Celebrate the Fourth, and then Christmas in July at The Incredible Christmas Place

We hope for everyone a blessed Independence Day holiday. As you relax with your family in a secluded Pigeon Forge cabin rental, please make plans to visit the first Fourth of July parade in the nation at midnight in Gatlinburg on Thursday, July 3rd. Or if you choose to sleep in, don’t miss the Patriot Festival in Pigeon Forge, beginning at noon on Friday, July 4th. That event has a carnival atmosphere with food vendors and a children’s area, music on stage throughout the day with this year’s headliner Lonestar performing at 8:30 pm, and a bang-up fireworks finale beginning at 9:45 pm. Park at the convention center public parking and take the free shuttle, as public parking is limited to handicapped spaces for this event.

Since you will still have the rest of the weekend to fill with family time, it’s never to early to consider the holidays at year end, since Christmas is now less than six months away. Don’t laugh or groan, the Incredible Christmas Place can transport you to a warm, fuzzy memory (or perhaps a refreshing, chilly one) with just a few moments of holiday background music. Plan a couple of hours to stroll, explore, and reminisce while shopping here.The Incredible Christmas PlaceBell Tower Square is a Bavarian-style retail complex that is the South’s largest Christmas destination, and definitely worth an enjoyable visit. Its stores have much to offer. Starting with home decorations, artificial Christmas trees, lights, ornaments, Nativity scenes, stockings, and many fine collectibles can be found to deck your halls. Find floral pieces, trims, garlands, ribbons, and many other items for the home to decorate for Christmas, but also for autumn and year-round. Whatever your tastes, you can find all styles by choosing a color or theme. Over 60 trees display items with themes such as winter white, whimsical, patriotic, woodland, peacock, Western, pets and more unique themes in addition to anticipated traditional and Old World ones.
If you or anyone you know indulges in collectibles, this is the location to find them. A vast selection of Department 56 Village items is featured, along with Fontanini Nativity figurines and creches, and Christopher Radko glass ornaments. What about angels, nutcrackers, Santas, dolls and trains, figurines, and more? If brand names like Seraphim, Ulbricht and Steinbach, Didion and Pipka, Adora and Mark Roberts, Bachmann, Hummel and Precious Moments are familiar to you, know that whatever has not been listed that you enjoy collecting is very probably found here also. From fine art items to just for fun, there is something for every taste.
Yes, there are breakables here, but children are also considered with Elf on the Shelf, a great Melissa and Doug array, bears of all types, and other toys and childhood favorites. Letters to Santa can be composed and sent here, and the Singing Santa has been a seasonal resident for over a decade. Little ones also just enjoy the beautiful sparkle of the decorations more than jaded adult eyes.
Begin completing your gift list by choosing from the massive quantity of merchandise. There is a surprisingly large selection of items that can be personalized. A personalization gallery allows for your selection to be completed while you shop. Give to others a thoughtful and budget-friendly keepsake, for so many occasions. Clothing, jewelry, outdoor decor and yard items, collegiate-themed gifts, clocks and music boxes, boutique items, and gag gifts can all be found here.
All such retail exploration can be fueled with a pitstop at Mrs. Claus’s Candy Kitchen and Sweet Shop with fudge, candy, caramel apples, ice cream, and more to keep you motivated in holiday shopping mode.
This location is truly incredible in its vast offering for the very special holiday of Christmas and beyond. Happy Independence Day to you and your family, and don’t hesitate to cool off from the July heat and enjoy a small bit of “holly jolly” this summer too.

Burning with Desire: More than 7 Things to Do When It’s Hot…Really Hot Outside

It’s only June, but the thermometer is over 90 degrees, and we are just starting the season. I’m going to gloss over some of the more obvious cooling methods like wetting down in a swimming pool or water park, theme park water rides, boating on Douglas Lake (with lots of locals), or hanging out in the air-conditioned comfort of your Pigeon Forge rental cabin. If your Chilly Pad towel or cooling scarf is letting you down, consider these ideas to beat the heat while playing in the Smokies’ humid summertime.

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1. Get into the river. Mountain springs make our river water icy cold and refreshing year round. Go tubing (that’s floating via inner tube for the uninitiated) on the Little River in Townsend. Try Smoky Mountain River Rat in Wears Valley to get you floating downstream in style. For a little more adventure, try whitewater rafting. Smoky Mountain Outdoors is one company that can provide this service, on both the upper and lower Little Pigeon River. Plan this as a daytrip, since the outpost is about 30 miles out of Gatlinburg near Hartford, TN, for the closest whitewater trips in our area.
2&3. Find a cool and shady forest spot. The easiest place with lots of options for not much effort is definitely Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. I have written in detail about this gem location in the past (check out July 18, 2013). Drive a winding 6-mile loop past rushing streams of water, and historic buildings to explore. Also along this drive are the trailheads for both Rainbow and Grotto Falls. Which leads me to number 3. Hike to a waterfall, and get in. Grotto Falls is particularly nice for this, as you can step behind the falls and also get into the eddy pool at the bottom (both with caution, I might add).
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4. Hide in a local theater. There are plenty of choices, from the Forge Cinema for current movies, to a variety of music theaters with various styles of tunes. Also try vaudeville, murder mystery and magic. You can also choose a dinner theater, and eat a meal in comfort while being entertained. Try Lumberjack Feud, Dixie Stampede, or Hatfield & McCoy.
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5. Put yourself on ice. Go ice skating at Ober Gatlinburg’s Olympic size ice rink at the summit of Ski Mountain. Guaranteed that it won’t be as crowded as midwinter, and skating in shorts is perfectly cool.
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6. Go down under. Many people overlook the unique experience of the Forbidden Caverns tour, which can give you a completely different perspective on the Smokies. It’s 58 degrees there all year long, so take a jacket.
7. Take your cool within. Frozen treats are never too difficult to find in our area. There are multiple chain locations for ice cream like Baskin-Robbins, Marble Slab, and Ben & Jerry’s. Other good locations are Mayfield Dairy Bar, Russell Stover, and local spots like Kilwin’s, Apple Valley Creamery, and Island Yogurt, and the newly opened Tara Jean’s Ice Cream and Bakery. Our family favorite is Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt in Pigeon Forge: interesting flavors that rotate by season and lots of everything to add on top, along with really tasty sugar-free options.
Whatever the weather outside, we will always do our best here at Volunteer Cabin Rentals to greet you with a warm smile, and assist as much as we can in making your vacation stay with us all you want it to be. Please call us and make your reservation today!

Smoky Mountain Father’s Day: 5 Part Wish List from a Local Dads’ Survey

We’ve already honored Mom this year with ideas for special treats. Now it’s Dad’s turn, and I tried the same survey experiment. Here are the results:

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1. “Feed the carnivore within me.” Enjoy an intimate, romantic dinner at the Peddler Restaurant in Gatlinburg, where steaks are cut to order at your table side. Another option: the guys think that Longhorn Steakhouse in Sevierville has the best Angus beef locally. Or go for a barbecue fix: ribs at Calhoun’s, or a

 picnic 10-pack from Buddy’s.
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2. “Let me walk on the wild side.” Punch it to top speed at Xtreme Racing. Scream with the kids upside down on the meanest roller coasters at Dollywood. Take a family whitewater rafting trip adventure at Smoky Mountain Outdoors.
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3. “Sweet treats are always appreciated.” When the orange neon sign is on at Krispy Kreme Donuts, apparently hearts beat faster for those hot, gooey doughnuts straight off the production line. Indulge at Smoky Mountain Cheesecake Cafe for a slice of sweet richness after an authentic Cuban sandwich. Pop open a mega box of caramel corn from Karmelkorn Gatlinburg, and chase it with fudge from Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen. The most creative idea was to plan a progressive dessert trip (can you say sugar overload?).
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4. “Get me out the door with my clubs and my best foursome.” There are plenty of challenging golfing options to choose from in our area. Check out the blog archive on April 16, 2014 for details on the best choice for his game.
5. “Set the alarm for a 3-hour nap.” Leave him on the couch at the cabin rental in Sevierville, as Mom takes the kids out for fun. Let Dad relax with some rare alone time…and no honey-do list!
I had to laugh, because the mens’ responses were overwhelmingly skewed toward gastronomic fulfillment. Whatever Dad might desire to eat, you can find it locally. We hope you enjoy your Father’s Day weekend in our beautiful Great Smoky Mountains.

Camera Lenses and Paintbrushes: 2 Local Artists of Note

That lovely scenic view from your Smoky mountain cabin can be taken home with you, through the eyes of two talented local artists. Both Ken Jenkins and Robert Tino have devoted their careers to education and preservation, charity and faith, beyond just producing wares for sale as their livelihood. 

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Ken Jenkins is a nationally known and widely published wildlife photographer. In addition, he writes and speaks publicly on natural history topics and faith. His work can be found in hundreds of publications like National Geographic, Southern Living, and Audubon.

Ken’s work over a 30-year span captures amazing imagery that elevates photography to pure, lovely art. Don’t miss his galleries, Beneath the Smoke and Heaven’s Eyes, which are located at 467 Parkway in Gatlinburg, at the Highway 321 junction. Many beautiful images are reasonably priced. Photos of all sizes, sold unframed, or matted and framed ready to display. Books of nature, fine gifts, along with items for camping, hiking, and photography are all available for purchase.
Ken is also founder of Wilderness Wildlife Week (WWW), a Winterfest educational event that occurs annually in January. 2015 marks its 25th year, and the events take place mostly at Leconte Center in Pigeon Forge. WWW has a huge following with over 20,000 attendees. The week features workshops, expert seminars, hikes and field trips, and all sorts of classes for both young and old, open to anyone wanting to attend. It is a great place to learn about so many topics: please plan to visit and be both entertained and educated by this event. I summarized the 2014 WWW earlier this year, which can give you a flavor for what is to come in 2015 (see blog archive for Jan 15, 2014).
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Robert Tino has been painting since he was a student in the 1980’s, and has a broad and devoted following of collectors for his creations of Smoky mountain landscapes. Local mountain scenery, animals, floral depictions, holiday images, and other striking subjects are featured. His use of color is much appreciated for its depth and variation that beautifully captures the nuances of our countryside. Never ordinary, each piece deserves study for its detail and long-term enjoyment of ownership. Various editions and collections are available for purchase, in many configurations. Professional matting and framing services are also provided at this local art gallery.
Even the Tino gallery itself is a showplace. The antebellum farm homestead is listed on the Tennessee Register of Historic Places, and has been in the Denton family for generations (Robert’s wife is Mary John Denton Tino). Thousands of art lovers have enjoyed this charming place to visit. A full complement of artwork, along with fine gifts and regional pottery are offered for purchase. Robert says he tries to preserve the region’s heritage as a storyteller through his watercolors and oils.
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In addition, celebrate our local heritage every October as the Tino gallery hosts the Smoky Mountain Homecoming, now in its 22nd year. A family event with a large, happy following, we locals also enjoy this fun heritage celebration every year. Bluegrass music, storytelling, crafts, food, games, antiques, farm skill demonstrations, wagon rides, and more are a part of the festivities, along with Robert’s new art releases available for viewing, signing, and purchase. Check the blog archive for Sept 25, 2013 for a more detailed summary.
There are many area artists worthy of your attention. Start with these two fine gentlemen to increase your art appreciation. Come stay with us at Volunteer Cabin Rentals soon!

 

 

 

Free is Good! 6 No-Cost Things to Do in the Smokies

We take family time away from work too, and understand that vacations are expensive. That’s why here at Volunteer Cabin Rentals, we offer regular specials to help keep your lodging costs reasonable. Once you arrive and are settled in, consider these ways to enjoy our area that don’t cost anything (except maybe the gas to get you there).

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1. Stroll the sidewalks of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. You can encounter so much on foot that is missed just driving by. Explore little nooks leisurely, hear live music, see crafts being made, or watch candy making demonstrations like taffy, fudge, and caramel apples. Consider the attractions available with a close-up inspection. Strike up a conversation with a friendly local for places to visit. Even better, take a spot on a bench and people watch. I guarantee it won’t be boring.

2. Vist the Smokies area city parks. Walk the dog around a greenway track. Feed the ducks on the river. Let the kids release a little energy on the playground. Play a round of disc golf; shoot a few hoops; toss a ball, go stream fishing, or have a picnic. View last week’s blog for more details on what our area’s six municipal parks have to offer. It’s much more than you might expect!

3. Take a mental break at the King Family Library. Sevierville has a lovely, modern facility (opened 2010) that can be an enjoyable, relaxing pitstop for all. Check the events calendar for free children’s programs, which are offered year round, and are open for all to attend. There are also smaller branch libraries throughout the county, for a quiet place to read. What better location for the ultimate reference resources on this area?
http://www.sevierlibrary.org/default.aspx

4. Learn more than you ever thought possible about knives. Quirky, yes. But interesting, too. The Smoky Mountain Knife Works complex not only sells all sorts of functional and collectible implements, but it also is “home of the largest knife collection showplace” and has an extensive taxidermy collection, to view without spending even a thin dime. If you like Bass Pro Shops just up the road, you will want to also make time to visit the Knife Works. I file it under the category of “Who knew?”

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5. Ham it up for a photo opp at the Dolly Parton Statue. Dolly herself says of all her many accolades and awards, this bronze replica of her likeness is what she is most proud of, because it came from her hometown people that truly know and love her. It is located on the picturesque Sevier County Courthouse lawn in Sevierville, just one block off the main Parkway. I can’t think of a better area celebrity selfie shot than this!

6. Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Please. For free! It is the only National Park in the nation without an entrance fee. I cannot imagine coming to Sevier County, and not soaking up even just a bit of the majesty and history that is our mountain legacy. To make plans specific to your family’s desires, start at the Sugarlands Vistior Center at the park entrance. There is a free movie with park information and an interesting natural history exhibit. Rangers can assist you on choosing the best nature walk, hike, or drive for you to explore the Park at your own pace. Our family has a deep, personal love for the therapeutic powers of such beautiful nature. Find a rock in the middle of some rushing stream water, and just rest awhile. See if you don’t agree.
http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm#CP_JUMP_48430

There is so much more to see, touch, hear and taste. Spend your “good times” budget however you choose, but start by stepping out for a little “free time” first. You just might make a memory. Total cost value? Priceless.

Sevier County Golf Courses: Above and Below Par

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If you found room in your vehicle for a bag of clubs and some spikeless shoes, it’s important to have a summary at hand to make the best choice for your foursome (twosome or self) to have a beautiful day of par-knocking. Here’s a summary for those adults with skills surpassing last week’s mini-golf primer.

1. Gatlinburg Municipal Golf Course, 520 Dollywood Lane, Pigeon Forge, 800-231-4128, golf.gatlinburg.com
Located about a half-mile from the main Parkway (Hwy 441) in Pigeon Forge, this facility is easily accessed both from the Parkway and from Veterans Boulevard.
The original course in this area, this William Langford-designed classic course opened in 1955 as Gatlinburg Country Club, but has always been located in Pigeon Forge city limits. The course was renovated in 1993, and again in 2007. Playing here is both picturesque and unique. It boasts plush fairways and bent grass greens, with not much water on the course, and plenty of natural growth. It is true mountain golf: lots of terrain changes make playing both highly challenging and quite unforgiving. Accuracy is paramount, particularly on the forest-lined fairways of the back nine. Hole 12 is the signature hole, named Sky-Hi, a deceptive par 3 where the tee box is cliffside, and the green about 200 feet below: club choice drama at its best!
Tips: Take time to absorb the extreme beauty of the surrounding countryside; it’s truly a gorgeous pleasure. Go prepared with insect repellant since gnats can be an issue, particularly with a wet summer season. This is a course you will want to play more than once, and have a few balls in the bag that you are willing to lose.

 

2. Sevierville Golf Club, 1444 Old Knoxville Highway, Sevierville, 888-710-1388, seviervillegolfclub.com
Located a block off Highway 66/Winfield Dunn Parkway, the clubhouse and part of the course can be seen from this main access artery into Sevierville, from exit 407 at Interstate 40.
This second municipal course originally opened as Eagles Landing in 1994, and was expanded to its current 36 holes with relocated clubhouse in 2009, making it both the newest and largest in the area. Along with a nice modern clubhouse, there is an excellent driving range, and good putting greens available. The course has Bermuda fairways, and shares its parking lot with the adjacent Wyndham Wilderness Resort.
The River Course is a relatively forgiving par 72 that offers ample water play around and over the Little Pigeon River. The Highlands Course par 70 is a links layout with more terrain change, and increased accuracy required.
Tip: Because of the course’s youth, there is not much shade with the lack of mature growth trees. Pretty course, but often very hot on sunny days. Don’t forget your hydration and sunscreen on this one.

 

3. River Islands Golf Club, 9610 Kodak Road, Kodak, 800-347-4837, riverislandsgolf.com
Straddling the Sevier and Knox county line, this club can be accessed from both Highway 66 and from Interstate 40 at exit 402 (Midway Road), with a short drive.
Completed in 1991, this course was designed by Arthur Hills as a links-style 18 holes. The layout is scenic and spectacularly beautiful. Though the views are mountainous, the course itself is relatively flat. Please note that it is also quite wet and formidable, maybe even humbling? This par 72 has Zoysia fairways and Bermuda greens, with a challenging and interesting layout. 5 holes are located on islands in the French Broad River, with signature holes actually crossing the river channel (forced carries, anyone?). 9 holes cannot be easily played here, since the ninth hole is out with a turn shack and does not return to the clubhouse. Lovely and fun for the less-than-serious, it’s also a worthy opponent to those intent on conquering its threats.
Tips: Don’t be deceived by the par 3’s, even they can be tougher than you might expect. Deals on fees can be found on golfnow.com

 

4. Bent Creek Golf Village, 3919 East Parkway, Gatlinburg, 865-436-3947, bentcreekgolf.com
Located about 10 miles out of Gatlinburg, on Highway 321. Its location is relatively remote unless staying in the Gatlinburg area.
Opened in 1972, this par 72 course was designed by Gary Player, with bent grass greens and views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It shares grounds with the Diamond Resorts Timeshare community which now surrounds it. Its front nine is scenic on the valley floor, and the back nine is among the hillsides, with creek water running throughout. The course is both panoramic and pleasant, but not for duffers. Precision and accuracy are needed throughout (or at least a good quantity of balls to lose).
Tip: Insect repellant is an absolute must on this course.

 

5. Creekside Plantation Golf Course, 326 N. Shiloh Road, Seymour, 865-577-4653 (GOLF), creeksidegolfcourse.com
Located off Boyd’s Creek Highway, the course is accessible from both Winfield Dunn Parkway/Highway 66 and Chapman Highway 441. Seymour is about 20 minutes from Sevierville.
This Par 35, 9-hole course was completed in 2000. The course is pretty and pleasant with bent grass greens, and bills itself as “great golf in half the time”. Its main challenge is water on over half the holes, hence the name. Both straight and creative holes are included, with various levels of challenge that can also be achieved from using different tees. Great for a quick game, if you don’t have the luxury of time for a full round.
Tip: Golfnow.com deals are available for here also.

 

Hopefully my thumbnail summary of courses in our area is helpful in choosing a golf location, while enjoying your vacation in one of our Wears Valley cabins. There is plenty to appreciate for all skill levels. Have a ball, and hit them straight!

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3 Activities for Inclement Weather in the Smokies: Snow, Rain, or Shine

What an interesting year it has been thus far with crazy weather in the mountains! Literally, in one week, you could wear shorts one day, and build a snowman a little later. Of course, you can always kick back by the crackling fireplace or in the swirling hot tub of your Smoky mountain cabin rental. But what is a tourist to do when the weather does not cooperate with your original plans? Here are a few ideas for activities not impacted by the weather.

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1. Go shopping-there are multiple locations throughout the county that are large, indoor establishments to explore. Try the Incredible Christmas Place complex in Pigeon Forge to get in a holiday mood any time of the year. Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Kodak can satisfy the actively adventurous. Smoky Mountain Knife Works in Sevierville is an interesting stop as the world’s largest knife showplace with every imaginable blade available for purchase. Tanger Five Oaks Outlet Center in Sevierville is not an enclosed mall, but has covered sidewalks in front of all stores, with the added bonus that shopper volume is lighter on rainy days.
2. Choose a theater-take in a current movie at the Forge Cinema at Waldens Landing in Pigeon Forge. Or try one of the several music shows in the area like Country Tonite theater. You can also have dinner with your entertainment at attractions like Dixie Stampede or Lumberjack Feud. All theaters offer comfortable amenities while the weather is frightful outside.
3. Take a family afternoon field trip-Enjoy all the aquatic animals indoors at highly acclaimed Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg. Or choose to meet some exotic animals and reptiles at Rainforest Adventures in Sevierville. Wonderworks in Pigeon Forge is also a great place to play with interactive hands-on exhibits throughout. You can scoot through any of these quite quickly or slow down and enjoy a relaxing pace while exploring.
So, don’t let a little lack of sunshine bring you down, or hold you back from fun in the Smokies. These are just a few of our favorite locations to enjoy whatever the weather, and there are certainly many more to choose from. Just ask any of us at Volunteer Cabin Rentals for suggestions for activities that you want to find. Don’t fret; spring is just around the corner, when the hillsides begin to show off their beautiful floral splendor that you won’t want to miss. We look forward to you staying with us soon.

Danger! High Gross Factor! Ripley’s Aquarium Now This Spring.

Jellyfish, slugs and eels, oh my! Please experience this ode to ooze, even if you aren’t an eight-year old boy! If it’s been awhile, or if you have never been to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, now is the time for a visit this spring. Not exactly the green bucket stuff, but it’s just as fascinating to short people, and frankly, to adults too. Want to touch a jellyfish? Try it here, with much more.

The new Slime Exhibition adds an exciting and interesting addition this season. This exhibit replaces last season’s popular dinosaurs display. The Slime Exhibition is a hands-on experience: enjoy the Jellyfish Encounter, interactive displays, and multiple aquarium tanks featuring aquatic animals in their habitats, and how they use slime in their lives. Over thirty exhibits are featured in this area, providing as much “gross knowledge” as anyone could desire.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a world-class living museum. The permanent exhibits make the Gatlinburg location the #1 ranked aquarium in the nation by Tripadvisor reviews. Over 10,000 creatures of 350 different species live here. Penguins, sharks, rays and many more make this “zen water getaway” a whole family pleaser for both fun and education. Located in the heart of Gatlinburg at Parkway and River Road, the aquarium is also adjacent to the city trolley stop, making this attraction simple to access.

So after you check into your Gatlinburg rental cabin, make sure to include Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies on your vacation adventure list this trip.

To purchase aquarium tickets online, or to buy combination discount tickets  with several of Ripley’s area attractions, visit the website.

Classic, Celebrity or Muscle? Calling All Car Enthusiasts: come see them all!

Maybe it’s because you have been encased in a 7-passenger automobile for several hours to arrive at your rental cabin in Wears Valley. Maybe you had to let go of that sports car to acquire that family SUV or minivan. Maybe you have just always loved everything to do with automobiles. Did you know there is plenty of opportunity in our area to view all types of vehicles while on vacation?

If horsepower and high performance are most important to you, check out the 90 muscle cars located at Floyd Garrett’s Muscle Car Museum, in Sevierville, Tennessee. Featured on multiple television shows, this nationally known collection is worth a stop, along with acquiring your own memorabilia from the musem gift shop.

What about seeing the vehicle from your favorite movie or TV show? The Hollywood Star Cars Museum in downtown Gatlinburg houses over 40 vehicles, including Knight Rider’s K.I.T., Back to the Future’s Delorean time machine, Smokey and the Bandit’s TransAm, the Dukes of Hazzard General Lee, and the original Batmobile as examples. A recent addition is the Hummer from the Avengers. You can also be photographed in most of the vehicles for an additional sitting fee.

What about a whole convention of classic cars or street rod custom vehicles? April and September are your opportunities to join those likeminded folks that gather, and participate in all the fun.

Pigeon Forge Rod Run (formerly the Grand Rod Run) is planned for 2014 at the newly opened LeConte Center.  Dates in the spring are Friday, April 11 through Saturday, April 12 and in the fall from Thursday, September 11 to Sunday, September 13.

Shades of the Past Rod Run is planned for fall 2014 at  Dollywood’s Splash Country parking area, Thursday, September 4 through Sunday, September 7.

Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”: Smoky Mountain Style!

Must. Not. Miss. Of course, there are many activities on your list while here in town. Of course, you plan to attend Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival at Dollywood, and enjoy the merry holiday environment created throughout the themepark. But please, make sure and attend this year’s stage production of Dollywood’s “A Christmas Carol”. The show is the only version of this classic tale anywhere that uses holographic technology for “special effects cast members” throughout the production. It is a Broadway-style musical with extravagant Victorian sets and costumes, and an 8-song original score written by Dolly herself. Playing at the Celebrity Theater inside the park, this 45-minute delight occurs 4 times daily at 2:30, 4:15, 6:15, and 8:00 pm.

The technology: holograms are integrated into the show with live performers interacting with them. One quickly forgets how amazing this technology is, and accepts the images as equal players with the rest of the cast. Guess what hometown favorite daughter plays the role of the Ghost of Christmas Past? Yes, it’s a Dolly hologram, and my only joking critique is that Dolly’s British accent needs a little work!

The story: The presentation stays true to Dickens’ original story line, so you can foreshadow the ending, and enjoy the lovely details if you are familiar with the narrative. Children enjoy it just as much as adults.

The music: Dolly’s creative talent is evident from start to finish in the original, joyful music of this production. For those who don’t know, Dolly is far more than a country singer! She is also a prolific songwriter of musicals and movie scores along with many hit songs, all to her credit. She has composed over 5,000 songs in 60+ years of writing melodies!

Other great Christmas performances also occur throughout the park at scheduled times. Christmas in the Smokies, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and O Holy Night are all worth attending. There are 20 rides and attractions, holiday food and crafts, and shopping to enjoy along with all else mentioned. Please check the event schedule on Dollywood’s website, since operating hours and showtimes vary during this season.
http://www.dollywood.com/themepark/calendar.aspx

All of us at Volunteer Cabin Rentals wish your family a joyous celebration together this blessed season, and hope that you will choose our Pigeon Forge rental cabins as your holiday home away from home.

Don’t let yourself be a Scrooge. Come see old Ebenezer be redeemed with hope with a new twist: there is zero chance you will be disappointed!