Posted on 2/17/2024


All of the Gatlinburg cabin rentals in the Mountain Laurel Chalets management family are unique. Some are large, some are small. Some are older, some are brand new. Some have a traditional Appalachian feel, while others are sleek and modern. Each is a special and valued part of our program. One home stands apart from the rest, though, simply because it is central to the inception and story of Mountain Laurel Chalets.

Smoky Mountain Memories, is a seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom Gatlinburg cabin with amenities galore. This home entered the MLC program as a rental in 2015, and it quickly became a guest favorite, largely due to the thoughtful renovations and professional decor that contributed to it becoming a luxury Gatlinburg rental perfect for large groups. This sprawling two-level home sleeps up to 20 guests, boasting three large living areas, a theater room with reclining theater-style seating, a large game room with a pool table and foosball, and a massive usable side yard with a fire pit, oversized hot tub, and children’s playhouse.

Long before it was a luxury vacation rental, however, Smoky Mountain Memories was a family home. To be more precise, it was the family home of our founders, Dot and Ralph Egli, and their three children. The home was the third property built on what’s affectionately referred to as “Ski Mountain,” and though Dot Egli was slightly concerned that her husband had moved his family to “the end of the world,” she immediately fell in love with the lot and its view. Since the area was just being developed, the Eglis had the opportunity to hand pick this incredible mountain parcel, which offered a panoramic view of Mt. LeConte and the surrounding Smoky Mountains. They commenced building Smoky Mountain Memories around 1960.

Carol Jordan, the Eglis’ youngest child, now owns the home, and has incredibly fond memories of growing up on this gorgeous property:

“A highlight for me was waking up every morning and rolling over in my bed to see the mountains. Every day and every season were different. On snow days we went sledding on the driveway. Each summer we’d spend our days outside enjoying the best natural playground imaginable. We were outside as much as possible; Mom even loved for us to eat our meals at a picnic table on the deck all year long.

When Randy, Susan, and I were children, Mom would take us on adventures on Wiley Oakley Drive, past our house which was then on a gravel road. One time we dug up three tiny dogwood trees and each carried one back home to plant in our yard. Shockingly they survived (and thrived!); Mom said we dragged the fragile roots all the way home!

Our home was always filled with love and laughter, friends and family, and fresh flowers. Mom loved to entertain and host friends and family from both the community and around the world. 

As tourism picked up in Gatlinburg, more hotels were built, and they often filled up. Hotel owners began to call Mom and Dad to see if they would take weary travelers in for the night. They rented out Susan’s and my bedroom and bathroom, tying the doorknobs to lock the rooms off from the rest of the house. They also rented out what we called ‘the little apartment,’ which is now the lower level bunk room, bedroom, and shared bath. Our house became the very first vacation rental property in the area! Over time, my parents acquired more rental properties, and thus began the story of Mountain Laurel Chalets.

In our home, God was delighted in, honored, and trusted. People were valued and celebrated. Life was enjoyed, and creation was explored. 

My husband, Brent, and I were engaged while sitting in rocking chairs on the porch, watching a full moon rise over Mt. LeConte. We will be married 31 years this May. Smoky Mountain Memories is a place that holds more stories than I can count, and it was a gift to spend my childhood in such a special place. I’m thankful I can now continue to build lifelong memories with my children and their families in this incredibly special place, and I’m grateful countless others can do the same.”

It’s such a gift to be able to welcome other families into this home. Smoky Mountain Memories has a rich legacy of family, faith, and love, and we are confident that its best years are ahead. If you haven’t had the chance to enjoy this property for yourself, gather up a large group of friends and family and plan a Gatlinburg getaway with them today. You’ll enjoy your time in this special place, and you’ll create Smoky Mountain Memories that will last a lifetime—guaranteed!