Whew! After that last blog, I felt it only fair that I give a few more sane and serene alternatives to coasting, rolling, zipping, and flying downhill. If relaxing is more your style, let’s play with just a little more chill, to get in those last few laid back activities before the rush of the school year begins again.
If a 50,000 people party is your style for ringing in the New Year, then you must plan to be in Gatlinburg for the New Years Eve celebration to ring in 2015! The focal point for the celebration is the Space Needle at Parkway and Historic Nature Trail, next to the Convention Center. Cap off your year with a festive ball drop and fireworks. Here are a few tips for planning your attendance to avoid some frustration:
We like to hear about the local places that our customers discover, during their vacation stay here in our rental cabins in Gatlinburg. Sometimes locations are mentioned that we have not yet experienced ourselves. Then there are the venues that are mentioned over and over as favorites. The Village Shops of Gatlinburg shopping area is one of the latter. Nestled in the heart of town next to the Pancake Pantry Restaurant (one of our favorites also, but I digress) is the entrance to this outdoor cluster of small stores.
Sometimes I wish all of the county’s retail venues were surrounded by such a lovely planned atmosphere. Created to resemble a small European town, bricked pathways, a splashing fountain centerpiece, and carefully detailed architecture and landscaping combine to create a peaceful environment. Plant those weary family members on a bench to relax, enjoy a snack, and people watch, as those with the will to purchase keep exploring!
A German deli offers a hearty lunch, and doughnuts and ice cream are also deliciously available. Those who enjoy kitchen arts can find a selection of spices, olive oils, vinegars, sauces, coffees, and teas for sale among several stores in the complex.
Other shops among the 27 stores located here can dress and pamper anyone willing. Bath and body products, pajamas and clothing, shoes and socks, leather goods and jewelry are all offered for your personal selection.
Perhaps something for your own use while on vacation? Hiking goods, toys, books, and even insulated bottles can be put to good use during your stay in the Smokies.
Souvenirs and gifts (for others or yourself) can also be found: unique artwork, candles, and pottery are artistic features. Perhaps an inspirational gift, or an item from the Celtic isles, or custom, personalized pieces may suit your needs. Don’t forget to check out the coupons on their website for extra savings.
So, here’s a start to a great day: breakfast at Pancake Pantry, and then step out well-fortified to explore next door. Interesting, high quality merchandise in an Old World environment: what’s not to love? We think so, too! Make sure and visit the Village Shops of Gatlinburg while here in our mountains this beautiful, autumn season. Happy fall, y’all!
We are very blessed to live where there are so many options for handmade merchandise. When you choose to venture forth from your Gatlinburg cabin for souvenirs, a must-visit location for gifts should be Alewine Pottery Studio. Say it like a local: ale’-uh-wine.
There are originals, and then there are imitators. Robert Alewine and his family are of the former ilk, creating art from Appalachian clay for over 30 years in the Smokies area. Their quality items range from functional kitchen pieces like mugs and mixing bowls, to display pieces like luminaries and decorative art pots.
The studio’s signature emblem features real leaves that are embedded into the artwork and kiln-fired as part of the design, making a small bit of the Smokies an intrinsic part of each work. The stunning choices of glazes are color-saturated in both neutrals and vivid tones. My personal favorites are the cobalt and copper hues among their many creative options. You’ll easily find something pleasing for your taste also.
Visit the wonderfully friendly Alewine family members at one of their three locations:
—The Glades Craft Community store is the largest, anchor studio where most pieces are created daily. Enjoy watching the artists and their creations in progress while shopping here.
—The Village Shops retail store located in downtown Gatlinburg offers a large selection of souvenir mugs, along with a nicely curated selection of other wares.
—Alewine Pottery at the Island is their newest location, opening late 2014, granting the opportunity to access their unique products in the heart of the county, at the bustling Island Complex in Pigeon Forge.
So choose a perfect hand-thrown, pottery gift for someone back home (Christmas too!), or select a personal memento of your vacation to our area. You’ll find beautiful, original, artisan items at fair prices. If you haven’t begun collecting their pottery wares, you must visit the Alewine family, and choose your first work of art soon.
Don’t like country music? Light-hearted British humor more your style? Looking for the unusual? Here’s a list: improv, vaudeville, Monty Python-esque, sing-along, slapstick. Most of all, do you like to laugh? You have found the right place in Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre.
Are you going to be in our area for Mother’s Day? If so, Mom is probably already pleased that you’ll be enjoying a relaxing time together in a secluded Gatlinburg cabin, with or without children. I surveyed some local moms regarding what they would appreciate for their special day. Here’s the wish list that I gathered: 5 ideas that you can use verbatim, or just use the concept for your own mom-pleasing plan.
1. Do nothing but soak in the view. Just leave Mom for peace and quiet in the hot tub on the deck, while Dad and the kids go out to play. Sink a chair in the cool water of the river at Metcalf Bottoms. Read a book in a deck rocking chair while listening to birdsong.
2. Go shopping, and then shop some more. Plant Mom in the middle of well over 100 stores in one location at Tanger Outlets Five Oaks Center in Sevierville, and finish the trip with Starbucks coffee or Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Explore the Village Shops, a collection of 27 interesting retail shops in a lovely setting. The Village is located in downtown Gatlinburg at 634 Parkway, but has a European small town flair that feels a world away.
3. Try a “wild side” adventure. Ziplining! Check out Smoky Mountain Ziplines for an adrenaline rush above the treetops. What about a helicopter ride? Scenic Helicopter Tours offers trips at all price points. Satisfy her need for speed at the Xtreme Racing Center, the fastest gokarts in Pigeon Forge, by a mile.
4. Enjoy a special meal together. Choose from a multitude of breakfast options (pancakes, waffles, French toast, crepes) at the Pancake Pantry (adjacent to the Village Shops, by the way). For a more intimate environment, savor a cheesy dinner meal at the Melting Pot Fondue Restaurant.
5. Just ask! Let Mom choose what she wants to do to spend family time together. Usually she sacrifices her own preferences for the needs and desires of others.
In whatever form, the options to treat Mom are numerous. I’m sure you’ll make a great choice. Most of all, Mom treasures the love and appreciation of those who matter most to her.
Have a blessed Mother’s Day from all of us at Volunteer Cabin Rentals.
You know you will have to do this at some point during your trip,. The kids have already spotted at least one of these courses on the way to your Gatlinburg, Tennessee cabin. There is certainly an abundance of courses. Here are a few descriptions to narrow your mini-golfing choices.
Want to end your year with a big and somewhat unusual bang? Something free and suitable for the whole family? With 26 years of celebration practice, Gatlinburg’s New Year’s Eve Spectacular is a popular tradition for many. The event is completely free, and is clustered around light #8 in Galtinburg, the intersection of Parkway and the Heritage Motor Nature Trail.
What is new this season is a free stage show, billed as “Witness the Impossible”, with a bit of glitz and sideshow flavor this year. Check out Superhuman Chad Netherland, who performs feats of impossible strength, that defy the laws of physics. These are man versus machine stunts, like the “Super Bike Hold”, keeping two motorcycles from speeding away with his bare hands. View a little of his ability at this link: http://www.youtube.com/chadnetherland
If brute strength doesn’t impress you, maybe matters of the mind will. Mentalist Bill Gladwell will also entertain with mind-bending twists and predictions. What he knows is sometimes beyond belief! http://billgladwell.com/kwcm6tcazhiynncrwfk96spsblkkh3
This show is a fun addition to the live music and traditional countdown ball drop at midnight from the Space Needle. Let the kids stay up late with you to see the pyrotechnic spectacle of fireworks that rings in the coming year like nowhere else.
So leave that cozy Gatlinburg rental cabin for a short while, arrive early in town and have dinner, and then gear up for fun around 11 pm. Come enjoy the sights, crowds and festivities that are the annual New Year’s Eve Spectacular. Dust off those lyrics for Auld Lang Syne: singing it in the mountains with all of us is a great way to start the year!
Have you always wanted to experience the New York Macy’s parade, but not the hassle? Of course not as large, but certainly much to enjoy: join us at the Fantasy of Lights Gatlinburg Christmas Parade along the streets of downtown Gatlinburg! This year is our 38th celebration of this tradition in our mountain town. The rum-pah-pum-pum begins on Friday, December 6th, at 7:30 pm. The 2013 parade has 100-plus entries, with a dozen marching bands, inflatable characters interacting with spectators, decorated floats, animals, 6 flying helium balloons, and much more entertainment throughout the hour-long march.
Some ideas to make your experience enjoyable:
1. Park early and claim your viewing location curbside.
The parade route begins at light #1A on Highway 321 (Roaring Fork Road intersection) and ends at light #10 on Parkway 441 (Ski Mountain Road/National Park Entrance intersection).
There are plenty of great locations along the way to view the parade; the heart of the city falls between lights #5-8, so that area is most congested. Curbside viewing is less competitive on either end of downtown. There are multilevel parking garages located at lights #3 (where Highway 321 meets 441) and light #5 at Ripley’s Aquarium. There are also almost 20 fee parking lots throughout downtown. Remember that the parade main artery will be closed shortly prior to the event, which will hamper your navigation should you arrive during the ongoing festivities.
For help in choosing your spot, a map of Gatlinburg is provided here: http://www.gatlinburg.com/!userfiles/editor/docs/GatlinburgMap_wadvertisers2012N.pdf
2. Come early AND stay late: make it a family event tradition.
After checking into your Gatlinburg cabin, make your way downtown to enjoy unique shopping throughout the city, and then have dinner or a diet-busting treat. Take a stroll to enjoy the Gatlinburg Winter Magic lights display at dusk, which this year has an additional $1.5+ million infusion of LED displays to its already impressive decorations. You will be sharing the evening joy with an expected crowd to exceed 80,000, so it’s a rousing street party!
For a taste of the view from the sidewalk, here’s a city video of the parade from the past:
Should you somehow miss the party in Gatlinburg, all hope is not lost. Sevierville’s 51st annual hometown Christmas parade is the next morning on Saturday, December 7, beginning at 11 am. Best view is from Court Avenue downtown. But that’s another story, found here: http://www.visitsevierville.com/vsevents.aspx
So, whether at night or in the daytime, come beat the drum with us and celebrate. Everyone needs a healthy dose of parade sometime!