Tuesday, October 04, 2011


At each Parkway entrance a directional sign indicates 'north' or 'south.' North, toward the north end of the Parkway, leads to Shenandoah National Park.  South, toward the south end of the Parkway, leads to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Outstanding scenery & recreational opportunities make the Blue Ridge Parkway one of the most popular units of the National Park System.  "America's Favorite Drive" winds its way 469 miles through mountain meadows and past endless vistas.  You will enjoy the picturesque farmsteads and historic structures, which complement spectacular views of distant mountains and neighboring valleys.

Building the Parkway through mountainous terrain was a monumental labor.  Authorized in the 1930s as a Depression-era public works project, it was the nation's first & longest rural parkway.  The Blue Ridge Parkway connects the Shenandoah Naitonal Park in Virginia with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. 

Feel free to visit the Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg during your trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It's just a short trip away & your family will appreciate the options of attractions, cabin rental lodging, and great restaurants.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Great Restaurants in Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg

We recommend 5 restaurants to try when you come to the Smoky Mountains.  In Pigeon Forge, we recommend Bullfish Grill.  At Bullfish Grill, we specialize in our namesake. Bullfish proudly serves aged Grand Champion Angus Beef. Seafood is delivered daily, offering you the freshest selections available.
At Bullfish Grill, we want all elements of your meal to be excellent. Thats why we carry only the finest wines, lagers and ales to compliment our fresh seafood and hand-cut steaks. Enjoy yourself with the perfect beverage to bring out the flavor of your meal.  Enjoy yourself and eat hearty. No bull, just great food.

Remember to try on the many fine restaurants in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, when visiting the Smoky Mountains. Of course, you can always grill out a great meal with your family at your mountain cabin. However, sometimes it is nice to go out & share a great meal with family & friends.

I also recommend Chop House, Calhoun's, & the Apple Barn.  In Gatlinburg, the Cherokee Grill is one of my favorite restaurants. Make sure to get a steak or pork chop.  The ambience and location is another reason to give this fine restaurant a try with your date or family!  You'll be sure to walk away feeling good about your dining experience!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Family Reunions in the Smoky Mountains are a great way to get together and share past, present, & future moments!  You can do catering in your own mountain cabin, go to a fantastic local restaurant, or do an outdoor picnic.  We recommend Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge for a large family picnic. There is lots of room for kids to play.  Adults can take photos, view the Little Pigeon River, or go shopping near the Old Mill.  Here are some details:

Patriot Park
The park is a large open space ideal for festivals. A walking trail lined with flagpoles featuring flags from all 50 states surrounds the park, which also features an historic missile, a large model of the Liberty Bell, and in the winter, Winterfest displays. Adjacent to Patriot Park is the historic Old Mill built in 1830. A pavillion with 14 picnic tables and four electrical outlets may be reserved by calling 865-429-7373. A large gazebo overlooking the Little Pigeon River may also be reserved, however a liability release form must be obtained and filed with the Pigeon Forge Department of Parks and Recreation. Call 865-429-7373 for details.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall Events in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge

Autumn in the Smokies has always been a special place to visit for families across the World.  If you haven't been to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park during the Fall, I highly recommend taking in the amazing displays of color.  You will be awed by the fantastic assortments of leaf change, as well as mountain viewsGatlinburg & Pigeon Forge serve as great hosts to this amazing seasonal change.  You can book a cabin rental for your family or friends.  Enjoy a day of hiking, a grilled-out meal, or college football game on your cabin's tube. 

September features several impressive car shows such as Shades of the Past Rod Run XXIX at Dollywood & the Grand Fall Rod Run.  October features the peak of Autumn color, Gatlinburg's Craftsmen Fair, & the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival. November features the Winterfest Magic Festival & Chili Cook-off, Festival of Trees, and the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Thanksgiving in the Smokies is an amazing tradition for families throughout the United States that look to visit Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.  Families select vacation cabin rentals to host their traditional Thanksgiving meal.  No matter what month you choose to visit the Smoky Mountains this Fall, you'll definitely create the memories of a lifetime!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

AUTUMN IN THE SMOKIES (Gatlinburg, Tennessee)

The notion that peak color season in Great Smoky Mountains National Park happens in mid-October is a misconception. The marvelous colors of autumn actually light up the Smokies for seven weeks or more as the peak elevations move down the mountainsides from the highest elevations to the foothills.

Autumn in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a special time when a glorious leaf season of several weeks is enjoyed by visitors as fall colors travel down the mountainsides from the highest elevations to the foothills. The kaleidoscope of fall colors in the Smoky Mountains is magnificent and varied because of the amazing diversity of trees. Some 100 species of native trees live in the Smokies, the vast majority of which are deciduous. The timing of fall color change depends upon so many variables that the exact dates of "peak" season are impossible to predict in advance.

In the Smoky Mountains, autumn color displays above 4,000 feet start as early as mid-September with the turning of yellow birch, American beech, mountain maple, hobblebush, and pin cherry, clearly visible from such vantage points as Clingmans Dome Road.

The fall color display usually reaches peak at middle and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. This is the park’s most spectacular display as it includes such colorful trees as sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and the hickories. For more information about fall colors in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you can visit their website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fallcolor.htm

When visiting Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, you should consider reserving a vacation cabin rental in the mountains. You can take in the amazing mountain views, autumn colors, and grill out outdoors to top it off!  The Smokies offer both low (flat land) rentals and higher elevation, mountain rentals.  Make sure to book your family's cabin early, as the Fall is an extremely popular time to visit the Smoky Mountains.

*Some Information credited to Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce

Monday, August 22, 2011


Here are a few tips, secrets, & recommendations to those looking to come to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge in the Fall or Winter season.

  1. 1.  You can enjoy one of the most amazing Winter Holiday & Christmas light displays in the U.S. by visiting Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. It's absolutely free. 
    22nd Annual
    Nov 7, 2011 thru Feb 28, 2012

    Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg TN
  2. Did you know you can avoid 20 minutes to an hour by taking the Veteran's Boulevard which runs parallel to the Parkway & is an expressway to Dollywood?  It runs from North End of Sevierville to the South end of Pigeon Forge, ending at Dollywood Lane near the Golf Course. Try it, if you hit heavy traffic on your way into town!
  3. We have the most visited National Park in North America.  The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is entirely free and offers you an amazing opportunity to hike, photograph, and experience wildlife, mountain views, & waterfalls throughout the area.  Gatlinburg is the Gateway to the Smoky Mountain National Park.  You can visit the Sugarland Visitor Center just beyond Gatlinburg to get suggestions and updates from Park Rangers that want you to have an enjoyable visit.
  4. Vacation homes are an increasing trend in lodging in the Smoky Mountains. These mountain chalets or log cabins are a treat for families, friends, or couples looking to thoroughly enjoy the mountains.  Not only do they offer more amenities than more hotels, but they are relatively affordable.  Cabin rentals in Gatlinburg and log cabins in Pigeon Forge are very popular.
5.  March 26 - October 28, 2011, our "After 3:00 PM" program allows you to enter Dollywood after 3:00 PM and get in FREE to Dollywood the next operating day.  Parking fees are not included.  This program is valid on one-day Dollywood admission tickets March 26 through October 28, 2011.  It is not valid during the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival at Dollywood.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gatlinburg Fun Facts & Places to Visit

Gatlinburg (Facts, Fun, & Historical Trivia)


  1. Formerly was known as "White Oak Flats" for the abundant white oak trees
  2. Ober Gatlinburg is one of the top attractions in Tennessee & offers a 120 passenger aerial tramway that takes you to the ski slopes, alpine slide, year-round ice skating rink, shops, & lodge
  3. The Pancake Pantry is one of Tennessee's oldest pancake house. It's considered a Gatlinburg tradition, often having a line out the door on weekends.  However, you will be impressed once you complete your delicious crepes & pancakes
  4. Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community in East Gatlinburg was founded in 1937.  This communityof artists & crafts-people is the largest of its kind in North America with over 120 shops
  5. Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts -- This nationally known visual arts complex provies year-round changing gallery exhibitions & houses a fine arts resource center with book store
  6. Offers Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies -- One of the most impressive aquariums in the nation.  See sharks, stingrays, exotic fish, & more. A treat for not only the kids, but the entire family.  Come see the Penguins at this 1.4 million gallon saltwater aquarium, too!
  7. Gatlinburg is the Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited National Park in the United States.  This free park is a National Treasure and offers over 800 square miles of beautiful nature, wildlife, & plantlife to view & hike
  8. Visited by millions of tourists & travellers per year.  Gatlinburg has a large community of vacation homes & cabin rentals to offer families travelling to the Smokies!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mount Leconte (Smoky Mountain Peak Viewed from Gatlinburg, Tennessee)

Mounte Leconte is one of the most picturesque mountain tops in the United States.  It is definitely one of the landmark viewpoints in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  The two-day hike to the top of the third-highest peak in the Smokies is really four walks in one.  On the 1st day you walk 7.7 miles to the summit of LeConte, traveling first on the Smokies crest, then on the Boulevard, a nearly level, mile high ridge with all-but-continuous views on both sides.  After visiting LeConte Lodge, which can only be visited by foot and has a long-term wait for overnight reservations, you can walk to Cliff Top and view the sunset behind Sugarland Mountain.  You can then walk almost a mile in the morning to Myrtle Point, where you can see the sunrise over the Smokies crest.  Then, you can walk down the 5.5 miles long Alum Cave Trail which has monsterous mountain & grand river views. 

Also, please note, you have a choice of five different trails that go to the top of LeConte.  Three of them--the Bullhead, Rainbow Falls and Trillium Gap--are long, hard climbs with only occasional views.  Alum Cave, which is steep in some places, is a very scenic 4th option.  The fifth trail includes the Appalachian & Boulevard trails and offers a longer, but less steep option to Alum Cave.  Both sets have unbelievable mountain views.  They say the Boulevard Trail offers the best chance of viewing wildlife.  We recommend you park at the Newfound Gap before your hike for best access to the trail(s) to LeConte.  Good luck on your hike! Stay at a vacation cabin rental in Gatlinburg, then go hike during the day for adventure and outdoor fitness.  Bring your camera to take scenic photos of your adventurous hike up to LeConte!  You're sure to enjoy them in the future and they will provide daily inspiration.

Friday, August 05, 2011

2011 Sales Tax Holiday: August 5-7

The State of Tennessee's Annual Sales Tax Holiday is held every year on the first Friday in August and ends the following Sunday night. This year's tax-free holiday weekend begins at 12:01 a.m on Friday, August 5 and ends Sunday, August 7 at 11:59 p.m.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Fishing in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

One of the great outdoor activities in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is trout fishing. Whether you're a pro or just got your first pole, the City of Gatlinburg has several streams that are easily accessible and sure to have that fish you'll be talking about for years. Most days, you can fish inside the city limits or in the National Park. Purchase your license by stopping by our Gatlinburg Welcome Center, located on the right as you come into town on 441 South.

The City of Gatlinburg has its own trout farm and stocks the streams on Thursdays, so there is no fishing inside the Gatlinburg city limits on Thursdays. There are some rules and regulations and different license requirements that we've listed below so you'll know exactly what to expect in planning your fishing trip.

Licenses can be purchased by

•persons who possess a valid Tennessee Drivers License

•persons who have lived in Tennessee for 90 consecutive days with the intent of making Tennessee their home

•military personnel on active duty in Tennessee and their immediate family

•students enrolled in a Tennessee college or university for at least six months.

NOTE: Tennessee Residents with a Sportsman License (Type 40) or a Lifetime Sportsman License do not need any other license or permit.

•Ages 12 and under - NO license or permit required

•Military Personnel on leave carrying copy of leave orders. (A pass does not meet this requirement) - No license required.

•Age 13-15 years - Gatlinburg permit, One-day (type 99) or Three-Day (Type 96) PLUS Junior Hunt, Fish, and Trap License (Type 02).

•Age 16 to 64 years old - Gatlinburg Permit, One-day (Type 99) or Three-Day (Type 96) PLUS Annual Trout (Type 22) and ONE of the following: Annual Hunt and Fish Combination (Type 01), County of Residence (Type 20), and One-day Fishing (Type 21).

•Age 65 years or older - Permanent Senior Citizen Hunt/Fish/Trap (Type 166) or Annual Senior Citizen Permit (Type 167)

Non-Residents - (Out of Tennessee)

Ages 12 - NO license or permit required

Age 13 to 15 years old - Gatlinburg Permit, One-day (type 99) or Three-Day (Type 96), PLUS Non-resident Junior Hunt and Fish (Type 70) 

Age 16 and over- Non-resident Gatlinburg One-day (Type 97) ONLY OR a combination of the following: Gatlinburg One-day (Type 99) or Three-day (Type 97) PLUS one of these Non-resident licenses: Three Day All Fish (Type 78); Ten-day All Fish (Type 80); or Annual All Fish (Type 81)

Aunt Bug's cabin rentals offers creekside cabins & river-side chalets in Gatlinburg for trout fishermen and kids who love to fish!  If you need a river cabin rental, check out Aunt Bug's cabins or Acorn cabin rentals.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Should I Stay or Getaway? (Gatlinburg Family Vacations)

USA Today/Gallup poll recently found that more than 6 out of 10 Americans say it's important that they get away from home this year, even if it means finding ways around high gas prices, airfares and hotel rooms to do it.  The poll indicated that Americans are prepared to pay more to get away this summer.

While some people find themselves too busy or putting off vacations, also known as "Vacation Procrastination," this helps energy recharge and decreases stress levels of your routine life.  There are new ways to plan for vacations like doing a reverse vacation.  A reverse vacation is trying the opposite strategy of how you would normally plan or spend a vacation.  If you normally do a beach trip, why not try the mountains (ie Smoky Mountains) this year.  If you normally do a Summer vacation, why not try a winter trip to celebrate the holidays or take in the winter sports.

You may think about doing a Stay-cation, but will this help you fully release all the stress that has built up through the Season or allow the family to have the fun they deserve?  We recommend taking a weekend getaway or taking advantage of last minute specials, if you are trying to curb your financial expenses for this year's vacation.  Furthermore, by choosing accommodations like vacation homes (ie cabin rentals or condos), you can curb "dining out" expenses by cooking your own meals at your vacation rental home.  These are all ideas to enjoy a unique vacation, while still keeping your travel budget-friendly.  Keep in mind the destination, also, when considering the most budget-friendly spots (ie Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg).

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Getaways Wanted! (Gatlinburg, Tennessee)

In this busy time, families often need a getaway to alleviate all the stresses in life.  These getaways allow for a family to come together, relax, and most importantly, have fun!  The anticipation of a vacation brings an immediate feeling of peace.  Kids and parents alike can share in the planning process.  The internet allows family to investigate and research activities to do throughout their stay.  Families can also select their lodging accommodations online and search based on location, amenities, and price.  The internet has made it easier to plan vacations.  You now can shop restaurants, amusement parks, and attractions before coming on vacation to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.  Cabin rentals or Smoky Mountain vacation homes can also be viewed, reserved, and reviewed online at chamber of commerce websites or company websites.

Social media has also allowed an outlet for friends, family, and the community to chime in on what's important in a given area. Twitter, facebook, and youtube are great tools to get the "411" or guest feedback about a travel destination.  Sometimes companies even give discounts through social media venues.  You can see many other pictures than may be provided via the corporate website.  So, before making your vacation plans jump on a facebook page or ask your "friends" where and what they recommend when travelling to a given destination.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Most Popular Family Vacation Activities 2011 (Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge, TN)

People only have the luxury of taking a family vacation once or twice a year, if at all, because of their busy work schedules, kids' school, and other at-home activities.  So when they do get to visit a travel destination, it is important to outline some fun activities for the entire family to participate in and experience.  There are some dynamic new places in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg that are sure to entertain kids and adults, alike.  Let's take a look at some of the more popular activities to engage in during a Smoky Mountain Vacation.

Ziplines are popular in Europe, South America, Hawaii, and several exotic locations.  Now ziplines have become the new "in" thing to do in the Smoky Mountains.  After you've tried it once, you'll see why.  Ziplines are great for family reunions, romantic dates, and teenage groups.  Looking for a bigger thrill? Super ziplines - 800-feet long and 100-feet high - are ready to rock your world.  Ride one of these and you can truly say you've conquered the fiercest ziplines in Tennessee.  From newlyweds to retired couples and friends to families, we get them all.  If you're in or around Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, book your zipline canopy tour today. You'll be talking about this unique, breathtaking adventure for years to come! Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville now have the top ziplines on the entire East Coast, so be sure to experience this exhilirating natural ride when visiting the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee.
Titanic Pigeon Forge:  Each and every day, Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tn. provides a gateway to 1912, where First Class Maids and a variety of Officers and crew members bring the stories of the fabled ship and its fascinating passengers to life by retelling their stories in vivid, dramatic detail.  The priceless artifacts throughout the museum shed additional light on the lives of those passengers and crew members when guests see the actual belongings of those on board and artifacts that sailed on Titanic’s maiden voyage.  Titanic has taken Pigeon Forge by storm as the #1 Museum in the Smoky Mountains.  It's towering "Titanic Ship" facade is sure to get your attention as you drive up towards the Mountains Southbound on the Parkway.  You will be gravitated towards the family fun that awaits you at Titanic!

Dollywood/Splash Country:  Dollywood has long been Tennessee's #1 attraction.  However, what people don't realize is that Dollywood has one of the top waterparks in the South in Splash Country.  Also, there are new amazing rides to enjoy at Dollywood including Adventure Mountain, Barnstormer, Skyzip, and Dollywood's Adventure Theater.  Splash Country also offers many water rides in Pigeon Forge including Wild River Falls, The Butterfly, and Big Bear Plunge.

Gatlinburg Log Cabin Rentals & Pigeon Forge Log Cabin Rentals:  The Smoky Mountains have the most diverse inventory of log cabin vacation rentals in the United States.  Honeymooners, families, and large groups can take advantage of the beautiful mountains by reserving a mountain cabin rental in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. Gatlinburg cabin rentals feature views of the mountains, rivers, and downtown Gatlinburg.  Pigeon Forge cabin rentals offer luxury amenities and lodging near Dollywood, outlet shopping, and the Pigeon River.  Your family will have a tremendous vacation in the Smokies where you can enjoy all the comforts of home, while taking in the beauty of this remarkable gateway to the #1 visited National Park in the Country (Great Smoky Mountains National Park). 

Thursday, May 26, 2011


In the mountains or the beach, many people now are starting to make it a tradition to get a rental vacation home.  In the mountains, a mountain cabin, a mountain chalet, or mountain villa might be a good choice for your vacation lodging.  At the beach, you can usually find a nice condo rental or beach home that would work for your family.  Vacation homes are a growing part of the tourism and lodging community.  Millions of people each year find vacation rentals to offer the most amenities, privacy, and comfort for a terrific value.  Once they try it, they find vacation rentals often at the same destination tend to be a yearly tradition.  In Gatlinburg, Tennessee, log cabins are scattered throughout the Smokies.  In Pigeon Forge, there are creekside and mountain view cabin rentals available. 

 Has your relationship with a loved one or a family member been strained lately due to stress, job dissatisfaction, health or financial issues, or for lack of quality time together?  Sometimes, all you may need is a getaway or escape from the every day routine to get refreshed & rejuvenated.  Your spouse, family, or friends will collectively appreciate it, feel better about returning to their "regular" lives, and hold their vacation memories dear in their heart.  Some vacations can be very budget friendly and made-to-order.  Keep this in mind when trying to decide what type of lodging you are looking for and what type of destination you would enjoy staying at with your travel group.  Most people like the natural landscape of mountains, a beach, or even a City. 

Do some financial analysis to see how much you could spend on a trip with the family. Then see when you, your family, or friends could schedule a break from your everyday lives.  Then you can start shopping online or call some destinations for lodging information.  After making your reservation, you can probably already feel some peace of mind and anticipation for your future vacation.

Give yourself a break and start planning your Summer or Fall vacation.  You deserve a getaway or vacation just like anyone else.  Sometimes with careful planning and budgeting, you can reserve an ideal place at a great price.  Also, vacation homes come in a variety of sizes so figure out who will be joining you.  Remember to bring your camera and suitable clothing for your vacation destination.  You can boast about your vacation at work, while immediately feeling more relieved that had experienced a fantastic trip! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Favorite Vacation Ideas in the Smokies (Gatlinburg, TN)

I have many fantastic memories of Gatlinburg with family, a loved one, or on my own.  Obviously, one of the immediate images that comes up is the Great Smoky Mountains.  I've grown up hiking these mountains, wading in its streams, and taken photos that suit my fancy.

However, there are many great parts to the Smokies that will reward you with outstanding vacation memories here.  These include the experience of staying in a log cabin for your vacation lodging.  Most of these cabins are professionally decorated, have full kitchens, and give you some privacy during your visit.  Also, the newer luxury cabins generally have hot tubs, gamerooms, and mountain views.  There are also other outdoor activities like horseback riding, ziplining, river rafting, tubing, and biking.  All of these activities are great for romantic getaways, friends, or family.

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are also getting to be known for its nightlife.  You can visit many of the fine dining establishments or have a drink with your friends, if desired.  For those that are more daytime activitists, I recommend visiting the Aquarium of the Smokies or Dollywood in Pigeon Forge.  Your family may also want to make a Splash at Splash Country this Summer to combat the heat! 

On vacation, it is important to socialize with friends and family, but also important to relax and cast your worries aside for a short time.  I will always love my vacations to the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge areas.  We'll see you there sometime!

Monday, May 02, 2011

River Rafting in the Smoky Mountains (Gatlinburg, Tennessee)

River Rafting in the Smokies is one of the best outdoor activities to take in with your friends or family. You will love the uplifting feeling of floating over the river rapids and viewing the mountains, as you rush down the River.  There are many places to enjoy river rafting here in the Smokies.  The faint of heart can elect to go tubing, if river rafting seems to aggressive for their liking.  We always recommend taking a lesson prior to getting on the river, having a river guide, and wearing the proper safety equipment.  Some of the local rivers in the Tennessee-North Carolina area that provide water are the Chattooga, Ocoee, Nantahala, and Pigeon Rivers.

In the summer shorts, a bathing suit and shoes that will stay on your feet are recommended.  For the spring and the fall we recommend layering with synthetics such as fleece or polypropylene.  Footwear should include Tennis shoes or sport sandals (no flip-flops)
*Cotton holds moisture to our skin, keeping you wet and clammy. Cotton will not keep you warm.
*Sunscreen- particularly if you are fair skinned.  The water reflects and enhances the chance of sunburn.
*If you choose to wear prescription or sunglasses we recommend string or Chums to hold them in place.
*Be certain to bring a change of clothes and a towel.

Many of the river rafting companies have friendly & helpful staff that will assist you with your plans.  Call them with any questions that you may have.  WildWater Adventure Centers have a good variety of activities, rivers to navigate, and tour guides to give you peace of mind.  Always consider renting a luxury cabin rental on your vacation to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.  You will get a budget-friendly vacation rental while enjoying the outdoors on your trip to the Smoky Mountains.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Dolly Parton's Springfest Parade in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Looking for a great outdoor event to take in with the family?  Try visiting the Smoky Mountains!  You can attend Dolly Parton's Annual Homecoming Parade, where she opens up SpringFest in Pigeon Forge.  May 6, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. marks the 26th annual Dolly Parade. This Dolly Parade kicks off Pigeon Forge Springfest with Sevier County's favorite daughter, Dolly Parton, as its grand marshal leading the celebration. Traditionally, over 50,000 parade watchers line the streets to admire the colorful floats, marching bands, entertainers and local celebrities on the streets of Pigeon Forge. For photos of the Dolly Parade.

The Dolly Parade will begin on River Road near traffic light #7 and will travel north along the Parkway disbanding at the Belz Factory Outlet World at traffic light #3. The Dolly Parade will get underway at 6:00 p.m. All visitors who come to the parade will get a real taste of the entertainment that can be found all year in Pigeon Forge. Every year for the last 25 years Dolly has been holding her annual Homecoming Parade. This event puts Springfest into full swing. The parade usually draws Dolly lovers and spectators from all over the world. It is fun and it is free, and you get to see Dolly herself. It is so much fun to see what parade float and outfit she will come up with next.

Born January 19, 1946, singer, songwriter, and actress Dolly Parton inspires locals and visitors! Locust Ridge, Tennessee, Dolly’s hometown in the Great Smoky Mountains was not a large enough place to contain all of this amazing woman’s dreams. A day after Dolly graduated from Sevier County High School, she packed her cardboard suitcase with songs and moved to Nashville, Tennessee.

This performer is also a businesswoman! Each year she returns home for her parade through Pigeon Forge and to visit her theme parks, Dolly Wood and Splash Country. The little girl who grew up in the mountains of east Tennessee and made them a part of her music still loves her home.

She also shared her name with the theme park and from the opening day in 1986 forward, it became known as the now famous Dollywood. Now Tennessee’s most-visited tourist attraction, Dollywood ranks in the top fifty most attended theme parks in the world and has now doubled in size. Covering over 100 acres, with several new areas and many more attractions, this theme park draws over two million visitors to the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee area each year!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains (Near Gatlinburg, TN)

Cades Cove, just outside of Gatlinburg, is located on the south end of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Plan to spend from 5 to 7 hours including the round trip from Gatlinburg.  You can hike it, walk it, bike it, horseback ride it, or drive it!  When you go early, you miss the congestion of people and traffic.  Also, if you go at dawn or sunset, you will also enhance your chance to see abundate wildlife.  During much of the year, you can see Bear, Deer, Fox, Birdlife, and beautiful flowers.

There are at least three 100 plus year old churches.  Two of them are Baptist churches, while the other is a Methodist Church.  You can see many intriguing pioneer log cabins throughout this historic community.  If you feel like hiking, try the Abrams Falls trail which only takes a little more than an hour each way.  It's beautiful and will provide an excellent backdrop for picture-taking.  Cades Cove is a peaceful, historic community within the National Park that is sure to provide memories for your entire family. Please respect this East Tennessee Treasure (don't litter, pollute, or disturb the habitat).  We want to keep it available to the public in its present state for generations to come.  Feel free to call the National Park for more information about Cades Cove at 865-436-1200

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gettin' Married? Try Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Getting Married is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion (let's hope), so it is imperative to make memorable wedding plans!  Of course, you could get married and take your honeymoon in the Smoky Mountains.  Or you could do a destination wedding, with your guests, in beautiful Gatlinburg Tennessee.  Gatlinburg offers a very affordable option to those that want a destination wedding and will be hosting guests from all over the Country.

The National Park offers a great backdrop for a wedding.  It also gives your guests some weekend activities to do, while they are attending the wedding.  Its scenic beauty of glorious mountains, serene forest, rushing streams and cascading waterfalls is the perfect setting for a romantic Gatlinburg wedding.  Over twenty wedding chapels in Tennessee and services are located in Gatlinburg. Brides dreaming of a formal wedding will find that their dreams can come true, whether they want a traditional white chapel or a charming log chapel. Every wish can be met during a Gatlinburg wedding including candlelight ceremonies, professional photography, camera videos, and elegant receptions.

Couples dreaming of a simpler wedding also have many options. Many of the Gatlinburg wedding chapels offer gazebo, garden, or waterfall settings. Aunt Bug's Cabins is one luxury log cabin provider that offers bridal couples private cabin settings with mountain and creekside views.  Also, there are Gatlinburg wedding services that will perform weddings at an outdoor location of your choice, such as by a mountain stream, mountain or riverside cabin, or a natural waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Many services and vendors are available to you and your wedding party including limo services, florists, photographers, caterers, dress shops and tuxedo rentals. Additional benefits are easy access, first-class quality chapels that charge reasonable rates, and marriage-friendly laws. In the state of Tennessee, no waiting period or blood test are required. All that's necessary is a license (ask the Chamber of Commerce for locations), be 18 years of age or older, and have lots of love in your heart. Couples can even pick up their marriage licenses on a Saturday in Gatlinburg.

Another popular trend is to get married in your honeymoon cabin or chalets, which offer privacy and incomparable mountain settings.  Gatlinburg offers the bride and groom everything needed for that perfect day. Gatlinburg, often called “Wedding Capital of the South,” is the ideal place to set the tone for years to come.

Still, if you desire to get married in your local hometown, consider Gatlinburg as your honeymoon destination. There are honeymoon cabins that now offer mountain views, heart-shaped jacuzzis, private indoor pools, hot tubs, fireplaces, porch swings, floral bouquets, in-room dining, and privacy.  The Gatlinburg cabin rentals are affordable and beautiful for your romantic hideaway in the Smokies!