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What a Huge Retreat at Mountain Harbor Inn

We continued our journey of the Tennessee mountains.

Winding down Lookout Mountain after our stay at the Garden Walk Bed & Breakfast we headed east, well northeast. Opposite of our final destination to another secret getaway hidden in the hills.

As like many places we were not due for check-in until 3 PM. Having some time on our hands we decided to make the most of our journey.

Our first off the track destination was for some Mayfield ice cream at the Mayfield Dairy in Athens, TN. We had picked up a brochure on it the day before in Chattanooga. Driving several miles down the back roads of Tennessee we finally made it. “Closed to the Public“, my heart sank and hunger pangs filled its place. Well no Mayfield ice cream today it seemed as we turned and headed back to the highway.

A few more miles down the road were signs for a Sweetwater Valley Farm, another dairy farm that offered daily tours. We decided to give it a shot, driving again out of our way. After a few miles back in the hills we found acres of  dairy farm filling the valley.

We tasted some fresh cheeses and even some elk sausage.  Walked around and checked out the sites of the farm. The next guided tour was too long a wait so we did a self guided Udderstory tour. Full of cheese curds and Mayfield ice cream (they sold it there) we headed back on the road.

Just another click or so was our exit and we took this long winding road back into the hills. Driving down a hill to where the road ended, my wife gasped at God’s beauty in the form of Douglas Lake straight ahead. Little did she know we would be staying here for the night.

We arrived at Mountain Harbor Inn Resort on the Lake just up the street. The inn is modeled after the Gold Hotel in Mackinaw Island, MI a place I What a Huge Retreat at Mountain Harbor Innhad seen as a child.

We were just in time to unpack and prepare for our romantic sunset cruise of the lake. Our captain of the tour was the inn’s owner Bill. He gave us a 45 minute tour of the lake accompanied with some history of the area.

Upon our return he let us know about the candlelight deserts they offered that we should not miss. We ran up the street and ate dinner a the nearby Cowboy’s Seafood on the Water. Upon returning we made it in time for the deserts under candlelight.

Deserts like the Inn and Bills personality were huge. A serving of pound cake equalled that of three. The house specialty was a chunk of brownie, three scoops of ice cream, homemade fudge topped with whipped cream and a cherry.

After desert we shared some wine on the deck of the Inn overlooking the lake. Fireflies again lit our way in the night. The moon shined through the mountains onto the calm waters. A tranquil piece of heaven hidden in the mountains of eastern Tennessee.

The next morning after a great nights sleep in the plush accommodations we filled ourselves on a bountiful breakfast. As with everything else about Mountain Harbor Inn, it too was huge. From fresh scrambled eggs, homemade biscuits and sausage gravy and more.

Mountain Harbor Inn turned in to quite a delight. When scheduling our trip I had come across it by accident. I received my Groupon emails that I usually delete. This one had a great deal on this secret retreat. Skeptical I took a gamble as it was on sight unseen that I made the reservation.


If you ever are near Dandridge Tn. near Gatlinburg be sure to check out Mountain Harbor Inn without hesitation.

Will you share your story of an unexpected destination added to your travel plans that turned out better than planned?

About Charles Johnston

Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.

2 Replies

  1. Candace Crosby

    This sounds like the ideal vacation/honeymoon retreat! So romantic, yet filled with fun, food and attentive service. Believe I may recommend this to my husband.

    1. It is a gorgeous retreat, highly recommended. There are also boat rentals available on site.