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Category Archives: Gatlinburg

Time Travel Smoky Mountain Style

Take a step back in time as you visit some of the areas I will mention here in the article.   It is a great way to experience the Smokies and learn of it’s diverse history, including the people that once lived  worked and vacationed in the area. History abounds here and you are sure to lose yourself daydreaming of an era long gone but not forgotten.

THE WONDERLAND HOTEL once a vibrant tourist attraction which first opened for business in 1912.  The two story structure had 26 guest rooms, carefully designed so that no two were alike, and each sported a private bath a luxury for that day and time.  The area became The Great Smoky National Park in 1934. The hotel remained opened until 1992 among many changes within the park and life itself.  Unfortunately in1995 fire took some of the structure, in 2006 the rest collapsed.  The park collected some items (boards/windows) and the buildings around the hotel were slated for restoration.  Sadly on April 19th, 2016 a fire also took out the annex.  Today what is left of the hotel along with the entire Elkmont District is listed as one of 11 most endangered places by the national Trust for Historic Preservation. The following was taken in Elkmont District.

elkmont

CEMETARIES IN THE GREAT SMOKY MT NATIONAL PARK   A total of more than 151 known cemetaries exist in the national park some date to the 1800’s. 20 cemetaries around Fontana Lake became inaccessible by land with the building of the dam, still accessible by ferry.  A cemetary also exists in the center of Gatlinburg. For more on White Oak Flats Cemetary check out our earlier blog article Hidden in the Heart of Gatlinburg.

HISTORIC BUILDINGS  The Great Smoky National Park has over 90 historic structures, houses, barns, schools, churches, outbuildings and grist mills.  Check out the map and put a few on your list to see when you visit.

grist mill

CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS CAMP Created during the depression to provide work and wages for young unemployed men many of the trails, bridges, campgrounds and buildings still stand today as a testament to their work.  For a brief history on how the park was created and the part the CCC played in helping to build it click here

There are lots of fun things to do and see in the area, I hope you will choose at least one thing off this list and take a few moments to reflect on the history of the area, the people who lived here and the great privilege we have of enjoying such a diverse, historic and beautiful area.

 

 

 

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Coast the Mountainsides

One of the most popular attractions in the area are the alpine coasters.  The area now has 7 in operation. The first opened in August of 2013 with the latest finished up summer of 2015.  Two of the coasters are located on Wear’s Valley Road in Pigeon Forge, one in Pigeon Forge near Dollywood  and 4 in the city of Gatlinburg.

Alpine coasters have been around since the early 1970’s and are most often designed/installed by German engineering companies.  The coasters need the right piece of land and excavation is usually the highest cost in the building process.  The terrain must accommodate twists and turns and a slope that lets gravity do all the work. And while you may be at an elevation of 2000 feet you won’t be far off the ground.  The bobsled like cars ride on a stainless steel rail. Each car can hold up to two passengers.  After passengers are strapped in the car is pulled up the track by a cable and once at the top the car is released for a white knuckle ride down the mountainside reaching speeds of up to 30 mph!  Riders are able to control their speeds using handles positioned on each side of the car.

 

coaster

 

Each track in the area sports something a little different, one claiming to be the highest, one the longest, another the fastest.  One thing we can say for sure is they all have great scenery!  Coasters do operate rain or shine and offer morning and night rides.  Like most coasters there are height and age requirements.

To get a short preview of a no brakes ride on the Smoky Mt Alpine Coaster located on Wear’s Valley Road click here.

Here are the links for the coasters currently in operation in Sevier County.

http://www.smokymountainalpinecoaster.com/

http://thecoastertn.com/

http://gatlinburgmountaincoaster.org

http://obergatlinburg.com/mountain-coaster/

https://www.anakeesta.com/rail-runner/

https://www.rowdybearmountain.com/

http://rockytopcoaster.com/

Wonder what the next hot attraction might be….hmmmmm……  Plenty of reasons to come to the area and new things are added all the time so come back often, see what’s new, enjoy the old and just plain have fun!

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2015 in Attractions, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge

 

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A Park Just Outside The Park

My husband and I have been going to the Smoky Mountains for over 20 years and in that time we have most certainly driven Roaring Forks Motor Trail in Gatlinburg TN at least a handful of times.  This month (July 2015) we took the time to do so again and I must say it is amazing what you observe (or don’t) on such outings.

Just before you enter the “trail” there is a city park, Mynatt Park, I had never noticed the park on our previous trips, but I took notice this time.  In my own defense previous trips on the trail were for purposes of reaching trailheads that lead to two very popular waterfalls in the Smokies, Grotto and Rainbow, or during times of weather too cold, or too wet to be hiking.  Also now that we manage our own rentals and have social media to posts places of interest, photos and the like on maybe I am paying more attention and even searching for those spots that I think our cabin guests or visitors to the area might enjoy.  Whatever the reason I am glad I spotted Mynatt Park.

To get to the park turn at traffic light #8 in Gatlinburg and follow Historic Nature Trail Drive, just before you enter the Cherokee Orchard entrance to the national park, Mynatt Park will be on your right on Ashbury Lane.  Beautiful setting, great picnic areas, grills, and restrooms.  They also have a covered pavillion for a nominal fee if you need to host a family gathering.  Tennis and basketball courts, a baseball field, horsehoe pit, playground area and a fishing stream for children are also part of the amenities offered at Mynatt Park.  Plenty of great scenery to take in as well!  Here is a photo of one of the picnic areas there more along the stream.

mynatt

For those that want a great place to picnic or play this is it.  Right in the heart of Gatlinburg, right outside the national park, easy to get to, and a hidden little gem that most other visitors don’t know about.  After enjoying your time at Mynatt be sure to drive the Roarking Fork Motor Nature Trail, visit the 3 historic homesites and take in all the surrounding beauty of the rushing mighty stream, the place of a thousand drips and the glorious shade of the forest canopy.  You’ll be glad you did.

To view more information on the city parks offered in and around Gatlinburg click here.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2015 in Gatlinburg

 

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Good To Know Info

We can’t deny we live in a digital age where information abounds and for most of us, at least here in America, it is literally right at our fingertips thanks to smart phones/mobile devices.

Do any of you remember the days of planning ahead and having the info BEFORE you set out on vacation? Well I am a planner and I like to KNOW if not everything at least a lot of the info before I ever leave my driveway. However I am growing accustomed to this digital age and I will admit I do rely on having the information handy in my hand, readily available and accessible.   I am grateful for websites and Facebook pages that I can save as my favorites and easily access information of all types because one of the most precious commodities we have is time.  With that thought in mind I am writing this blog with the purpose of posting links to informational pages that might come in handy while you are planning your vacation or while you are staying in the Smoky Mt area.

Click on the city name to see a list of services provided, services of all types such as salons, medical, legal, pet, tours etc.

GATLINBURG                                                        PIGEON FORGE

For information relating to national park:  GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

Weather informaton current and forecasted:  SEVIER COUNTY  (for Gatlinburg use zip code 37738, for Pigeon Forge 37863 in the search box top of the page)

Road Reports:     GREAT SMOKY MT NATIONAL PARK        SEVIER COUNTY

We have other articles here on the blog that are full of information too, like the one titled “FORE” which lists all the golf courses in the area.  Looking for a list of  theaters/shows in the area check out “It’s Show Time!”.  Need to know where the closest horse riding stables are then be sure to see the article “Giddy Up!”  A fan of the water then you need to read “Water, Water, Everywhere”.  Several more of our articles have info you may find interesting/helpful as well.

Vacation planning is great fun and with the use of our informative articles we hope it just got a lot easier too!  Happy planning!

 

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Ski Tennessee!

Wanna ski in Tennessee?  Well then you have to head to the Smoky Mountains and the only ski resort in the southeast, Ober Gatlinburg.

Ober is set up for four seasons of fun but originally opened in the early 1960’s, first as a private club but quickly opened to the public.  It is located on the top of Mt Harrison 3 miles from downtown Gatlinburg and features not only snow related fun but also a wildlife encounter, an alpine slide, a chair swing, water raft rides, arcade, shopping, ice skating (indoor and year round), a mountain coaster, and more!  Fun for all ages and all seasons but for this article I want to focus on the winter/snow related activities.

In doing the research for this article I found out that there is a whole ‘nother language out there when it comes to snow sports!  First of all the place the sports takes place is called the Terrain Park. There is a lot of things included in the Terrain Park including boxes, rails, spines, bonks and table tops!  For those of you like me who have no clue what all those are suffice it to say they are obstacles to jump over or slide (jib) across on skies or snowboards.  Click here to see some jibbing at Ober.

Ober is constantly changing, upgrading and adding new features.  This year in addition to adding new obstacles a new ski slope was also opened, now offering nine trails.  All the snowmaking pipes were replaced, a holding pond was added which increased their snow making capacity and they expanded their rental fleet.  Oh they also have the latest in snow-grooming equipment to provide a smoother, more consistant surface.

For a great place to vacation this winter come to the Smoky Mountains and be sure to visit Ober, even if you don’t ski or snowboard, take a ride on the aerial cable car (one of the world’s longest), eat at one of the eateries and/or visit the shops in the Tramway Mall.   There’s always plenty to do in Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, a great place to meet up with family and friends, share good times and make great memories.  We hope to see you soon!

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2014 in Attractions, Gatlinburg

 

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Logging…Loving…Leaving…Life The Story Of Elkmont

There has been much controversy concerning the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from the idea of it’s inception.  The area now know as Elkmont within the park is no exception.  The area started as a logging camp around 1901 when Colonel Townsend founded the Little River Railroad and the Little River Lumber Co.

As logging began to make the area more accesible the tourism trade grew. Townsend sold some of the land to outdoor and hunting enthusiast who soon began to build summer cottages. The former logging camps of Elkmont and Tremont were turned into vacation destinations which led to the creation of the Wonderland Hotel and the Appalachian Club.

By the 1920’s many people began to notice how the logging operations had devestated the land and the push for a national park began.  The problem with the national park idea was that the land was owned by private residents and the Little River Lumber Co which did not want to leave.  In 1924 a compromise was worked out with Colonel Townsend to sell 76,500 acres of land but allowed to log it for the next 15 years.  This was only one of many such “deals” that would need working out before the land now knows as the Great Smoky Mountain National Park came to be.

The area now known as Elkmont was purchased in the 1930’s as part of the park deal with the current residents being offered lifetime leases but renewed every 20 years.  The last lease was renewed in 1972  but denied renewal in 1992.  The problem was what to do with the buildings, the park service desired to tear them down and remove them but the past lease holders had other ideas wanting the structures preserved.  Many of the structures were granted a place on the National Register of Historic Places and therefore could not be torn down, more controversy, more compromise.

Elkmont is now an active campground with the abandon residences as a testament to it’s past.  The Wonderland Hotel has already been demolished and 56 other structures are slated for tear down.  Structures in the Daisy Hill section will remain and be restored as a static display to remind visitors of an era and the history that brought about the idea for a national park.  The Appalachian Club has already been restored as has the Spence Cabin and are available for day use for events such as weddings/receptions, family reunions, celebration events and business meetings.

The Smoky Mountain area is rich in history, controversy, bio-diversity and well all things that make up the cylce of life.

 

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FORE!

The Smokies is full of picturesque settings and the golf courses in the area are no exception.  The rolling hills and mountainous terrain make for some interesting, one-of-a-kind designed holes.  if you are an avid golfer we know that golfing isn’t just a sport for you but a way of life!  So get out there, enjoy the mountain air as you play a round or two on one of more of the courses in the area.

Here is a list of the courses in the area where you will find emerald green fairways, beautiful Smoky Mountain wooded landscapes and well manicured greens. The courses I have chosen to list are those inside or within close proximity to both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Gatlinburg Golf Course (Municipal)
520 Dollywood Lane
Pigeon Forge, TN
(800)231-4128
www.golf.gatlinburg.com

Bent Creek Golf Course (Public)
3919 East Parkway
Gatlinburg, TN
(800)251-9336
www.bentcreekgolf.com

Sevierville County Golf Club (Municipal)
1444 Old Knoxville Hwy
Sevierville, TN
(865)429-4223
(888)710-1388
www.seviervillegolfclub.com

Creekside Plantation Golf Course (9 hole) (Public)
326 N Shiloh Rd
Seymour, TN 37865-5215
(865) 577-4653

http://creeksideplantationgolf.com/

River Island Golf Club (Public)
9610 Kodak Rd SE
Kodak, TN 37764-1048
(865) 933-0100
www.riverislandsgolf.com

Bays Mountain Golf Course (Public)
685 Chris Haven Dr
Seymour, TN 37865-3213
(865) 577-8172

www.golfnow.com/courses/1036597-bays-mountain-golf-course-details

Laurel Valley Golf Course (Public)
702 Country Club Dr
Townsend, TN 37882
(865) 448-6690
www.laurelvalleytngolf.com

Dandridge Golf and Country Club (Public)
1247 Stonewall Jackson Dr
Dandridge, TN 37725-4315
(800) 997-2655
www.dandridgegolf.com

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge

 

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Water, Water Everywhere!

What do you think of when you hear Smoky Mountain National Park, well for one thing you probably think of mountain scenery, hiking, and wildlife viewing and those are all great things to not only think about but do.  Another great resource in and around the area is water and all it offers.

Many of the most popular hikes in the park include a waterfall along the way.  Many of the roads in the park follow the river and there are some beautiful picnic spots along the rivers edge. Another great spot to view the strong rushing water is The Sinks a spot on the Little Pigeon River approximately 12 miles from  Sugarlands Visitor Center.  The views here are of cascades and the currents are very strong. There is a pull off here with a few parking spaces but if the area is full you can still get a good view by driving slowly as you cross over the bridge.

For those looking for swimming holes there are several of those in the park too. Here’s a list:

  • Little River – Townsend, TN. …
  • Deep Creek – Bryson City, NC. …
  • Green Brier – Gatlinburg, TN. …
  • Cherokee Rapids – Cherokee, NC. …
  • Little Pigeon River Banks – Sevierville, TN. …
  • Midnight Hole – NC/TN. …
  • Abrams Falls – Cades Cove, TN. …
  • Metcalf Bottoms – Gatlinburg, TN.

Another great form of recreation on the river is fishing and can be done year round in the park.  Licenses are required and some streams may be off limits so be sure to check with the park system for all rules/regulations regarding fishing in the park.

Not an angler, no worries how about floating away the day on a tube.  Several companies in the area for tube rentals.  Another way to float/ride the river white water rafting of course, check out the different package deals and different trips some include the fast rapids others a more leisurely float down the river.

lake

If you want to spend the day on a lovely lake it is only a short drive from Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge to Dandridge TN and beautiful Douglas Lake.  There you can rent boats of all types, jet skis, sea doos, and waverunners too.  Take a look at our other article Boat Loads of Fun for more area rental companies.

Looking for a great water park, try Dollywood’s Splash Country with 35 acres of waterslides, attractions, pools and play areas.

Another way to cool off, take a wet roll down the hill at The Outdoor Gravity Park in Pigeon Forge.

So rather you desire to get in the water, on the water or just have a great view of the water you will find it all right here in the Smoky Mountains!

Water anyone?

 

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It’s a Slippery Slope and Snow Much Fun!

Hey there all you winter wonderland fans, ’tis the season to grab your toboggan and head for the hills!  Ober Gatlnburg Ski Resort and Amusement Park have opened the slopes/runs.  Be sure to click on the link and take a look at current conditions including a live webcam.  Also on the link you can find pricing for gear rental, lessons and lift tickets. Skiing, snowboarding and tubing all offered here.

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Not the downhill, outdoor type well head indoors, lace up some ice skates and take a few turns on the rink inside, this activity is offered year round.  Plenty of other things to experience here too, the alpine slide, the aerial tramway, the wildlife encounter, shops and eateries so as you can see something for everyone and in every season.  Head on up to Ober Gatlinburg and have some fun!

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2013 in Attractions, Gatlinburg

 

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The Wedding Capital of the South

weddingmarineAnother way the Smokies are endeared to many, they come here where the scenery shouts life, peace, and joy to promise a lifetime of love to one another.  The area has everything a couple planning a wedding could want or need, including beautiful wedding chapels, local florists, bakers, salons, spas, catering services, photography, entertainment and more.

Looking for something a little more intimate?  Local ministers will come to your cabin, condo or chalet and perform your perfect Smoky Mountain wedding.  Another great perk, you are already at your honeymoon destination! 

Need a one stop shop, help in planning or just general information, then check out (by clicking their name) the Smoky Mountain Wedding Association page for wedding planning made easy!  You’ll want to get their free planning guide and read their blog articles for great ideas, hints, tips and more.

Here are a couple other helpful links.

Package Deals:  New Beginnings Wedding Photography

For a list of wedding providers/wedding services in Sevier County click here.

With the helpful resources of the links above the planning of your wedding just got easier, and your life more stress free!  After all isn’t that what coming to the Smokies is all about?  Why yes it is!  Is all about love, fun, relaxation and memories.  No better place than the Smokies to fall in love, pledge your love and enjoy your love.  Now get busy planning those honeymoon activities!

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2013 in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge

 

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