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Little Pond Mountain Campground

Little Pond Mountain Campground

Little Pond Mountain Campground, named after a nearby hiking trail, is located near the Appalachian Mountains in Butler, Tennessee. The property contains 19 camping sites with RV hookups, with one small cabin that acts as the business's twentieth unit. The campground is owned by a family that also runs the nearby restaurant, Shirley's Home Cooking, and the two enterprises often work together to create a wider range of guest experiences. Though the campground is designed to cater to overnight campers, there are a handful of long-term tenants. Some of the amenities offered at the camp include a bathhouse, coin-operated laundry machines, and Wi-Fi. 


Situated in part of the Appalachian Mountains' reach of the eastern United States, the Little Pond Mountain Campground is located in Butler, Tennessee. Described as a "camping-friendly" property, the establishment is home to 19 camping sites with RV hookups, in addition to a small cabin. Overall, the business rests on roughly 25 acres of land in a relatively rural area. 

Jeff, who is one of the property's owners, explains that the camping spaces have enough room to house RVs and that they are each spaced out to the degree that "another RV could fit in between each site." These camping units each come equipped with sewer, water, and electric RV hookups, in addition to the camp-wide Wi-Fi. Also stationed at each space are a small picnic table and a fire ring. It should be noted that firewood is not inherently provided as part of a guest's stay, but is available for purchase at the campground's main office. There are small trees positioned in between each of the camping units, and the large trees around the property as a whole help to provide a decent amount of shade for guests. 

The cabin on-site is reported to be slightly less popular than the camping units, but it does come with an assortment of features that cater to a different type of lodging experience than the rest of the campground. Able to sleep four people, the cabin includes a bathroom with a shower, as well as a kitchenette with some basic appliances (oven not included). Regardless of the unit a guest chooses to stay at, there are a few property-wide amenities that are accessible during the entirety of a reservation. There is a bathhouse that is available at no additional cost to patrons, and a series of coin-operated laundry machines in the laundry room. Other features include the ability to purchase ice and firewood at the campground's main building. 

Most of the people who choose to visit Little Pond Mountain Campground are in the area to experience nature-based activities and to get away from larger cities. One attraction that is accessible from the campground itself is the selection of hiking trails that pass through the property's acreage. One such trail is called Little Pond Mountain, which is where the business received its name. Other options for outdoor activities include visiting Watauga Lake to the north to participate in things such as fishing or boating. 


Little Pond Mountain Campground derives many of its cultural goals from the fact that the business has been family-owned since its conception. Jeff, one of the property's owners, built the campground from scratch, replacing a junkyard that had stood there previously. Part of the reasoning behind this lay in the fact that his mother, Shirley, had already been operating a restaurant for years (Shirley's Home Cooking). Jeff now handles aspects of the campground and the restaurant, and the two businesses often work together to increase the number of combined features they are able to provide.

One example of this can be seen in the event center that is located next to the restaurant. Previously a gift shop, the space has now hosted activities such as corporate parties, family get-togethers, and a few small weddings. Further plans are in development to create places that can act as outdoor venues for such activities in the future. Little Pond Mountain Campground, in conjunction with Shirley's Home Cooking, throws small seasonal parties to celebrate holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. Generally speaking, the current capacity for events on the premises can be anywhere from 15 to 150. 

The desired atmosphere of the campground is to emulate the "country, old-fashioned, and simple" culture of Tennessee. Jeff himself was born and raised in the area, and acts as an example of "southern charm." Apart from the previously-mentioned activities, the overall goal for Little Pond Mountain Campground is to be a place that allows people to have a "quiet and clean experience," explains Jeff. For the most part, people keep to themselves, though if groups want to interact with one another or with one of the camp's owners, it is possible to do so. 

Guests of the property have mentioned the aesthetics of the camp, which is specifically something that Jeff works on with frequency. Apart from that fact, guests reviews are typically pertaining to things similar to the following remark: "It's pretty well hidden from the main Beach even though you can hear the highway pretty easily, but it's a nice clean little campground that seems to be pretty well maintained, and the tenants seem to all be well-mannered."

For reasons similar to the remark above, Little Pond Mountain Campground has a mix of long-term tenants and overnight campers at any given moment. Some people have lived on-site for years, but according to Jeff, the primary demographic that they work with are short-term visitors who simply need a "base camp" while they visit the nearby attractions. 

Regarding campground policies, they are reported to be quite "normal" by the management of the property. The establishment allows for pets and for smoking, though should a pet make a mess of some kind it is expected that its owners of said pet clean it up. There are quiet hours and other small policies, though, for the most part, the campground adopts a "laid-back" environment. Little Pond Mountain Campground is open year-round, and it usually is busiest from May to October of each year. In recent years, the camp has been relatively busy during all seasons, including winter. It is estimated that around 20-30% of those who stay at the campground are repeat guests.


Though Little Pond Mountain Campground is relatively new, the history of the land and the family that runs it goes back to the late 1900s. Jeff, who is one of the owners of the campground, was born and raised in the area. His parents worked in the region, and more specifically, his mother (Shirley) worked at a rest stop off of Highway 67 W. Business for the rest stop was slow, and it was eventually shut down. Instead of leaving, however, Shirley decided to convert the building into a restaurant. Those changes occurred sometime in the 1980s, and the restaurant has been in operation ever since under the name of Shirley's Home Cooking. 

The land directly surrounding the restaurant was a junkyard, and as Jeff grew up, he decided that the area should be cleaned up and that a campground should be put in its place. Clearing out the mess took years—a sizable portion of the junk consisted of old cars—but over time they were able to add in units and landscape the area so that it would be suitable for guests. Little Pond Mountain Campground was formally established in 2011 after the renovations were finished. 

Jeff has expressed that participating in the landscaping and building processes of the campground has been one of his favorite parts of the job. Additionally, he works at the restaurant, cooking food and helping to seat patrons. He is able to interact with people from many different places—another element of his position that he enjoys. 

There was a gift shop that was attached to Shirley's Home Cooking, but when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, it was not possible to keep the staff members involved with working the shop. Instead, the space was converted into an event center, which has since hosted a handful of interior venues such as corporate parties and small weddings. There is current progress being made toward creating outdoor spaces to further complement the event center. Such changes are expected to be finished by the end of spring in 2022, though weather conditions and other extenuating factors could cause some delays. 

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3266 US-321 Scenic
Butler, Tennessee
United States





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