Smoky Mountain Homecoming Festival-A Local Tradition

What is your tradition to mark the change of season to autumn? Carving a pumpkin with the family? Enjoying a rental cabin in Gatlinburg? Taking a drive to view the changing fall landscape? Our family returns every year to a small local festival that is celebrating its twenty-first season: the Robert A Tino Smoky Mountain Homecoming.

Robert Tino is a talented local artist, whose gallery is located in an historic farmhouse homestead, adjacent to Winfield Dunn Parkway (Highway 66) in Sevierville. It is here on the farm that a sweet slice of homemade Appalachian culture is served annually the first weekend in October. There are festival activities for the entire family: antique merchandise for sale, mountain skills demonstrations, vintage children’s games, wagon rides, pumpkins and pottery to decorate, country BBQ and sweet treats. The event always has a background accompaniment of bluegrass music and old-fashioned storytelling.

You can even get a jumpstart on Christmas shopping, as Robert’s newest prints and special art sale values are displayed for purchase. His artwork has depth of texture and use of color that are unique to his personal style and are a pleasure to own. Robert Tino’s pieces large and small are lovely for gifts: for others or for yourself!

We mark every fall with our tradition of attending Smoky Mountain Homecoming. Admission is free, and the memories are as picturesque as a Tino painting-enjoy!

October 5-6, 2013, 10 am to 5 pm.


Lumberjack Feud Dinner Show-A Meal with some Macho Muscle

So you have checked into your secluded Pigeon Forge cabin, and are now looking for a place to have dinner in town. Here’s a suggestion: what about a rowdy good time with your camp style meal? Consider the Great Smoky Mountain Lumberjack Feud Dinner Show.

Refined, it isn’t. Those looking for singers and dancers need to continue driving. These are some of the manliest guys in town! You may not be familiar with the unique action of axe chopping, tree climbing, chainsaw wielding, log rolling Timbersports, but these performers are true competitive athletes in every sense of the word. ESPN lumberjack athletes for Lumberjack Sports International work here. Champions and multigenerational timberjacks, both rising stars and seasoned veterans, all compete with fierce good nature in this rowdy show.

The main objective is this: “Don’t be too serious and relax for just a little while-Yoho!” Skilled competition is interspersed with slapstick humor, some audience participation, a little trade history, and a couple of competing flying timberdogs. Certainly not highbrow entertainment, but who would want it to be? You’ll think quite fondly of buffalo plaid after this tasty meal.

By the way, if you think you have what it takes to be a lumberjack (or lumberjill), you can even plan to attend Lumberjack Boot Camp. How about that for your next corporate team building exercise? The Lumberjack Feud welcomes groups of all types and sizes.

So try something a little different this time. You might laugh, learn something new, or even go home with an autographed “cookie”. For more information about showtimes and the athletes that make it happen, check out at

If we can do anything to make your stay in the Smokies a better experience, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Volunteer Cabin Rentals. We would love to have you become part of our loyal repeat customer family.

Old Mill Heritage Day Belongs on Your Bucket List

I recently mentioned the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge as a good photo opportunity location. Yet the Old Mill Square district also should be considered as a destination itself.
The original historic water-powered gristmill from the 1800’s is still in operation, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An old-fashioned general store now occupies the mill building and markets milled products and pantry items. The area’s craft heritage is still demonstrated in other shops of Old Mill Square, a collection of several retail buildings located adjacent and nearby. Pigeon River Pottery artisans both create and sell handcrafted items. Other offerings include bakery and candy goods, gifts, mountain crafts, toy selections, and more.

Two restaurants serve the complex, and both are excellent. The Old Mill Restaurant is a rustic family-style meal, featuring items that include stone ground products from the mill. Pottery House Cafe & Grille has an American lunch and dinner menu that is deliciously homemade.

The Old Mill also hosts several festival events throughout the year. On Saturday, September 28, 2013, the 10th Annual Old Mill Heritage Day features live music, crafts, games, and food. It is an autumn event you really should visit if you are vacationing the end of this month. Learn more here:

After checking into your Pigeon Forge cabin rental, we at Volunteer Cabin Rentals recommend visiting the Old Mill. We enjoy its variety as locals, and know you will too.
For directions and a short video, seeĀ 60 Seconds at The Old Mill Square in Pigeon Forge, TN.

Classic Car Shows: Thoroughly Enjoy or Totally Avoid?

Everyone can envision their ideal vacation: restful serenity with quiet downtime, sightseeing activity with scheduled entertainment and retail therapy, or a combination of both for a family getaway. As I plan for extra drive time to reach our son’s soccer game over the weekend, I realized it is vitally important to consider calendar dates for maximum enjoyment of your vacation.

Specifically, there are two weekends each in September and April (with a sandwich week between) that bring classic car shows (aka rod runs) to the heart of the county in Pigeon Forge. Beautifully restored, custom vehicles line the streets and parking lots, and a substantial crowd of car enthusiasts come to town to admire them. These weekends bring very high traffic and visitor counts to the otherwise more laid back late summer and spring months. Passing through Pigeon Forge and continuing to Gatlinburg becomes challenging, with extended travel times during these events. My best analogy would be spring break in a small beach town, a high volume of people thoroughly enjoying themselves, and not in any hurry to get somewhere else.

This is not another diatribe on pros and cons, but merely a bottom line to say: plan accordingly. Want to join the fun? It’s never dull, whether to view the cars or watch the people. Want a restful, quieter vacation weekend? Come visit us at Volunteer Cabin Rentals, and choose cabin rentals in Wears Valley, which can be accessed from the more bucolic Townsend area, in addition to easy access from Pigeon Forge. We have an ideal location for both vacation worlds.

The major shows are typically in September and April, but can vary each year. To determine dates for these car show events, visit
Use this reference for future vacation planning in 2014, and make the correct choice for maximizing your family’s enjoyment.