The Glory of the Arts: Create, Appreciate, and Take them Home with You!

“If art has a purpose, it is to interpret life; reproduce it in fresh visions.” Catherine Dinken Bowen

If your creative energy is spent shaping crafts of any kind, you can indulge your passion with likeminded folk while on vacation in your Pigeon Forge cabin. Sevier County is blessed with many talented artists, both homegrown and transplanted from all over the globe. Here’s a summary of some locations of interest where imagination can be found.




Want to improve your own creative skills? Try a new medium and enhance your personal artistry? Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is located in downtown Gatlinburg, and hosts visiting artists throughout the year at various functions. Five artist galleries and the artist-in-residence studios are open to viewing by the public. Evening presentation events and the library and resource center are also accessible. Visit the campus store for uncommon pieces and other items of interest. Arrowmont’s website is full of great information, so plan ahead and take a class!



If you would rather see others in action with plenty of opportunity for purchasing unique items, visit the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community Trail, located off Highway 321 on Glades Road, 3 miles outside of Gatlinburg. This 8-mile loop is the largest group of independent artisans in North America, over 120 studios using all forms of media. I have blogged about this great destination in the past (see archives June 6, 2013); it is definitely worth the trip and is a great way to shop locally.

Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair brings the craftsmen to the public twice annually in the summer and fall. This year’s dates are July 18-27, 2014, and October 9-26, 2014. If you are visiting during these dates, take advantage of this trade show-style event with both local and visiting artisans from all over the country. Don’t miss these hugely popular events, located at the downtown Gatlinburg Convention Center.
In Pigeon Forge, Dollywood’s Craftsmans Valley is actually a great location for daily artist demonstrations. See traditional crafts like wood carving, glass painting, candle making, and even more. Hot skills from master crafters like glass blowing and blacksmithing are also fascinating to watch, if you can pull the kids away from that next rollercoaster ride for a few moments.
In addition, the fall Harvest Celebration adds dozens of Celebration Crafters in booths throughout the park displaying a wide variety of skilled crafts. It’s actually my favorite time to visit Dollywood: beautiful natural countryside in all its autumn splendor, with hand-crafted beauty also on display.
For the kids, and also the kid in you, why not paint your own souvenir from your vacation? Visit the Ceramic Art Studio in Sevierville, located at 728 Parkway. Absolutely everyone can be an artist here. Choose your own piece from a broad selection of ceramic wares. All materials to paint and finish it are provided, along with basic instruction to get you started. The pieces are glazed and fired onsite, and can be picked up or shipped to your home address–no breakage worries! Group activities are also available. Consider a girls night out, a team building corporate activity, or a kid’s party. Independently owned by friendly folk, they will gladly work with you to even bring a class to your group event location. For more information, check out this link:
So think about some art exploration while visiting this area of Tennessee. With a little planning, you can create your own one-of-a-kind piece, and maybe discover a talent you didn’t know that you had. Take home an elegant memento of your visit. Even get a jump on Christmas shopping with “can’t find it elsewhere” selections. Just another reason to love to return again to the Smokies: there’s nowhere else quite like it. Reserve your stay with us today at Volunteer Cabin Rentals, and get your creative juices flowing soon!

The City Parks of Sevier County: Hidden Gems for All to Discover

Of course, one of the criteria for your secluded Smoky Mountain cabin is that it has an inspiring view of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To extol the history, the splendor, and the amenities of the National Park could take days. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful resource literally at our back door! But what if all you need is a place for a cranky kid to let loose? Or you want to get in a quick jog or walk, without hiking shoes? A shady place to plant for a picnic? Need a large pavilion to rent for a family function? Need to exercise the pets? We always enjoy meeting smart tourists at the city parks that we frequent throughout the county. Here’s a map plotting the locations and a reference list with features.


Gatlinburg has three city parks: Mills Park, Herbert Holt Park, and Mynatt Park.


1. Mills Park is the largest and is located off Highway 321 on Mills Park Road. It has a Disc Golf course with 9 holes, a skate park,  a playground, 400 meter track, basketball, softball, and football fields;  picnic area with grills, and more.


2. Herbert Holt Park is directly off the Parkway on the right as you enter into Gatlinburg from the Spur, after passing through Pigeon Forge. Though the smallest of the three, it has a  playground and plenty of shade for picnicking. Fishing for children (also with wheelchair access) is allowed in the adjacent stream. A trout rearing facility is also located here.




3. Mynatt Park is the most scenic, and literally at the National Park border. It is located on Asbury Lane off Historic Nature Trail in the heart of Gatlinburg, just before the entrance to the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Soothing and peaceful, a stocked stream runs alongside the shady picnic area, a lovely place to wade, with a footbridge and child fishing available. There are clean restrooms, a basketball court, and a ball field. An ample playground area and tennis courts are located a half-block up the street. Mynatt Park is our long-term family favorite for a relaxation spot after the hubbub of downtown Gatlinburg.




Pigeon Forge has two municipal park locations.
4. Patriot Park is located on Old Mill Avenue, just past the Old Mill complex in the heart of Pigeon Forge. It is the centerpiece of all special event festivals held in the city, from Independence Day fireworks to the Winterfest “turn on the lights” kickoff. It shares its parking lot with the city Funtime trolley system, and has a walking track that runs beside the Pigeon River (a good place to feed the resident ducks). The park is named to honor service veterans and has appropriate memorabilia. Large, flat and open, it is also a good spot to throw any sort of sports ball around or to enjoy field play with your pet.


5. Wear Farm City Park is virtually brand new, completed in spring 2013. It replaces the former city park that was absorbed with the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant. It is located on Wears Valley Road, just out of the city on the left, and borders Waldens Creek at its backside. This is sports field central: football, basketball, and 5 baseball fields. There are also two ADA all-access playgrounds, and shelter areas for gathering. Tournaments are often played here, and it’s a good place for jocks to get their energy out and game on.





6. Sevierville City Park has a renovated, modern public pool with splash pad and slide, a diving board and very reasonable entrance fees ($5 adult, $4 child/senior, under 4 years free, spectator $2.50). In addition, there is a shady picnic area with pavilions next to a stream, ballfields, renovated tennis courts, a playground, and a walking greenway.


As you can see, the variety of activities available is surprising, and most are free or just a nominal fee. So come be outside with us, and join the locals at some of our favorite places to play.

Stoneground History: the Gristmills of the Smoky Mountains

While you are relaxing in your Smoky mountains cabin rental, make plans to absorb a small bit of history while exploring our area on vacation.

Historically, a gristmill was the central gathering place for most communities. Along with the service of grinding grain into meal or flour between grooved millstones, trade bartering for goods and services took place onsite. Social news and storytelling made the local grist mill the most interesting place to be on mill day, usually Saturdays.

There are four mills in the National Park that are easily accessed:

The John P. Cable Mill is powered by a wooden flume, ending in a classic overshot waterwheel at the millsite. Overshot wheels have spill over the top, suited for fast-flowing downhill mountain water. It is located in the picturesque Cades Cove community near Townsend, about 5.5 miles from the Cove area entrance. Cornmeal ground onsite is available for purchase in the visitor center.

The largest mill in the National Park is the Mingus Mill, located 3 miles outside of Cherokee, NC on 441/Newfound Gap Road, or approximately 30 miles from Gatlinburg, TN. This mill is unique as it is water-powered by a cast iron turbine, instead of a traditional waterwheel. Both of these mills have farm homestead museums created around them, from historic structures that were moved from various locations throughout the park area. Spending time here makes one realize how stalwart and strong-willed the mountain folk were to sustain themselves in their rugged home envrionment.

There are also two smaller, tub mills for viewing along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which begins at the end of Gatlinburg’s Airport Road/Historic Nature Trail, about 2 miles from the main Parkway, turning at the downtown Convention Center. These mini mills were small, but effective, for use by families and neighbors’ homestead needs. The Noah “Bud” Ogle Homestead is the the first major stop on the trail, and the Ogle mill is about a quarter-mile woodland trek from the cabin. The Alfred Reagan mill is also located on this trail, with its shed-sized building and flume at the Reagan homestead toward the end of the trail. There are multiple interesting historic sites and some scenic overlooks along this trail in addition to the mill locations.

If venturing into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is outside of your goals for this trip, there are two mills in Pigeon Forge:

The Old Mill Complex is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a destination location for visiting with surrounding restaurants and shops to explore.  It is located one block off the main Parkway in the heart of Pigeon Forge. The 3-story mill structure was built in 1830, and its waterwheel and adjacent milldam are one of the most photographed mills in the nation. There is a guided milling operations tour available 9:30-1:30 Monday through Friday (except for lunch break). Tour fee is $3 for adults, $1.50 for children 6-12, and free for under 6 yrs. Milled items are available for purchase in the general store located here, and are also used for the menus in the complex’s restaurants, should you need immediate gratification.

The newest mill in our area is at the Dollywood theme park. The Dollywood Working Gristmill was built in 1982, the first of its kind built in over 100 years in the area, and created with the original construction techniques of its predecessors. So, not historic, but certainly authentic. The delicious cinnamon bread baked onsite here is well-known, and well worth the purchase price. Don’t plan on buying this as a gift, I promise you it won’t last, and you will wish you purchased more. One of the best treats to sample in the theme park, in my humble opinion.

Take in a little history of one of these interesting milling sites, and then take home as gifts some of the products created on location.  A simple, timeworn, authentic piece of Sevier County history that’s  good enough to eat!

3 Must Go Spots in the Smokies for First-time Visitors

Often this blog contains information for seasonal events or “hidden gem” locations that returning visitors may not yet have experienced. But a farflung friend recently asked me where to visit in the National Park after they settle into their Smoky mountain cabin rental for their first trip to the area. With that in mind,  please consider these suggestions, based on what your family most wants to experience in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park while here in Sevier County.
If you want to go “into the forest” of the mountains while driving or hiking, consider:
1. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
One of our favorites because of its easy access, basically go to the heart of Gatlinburg, and turn left at the convention center. This paved, 6-mile, one-way driving loop has multiple stopping points to spend as much or as little time as you desire. Historic sites of farm homesteads, cabins, and mills dot the trail, water streams are abundant throughout, and there are multiple spots for open vista overlooks. There are also trailhead starts for Rainbow, Baskins Creek, and Grotto Falls (each is lovely, all are popular, start early and hike well).
Thoughtful tip: please take a water break. Stop, get out of the car, (just sit if you can’t hike) and absorb the serenity of the natural white noise that the rushing water provides. Completely addictive. The picture above was taken with feet in the water at marker #9 in late summer.
Link for additional information:
If you want open vistas without steep mountain climbing or leaving the car, and truly hope to see wildlife in its habitat:
2. Cades Cove
Located closest to Townsend, Tennessee, this 11-mile loop road wanders through valleys and hillsides, with long-range, pastoral, picturesque mountain views. The area is very popular, and often crowded on the weekends. It has many historic buildings, and is a great day trip activity. Everyone visits the Cable Mill area, but please also choose to stop and explore one of the churches and attached cemeteries for a step back in time. Go early or late for best opportunity to see animals along the loop.
Thoughtful tip: On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the loop is open only to bikes and pedestrians till 10 am in season. It’s a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the scenery car free!
Lastly, if you are one who must be able to say you have “been to the top”:
3. Clingman’s Dome and Newfound Gap
To reach both of these locations, go straight through Gatlinburg into the park and keep going. Newfound Gap Road itself is a great scenic drive, and the substantial Gap parking area is on the way to the dome, where you can see mountain views and the original park dedication site, without hiking. Or drive the extra few miles to reach the trailhead for the highest point in the national park:  Clingman’s Dome, which ends at the concrete lookout observation tower at 6,643 feet above sea level. The paved trail is only a half mile, but quite steep. If possible, go on a clear day, since distance visibility can reach many miles in all directions. Mountain haze impacts viewing distances substantially when it is present.
Thoughtful tip: Take a jacket just in case. No kidding. Even in summer, that elevation can be up to 20 degrees cooler than valley areas like Pigeon Forge. Forest and mountain views become far less enjoyable if you are uncomfortably chilly.
Last thought for new visitors in this post: buy those small guidebooklets that the National Park Service provides. They can be purchased online in advance, or in an honor box or visitor center at most park locations. For coffee change (usually a dollar or two), the in-depth information is well worth it, and helps you know the historical “who and what” along with the “where” you are standing.
Here’s a link for a starter kit, and you can also buy single brochures with all proceeds benefitting the park:
I know for certain that once you visit the Great Smoky Mountains, you will want to return. Come visit us at Volunteer Cabin Rentals very soon!

Saddle Up! for Country Western Style in the Smokies

 Big hat, no cattle? Ever wonder whether you could cut it on a dude ranch? If you plan to investigate cabin rentals in Wears Valley for the weekend following Valentine’s Day next month, consider also rounding up a good time by visiting the Saddle Up! event at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge during your stay.

This is the 14th year that folks from all walks of life have the opportunity to sample all things Western. Learn more about cowboy life beginning Wednesday, February 19th and ending Sunday, February 23rd. There are multiple free events and also some fee-paid concerts and activities.

First, put your heels up for the music. If you are curious about how lyrics and melodies are put together, attend the songwriters’ symposium. Come absorb fiddle and guitar styles, or some western swing demonstrated by national artists. The entertainment list includes Belinda Gail, Hot Club of Cowtown, Ray Doyle and other multi-talented performer/songwriters.

Sop up some history with cowboy stories and Western images. There is plenty to experience throughout the four-day event.

Then chow down on the hearty food: try sampling cornbread,  or indulge in a satisfying meal straight from the chuckwagon. You’ll be darn pleased you did.  The event ends with a special cowboy church service on Sunday.

So if you’ve never gotten closer to cowboy life than a guided horseback ride, give it a try. If you already enjoy the Western lifestyle, I am certain you are already planning to attend. For a more detailed list of schedule events for Saddle Up!, check this link:

There’s always something unique to do in our area, and never any reason to be bored. Pack your boots, and come join in!

Avoid These 4 Things in the Smokies

There are so many voices spouting lists of things to do here in the Smokies, perhaps it’s also beneficial to know about a few things that you should consider avoiding while vacationing in your Smoky Mountain cabin and enjoying the surrounding area.

1. Chain restaurants and stores: Yes, it is predictable and comforting to know it will be the same. But do you really want to do on vacation exactly what you can do at home? Maybe you need to pick up just a few items, or maybe your child will eat chicken nuggets from only that restaurant. That’s a given. But please, take advantage of all the locally-owned eateries and merchants that offer great versions of whatever you may crave: like authentic Thai, Southern family-style food, or handcrafted artisan gifts. You won’t be disappointed, and might even make a memory in the process: that place you “found” and the fun of the discovery. National chains-if you need them, we certainly do have them, in abundance.

2. Visitor center masquerade: This may be a no-brainer for most, but just in case: those places labeled “tourist information, visitor center, or free tickets” are far more interested in pitching timeshare vacations to you than providing helpful information. Nothing against timeshares and condo clubs, but I find the false facade to be annoying and deceptive, and so should you. So unless you can withstand a hard-sell presentation, make sure your visitor center stops are the official city-sponsored locations.
Here are the local links to help you find them:

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Pigeon Forge

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Gatlinburg Information

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Information:
Smoky Mountains Visitor Center, located at Smokies Baseball Stadium at exit 407
Sugarlands Visitor Center, just inside the National Park

3. Crowds (thinking like a typical tourist): Of course there are times when you want to be in the throng celebrating (Dollywood opening parade, anyone?). But if you choose a more unpredictable schedule, you will have some amazing experiences without too much company. For example, Cades Cove loop in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is often very congested at noon on a weekend day, with too many trying to “enjoy nature” at the same time. Why not try being there at daybreak? Catch the serenity, the morning mist, the early rising animals and deer? All with an almost private viewing, even in high season. Think off hours (and even off season) whenever possible in your planning, and you’ll have more freedom to enjoy special spots as they were intended.

4. Bottleneck still under construction: Even we locals will be glad when construction traffic snarls here are relieved, hopefully substantially complete by the end of 2014. Already much improved, Highway 66/Winfield Dunn Parkway from exit 407 at I-40 to Sevierville was never originally designed to carry the volume of traffic that it handles today. Most of this major artery has been widened to six lanes (three each way), but the final center phase of widening near and over the French Broad River bridge is still in progress. This creates a bottleneck during high volume traffic times, which causes backups in either direction based on volume.
Of course, there will always be delays in our area on major holidays, but to zoom through with the least amount of logjam, don’t arrive on Friday afternoon (about 12-4pm) or leave on Sunday afternoon (about 11 am-2pm). My suggestion for a smoother weekend is to arrive early if possible, and leave late. Have a Sunday lunch before you leave town. It’s much better to enjoy a meal with family than to spend that same amount of time idling in traffic, wouldn’t you agree?

Perhaps these are simplistic, but I believe that avoiding a few key irritants can make for a substantially better vacation. If you want the experienced opinions of locals regarding specific spots to try, don’t hesitate to ask us at Volunteer Cabin Rentals. We are glad to help you enjoy our hometown as much as we do. Come stay with us! We hope to see you soon.

Think About Snow Before You Go

Thanksgiving week snow, Smoky Mountains, Tennessee November 2013


Recently I read about some young hikers that were rescued by helicopter from the Appalachian Trail nearby here. They were unprepared for snow, ice, and freezing temperatures and became stranded.

Don’t let this happen to you in your cabin rental in Pigeon Forge. Most rentals are independently owned, and are located in resort rental communities with homeowners’ associations. Some are located hillside in rural areas. Our local roads are regularly maintained, and pose no unusual issues under regular conditions.

Yet weather changes quickly in our hill and valley topography, and roads in higher elevations can have radically different conditions from those on the main artery Parkway. Some people from elsewhere laugh at the bread and milk runs to the store that occur here in Tennessee with predicted winter precipitation. Most local municipalities have adequate, but not substantial, equipment for road treatment. It does not make good fiscal policy to overspend for such, when inclement conditions are so infrequent, and ongoing continual snowfall does not exist.

Our bigger foe here is ice. Snow typically lasts from 2 to 4 days, if that. But wet weather and snow melt from mild daytime temperatures freezes overnight into black ice, a thin glossy layer that just appears wet, but is only suitable for skating. Often tree-lined, shady lanes, and areas where hillside runoff occurs can remain dangerously slick for days, when all else is completely dry. Add the factor of an incline, and it doesn’t take a physics major to see that your vehicle can easily become a very expensive Red Flyer sled. Trust us, an icy mountain road has zero in common with a flat, snowplowed road elsewhere.

Most rental communities have association-paid road clearing equipment for our infrequent snow conditions. But not all locations have it, and some rural roads have gravel drives, sharp turns and narrow widths. Roads are often steep and curvy to get to that home with the outstanding mountain views that everyone covets.

A rental company cannot guarantee your arrival or safety if you choose to traverse tough roads without proper equipment. Typically 4-wheel drive and chains are necessary, and even these may not be sufficient in icy conditions.

So, know before you go. If winter weather is a possibility, bring a proper vehicle for mountain climbing, with extras like chains, sand and other appropriate emergency items. If you have questions regarding your specific reservation and the road policies of its location, please call our guest services before you arrive with any issues you would like to discuss. We are glad to help you plan all the details. Neither of us wants your next trip to be delayed, derailed, or inadvertently extended by a beautiful mountain snowfall.

Don’t be caught mountainside in the proverbial tee shirt and sneakers, call us at Volunteer Cabin Rentals today.

Top Three Christmas Gifts to Buy on Vacation

So you are coming to vacation in a Smoky Mountains cabin rental, but feel guilty you aren’t already done with all your Christmas gift shopping? Help is right here. Here are some ideas for thoughtful gifts in small packages, that can be easily acquired while you are enjoying your vacation in our area.

1. Artisan Handmade Items-There are over 100 artists to choose from in the 8-mile loop that is the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. Don’t overlook this source for original holiday gift giving. Choose jewelry, accessories, clothing, pottery, artwork, decorative items and much more. Plan your targeted shopping pass through the area at this link:

Unique. One of a kind. So much better than the infinity scarf from that chain store.

2. Food or Food-Related Gifts-There are so many local purveyors of delectable treats, narrowing those selections down is purely by preferences. To get started, here are a few branded area landmarks for gifts:

The Old Mill Gristmill Complex in Pigeon Forge-all sorts of baking mixes, kitchen pantry items, simple and deliciously rustic items. Lots to choose from while you enjoy your own tour and meal in one of the two restaurants.

Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen, Gatlinburg-Located at 744 Parkway in downtown, this local institution has been a shrine to all things sugar for as long as I can remember. Chocolate turtles are called brown bears in this town. Wide selection to suite many tastes, and great for stocking stuffers. No website, but on Facebook, and really hard to miss at the entrance to the Village (another neat little shopping area).

Apple Barn Cider Mill and General Store Complex, Sevierville-For all things  country and apple, but much more is available in the multiple restaurants and stores of this complex.

3. Experience Gifts-For those that live within a few hours of our area, and can visit for a quick trip, experience gifts are a welcome and much anticipated gift item. Some quick ideas for you to stop by and buy gifts for one or a group:

For everyone: Dollywood or Splash Country day or season passes
For kids: Wonderworks tickets
For the sports nut: Smokies baseball tickets
For a thrillseeker, Xtreme Racing or Alpine Coaster tickets.
For entertainment: theater tickets, to laugh at the Comedy Barn, for example.

So, while enjoying yourself in the Smokies, pick up a few good things in small packages. Don’t forget to tie them up with brown paper and string. Done.

Wishing you wonderful family holidays together from all of us at Volunteer Cabin Rentals.

6 Reasons to be Addicted to the Tennessee Smoky Mountains

So many have come here before, and many more will arrive for a first-time visit to the Great Smoky Mountains. Having lived here for many years, I still never tire of the blessing of being a local where so many come for vacation. That said, once the mountains are a part of your bloodstream, you just feel the need to keep returning. Here are some of the main reasons why:

1. Gorgeous Landscape-Nature, oh how I love you! Any season, in any weather, a discerning eye can find something glorious every day in Sevier County, if you just choose to look. Even this morning while driving my son to school, absolutely everything was outlined in glistening hoarfrost. This frozen dew is as beautiful as fine snow, and as fleeting as the misty ground fog, all of which will be gone by sunny noon today. But it is this type of unexpected beauty that can take your breath away when you least expect it: rounding a curve and seeing a rolling hills vista, the vivid shades of red and gold in autumn, the cheerful twinkling lights in winter darkness, that tiny wildflower by the trail. Such natural glory never grows old.

2. Mountain Activities-No matter your family’s age or size, there is something for everyone to enjoy outdoors in the mountains. Whether you slowly drive the Cades Cove Loop, zipline through a treetop canopy, or hike the toughest trail in the park, you can choose your level of immersion into nature. Making your choices is always a prioritization problem, because there is no way to see everything in one vacation! You will also want to revisit your personal favorite found spots in different seasons.

3. Ideal Location for Special Occasions-A secluded Smoky Mountain cabin rental is a prime location for whatever you plan to celebrate. From a romantic engagement to the wedding ceremony to an anniversary trip, a just the girls weekend to a family reunion to a holiday celebration, a youth group trip to a corporate retreat. Your plans can be met and expectations exceeded in the Smoky Mountains. Every time.

4. Valley Activities-If you are not enjoying the local natural outdoor wonders, there is still no reason ever to claim boredom. Mighty fine shopping of all types, theater show hopping, healthy or fattening dining of every cuisine, theme park thrills and putt putt skills can all be exercised happily. Repeatedly.

5. Relaxation Defined-The dictionary says to relax is “To make less tense. To reduce or stop work or effort. To release or bring relief from the effects of worry.” How do you escape? Relax here in any season: sink a chair in the shallow stream and read a book, or choose a crackling fireplace with popcorn and a movie. Create your own definition of doing nothing. Over and over.

6. Always a Reason to Return-That’s the addiction part. While rocking on the deck of your Wears Valley cabin, it is easy to make a list of “Next time I come, I want to try that”. Even we locals have a few things on that sort of list. There is something habit forming about so many choices available. Just talk to our repeat customers, who love the Smokies as much as we do. You may find yourself becoming one of those regulars soon. Come stay with VCR and fulfill your “mountain getaway fix”.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at Volunteer Cabin Rentals.

An Autumn Drive Like None Other-Tail of the Dragon

Attention all driving enthusiasts! Check the calendar, and fit in one last spin before winter settles on the Great Smoky Mountains. Today is one of those glorious, sunny autumn days: perfect for running the “Tail of the Dragon”! If driving or riding is your pleasure, this is a can’t miss opportunity.

With 318 curves in an 11-mile stretch of roadway, there is very little to compare to this experience, nor is it easy to describe. Let’s just call it grown-up fun! Safety first, of course. This one is not about the scenery, but about the excitement of the road. For just one amateur’s take on the fun, view:

Highway 129 crosses the North Carolina and Tennessee state line. At the end of your journey, come relax with us in your Wears Valley, Tennessee cabin from Volunteer Cabin Rentals, near Townsend and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Plot your day for your ride with this helpful link:

So create your own visible draft of swirling autumn leaves behind you, and enjoy the Dragon soon. What a ride!