The previous owners of the property were John and Kathy Godar. They initially bought the original Black Bear Lodge in 2005 after selling their first Gatlinburg property. Throughout the years, they have enjoyed many of the attractions that the area has to offer. From morning hikes in the Smoky Mountains to shopping in Pigeon Forge, there is so much to do in Gatlinburg. The area always seems to be adding new things and updating the old ones. It's kept folks coming back for years. The feeling of supplying friends and families with a vacation home has always been a joy.
Sadly, the Black Bear Lodge that the Godars knew and loved burned down in the Great Smokey Mountain wildfires of 2016. Instead of rebuilding, the Godars decided to sell the lot to us, Carlos and Marisela Echenique.
We are the Echeniques. We are a family of four from South Florida. We decided to purchase the lot and rebuild Black Bear Lodge. We've always loved Gatlinburg, and the cabin experience has kept us coming back for many years. We have spent many Christmases, New Years and summers in the Great Smokey Mountains. Coming from a big, tropical city, we always appreciated the crisp, cold mountain air and the southern hospitality offered by Gatlinburg. Owning a cabin has been a dream of ours for a while now, and we are very excited to share that dream with all of you.
Hello, my name is Carlos and I am (obstensibly) the co-owner of Black Bear Lodge. I am also the network engineer, janitor and chief bottlewasher. My wife and I decided to invest in a cabin in the Gatlinburg area after we spent over 20 years coming here.
By day I am a Middleware Senior Administrator for Miami-Dade County and a professional photographer.
Hi! My name is Mel and I'm the Director of Media and Brand. I'm the one who manages the website, writes all of the blog posts, posts on all of our social media and sends you those cool email blasts. I'm a third year Public Relations and Political Science student with a minor in Theatre at the University of Florida.
I decided to take on this lofty role with Our Black Bear Lodge, because it is something I hope to do in the future. Brand management is super important in today's corporate communications world. Being in charge of the brand of Our Black Bear Lodge is a great opportunity to create my own brand and manage it. It is very hard to design a set of stylistic guidelines for yourself and adhere to them without wanting to change them.
I'm very excited for all y'all to stay at Our Black Bear Lodge. This cabin is my baby. I drew up the very crude original plans for this place and I'm beyond ecstatic to watch it come to life. I hope that once it does come to life y'all will fall in love with it because I've been in love with it since I drew it.
Also, welcome to the family!