Owl’s Hoot Chalet and Hideaway on the Creek were originally part of Hideaway Cottages, which was founded in 1979 by Jo Hendren, mother of current owner Myra Southern. Hideaway was the Hendren’s first rental cabin—and one of the first (if not the first) rental cabin in Townsend. Now there are hundreds of rental cabins, cottages, chalets, and B&Bs in Townsend and thousands more in the Smoky Mountains area.
In 1979 Jo told her husband Chick that she was thinking of placing a classified ad in Southern Living Magazine for $35, advertising Hideaway Cottage as a vacation rental (3-line classified ads in Southern Living now cost several thousand dollars). At the time, there were only a couple restaurants, a general store, and no tourist attractions other than the National Park and Tuckaleechee Caverns in Townsend, not yet known as the Peaceful Side of the Smokies.
Chick responded that if she wanted to waste $35, go ahead. Being stubborn and entrepreneurial, Jo eventually built Hideaway Cottages into Hideaway Cottages and Log Cabins, with five cottages and log cabins that they bought or built, plus three cabins that they managed for others. Chick eventually got on board, providing bookkeeping and maintenance support for the business, which would eventually fund their retirement.
Together, the Hendrens were very active in local development, ensuring that Townsend would prosper but not become another overbuilt tourist attraction like Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. They fought hard to preserve the natural beauty and valuable natural resources of the area. They were also instrumental in founding the Little River Railroad & Lumber Company Museum in Townsend and procuring its first train car, and Chick served as its first conductor.
In 1989 Jo, Chick, and a few partners purchased an additional 20 acres of meadow and forest on Rich Mountain and developed Hideaway Hollow, an exclusive development off Highway 321 about 3 miles from the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The 20 acres were divided into 11 lots, and 7 cabins and chalets have been built, including Owl’s Hoot Chalet. Because of Jo’s and Chick’s commitment to preserve the ecological setting of the hollow, each cabin was carefully designed and placed to enhance the natural landscape and to preserve local flora and fauna.
Hideaway Cottages and Log Cabins was family owned and operated until the business and three cabins were sold in 2005. Southern inherited Owl’s Hoot in 2009 and reacquired Hideaway on the Creek in 2012. Hideaway Cottages no longer exists, but Southern and husband Rob Wright manage the two cabins, doing business as Smokies Cabins.
Today, Smokies Cabins hosts visitors from all over the world…from as near as Knoxville and as far as The Netherlands. Dissatisfied with the service of local property management companies, they took over the management and operation of their cabins in 2014, doing virtually everything themselves: cleaning, maintenance, continuous upgrades, reservations, administration, and advertising…leveraging their respective backgrounds in home remodeling, repair, landscaping, and travel management. The company enjoys almost all 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor, Facebook, and their website (www.smokiescabins.com). Smokies Cabins is proud to provide exceptional customer service, true value with extra amenities for the discerning traveler, and pet-friendly accommodations.
Southern brings about 30 years of experience working in the travel and lodging industry (in addition to her writing and marketing consulting business). She also worked for 8 years as a freelance writer for Home and Garden Television (HGTV), where she learned a lot about home decorating and landscaping.
Wright brings 38 years of experience owning, remodeling, and maintaining homes. He is a licensed home improvement specialist with his own business: Do It Wright Home Improvements in Maryville, TN. Together they are passionate about providing the cleanest, best maintained, and most tastefully decorated cabins in Townsend! They love sharing their special homes with others so that visitors can enjoy memorable vacations and reconnect with nature, their families, and themselves.
Smokies Cabins are located in a special mountain hollow that was once the home of and sacred meeting place of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. As such, it is now a sacred healing energy vortex similar to vortexes in Sedona, AZ. Many guests of Smokies Cabins have reported healing experiences while spending time in and near the cabins.