Mitchell Creek Marina Blog

Mitchell Creek Marina Owners Lose Vacation Home in Gatlinburg Wildfire

April Smith Patterson, daughter of Honest Abe Log Home founders, Doug and Janie Smith, shares memories of their home away from home in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The home was consumed by wildfire on Monday, Nov. 29, 2016.

Our Peaceful Place Held Many Memories

By April Smith Patterson

Peaceful Place. Words of which, at the time, were my father’s description of the family home away from home we built together in the majestic, beautiful and peaceful Smokey Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

In 1995 retired Honest Abe Log Homes president, Rick Denton, found property in the Cobbly Nob area in the mountains and decided it would be a great place for a second home. He soon brought Dad on board along with our close friends and builder Joe and Anna Isenberg.

It was then when it began…

In 1996, Joe built three Honest Abe Darlington Plan cabins and got them dried in. I remember as a young girl looking forward to being picked up Fridays at school to go work on our family cabin in the mountains. You could not believe the excitement as I anxiously awaited seeing Mom, Dad and my brother, Shane, pick me up to head up to work. It was a family event. We each worked to build and finish this second home. We painted, stained, waxed, built rock walls and such for months. This was the best time of my life, and I thought we are building a lifetime into this home. Our second home.

Of course as the seasons changed and winter set it, it became more and more difficult to work in the cold. But, we bundled up and kept working – even though Dad at times forgot to open the vent to the fireplace (only source of heat at the time) and smoked us all out. A few times they had to work without me, and I remember crying, not understanding why I could not go every time to help.

2016-12-07Eventually the cabin was completed. We went many weekends and usually spent the Fourth of July holiday there. It truly was our home away from home. We would attend service at the local church in Cosby, go on picnics in the park, go hiking to Laurel Falls and Mt. LeConte and we’d sometimes bike the Cades Cove loop. We loved to experience the area, the mountains and the nature the Lord made so wonderful.

Peaceful Place. It was our peaceful place to go. It was our family escape from our norm of hustle and bustle of business. Time together without interruptions of cell phones, TV, Wi-Fi, and technology. Time to sit, think, be together as a family.

So many wonderful memories of building a dream. I’ll never forget my brother’s girlfriend, now my sister-in-law, coming to help us paint once. Dad told her she had more paint on her face than the wall.

Our good friends Ronnie & Pauletta would often come and help us paint, build rock walls and stain. I loved when they would come, because Dad would always treat us to the seafood buffet in Pigeon Forge to show appreciation for their help.

Being a talkative and energetic young lady, I would ask countless times when we would arrive – ­­so excited to pull up to our cabin. I asked many questions along the way. One that sticks out was a road sign that said “watch for falling rock.”

“I’ll tell ya, sis, if you stop asking so many questions,” Dad promised.

I agreed, and he went on to tell of the Native Americans living in the mountains and how they had special names, such as Kokoum, Pocahontas, Big Bear, etc. (Pocahontas was my favorite movie at the time.)

“There was a chief,” Dad explained. “He and his wife had a little boy they named Falling Rock, who went off one day and got lost.”

Dad said his parents had been searching for him ever since and had even put road signs up asking people to watch out for him.

“So you sit back there and watch to see if you see a little Indian boy running around,” Dad said.

Well, I of course believed every word he said and watched fervently for the little Indian boy, Falling Rock. I eventually realized that was a big story and the signs really warned about the rocks falling off the sides of the mountain roads, but, hey, Dad was pretty clever and creative to get me to be quiet on the long four-hour journey to the cabin.

Throughout the 20 years we had it, we continued to visit our cabin many times. We would always have to work on it, in order to justify time we played. Dad always said “work hard, play hard,” but to be honest I remember a lot more working on the cabin than playing.

Each time we went Dad would give me a project to work on, such as staining the kitchen dining table, painting the rocking chairs out front, sweeping, mulching, raking leaves, landscaping, washing the deck and steps or painting trim. Many times we would go out to look at other log homes being built in the Cobbly Nob area and in the Gatlinburg area, too. We’d study them, make notes and talk about ways we could improve the ones we build. Dad loved taking things and making them better, even if they didn’t need to be.

Other times we would hike, bike or just take in the nature and pristine beauty of the mountains. We were a part of the community there, the area and the mountains themselves. I often wished that we could just move and live at the cabin in the Smokies. It truly was my favorite place. I would write school reports and even college papers on our home away from home. After all, it was more than a house. It was a new way of life compared to the long hours at work for both Mom and Dad – a chance to escape and breathe in the peacefulness of what the Lord made in that area. The people are wonderful and just like home, and it was just about the perfect oasis for us all.

Over time, and after Dad passed away, we would still go and stay. We would go to the gift shows every year and have our own family Christmases there too. What wonderful memories that we have to cherish for the rest of our lives. We are beyond thankful for the time we had there. We have roots in the mountains, roots that run deep.

At this time, however, our hearts go out to the wonderful people and community who’ve lost their permanent homes, their family members, everything. For that we are truly grieving, and as a family and a family-owned, Tennessee-born company, we are want to help people get back into their communities, get into new homes where new memories can be made and hearts and lives can begin to heal.

Coast Guard Recognition

Mitchell Creek Marina recognized by Coast Guard for boating safety, environmentalism

Mitchell Creek Marina was recently recognized by the district U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary for their efforts in recreational boating safety and environmental protection.

“This is special recognition for one of our most valuable and effective recreational boating safety partners,” said Phil Mammano, operational specialist of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-05 in Nashville.

Mammon and two colleagues presented a special plaque to Mitchell Creek Marina owner April Patterson in September, in “recognition of their commitment to excellence in boating safety and environmental protection.”

“From the day she took over at Mitchell Creek Marina, Patterson leaned forward into promoting recreational boating safety and environmental stewardship of our precious natural resources,” Mammano said.

Mitchell Creek has also been recognized as a Clean Marina by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“They inform boaters about the prevention of oil, plastic and sewage pollution, as well as providing educational literature in their storefront,” Mammano said.

“They have hosted us many times for vessel safety checks, public affairs programs, public education and operational patrols over the past decade,” he said. “The marina has fostered a safe and family-friendly lake resort and has been there to assist us with our missions whenever we are at Dale Hollow Lake. We are very proud to have their friendship and gracious support.

“Mitchell Creek Marina has demonstrated exceptional support of the statutory missions of the United States Coast Guard in terms of boating safety and the marine environment,” Mammano said.

“We’re very grateful to be recognized by the Coast Guard Auxiliary in this way,” Patterson said. “We strive to support safe boating practices and to be a part of keeping our environment at Dale Hollow Lake as clean and sustainable as possible.”

Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-04, through the efforts of all-volunteer, uniformed civilian members, conducts safety patrols on Cheatham, Cordell Hull, Old Hickory, Percy Priest, Center Hill and Dale Hollow lakes, as well as a significant portion of upper Lake Barkley. The group also conducts patrols on the Cumberland River.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary was established by Congress in 1939, to assist the Coast Guard in promoting boating safety. It has nearly 33,000 members from all walks of life, who receive special training to be a functional part of Team Coast Guard.


COAST GUARD RECOGNITION – Mitchell Creek Marina in September was recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-04 of Nashville for its promotion of boating safety and the environment. On hand for the presentation were (l-r) Rosemary Halldorsson, Operational Specialist of Flotilla 11-04; Mitchell Creek owner April Patterson; Phil Mammano, Operational Specialist; and Buell Noteboom, Division Staff Officer. (Photo submitted)

Emergency Personnel Honored

Emergency, public safety responders honored by Mitchell Creek Marina

Mitchell Creek Marina and the sister companies here recently hosted an appreciation dinner to honor first responders, fire departments and law enforcement officers.

“The work our emergency personnel, fire departments and law enforcement people do sometimes goes unnoticed,” said Mitchell Creek owner April Patterson. “They give so much, often for very little pay, or no pay if they’re volunteers, and it’s important for all of us to let them know we appreciate the work they do.

“We’re grateful to them for things they have helped us with at our facility, but we’re just grateful for what they do for the public in general. This dinner was our way of showing them our gratitude for their sacrifice.”

A steak dinner was provided to those in attendance, along with door prizes.

Houseboats for Sale, Slips for Rent

Several nice houseboats that have been docked at Mitchell Creek Marina by our faithful customers are now for sale. We encourage you to look at the offerings at and contact April Farmer at or call her cell at 931-510-3591.

If you are looking for a safe and beautiful marina for your moorage needs, please contact Mitchell Creek Marina.

Here’s a link to our dock and slip map.


How to Become a Boat Safety A-fish-ionado

by Shannon Ireland

There are few greater feelings than the wind blowing your hair, the sun kissing your skin and the spray of the water raining down as you listen to the engine propel you along the lake or ocean. In this moment, you’re carefree. But before you leave the dock in search of this feeling, be sure to take precautions.

According to the United States Coast Guard (USCG), there were 2,613 injuries and 626 deaths reported as a result of recreational boating accidents in 2015. Here are some tips to help prevent you from becoming a statistic.

Follow the Law… Oar Else

Laws vary from state to state, so educate yourself on your state’s requirements before taking your boat for a spin.

Across the board, laws require that boats have USCG-approved life vests for all passengers. Your boat must also be registered, and anyone driving must carry a boating license. Operator inexperience led to 458 accidents, 288 injuries and 37 deaths in 2015, per the USCG.

Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol is against the law, so make sure to establish a designated driver before setting sail for a day on the water.

Use Good Judgment Before Shipping Off

When you’re on the water, use common sense.

Make sure your boat is operating properly before leaving the dock. According to the USCG, equipment failure, hull failure and machinery failure resulted in 425 reported accidents, 152 injuries and 31 deaths in 2015.

Don’t take the boat out in poor weather conditions; you may be putting yourself at risk for more than just an unpleasant time. The USCG notes that a storm can cause limited visibility, making you more vulnerable to accidents.

And less-than-ideal weather conditions mean more than just storms. Intense heat can cause you or any passengers to suffer from dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke or intense sunburns. Be sure to stock the boat with plenty of sunscreen and water, and always check the forecast before departing. Weather and hazardous waters led to 175 injuries and 120 deaths last year, according to the USCG.

Maintain a safe speed, especially in crowded waters. The USCG reported that excessive speeds accounted for 289 injuries and 18 deaths in 2015. Safe speeds allow drivers more time to adjust the boat’s path when other vessels appear, thus limiting the chances of a crash.

Stay alert and appoint a co-captain. It’s simple: If you’re not paying attention, you could hit a swimmer, a smaller watercraft, such as a jet ski, or another boat. Appointing a co-captain adds another set of eyes watching the water, helping you properly operate the boat, and ensures that if you’re injured or incapacitated, there’s another person on board who can get you and your guests home safely. Operator inattention yielded the highest number of accidents (551) and injuries (353) of the 30 categories listed in the USCG’s 2015 report.

Avoid buoys and larger watercrafts that can’t stop or turn quickly. Buoys and other navigational aids are in place to help you cruise the waters safely, so allow plenty of space when passing them. And smaller boats are easier to navigate than larger vessels, such as yachts, so be respectful as you near bigger boats.

Lastly, make sure you have enough gas to last the duration of your trip. The last thing you want is to be stuck miles from the shore or dock and have to call for a tow.

Don’t Let the Ship Sail on Safety

Summer is all about fun on the water. Use common sense and know your state’s laws to help ensure safe trips for you and your passengers so you can all achieve that blissful, carefree feeling on the water.

Content complements of Safeco Insurance. For more information, click here

Christmas In July Benefits Children

Christmas in July 2016

July 23 was Christmas in July at Mitchell Creek Marina. We decked the marina in CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and sponsored a contest for the best decorated houseboat! 11400988_10153403364268276_8291219719045951302_nThere was karaoke and more! Santa brought gifts for the kids of the Mustard Seed Ranch. We asked that everyone bring donations for the families who live there. For those who donated we gave a one time 20% off any one item in the store (excludes yeti) OR 15% off any one yeti cooler.

People ignited their creativity by making their own Christmas Ornament, which was entered and displayed them all day for the public to judge. The winner received a basket of goodies. Anna and Elsa were there with Snow Cones!11108388_10153403364243276_7787466385329408732_n 13615378_10154386354758276_8110972223646230034_n13775353_10154386354483276_6382126938373709291_n 1470313_10153403364258276_6022215938476969530_n

13658986_10154386354548276_6987736938298211248_nGuests were asked to bring an item to donate to Mustard Seed Ranch. Learn more about their mission HERE.

Ideas for donations from the Mustard Seed Ranch wish list:


Livingston Academy Fishing Team

Mitchell Creek Marina is proud to be a sponsor of the Livingston Academy Fishing Team. 2016 was their first year to compete.


Team (L to R, below): Bailey Talent, Dakota Wilson,Elijah Garrett, Clay Johnson, Ethan Carr, Bailey Pennycuff


Lucky Dog : Sammy Talent, Bailey Talent, Mark Gintert, TBF member, Bailey Pennycuff.


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For more information click here:




Report on Livingston Academy’s Fishing Team

by Amy Wilson

Three teams from Livingston Academy traveled to Florence, Alabama, to fish in the high school fishing world finals. Team members are Dakota Wilson and Elijah Garrett, Bailey Talent and Bailey Pennycuff, Ethan Carr and Clay Johnson. Teams put in the water on Pickwick Lake, but could also fish Wilson Lake. Practice began on Sunday, June 26, 2016, and continued through Tuesday, June 28, 2016. On Wednesday, June 29, 2016, was the first round of qualifying with 186 boats to blast off. Bailey and Bailey was boat #54 to blast off this first day with a check in time of 2 p.m., they weighted in one fish totaling 1 lb. 14 oz. finishing in 156 place. Dakota and Elijah were boat #65 to blast off with a check in time of 2 p.m. weighing in 2 fish totaling 4 lbs. 1 oz., finishing in 137th place for first round of qualifying, Ethan and Clay were boat #141 with a weight in time of 2:45 p.m., they brought in 2 fish weighing 2 lbs. 1oz. placing 150th for this first round. 657 fish were weighed in on Wednesday by 167 teams, with a total weight of 1,447.9 lbs. 19 of the 186 teams zeroed for this first day of qualifying. All three of the LA teams got to walk across the stage and be interviewed on the live stream at

The interviews are posted at along with pictures that were taken for the week.

Day two Thursday June 30,  2016, second day to qualify. Teams were launched in reverse today meaning if they were team #186 on Wednesday today they were team #1. Ethan and Clay weighed in 5 fish totaling 12 lbs. 6 oz. Bailey and Bailey weighed in one fish weighing 2 lbs. 1oz. Dakota and Elijah weighed in 1 fish totaling 1lb. 14 oz. The totals from Wednesday and Thursday were combined to select the first top 10 to make it to the semi finals. By making it to the semi finals in the first round those 10 teams were given extra fishing time in the last qualifying round on Friday. They launched first and didn’t check in until 2:30pm after all the other teams checked in at 2 p.m. At the end of the first round our teams standing were: Ethan Carr and Clay Johnson #87, Dakota Wilson and Elijah Garrett #150, Bailey Talent and Bailey Pennycuff #160 out of the total 186 teams. 577 fish were weighed in, with 1,305.3 lbs. total weight. Friday, July 1, 2016, began the last round of qualifying with 10 teams already in the semi finals, there were 166 teams fishing for the last 10 spots to be able to fish in the high school world fishing tournament on
Saturday July 2, 2016.  Boat numbers again were draw as all teams  other than the top 10 were beginning again with zeroed total weights to start this round. Dakota and Elijah had boat #13 with a check in time of 1 p.m., they brought in one fish weighing 1lb. 12 oz. finishing in 111th place.
Bailey and Bailey had boat number #51 with a weigh in time of 1:30 p.m. they weighed in one fish weighing 2 lbs. 4 oz. finishing in 108th, Ethan and Clay were boat # 105 with a weigh in time of 2 p.m., they weighed in 5 fish totaling 11 lbs. 7 o.z finishing this round in 29th place.  In this last round of qualifying 115 of the 166 teams weighted in fish leaving 51 teams that zeroed for this last day of qualifying. 441 fish were brought in to weigh with a total weight of 1,011.2 lbs.
Friday July 1, 2016, the federation held a pizza dinner for all the teams to announce the top 20 teams for the tournament. Also on this night the 166 teams that did not make the finals had one more chance to put their names in a hat to be drawn for the lucky dog #21 spot in the high school world finals. One of our teams was so blessed to be drawn as the lucky
dogs!! Bailey Talent and Bailey Pennycuff represented our school as team #21 in the finals!!  They brought in 2 fish weighing 3 lbs. 13oz. and was able to move up one spot to finish in 20th place in the tournament. Bailey and Bailey received new SAF rods for their finish.

This is the first year of having a fishing team/club at Livingston Academy. We are go grateful to all of our sponsors for their support during this first year of fishing we couldn’t have done it with out you!!!

First Day Fishing: Elijah and Dakota

First Day Fishing: Elijah Garrett and Dakota Wilson


First Day Fishing: Bailey Pennycuff and Bailey Talent



First Day Fishing: Ethan Carr and Clay Johnson



Mitchell Creek Marina, 1260 Livingston Boat Dock Road, Allons, TN 38541 | Reservations: 866.533.1842 | General Information: 931.823.6666

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