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Knoxville Voyager Interview

We were recently recognized and interviewed by Knoxville Voyager, a magazine out of Knoxville Tennesse.  We are very excited to share our journey and we hope you enjoy reading about it.  The button below will take you straight to the article or you can read the article below.

Rising Stars: Meet Brett and Leslie Ellis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brett and Leslie Ellis.

Hi Brett and Leslie, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.

OG Cabins (Off-Grid Cabins) began after I was diagnosed with Colon Cancer in December 2020. Initially, there was no plan to rent out the cabin, which became The Rowdy Bear. I just needed something to focus on and look forward to while I was going through treatment. The cabin eventually became a family thing that Leslie, Gavin, and I all played a part in creating. The cabin became a labor of love, and we had many memorable weekends at the cabin while it was being built.

Initially, we looked at building a standard cabin that you will typically find in the mountains, but we decided we wanted to do something unique. We love the outdoors, hiking in the Smoky Mountains, hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, camping in North Carolina, camping in Tennessee, camping in Georgia, and camping in Virginia. We live in a great location to get to many different areas in the Southeast. While looking at the different styles of cabins and figuring out what we wanted to do, we came across Glamping in North Carolina. The uniqueness of the cabins and the fact that Glamping seemed like more of an experience, led us to build an Off-Grid Cabin in Bryson City, NC.


As you can imagine, there were many things to consider and figure out when it came to building and outfitting the cabin to make it a comfortable glamping experience while maintaining a certain basic feel that you get when camping. We wanted it to be clean, have a simple rustic feel, and have the primary things we want like a shower, a comfortable bed, quality outdoor furniture, a fire pit, and of course a big glass panel garage door that opens the cabin to the outdoors. Overall, I would describe the Rowdy Bear as falling between camping and staying at a hotel and that is Glamping. If an individual likes or wants to try camping but does not want to rough it or purchase everything that is needed to camp, Glamping is the way to go.

While building the cabin, we started sharing our pictures and journey with family and friends and everyone became more and more interested as we went. We began seeing more likes and comments on Facebook.

From there, we started sharing the small individual things we worked on for the cabin such as the rain-captured shower, and everyone showed even more interest. It was around that point we considered renting out the cabin and started looking into what it would take. When we started looking at other Bryson City cabin rentals, we saw that we would be offering something different, so we decided to rent the cabin out and see what happened.

Overall, building the Rowdy Bear, creating OG Cabins, LLC, and getting such positive feedback from our guests has been an incredibly fulfilling experience. We take great pride in the Rowdy Bear, and we built and outfitted the cabin the right way, without cutting any corners. I think the amount of thought that went into the cabin to create an experience is one of the primary things that has helped us be successful. Our focus was not money; our focus was providing a quality experience and when you read our reviews our guests often describe their experience, not just the basics of the cabin’s looks.

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