What a week we’re having in the Smokies. Sunny, blue skies, mild temperatures are making this the ideal week to get out and make the most of this gorgeous Smoky Mountains scenery. Here are just a handful of ideas for making the most of nature’s cooperative mood.
• Go for a hike in the national park – There are hundreds of miles of trails and nature walks that will let you explore high mountain peaks, waterfalls, historic communities, wildflower regions and more.
• Go ziplining – There are several zipline vendors throughout the area that offer a variety of fast, high-flying adventures among the treetops and spanning vast mountain valleys.
• Go horseback riding – You’ll find a number of horseback riding stables in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and even the national park. So saddle up and hit the dusty trail and experience the scenery the old-school way.
And when you’re in the market for a rental cabin experience in the Smokies, don’t assume that Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg cabins are all that’s out there. At Volunteer Cabin Rentals, most of our properties are located in beautiful Wears Valley, Tennessee—close to all those other places but in the middle of some of the most beautiful landscapes in the area and bordering Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
There’s only one problem with taking a vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee—there’s so much to do and so little time. In fact, if you visited every attraction in the Smokies, it could conceivably take you a lifetime full of vacations. So how can you go about narrowing down your choices for your next trip to the mountains?
• Consider eliminating things you’ve done before. So you’ve been to Dollywood, Ripley’s Aquarium and Titanic. This time, try some of the other dozens of attractions like Star Cars, the Elvis Museum or Rainforest Adventures.
• Shoot for a balance of indoor and outdoor fun. You might try to work in a music theater show one day and then balance that out with a hike in the national park. And there are activities like horseback riding, ziplining and Zorb that also get you into the great outdoors.
• Consider the age range of your group. If you’ve got young children with you, you may still want to consider a large attraction like Dollywood, which offers something for all ages. If it’s just adults, you can easily open up a wide range of options that may not appeal to the younger set.
• Consider your budget. It’s always helpful to set a price limit on your trip and then stay within it. That price cap may help you make some decisions when it comes to certain attractions. But the good news is that fun comes in all price ranges in the Smokies, so there’s no excuse for ending your visit unhappy.
When planning your next Smokies vacation, remember to visit our website and check out our selection of Wears Valley, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg cabin rentals.
If you’re staying in one of our Gatlinburg rental cabins this week, your timing is great. This week is the kickoff of Winterfest in Gatlinburg. It all gets started tomorrow night (11/7) with the city’s 23rd annual Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff from 5 to 8 p.m. on the downtown Parkway. In addition to lighting the city’s millions of Winterfest lights, area restaurants and other businesses will be competing for best-chili awards, while a Beatles tribute band provides entertainment.
Of course, Winterfest isn’t just this week. It continues with nearly four full months of special events and activities, all topped off with the dozens of Winterfest light displays. One of the most convenient and relaxing ways to see those lights is on the city’s Trolley Ride of Lights. These special trolleys take guests in heated comfort on a tour throughout the town. That means you don’t have to get out in traffic and burn gas money. The tours run through January 26, 2013.
Other Winterfest events in Gatlinburg include the Festival of Trees (11/20 – 11/24), the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Shows (11/21 – 11/25 and 11/26 – 12/2), Winter Magic tunes & Tales (11/23 – 12/22), Christmas On Ice (12/1 – 12/2) and the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade (12/7).
Volunteer Cabin Rentals
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.
There was a time when a visit to a music theater meant there was a good chance you were going to get your fill of country music. That’s still true to some extent, because our theaters do have some great country-, bluegrass- and gospel-themed shows. But these days, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Many visitors to our Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg rental cabins are surprised to hear about the wide range of entertainment styles to be enjoyed on our stages.
• Oldies Rock
You can hear the classic rock and roll sounds of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s—from Elvis to Motown—at venues like American Oldies Theater, the Grand Majestic Theater and Memories Theater, all in Pigeon Forge.
Almost all area shows have elements of comedy blended it, but yuks and chuckles are the main course at venues like Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre in Gatlinburg and the Comedy Barn Theater in Pigeon Forge.
• Competition Shows
Some shows defy description, but you can be sure that performers and audience members will go head-to-head and enjoy a multicourse meal in the process at shows like Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, Lumberjack Feud and the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show, all in Pigeon Forge.
• Murder Mysteries
Find out whodunit at the Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery and the Mystery and Mayhem Theater in Pigeon Forge.
Illusionist Terry Evanswood astounds audiences in his Wonders of Magic show at WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge.
Fans of Southern gospel music who happen to be visiting town next week are in for a treat. The 8th Annual Southern Gospel Music FanFair event gets under way, running April 30 through May 5 at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center in Pigeon Forge.
Noted as one of the largest live gatherings of its kind, this annual concert event features performances by an impressive roster of artists, including quartets, soloists, comedians and more. Thousands of Southern gospel fans are expected to gather at the convention center for six days of music, fellowship and family fun.
Concerts are scheduled Monday through Saturday at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., and meet-and-greet events are also scheduled for 3 p.m. daily. Music, souvenirs and concessions will be available for purchase at each meet and greet. Worship services will take place at 9 a.m. each day. Fan awards will be given out at a special ceremony on Thursday night.
This year’s lineup is a Who’s Who of Southern gospel, showcasing legendary and new groups alike. The roster includes such groups and artists as The Blackwoods, New Prophets and Crimson Ridge.
Make plans today to check out the Southern Gospel Music FanFair, and remember to browse our selection of Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg cabin rentals.