We would like to make your visit to The Settlement at Thomas Divide as enjoyable as possible and thought that some practical information might be helpful. We welcome everyone who enjoys the outdoors. Our farm house is “not the Hilton”, with shared bathrooms and kitchen. It is a wonderfully friendly environment though, and central to all that Bryson City has to offer hikers, bikers, riders, and fishermen. Be sure to check out our web site for links to many options.
Use of house: The bathroom on the first floor of the house is available for use by all visitors. The second-floor bathroom should be kept for people staying in the house. The house is run on the principal of “everyone cleans up after themselves”, so please be sure to be considerate of others staying there and to clean up before you leave. The hot water definitely runs out, so short showers are good, but the best thing is that the water heats up again very quickly.
For those staying in the house: On the first floor, Room A has a queen and twin bed. Upstairs, Room B has three twin beds, and Room C a twin and a queen bed. Each bed has a light quilt and pillow, so please bring all your own linens, towels and extra blankets, etc. Each bedroom has an air conditioner, and the house is heated with electric plug-in heaters for the beginning and end of the season since the nights can be cool. The kitchen has a large refrigerator/freezer, plus a full-size stove. We also have several small appliances, a toaster oven, coffee maker, microwave, crock pot, electric skillet and wok. Plates, glasses, cooking utensils and cutlery are available. Just enough to be able to cook, without taking away the incentive to go out for a great dinner! The charcoal grill outside is for everyone’s use also. There is a comfortable living room, with a DVD player and TV for watching videos, (but no TV access). There are a few DVD’s to borrow. My favorite feature: A large covered porch for sitting and eating, where you can sit quietly and contemplate your naval! This year we have lowered our pricing to $35.00 a night, with a two night minimum. We have then added a $10.00 cleaning fee for each room for each stay. So, if you stay two nights or seven nights, there is a $10.00 cleaning fee.
Hook-Ups: We have electric and water hook-ups in the campground, and there is room for a maximum of six trailers. Please fill up your water tanks on arrival, and then shut off the hose. The water pressure is a little low, and if too many faucets are open at one time, the pump cannot handle it. The same water pump feeds the house, barn and the pasture water faucets. Should you need to dump your septic tank, there is a dump station at the Ela campground on Rt. 19 (ask us for directions), or you could call Sid’s Septic to come for a pump out at 828-488-3255.
Cell and Internet Connections: These are not wonderful in the camp ground or at the house. It is too low. Walk up the hill a little, and face towards the view, and it is fine. Verizon seems to be the best cell connection, and the type of phone you have also makes a difference. Text messages will usually go through anywhere; voice is tougher. We do not provide internet, but a hot spot, if you have your own, will work in the right location. Downtown Bryson City has free wireless internet in the library, as does almost every restaurant, coffee shop, etc., including McDonalds and Bojangles.
Horse Keeping: We have two wooden fenced paddocks with a shelter, where two or three horses will be comfortable. There is one larger paddock with a shelter, where up to six horses could go. There is grass, but your horses will probably need hay too. All paddocks have shade from trees. We now have a nice four-stall barn for visitors, with a covered aisle, and storage room. One bag of bedding will be provided for each stay. Please bring your own buckets. Hay is at a premium here now because of the long drought we had last fall, so please bring your own hay if possible.
Dogs and other pets: We have had many, from pigs to miniature horses to dogs. Dogs are always welcome, but for any other kind of critter please call to discuss. We sometimes have a problem with “protective dogs”, so please have good ways to restrain your dog to prevent dog fights. Dogs that are civilized and house broken are welcome in the house! Dogs are not allowed in the Park, so be sure you have a good way to contain them when you are off riding. Hay and bedding: We do have this available for purchase at $6.00 a bale, but please bring your own if possible. Again, after the drought hay is at a premium. We have extra bags of bedding too @ $10.00 a bag.
Garbage: There are two garbage containers for the campground: up by the round pen and on the back porch of the house. There are also containers for recycling, so please separate your cans and bottles appropriately. Please bag your garbage well, and we will pick it up as soon as we can. If the cans are filled, please call me to let me know at 828-788-3648. Fires: You are welcome to have camp fires in the camp ground at night, but bring your own wood. General clean up: We are always grateful if you would pick up after your horses in the parking area. Your stalls will be clean when you arrive, so please plan to have them cleaned each day you are here, as well as when you leave. If you want to use the ring and round pen, please could you pick up these as well. There is a wheelbarrow and fork for your use in the parking area, and the manure pit is directly behind the large barn. Please throw it to the back of the pit, as it does have a tendency to spill into the road.
Hiking, Biking, and Riding Trails: We are about a mile from the Thomas Divide trailhead, so no need to trailer out. However, there are many different trailheads you could use in the Park, as well as in the National Forest, Tsali being the best known. Tsali is well-known for its wonderful biking trails. Horses and bikes switch days on different trails. If you come to ride, a smaller bumper pull type trailer offers more flexibility. This would mean staying in the farm house, of course, rather than with a hook up. The trails are varied – lower down they are wide and not very steep, but as you climb they can get steep and narrow with drop offs. The trails are well marked, but only at intersections, so you can go for miles without seeing a marker if there are no intersections. Many of the trails are quite beautiful; as you go along the rivers, see the views and the wild flowers. In the summer they are almost always cool with the leaf cover. However, you are in the wilderness, and it is important to be able to read a map, so should your arms be a little short these days, please be sure to bring a pair of reading glasses with you! We do have maps for you on your arrival. We recommend that horses are shod, boots are fine, but can be slippery. Barefoot horses usually have problems unless they have incredibly tough feet.
I hope this information will answer all of your questions, but please don’t be shy if you have others.