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Lazy Horse Retreat


Trail of Dreams
Article & photos by Allison Lail

Nestled at the bottom of Rich Mountain lies a quiet ranch called Lazy Horse Retreat, owned and operated by Melody Gilbertson. Lazy Horse Retreat is located in Dry Valley on Schoolhouse Gap Road in Townsend, TN, near several other established, small residential farms. There are magnificent panoramic views of Rich and Scott Mountains, along with the Chilhowee Mountain Range.

This mountain retreat business started when Melody and her ex-husband moved from Wisconsin to the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee over 25 years ago for health reasons. They had the idea that many other folks would love to come back, time after time, to a quiet, quant hideaway just walking distance to the trails of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Melody has been solo operator of the place since 1996.

The retreat offers three rental cabins, with a fourth just ½ mile down the road; ten stalls in the main barn, two in second barn; hook-ups for living quarters horse trailers, and two paddocks. Folks can stay the night, or stay the weekend. Even if you don’t have horses and want a quiet, bucolic place to stay near a day’s hiking trails, this is the place. They welcome guests with or without horses.  Each cabin is fully furnished, including heat, air, water, full kitchen, washer/ dryer, cable, towels and linens. Each is priced separately based on accommodations. All horses entering must be accompanied by an official Heath Certificate and proof of negative Coggins within the past 12 months. Hay and grain can be provided, or purchased at local feed store; however, it is preferred that horse owners supply their own hay and grain. Bedding is provided. Prices and more information are available at:

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