Cabin Of The Week – Grand Vista Lodge

This magnificent five-bedroom, 4,700-square-foot log palace shines among Wears Valley, TN cabin rentals. Built on a mountainside in Dogwood Farms, this cabin offers breathtaking views from the two levels of wraparound decks, making it an ideal spot for kicking back in a rocker, porch swing or hot tub and watching the sunset.

The cabin, which sleeps 17, is designed to handle larger groups, which could include a business outing, reunion or multiple families traveling together. To accommodate the masses, there’s a large, custom-made Amish dining table that seats 14 comfortably. Or if everyone would rather take advantage of the charcoal grill, outside, maybe you could plan an al fresco meal on one of the decks while enjoying a tasty side of scenery.

While Grand Vista Lodge is located within a convenient drive of all the fun and activities in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville, the cabin is practically an attraction in itself thanks to the tricked-out game room. It includes a pool table, ping-pong table, foosball table, pinball machine and a 60-in-one electronic arcade game, a large-screen TV with surround sound, and lots of board games.

Altogether there is a total of five satellite TVs (two of which are large-screen), two VCRs and three DVD players. The cabin offers four bathrooms, one of which has a whirlpool tub.

Shoppertunity Is Knocking

One of the most popular activities that vacationers in the Smoky Mountains enjoy is shopping. And while there are plenty of the typical touristy places to spend your money—T-shirt shops, souvenir stands and the like—that’s just scratching the surface when it comes to the retail heaven that is the Smokies.

High on the list of retail destinations are the area’s outlet malls. Tanger Five Oaks Outlet Center in Sevierville is one of the most popular stops, and you’ll find the Governor’s Crossing Outlet Mall nearby as well. In Pigeon Forge, the biggies are Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall (the red roof mall) and Belz Factory Outlet World. Others in Pigeon Forge include another Tanger property and the Z Buda Mall, which is behind the Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall.

In Gatlinburg, crafts are a focal point of the retail market. In the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community, you’ll find dozens of shops, galleries and studios along the community’s eight-mile auto loop, and crafts abound at a host of specialty and craft shops on the downtown Parkway as well.

In Sevierville, you’ll encounter a number of flea markets and antique shops, particularly along Tenn. Hwy. 66 (Winfield Dunn Parkway), which runs between Interstate 40 and downtown Sevierville.

The good news is that guests staying in our Smoky Mountain cabin rentals are never far away when shoppertunity comes knocking.

How About A Picnic?

With the nice spell of seasonable weather we’ve had here in the Smokies lately, the conditions have become a little more favorable to have a picnic. Usually a popular activity in spring and fall, picnicking in the last month or so hasn’t been as appealing because of heat and humidity. So if you’re staying in one of our Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg cabin rentals this week, it may be a great time to strike while the iron—and not the weather—is hot.

Where are the best places to picnic in the Smokies, you may be wondering. Pretty much, it can be anywhere you want to put down a blanket, including city parks or green areas near the Little Pigeon River. But the most popular spots are, understandably, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Keep in mind that park amenities usually feature picnic tables and outdoor grill areas and may or may not have spots for actually putting down a blanket, although the Cades Cove community has lots of nice spots for a traditional on-the-ground picnic.

Some of the favorite national park picnic spots include Cades Cove, Chimneys, Cosby, Greenbrier, Look Rock and Metcalf Bottoms. Many of these sites are near other activities and features of interest. For example, a picnic at Cades Cove would naturally lead to a tour of the 11-mile historical loop, while a picnic at Metcalf Bottoms would make it easy to take a hike to the Walker sisters’ cabin.

Bear Management

Most folks who come to the Smokies to stay in our Wears Valley, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg cabins are eager to see a black bear in the wild. But we always make a point of cautioning our guests when it comes to these iconic animals. Bears are wild animals. They’re not in a zoo, which means we urge all visitors to treat them with a healthy degree of caution and respect.

One of the biggest mistakes out-of-town visitors make is feeding the bears. This situation often comes up because there has been a recent surge in the baby bear population, which has put a strain on the supply of their natural mast foods. As a result, more and more bears wander into campsites and other human-populated places to get food. And that’s when it becomes tempting to feed the bears.

However, feeding wild bears is harmful to them. Our food is not good for their health, and it makes them dependent on humans for survival. So here are some tips that make your presence less tempting to the bears:

• Keep your public campsite or picnic spot clean and free of litter. Keep food stored securely in cars or suspended overhead from a tree.

• In the backcountry campsites and shelters, use food-storage cables, and never leave your backpack unattended.

• If you’re day hiking and leave the trail, never leave your backpack unattended.