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62 Entries
Belinda Peres Email
11/05/13

Comments:
Thank you so much Esther for a wonderful afternoon in the beautiful Cataloochee Valley with you and all the elk.  It was by far the most memorable event of our vacation.  Your knowlege and good humor are charming and gracious.  Belinda, Clovis, John and Lisa Peres


Mary Thornton 
11/04/13

Comments:
We "discovered" Esther and her fabulous elk tour through the Oak Hill B & B on Love Lane, Waynesville on our latest trip to western NC.  She met and far exceeded our expectations for this adventure.  Her enthusiasm was contagious, her wealth of knowledge enormous, and her gracious spirit made for a most enjoyable day.  She seems to have an intuitive feel for her guests desires/needs--comfortable vehicle, multiple opportunities to capture that special photo, hot cocoa, yummy snacks, potty breaks, answers to a myriad of questions.  Can you tell we loved our trip?!  We can't wait to experience another tour with Esther.


Joyce Sutherland Email
10/30/13

Comments:
The Cataloochee Elk Tour was the highlight of our visit to the mountains of North Carolina! It far surpassed our expectations. Esther was delightful and very knowledgeable.  The tours are very small and intimate and guests are able to take many photos of the beautiful Smoky Mountains. We saw many elk at a gorgeous time of day. I'm sure we will see Esther again and join her for her Spring and Summer tours. Don't miss this!


Tim Foxworth Email
10/27/13

Comments:

Me and Wife took the tour with Esther on Sept.26, 2013, it was the greatest tour we have every taken.  Esther is very knowledgeable of her job and answered all the questions we asked her.  I would recommend the cataloochee valley tour to everyone that goes to this area.  We were able to see lots of Elk and also some deer.  We even plan on doing the Firefly tour in June with Esther.  Thanks for such a wonderful experience, Tim and Gatsey Foxworth


Mitch & Alice Link 
09/27/13

Comments:
It's hard to know where to begin talking about Cataloochee Valley Tours and Esther. From the moment she picks you up until you return you are in the presence of a charming and cordial hostess.The valley, the surroundings, and the elk exhibit a beauty and natural serenity that can sooth, amaze, and inspire all at the same time, and we spend a lot of time in nature. Perhaps that, combined with a constant sense of excitement, boundless enthusiasm, and a wealth of knowledge about the animals and the history of the area is what makes Esther Blakely's tours so very special. It almost seems as if she's taking the tour herself for the first time every time she points something out -- she bubbles with an excitement that is contagious and infectious. Her tours and what she imparts to your day are worth ever penny. Treat yourself to a wonderful experience with this tour.


Tom & Judy Kulinski 
09/23/13

Comments:
Tom was not initially enthused about going on an elk tour, but Esther was such a wonderful, knowledgeable guide that he thoroughly enjoyed the elk tour. Our party of four had a wonderful trip and saw many more elk than we thought we would.  We would recommend this tour with Esther to everyone!!!


Bette Caffrey 
08/07/13

Comments:
Both Ray and I love the tours we have had with Esther.  After our first tour last fall, we returned for a second tour this summer.  Esther is so gracious and knowledgeable, making our time with her a true viewing and learning experience.  We will be forever grateful for the time she has spent with us.  I highly recommend Cataloochee Valley Tours for a visual feast of wildlife and scenery.


Steve W. 
07/24/13

Comments:
We spent a lovely evening with Esther in June when she led us on a late-night tour of the area's synchronous firefly displays. She's bright, funny, very well-informed and is such an expert on the local wilderness. Our group of four felt as if we were the only people on earth as we listened to her expert dissertations of local wildlife and witnessed the amazing displays as if she'd arranged them just for us. It was an unforgettable evening for all. 


Jan Zerbe 
07/11/13

Comments:

Thank you Esther for the highlight of our first trip to the Smoky Mountains. We are looking forward to our return trip next year.  Your knowledge of the history of the mountains, plants, flowers, animals, settlers and so much more was fascinating.   Your sincerity about the mountains brings a calmness to everyone that hears you speak about this very special place.  My husband and I thank you for an amazing evening.  Jan and Bill Zerbe


Donna Boxman Email
07/10/13

Comments:
We found Esther through our mutual membership with the Maggie Valley Chamber.  Esther is a real asset to Maggie with her inspired and well organized trips to Cataloochee.  Four of us took the tour to see the synchronous fireflies.  What a magical experience!  Esther and her expert driving took us over the mountain and safely dropped us into the fantasy land of fireflies, elk and the historic valley.  The fact that the fireflies only appear one month out of the year adds to the mystery of this outing.  Esther, thank you for sharing your discovery of these unique fireflies.


jacqueline stackhouse 
06/13/13

Comments:
Thank you Esther for the amazing trip to see the fireflies.  It was the perfect gift for my great niece and again magical for me.  Your commentary was an added plus.  hope to go again next year.


Cynthia Ewing 
06/12/13

Comments:
Thank you, Esther for sharing the wonderful experience of observing the synchronous fire flies!  It was so special to be able to share this with my parents who are in their mid-eighties! You are such a safe and careful driver and taught us so much during the tour.  It was awesome to stand in the dark and view the fire flies putting on their show for us!  I recommend this highly to others.


RL Browne 
05/23/13

Comments:
Thank you Esther for one of the most lovely wildflower hikes we have ever taken.  We were so impressed with your knowledge and enthusiasm.  This really was a highlight of our trip to the mountains.  Ron & Lisa


Linda and Richard Kanner Email
03/24/13

Comments:
Meeting Esther, listening to her talk on elk and the Cataloochee Valley, birdwatching with her and the piece de resistance - the morning tour to see the elk were the absolute highlights of our trip to the Smoky Mountains.  We were so lucky to have found Esther.


Peggy Fox Email
11/20/12

Comments:
I have to admit; when my sister suggested the Cataloochee Tour I thought, "why pay to see the elk?  We can just drive in and see them."  But since she wanted to do it I went along for the ride.  Boy was I wrong!  The tour was the highlight of our trip!!  Thank you Esther for a wonderful tour and for all the great history you shared with us.  I have already recommended this tour to many people and they say they have added it to their to do list.  Take care Esther and Happy Thanksgiving.


Glenn and Mae Johnson 
10/27/12

Comments:
Esther, we agree with all the other clients, your love for your job and the Cataloochee Valley definitely made our trip memorable. The Elk tour was a highlight of our vacation and we highly recommend it!!
You left us feeling as though we made a new friend and per our conversation, always enjoy life's moments and beauty of your surroundings. "The mountains are calling....and I must go". John Muir


Lynne Duncan 
10/19/12

Comments:
Charlie and I totally enjoyed our tour on Oct. 16. All of our expectations were exceeded. We put the tour on our list of favorite things we have ever experienced. We look forward to taking all of the tours Esther has to offer.


Mike Nabors Email
10/18/12

Comments:
Well, I feel like I made a new friend!  Esther, you were a wonderful host for my son Danny and my trip into Cataloochee!  Mark another one off my bucket list, but wait, I think I won't do that so I can go again!  The elk were wonderful and the pictures we took were terrific.  The trip was PRICELESS!  Best wishes!  Mike


Cathy Nichols Email
10/15/12

Comments:
My husband and I had a wonderful evening hearing about Cataloochee and seeing the elks and turkeys!  Thanks Esther for a wonderful adventure!


Martha Bennett Rogers  Email
10/03/12

Comments:
My husband I were blessed to find Esther and Cataloochee Valley Tours.  Esther was exceptional of her knowledge and love of this beautiful valley.  We actually just received a wonderful note from Esther with a photo she took of us on our tour.  My great, great, great grandfather (Young Bennett) was one of the first settlers in the valley and it was a joy to have Esther lead us back to my humble beginnings in beautiful Cataloochee.  - Thank you Esther!!
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