GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) – The smoke has lifted and fog has settled in its place. The fog seems to fill the hollow frames of what was once cabins on Ski Mountain.
“Our phone has been ringing off the hook,” says Mountain Laurel Chalets CEO Tom Goodwin. “Guests wanting to know, ‘Is our cabin all right? We’ve been coming to the same cabin for 15 years. Is it still standing?'”
The cabin getaway on the mountain that was started by his in-laws.
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“They had a lot of friends that would leave, and they would say, ‘Would you watch our key for us?’” said Goodwin. “While they were gone, the Gatlinburg Inn would fill up and Mrs. Maples would call Dot Egli and say, ‘Do you have an extra room?’ And she would say ‘I’ve got a key to another house.’ That started in early early 1970.”
Today, only about half of his almost 100 cabins still stand. Now, Goodwin is counting his blessings and offering comfort to the crews and homeowners traveling up the mountain.
“We thought we’re just going to put a tent up just to be a place of hospitality,” said Goodwin. “People need to process. They need a cup of coffee and some clean water and a place to use the bathroom”.
He says he is preparing for what’s next, starting with this weekend’s reservations.
“Gatlinburg tells us they are going to be and running Friday at 7 a.m.,” said Goodwin. “We are preparing for reservations to arrive Friday afternoon.”