? “Order it today! We need that cow!” So, preparations began to welcome our very own Condiment Cow to Apple Valley Cafe. After working with maintenance to discuss installation, Emma ordered the cow and the team anxiously awaited it’s arrival.
A few days later, a large box showed up and we received our Condiment Cow! We couldn’t wait to unbox it, so we rushed it over to our maintenance barn to start the process. There she was in all her glory, almost ready to dispense condiments to our guests!
A little carpentry and framing work later, and a morning of light construction, and our Condiment Cow was installed and ready to use! But wait…What would we name her? Emma couldn’t stop singing “Sweet Caroline” and then it came to her…”SQUEEZE Caroline!” The owners loved it and thus the Condiment Cow was named Caroline!
So, the next time you visit make sure you stop in and give Caroline a SQUEEZE! She dispenses our house-made BBQ sauce, mayo, mustard, and ketchup and is sure to put a smile on your face. And don’t forget to sing while you squeeze! “SQUEEZE Caroline! *Dun Dun Dun* Ketchup’s never been so good! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!”
Since 1992, Apple Valley Cafe has been a fixture in the Townsend, TN community, reliably serving up breakfast and lunch options locals and visitors love. After many years of featuring the same menu, our culinary team decided the Apple Valley Cafe menu needed a facelift and some improvements!
Don’t worry…We kept your favorites like the “Off the Hook” Fish Sandwich, Black Bear BLT, and Fried Apple Pies, but we took our classics and turned them up a knotch! Our BBQ is smoked in house before being served with our house-made BBQ sauce, our Grilled Chicken and Chicken Salad are now made with locally sourced Springer Mountain Chicken, and last but not least…Our Burgers are better than ever! All of our burgers are now locally sourced from Simpson’s Meats, and our new Smash Burgers are the talk of the town.
Located just an hour and a half south from Townsend in Athens, TN, Simpson’s Meats is now providing us with fresh beef for our burgers. Simpson’s Beef is 100% USDA inspected and all of their meat is graded as “choice or higher” and you can taste the difference!
Order our Smash Burgers as a single or a double! Each Smash Burger is made with one or two 1/4lb patties served on a fresh brioche bun with your choice of cheese and lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion. We recommend pairing our fresh, juicy burgers with a side of our famous Sidewinder Fries – thick cut, curly fries deep fried to perfection!
Don’t forget to Pile Your Patty! If our burgers aren’t appetizing enough, you can top them off with more flavor by bacon, brisket, macaroni and cheese, pimento cheese, and more!
At Apple Valley Cafe, we’re serving up your favorites with a side of Southern hospitality. Stop in today and let us know what you’re new favorite item is!
At the Dancing Bean Coffee House, we are proudly roasting Fair Trade coffee beans – but what does what mean to you? Keep reading to learn more about Fair Trade and how we’re working hard to make the world a better place.
What is Fair Trade? According to FairTradeCertified.org, “Fair trade is a global movement made up of a diverse network of producers, companies, consumers, advocates, and organizations putting people and planet first.” When you purchase a Fair Trade product, you can rest easy knowing you are supporting safe working conditions, environmental protection, sustainable livelihoods, and community development funds.
Our buying principles reflect the livelihood of the farmers we purchase from. Farmer-centric pricing insures farmers are paid equitable prices, enabling them to earn a living income. Year-after-year contracts help provide these farmers with long-term stability, allowing their communities to thrive. And finally, our purchases provide financial resources directly to our farm partners, enabling them to fund projects that support their local communities.
At the Dancing Bean Coffee House, we are roasting coffee that not only tastes good, but that you can feel good drinking. When you purchase a cup of coffee at the Dancing Bean, you are supporting small farmers from all over the world and that’s something we can all feel good about.
You can’t visit Apple Valley Mountain Village without grabbing a few of our famous Fried Apple Pies – after all, they are what we are known for! Did you know each of our pies is handmade? And with over 50,000 sold each year, we can say we have perfected this art. Keep reading to learn more about how we make our famous Fried Apple Pies!
We make our pie dough ahead of time, so when it’s time to make Fried Apple Pies, we start by thawing the dough for 4 hours on sheet trays.
Once the dough has thawed, we use our pie presses to cut the dough into circles and we egg wash one side of each pie shell.
The pie shells are now ready to be stuffed! We lay the pie shell wet side down onto the pie press and fill it with a small scoop of our delicious apple pie filling, made with our secret recipe and a lot of love. The pie shell is then folded and hand pressed.
The pies aren’t ready yet! After they’ve been pressed, the pies will go into our flash freezer over night to prepare to be fried.
The next day, we’re ready to fry! The pies are pulled from the flash freezer and individually dropped into the fryer. We let them fry for 5-8 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.
After they’ve been fried, we’re ready for the final step. Each pie is topped off with cinnamon sugar while it is still hot and the pies are now ready to go!
Once the pies make it to the window, it’s up to YOU how to eat them! What’s OUR favorite way to enjoy a Fried Apple Pie? A La Mode, of course – with a happy heaping of country style vanilla bean ice cream!
Apple Valley Mountain Village is the ULTIMATE Christmas Shopping Destination on the Peaceful Side of the Smokies
Holiday shopping can be a hassle, but what if you could get it done all in one place? At Apple Valley Mountain Village, you can do just that! From custom gifts, jewelry, and quilts at the General Store, to outdoor gear and apparel for the adventurer in your life at Smoky Mountain Outdoor Center, Apple Valley Mountain Village has something for everyone!
Working on a long Christmas List? Apple Valley’s General Store carries a wide variety of items, and you’ll be checking names off your Nice List in no time! For those with a sweet tooth, our small batch fudge from FudgeShop.com is the perfect gift. Shopping for a dog lover? The General Store features on entire section of customized gifts and pet treats just for your favorite furry friend or pet owner. The Quilt Room is the perfect place to pick up home decor for your mom or grandma. Let one of our staff members help you choose the perfect piece of jewelry for your loved one. For the little ones on your list, make sure to check out the personalized gifts and stuffed animals. The General Store has something for everyone, making your Christmas Shopping easy!
For the more adventurous names on your Holiday list, head over to Smoky Mountain Outdoor Center where you will find top brands in outdoor gear and apparel. Browse our large collection of the North Face and let one of our trained staff members help you choose the perfect gift for the outdoorsmen in your life. In addition to the North Face, SMOC also carries popular brands like Benchmade, Costa, Sun Bum, Eno, Hydroflask, and Kavu. Help your loved one prepare for any adventure this year with a trip to SMOC!
For that hard to shop for person, you can never go wrong with coffee, and the Dancing Bean Coffee House is roasting fresh coffee beans daily on our eco-friendly, electric roaster. Choose from light, medium, or dark roasts and our Bearistas will even grind it to your preference! Pair a bag of our coffee with a jar of honey or a Dancing Bean mug and you will have the perfect gift to perk someone up this holiday season.
Still have a few people to shop for? Our multi-property gift cards are the perfect solution! Would they enjoy a beautiful cozy cabin at Dancing Bear Lodge? Maybe an Appalachian inspired meal and craft cocktails from the bar at the Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro? Perhaps they would prefer shopping in the Apple Valley Mountain Village for outdoor gear and apparel at Smoky Mountain Outdoor Center, or home decor, homemade fudges, jams, jellies, apple butters, delicious coffees, and much more at the General Store. Would decadent milkshakes and huge burgers from Apple Valley Cafe be their go-to choice before venturing into the park or would they prefer farm-to-table dishes and locally brewed beer from Peaceful Side Social Craft Kitchen + Brewery? Or maybe, its a leisurely morning at The Dancing Bean Coffee House sipping lattes and enjoying warm pastries by the fire that would entice them – with so many awesome choices how do you pick? YOU DON’T! The NEW Oldham Hospitality Gift Card can be used in ALL seven great locations! So your special someone can enjoy the best of Townsend, with one great card!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “This lovely spot in the heart of the Towsend in the Smokies is a wonderful pick me up after a hard day of hiking. You need to get the fish sandwich or barbecue sandwich and pair that with their signature Apple Pie Milkshake. The mac and cheese is totally worth the calories and you earned it by hiking them off already anyway, right? So go ahead and indulge….” Roamilicious
Spring in the Smokies is truly a spectacular sight. The great Smoky Mountains boasts a wet and humid climate, as well as a broad range in elevation, creating a haven for over 1600 species of flowering plants. Because of this diversity in plant life, visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains can enjoy different species of wildflowers throughout the Spring months.
When planning a Smoky Mountain hike for wildflower viewing, it is important to know which hikes offer the best blooms for the time of year.
Mid-March through April
If you prefer the Peaceful Side of the Smokies, you won’t want to miss Chestnut Top Trail located just 100 yards north of the popular Wye in Townsend on Route 73. This trail is easy to access, and while the entire length of the trail is 8.6 miles round trip, you won’t have to hike it’s entirety to see an incredible display of Smoky Mountain wildflowers. After hiking Chestnut Top Trail just a few hundred yards, you will come across several species of gorgeous wildflowers like White Trillium, Bloodroot, Yellow Trillium, Hepaticas, Violets, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Bishop’s Cap, Purple Phacelia, Fire Pink, Plantain-Leaved Pussytoes, Star Chickweed and Wild Stonecrop.
For those who don’t mind adventuring a little further into the mountains, we suggest a trip to Elkmont Campground. About a 45 minute drive from Townsend, not only is this abandoned village a must-see location in the National Park, but you will find the Little River Trailhead here. This moderate hike is only 4.9 miles round trip and will offer displays of Spring Beauties and Trailing Arbutus. Later in the season, you may also find Hepaticas, Yellow Trillium, Dwarf Cinquefoil, Stonecrop, Canadian Violets, and Umbrella Leaf. The Husky Gap area of this trail is also great in late April and through mid-May.
Late April through Mid-May
If you are visiting in late April or early May, Ace Gap Trail is a great hike on the Peaceful Side of the Smokies. Located on Rich Mountain Road, this 10.2 mile roundtrip hike may not offer any mountain views, but the abundance of wildflowers will make up for it. On this trail, you will find Yellow Trillium, Beard Tongue, Solomon’s Seal, Spiderwort, Fire Pink, Hawkweed, Pink Lady Slippers, Catesby’s Trillium, Yellow Mandarin, Rue Anemone, Wild Geranium, Little Brown Jugs, Robin’s Plantain and Flame Azalea.
For those visiting later in May, we suggest visiting Schoolhouse Gap Trail or Rich Mountain Loop, which are both located on the Peaceful Side of the Smokies. To find both of these trails, you will head towards Cades Cove – one of the most popular destinations in the Smoky Mountains.
Schoolhouse Gap Trail is located on Laurel Creek Road, just 3.7 miles from the Wye in Townsend. At 3.8 miles round trip, this trail is perfect for all skill levels and offers beautiful displays of wildflowers. At the beginning of the trail, you will find Virginia Bluebells before running into Beaked Violets, Pink Lady’s Slippers, Fairy Wand, Golden Aster, Star Grass, Red Clover, Robin’s Plantain, Sun Drops, Catesby’s Trillium, and Lyre-Leaf Sage.
Rich Mountain Loop is located inside Cades Cove and is the perfect hike for those who want to avoid the traffic in Cades Cove. The trailhead is just 50 feet beyond the gate for Cades Cove, allowing you to park at the entrance and leave without driving the 11-mile loop. Rich Mountain Loop is 8.5 miles roundtrip, and is considered more strenuous so keep this in mind when planning. In mid-May, you will find Mountain Laurel, Flame Azalea, Purple Phacelia, Rattlesnake Hawkweed, Yellow Ragwort, Violets, Sweet Shrub, Wild Geranium, Blackberry, Fourleaf Milkweed, Everlasting Pea, and Butterfly Weed.
Need Help Planning?
Stop by SMOC! Our friendly staff will be happy to help outfit you for any type of adventure. Make sure to pick up one of our Wildflowers of the Smokies books to help you on your identifying journey.
Spring has SPRUNG, so what are you waiting for? Visit us this Spring and see all we have to offer during this beautiful season.
Learning to Layer for Fall and Winter Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains featuring the North Face Collection
The Great Smoky Mountains are one of the finest places in the world to see phenomenal Fall foliage and breathtaking views in the Winter. People travel from all over the world in October and November in hopes to see the Smoky Mountain’s peak colors. When the leaves are gone, the Great Smoky Mountains offer another surprise to visitors – inspiring views from places that are typically dense in greenery during the warmer months. One of the best ways to see all the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has to offer in the Autumn and Winter months is to plan a hike during your stay.
If you do plan to hike in the Fall or Winter, you will want to be prepared for varying temperatures – and the Apple Valley Mountain Store has the perfect North Face gear and apparel to help you dress for success on your next Great Smoky Mountain hike. When gaining elevation during a hike, layering your clothing is of utmost importance. We have put together the guide below to help navigate you through some of our newest North Face merchandise so you can be ready for your next Smoky Mountain hike.
Before we get into layering, we wanted to cover a few basic tips for hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
- Don’t forget your basic gear! Even if you are just planning a day hike in the Smoky Mountains, you will want to make sure you have a water bottle with a purifier, compass, tarp, extra food and clothing, waterproof matches, a flashlight, and a whistle to summon help in areas you may not have cellphone service. The North Face Base Camp Duffel is the perfect hiking accessory to pack the essentials in. Water-resistant, lightweight, and incredibly durable, this bag can be used as a backpack or an over-the-shoulder duffel.
- Check the weather and trail conditions! Not only is this important when planning your clothing layers, but you will want to make sure the trails you plan to use are open and you won’t be surprised by any weather conditions. It isn’t uncommon to find snow on a Fall hike in the Great Smoky Mountains in the higher elevations!
- Tell someone about your plan! Whether you are hiking with a group or on your own, it is important to let someone know where you will be hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Share your hiking itinerary with a trusted friend or family member and be sure to call them when you finish.
- Dress for success! Here is a guide to help you dress appropriately for your Fall or Winter hike in the Great Smoky Mountains:
- Layer 1 – Your base layer should be comfortable and lightweight. We recommend a synthetic top like the North Face Hyperlayer Hoodie. Pair it with any of North Face’s leggings or something adjustable like the North Face Aphrodite Pant with drawstrings and you have the perfect base layer for your Smoky Mountain hike.
- Layer 2 – As you gain elevation on your hike, the temperature can drop quickly in the Fall and Winter. A flannel button-up or full-zip vest with a beanie will give you the extra bit of warmth you need without being too bulky. We recommend North Face’s Arroyo Flannel or Furry Fleece Vest for a second layer.
- Layer 3 – Depending on the temperatures you will be hiking in, you may be able to skip the third layer so be sure to follow rule number 2! Even in the early Fall, you can sometimes find snow in the highest elevations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Mount LeConte can see temperatures as low as 35 degrees in October and 21 degrees in December. In these conditions, you will want to make sure you have a fully insulated jacket. We love the North Face’s Shelbe Raschel, which comes in both full-zip hooded and half-zip pullover options.
- Layer 4 – You may skip the third layer, but layer 4 is always important in the Great Smoky Mountains – a rain jacket! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park sees anywhere from 55-85 inches of rain per year, so it is safe to say it may rain on your hike. Choose something colorful like the North Face Fanorak, or if you prefer something more subtle, check out the North Face Cyclone 2.
We hope this guide helps you feel prepared for your next Great Smoky Mountain adventure! Apple Valley’s Mountain Store is happy to help outfit you for your next Smoky Mountain hike, so be sure to stop in and check out all of their North Face apparel and merchandise.
Apple Valley Mountain Village has a great event coming up, and we hope you’ll all plan to join us! Loop the Link Anniversary Weekend, November 8th-10th, will serve as a celebration of three very exciting anniversaries– 1-year anniversary of the completion of the Foothills Parkway and Missing Link, the 1-year anniversary of the Apply Valley Mountain Village Grand Reopening, and the 40th anniversary of the Townsend Volunteer Fire Department!
Sponsored by the generous folks at Thunder Roads Magazine Tennessee/Kentucky, this event will be both motorcycle and family friendly. We’ll have something fun for everyone at this celebration, from burger and BBQ specials, to $0.99 coffee at the Dancing Bean, and multi-store sales. Bikers, join us Saturday morning for a group ride set to depart at 11am. We’ll also have a retro 70s and 80s dance party Saturday evening from 6-9pm, so bring your dancin’ shoes!
We will be collecting donations for the Townsend Volunteer Fire Department throughout the weekend, so if you feel so inclined, please donate to support this worthwhile cause. Apply Valley will match the donation amount raised throughout the weekend in support of the wonderful fire department.
We can’t wait to see you all there!
Join Us in the Beer Garden on July 4th!
This coming July 4th, John Fee will be playing a special concert for the guests of Apple Valley Mountain Village in the Beer Garden of the Apple Valley Cafe from 12:30pm – 3:30pm.
Raised in Harlan, Kentucky, John Fee is the son of a coal miner and a part-time preacher. Acquiring his first guitar at Pick ‘N Grin in Knoxville, Tennessee, John took his newly aquired instrument to church with him where he wated and learned from the pickers in the service. Eventually, Kohn started to play gigs around his home town and was a fixture for 12 years at the town’s annual Poke Sallet Festival. Inspired by the country artists that he grew up watching on Ralph Emery’s “Nashville Now” program on TNN, he gravitated toward the traditional country sound of Geroge Jones and Merle Haggard.
In 1998, John moved to east Tennessee, settling in Blount County, eventually bringing his talents to the band Wildcard. After performing with Wildcard, John went on to form John Fee and the Dirt Road Drifters, a three-piece country rock band that played throughout the greater Knoxville area. Today, his band John Fee and the Honky Tonk Playboys perform all around the Tennessee area, bringing their engaging performances to fans in a number of local venues.
So come on out this Fourth of July and John Fee at the Apple Valley Mountain Village. His performance is sure to be memorable!