Summer Weddings

Schools are out, Memorial Day is fast approaching, and summer is officially just weeks away. In the Smokies, that means wedding season is here as well. With its abundance of wedding chapels, secluded Gatlinburg cabins and incredible selection of attractions and restaurants, it’s no wonder that this area is the Wedding Capital of the South.

You’ll find dozens of chapels and other unique wedding venues all throughout Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville. You can get married on horseback, in a helicopter or even at the Hard Rock Café. Chapels usually offer a variety of wedding settings, from interior spaces to gazebos and waterfalls. Their packages are also often all-inclusive, offering amenities like flowers, photography, videography, catering and more.

The trick, however, is to contact your wedding provider as far in advance as possible if you know your intended wedding date. Often, a planner or coordinator will help you make arrangements in advance and, of course, reserve the space for the dates you need. Working ahead also lets you book your honeymoon accommodations before they fill up for the summer.

Also, don’t forget to get a license. You can get them at the Sevier County courthouse in Sevierville, the Pigeon Forge City Hall and the Shilling Center in Gatlinburg. See our Romance in the Smokies page for more details.

Check Out Our Webcam!

Ever been sitting in your house or maybe at your workplace and caught yourself daydreaming about the Smokies? Even if you’re not here with us in person, you can still get a taste of the mountains by taking a peek at our Smoky Mountain webcam. This camera, which is presented courtesy of our 1 In A Million cabin, offers live views of the mountains 24 hours a day.

Having access to a webcam can also be handy if you’re already on your way to the Smokies and you want to get an idea of what the weather conditions are like. This area can have unpredictable weather, especially in spring and fall, so it can be handy to know whether you need to pack for rain, snow or very high temperatures.
Here are a few other webcams you can access just for fun:

• National Park webcam from Look Rock: http://www.nature.nps.gov/air/webcams/parks/grsmcam/grsmcam.cfm

• National Park webcam from Purchase Knob: http://www.nature.nps.gov/air/webcams/parks/grsmpkcam/grsmpkcam.cfm
• Underwater webcam at Ripley’s Aquarium: http://www.wbir.com/life/seasonal/aquarium/default.aspx

• Gatlinburg Mountain Mall webcam: http://www.smokymtnmall.com/great-smoky-mountain-camera.shtml

Weekend Plans That Are For The Birds

Looking for something to do in the Smokies that celebrates the area’s natural setting and would also be fun for the whole family? Then consider signing up for this Saturday’s Bird Watching In Cades Cove program, presented by the Great Smokies Institute at Tremont.

There’s no better birding in the park than in Cades Cove on a spring morning. Join Tremont Citizen Science Coordinator Tiffany Beachy for a stroll through various habitat types looking and listening for these enchanting forest jewels.

Those interested in participating will need sturdy walking shoes, water and curiosity about the natural world. Bring binoculars or feel free to borrow a pair from the Tremont folks. The cost is $18 per person, but since time is short, we recommend calling ahead for details soon.

You’ll find more info at www.gsmit.org/calendar.html. There you’ll find a calendar of all upcoming events at the institute, which is located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They have day programs and overnight/multi-night programs for children and adults, all dedicated to exploring and preserving native wildlife. Overnight programs usually include accommodations and meals.

For the purposes of the bird-watching program, however, we suggest staying in one of our Wears Valley cabins, and you’ll be conveniently located near the national park and have easy access to Tremont.

Cabin Of The Week – Brookstone Lodge

What are you planning for this Memorial Day? This year, consider going all out by hosting a large group gathering at one of our Smoky Mountain cabin rentals. Whether it’s a family reunion or a gathering of friends, we think you’ll find the accommodations at Brookstone Lodge to be more than up to the challenge.

Consider for starters that this magnificent cabin sleeps as many as 20 adults in six bedrooms, utilizing five king beds, a queen bunk bed, two queen sleeper sofas and one regular sleeper sofa. That’s plenty of space for everyone to catch a little shut-eye, but you’ll soon realize you’ll need that rest once you see what this cabin has to offer.

Play to your heart’s content with a game room featuring a pool table, air hockey table and foosball table. Or you might want to settle in for a marathon movie session in the media room, where a large-screen TV is the focus of attention. Elsewhere, Brookstone has nine satellite TVs and 8 DVD players throughout its multiple levels, and Wi-Fi access is free.

Outdoor relaxation comes courtesy of spacious covered decks with a picnic table, charcoal grill and hot tub. All the while, you can enjoy gorgeous mountain views that spread out into the national park.