Eclipse-Watching Options For August 21

We’re just days away from the first total solar eclipse the contiguous United States will have experienced in nearly 40 years. And the cool part is that much of our East Tennessee and Smoky Mountains region lies in the zone of totality, which is the area that falls in the shadow cast by the moon as it passes between earth and the sun.

This is a big deal that a lot of folks around here have been looking forward to for months. People have been buying their safety glasses and picking out where they want to watch the eclipse from, but if you happen to be vacationing in the Smokies on Monday, August 21, you might not have many clear ideas about the best ways to participate in this event.

If you’re staying in one of our cabins in Wears Valley, one option to consider is attending a free viewing event in the Cades Cove section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which you can easily access by taking the Wears Valley entrance into the park (via Line Springs Rd.). Once you hit the main park road near the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area, head west toward Cades Cove. It’s only a few minutes’ drive away from there.

Once at the cove, park staff will oversee guided viewings of the eclipse, but make sure you have the proper safety eyewear if you plan to look directly at the sun. Naked eyes and sunglasses are no-nos. Instead, plan on getting a pair of special filtered glasses made just for this purpose. Or watch the event on TV or online.

Be cautioned, however, that if traffic gets to be too heavy around Cades Cove, park officials may close the roads. So maybe plan on getting there early in the day and expect to stay long after the eclipse as traffic thins out.

Another option might be travel to nearby Townsend, TN, on the “peaceful side of the Smokies.” There are a lot of wide-open spaces along the stretch of U.S. 321 that runs through Townsend, so you should have no trouble finding a spot with a clear view of the sun. Of course, we can’t predict how heavy traffic will be in any particular area of the Smokies on Monday, so wherever you decide to go, don’t wait until the last minute to head there.

Depending on which of our cabins you’re staying in, you might have a direct observable view of the eclipse from your porch or deck, but many of our properties are located in shaded areas, so your results may vary.

If you’re not planning on being in the Smokies next week, that’s OK, but don’t wait until the next eclipse occurs in East Tennessee to pay us a visit. The next one may not happen for several hundred years, and we don’t think we can wait that long to see you here at Timbercreek Cabins.

Country Cookin’ Calls Vacationers To The Dining Table

One of the great things about taking a vacation is that you get to dine out. That’s because one of the things most folks want to take a vacation from is the kitchen. When you take a trip to the Smokies, the restaurant choices are seemingly endless, with a wide variety of cuisine styles available around every corner and on every block.

But when you vacation in the Smokies, it’s almost a given that at some point, you must experience the authentic flavors of the South, especially this part of the South, where the mountains reign supreme. This week, we’ve got several recommendations for area eateries that specialize in authentic Southern cuisine, so if you’re staying at one of our Wears Valley cabins in the near future, you’ll have plenty of options on hand when it comes to answering that nagging question: “Where do we eat tonight?”

The Old Mill Restaurant

You’ll find this long-time restaurant in the heart of Pigeon Forge, just off the Parkway in Old Mill Square. You can’t miss it. There’s an operational grist mill structure built in 1838 sitting right on the Little Pigeon River, and the restaurant is adjacent to the mill. There are three menus – breakfast, lunch and dinner – that offer up classic country dishes like Southern-fried country ham, homemade meatloaf, BBQ country ribs, Southern-style catfish and more. Morning guests can enjoy off-the-griddle favorites like pancakes, omelets, homemade biscuits and more.

Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant

Located in Sevierville, TN – also on the banks of the Little Pigeon River – this charming whitewashed restaurant is a local favorite thanks to its celebration of the apple. You’ll also find menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner here, along with quintessential Southern grub. Dig into the likes of fried chicken, chicken potpie, chicken and dumplings, and farm-fresh local trout. Every meal includes complimentary servings of apple fritters, apple butter, an Applewood Julep and a choice of homemade farmhouse soup.

Mama’s Farmhouse

Head to Pigeon Forge to find this country-themed restaurant, located about a block off the Parkway. Each meal starts off with buttermilk biscuits and a choice of soup or salad, and then you’ll have a choice of two entrees for lunch and three for dinner. Selections include honey-glazed ham, country-fried pork, turkey and stuffing, and country-fried steak. Sides range from mashed potatoes and green beans to mac and cheese and sweet potato casserole.

The Park Grill

Located on the south end of the Parkway in Gatlinburg, this majestic, mountain-lodge-style restaurant’s visuals are as appealing as its menu items. For dinner, you might start off with fried pickles before moving onto fresh rainbow trout, Southern pecan chicken or the eight-ounce Buckshot Sirloin. The desserts are Southern all the way, from the Nanner Puddin’ and hot blackberry cobbler to the peanut butter mud pie and the Black Bear Brownie Bash.

Pancake Houses

We’re not specifying a specific location of pancake house here, because there are literally dozens of pancake eateries among the cities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. But they all offer Southern-style dining, featuring pancakes and waffles foremost but also including many of the other dishes we’ve mentioned in conjunction with the other area restaurants.

Newer Attractions In The Smokies

Between the Internet and the wealth of area guide publications and brochure racks, there’s no shortage of information about all the things a person or a family can do while visiting the Smokies. However, we’re often asked what the newest points of interest in town are, because repeat visitors have often checked a lot of destinations off their lists and want to know what’s new in town in terms of attractions and entertainment.

From time to time, we like to share the latest such information with our guests, so this week, we’ll refresh that list and give you the 4-1-1 about some of the most recent attractions to make their way to our mountains.

Mission: Mars at The Escape Game

The Escape Game itself is not new, but this escape-room attraction does have a new experience to offer its guests. Participants have just landed on the red planet for an exploratory mission, but their spacecraft has suffered major damage during the descent. A fatal amount of cosmic radiation is heading toward Mars, and teams have exactly 60 minutes to repair their ship and launch if they ever want to see earth again.

Ripley’s Glass Bottom Boat

This new feature of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg puts just three inches of glass between visitors and the inhabitants of the attraction’s Shark Lagoon. Each 16-foot boat features a large pane of glass in the center of the floor, allowing passengers to gaze into the waters below to observe the sharks and other ocean creatures as they swim along the reef underneath. Of course, there may be times when you’re not exactly sure who is watching whom…

VR Pigeon Forge

This is a great new place for gamers who are into having a totally immersive experience. You’ll walk, crawl and dodge your way through endless worlds of fun and adventure in this virtual-reality attraction. Whether you’re exploring outer space, creating amazing contraptions or saving the world from a robotic invasion, there’s something for everyone at the VR Pigeon Forge Arcade.

Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures

This attraction was formerly known as Lumberjack Feud Dinner and Show, and now that Dolly Parton has brought it into her family of businesses, it has been substantially revamped. The show now takes guests back on a journey through Dolly’s own family history with music, specialty acts and special effects, while a series of competitions throughout the show adds an element of excitement to the production. A multicourse meal means guests can fill up on the flavors of the South in addition to top-notch entertainment.

No matter which new attractions you decide to visit on your next trip to the mountains, be sure to contact us now to reserve one of our Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg cabins for your stay. Whether you’re playing in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge or Sevierville, our properties are convenient to where you want to be while also offering a peaceful, secluded hideaway in the mountains.

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How To Save Money On Your Smokies Vacation

Did the title of this blog post get your attention? That’s not surprising. Most people are usually interested in learning how they can save money on anything, and travel is no exception. Let’s face it; a vacation for a family of four (or just two people, for that matter) can be an expensive proposition, so if there are ways out there to save a few bucks along the way, who can blame you for wanting to get the 4-1-1 on that?

This week, we’ve got a few ideas for cutting costs to pass along, and hopefully, you’ll be able to implement one or more of them on your next trip to the Great Smoky Mountains.

  • Stay in a cabin

It’s probably no shock that we would say that, but it’s true. Cabins are typically more cost-effective, especially if you’re traveling as a group. Putting 10 people in one cabin is usually less expensive per day than booking five or more hotel rooms. In addition, our rental cabins in Sevierville, TN, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg come with full kitchens, which allow you to prep a lot of your meals on site. Even if it’s just cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch, you can shop at a supermarket, prepare a meal or two on your own each day and save money over eating out at restaurants every meal.

  • Book your accommodations for the off season

It’s a standard rule among hotels, motels and overnight rentals that the rates will be higher in peak season times like summer and during October, when the leaves change here in the mountains. So if you don’t mind vacationing or traveling to the Smokies in less popular months like November, December, January or February, you can usually enjoy substantially lower rates. In some cases, attractions might offer lower rates as well in the off-season.

  • Look for lodging discounts

Especially if you’re staying in an overnight rental, you can get discounted rates for group travel. Here at Timbercreek Cabins, we offer multi-night discounts that allow you to book three nights and get one free or book seven nights and get two nights free. Also, we offer our repeat customers 10 percent off their stay at any time.

  • Stock up on guide publications and brochures

When you visit the Smokies, you will inevitably come across local display racks stocked with all sorts of booklets and magazines devoted to informing you about our area. These almost always have a coupon section with deals on local accommodations, attractions, theaters, restaurants and shops. Some of the publications consist of coupons only, and of course, there’s no shortage of brochure racks around the area. Once you get an idea of what places you want to visit and what things you want to do, find those brochures and look for coupons. You can also do this by visiting those places’ websites and looking for online discounts as well.

  • Dollywood has discounts

Note also that the Pigeon Forge theme park offers several discounts throughout the year, including season passes, kids’ prices for adults, and getting in free the following day when you arrive after 3 p.m.

Ready for Snow Yet?

This is typically the time of year when the summer heat really starts getting cranked up. This year, Mother Nature is right on time, as we’re seeing highs creep up into the 90s, with heat indexes reaching up into the 100s.

Sure, there are lots of ways to keep cool in the Smokies during summer. You can spend time at a water park, on a lake, in a river or in your hotel swimming pool. Or you could focus on activities that allow you to stay indoors with a nice, functioning air conditioning unit.

But how would you feel about enjoying some SNOW right about now? And what if we told you that you could have fun in the snow right here in the Smokies and you wouldn’t have to wait until winter to do it?

We’re not pulling your leg, because the area’s newest attraction, Pigeon Forge Snow, will be opening in the next few months, bringing all the benefits of snowfall to these hot days of summer. The attraction will provide year-round indoor snow tubing and will be located just off the Parkway in Pigeon Forge.

Pigeon Forge Snow will be the first attraction of its kind in the country, using state-of-the-art snow-making technology to transform its 35,000-square-foot facility into a winter wonderland, complete with 15 lanes of snow tubing. And instead of using synthetic material, Snow’s slopes will be covered in the real thing – fresh snow powder.

The attraction will offer other classic winter activities as well, including a play area where guests can build snowmen and have snowball fights. They’ll even sell snow cones for visitors to snack on in between their wintry fun.

The cool part (pun intended) is that guests won’t have to bundle up much to go snow tubing. The facility will maintain a comfortable temperature between 60 and 65 degrees, which is much warmer than the typical East Tennessee winter.

Pigeon Forge Snow is owned by Sevierville native and entrepreneur Matthew Ayers, who also owns The Coaster at Goats on the Roof, a popular alpine coaster on Wears Valley Road.

The attraction will be located in the heart of the city and is being built from the ground up on Teaser Lane, near the Nike Clearance Store. It will be just a three-minute drive from The Island attraction in Pigeon Forge.

No opening date has been announced, but they’re hoping it will be ready by late summer or early fall of 2017.

If you wind up checking out Pigeon Forge Snow when it opens, we hope you consider booking one of our cabins in Pigeon Forge, TN. Our properties are only a few minutes from Snow’s location, and you’ll also pass right by the Goats on the Roof attraction on the way.

Summer Weddings Call For Summer Honeymoons

We’re in the heart of summer, which means the wedding business in the Smokies is going at full tilt. Summer has always been the traditional peak season for weddings, and that’s especially true in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, where a multitude of wedding chapels and other venues allow couples to tie the knot in one of the most beautiful locations in the country.

It’s no surprise, however, that a lot of the couples that choose to say “I do” in the Smokies also choose to stay here for their honeymoons. Why not? If you’re doing a destination wedding, you might as well stay in that same beautiful destination to enjoy your first official getaway as man and wife. Here at Timbercreek Cabins, we’re ready to help new couples get married life off on the right foot with a great selection of honeymoon accommodations.

Our secluded Gatlinburg cabins, for instance, come in a variety of sizes, but we have plenty of cozy one-bedroom properties for honeymooners. Even though they may have just one bedroom, they don’t fall short on amenities. Summer honeymooners can take advantage of whirlpool tubs and expansive decks with gorgeous views of the mountains when it comes to setting a romantic mood. Winter honeymooners can also enjoy amenities like outdoor hot tubs and gas or wood-burning fireplaces to keep those chilly nights on the warm side.

Our properties also benefit from great locations with mountain and valley views. You’ll enjoy lots of privacy and seclusion in your Smoky Mountain love nest, surrounded by woodlands, with the sounds of birds and nature providing the background track to your romantic getaway.

However, we also know that honeymooners like to get out and experience some of the adventure of the Smokies. Most of our cabins are only about a 10-minute drive from Pigeon Forge, which is home to some of the nation’s top attractions. Spend the day at Dollywood or WonderWorks or the Titanic Museum Attraction, all within easy access of your honeymoon headquarters.

You probably won’t want to do much cooking on your honeymoon (although you could in your cabin’s full kitchen), so you’ll also be within a short drive of an incredibly diverse range of restaurants and styles of cuisine. Or you might want to spend some time at the outlet malls in the area, where you’ll find great deals on essential goods for your new home as a married couple.

And don’t forget to spend some time in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Taking a hike in the woods, enjoying a picnic or taking a bike ride through nature are all ways of spending time together that can be romantic in their own right. Guests who stay in our cabins have handy access to the national park; they can be on park property within about 15 minutes by using the convenient Wears Valley entrance.

So if you’re planning to tie the knot this summer or perhaps even this fall, it’s not too late to contact us about reserve your special honeymoon cabin in the Smokies. Give us a call or contact us online today. We look forward to seeing you soon!

5 Things To Know About Timbercreek Cabin Rentals

At Timbercreek Cabin Rentals, we offer one of the finest selections of Smoky Mountain cabins on the market. With an inventory of dozens of premium properties available, we’re the go-to rental destination for visitors in search of luxury, privacy and convenience when planning a mountain getaway. We have a lot to offer our guests, ranging from quality rental cabins to our location to the way we distinguish ourselves from other area rental companies.

In fact, following are five important details you should know about Timbercreek when choosing your next accommodations in the Great Smoky Mountains:

  1. We rent only high-quality cabins

We require all our cabins to pass a stringent approval process before being accepted onto our rental program. That means they’re well built, in great condition, are clean and offer only the top amenities that our guests demand. So when you book a cabin through us, you’ll know you’re getting a property that meets our tough standards and is among the best available in the area. That means you’ll find consistent quality across the board, whether you’re renting a one-bedroom cabin or a four-bedroom lodge.

  1. We have all the desired amenities

Regardless of the size cabin you book with us, you can count on enjoying features like outdoor hot tubs, whirlpool baths, fireplaces, grills, game rooms, HDTVs, full kitchens, and decks and porches with stunning views. Even details like washers/dryers and free Internet access are among the special touches that will make your stay away from home feel just like you actually are at home.

  1. Our properties are strategically located

How would you like a cabin that’s in a secluded location with awesome mountain and valley views? But then how would you also like to be able to travel from your cabin to Pigeon Forge in only 10 minutes? With Timbercreek, you can do both. Most of our properties are located in the scenic Wears Valley community, a short drive from Pigeon Forge but also bordering Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

  1. We always have discounts!

With our year-round special, if you book seven nights with us, you’ll only pay for five nights. That’s two free nights, even in peak season! In addition to that, we offer seasonal spring and winter specials through which you can book three nights and get one free.

  1. In addition to our rental program.

We’re a full-service real estate company. We have listings for real estate in the Smokies for those who are interested in owning their very own mountain home. Maybe you’d like to retire and live here full time, or maybe you’d like to invest in a rental property that you can use for vacationing in the Smokies whenever you want and put on our rental program to earn extra income the rest of the year.

5 Top Attractions In Sevierville, TN

When most people think about visiting attractions in the Great Smoky Mountains, they’re most likely to first think of Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, TN. After all, these are the two most visited cities in the Smokies and they are, in fact, home to most of the attractions that the area has to offer.

However, we don’t want you to overlook what neighboring Sevierville has going for it. As the county seat, it has the largest full-time population in the county, and it already has a lot to offer visitors, like the area’s top outlet malls and great restaurants.

But Sevierville has its share of family attractions too, so if you’re planning to stay in one of our Pigeon Forge or Sevierville cabins this summer, consider adding these fun stops to your travel itinerary.

  • Tennessee Smokies baseball

The Smokies are the AA minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and play about 40 home games each season at their stadium just off Interstate 40. The season runs from late March into early September, and home games at Smokies Park are a blast. In addition to exciting baseball action, there are fun promotional events, giveaways, competitions between innings, food and more. It’s a nine-inning vacation!

  • Helicopter rides

There are actually a couple of vendors that offer helicopter tours of the Great Smoky Mountains, and they’re both in Sevierville. Look for Smoky Mountain Helicopters and Scenic Helicopter Tours. Both companies offer a range of packages for guests, and the packages are priced depending on the amount of time and distance covered on the trip.

  • Forbidden Caverns

This underground cavern has been in business for decades, offering visitors a unique subterranean tour filled with towering chimneys, grottos and a crystal-clear stream. Special lighting effects and an audio presentation accompany the leadership of the caverns’ trained guides. The trails are well lighted, and handrails are provided at necessary points along the tour. By the way, it remains a steady 58 degrees in the caverns all year long, so dress accordingly.

  • Smoky Mountain Deer Farm & Exotic petting Zoo

Here’s a great place to take children of all ages, because many of the animals are touch-friendly. Look for a wide range of creatures that you can look at and interact with, including camels, kangaroos, zebras, goats, reindeer, miniature horses, donkeys and more. They also offer pony rides for younger kids and trail rides on horseback for bigger guests on this 140-acre farm in the foothills.

  • Tennessee Museum of Aviation

Experience the history of aviation in Tennessee at this interactive museum adjacent to the local airport in Sevierville. The museum houses a self-guided tour that takes guests on a chronological journey through the development of aviation in the state and pays tribute to the many people who contributed to it. There’s also a 35,000-square-foot hangar that houses dozens of historic aircraft, from World War II P-47 Thunderbolts to the North American P-51D Mustang.

And this is just scratching the surface. Other notable attraction stops in Sevierville include Rainforest Adventures, the Dolly Parton statue at the courthouse, NASCAR SpeedPark and Floyd Garrett’s Muscle Car Museum.

Finding Seclusion In The Mountains

You ever get that feeling that you just need to get away from it all? From time to time, we all fall prey to the stress and anxiety that can mount from work and family responsibilities. Fortunately, that’s exactly what vacations are for.

But what about those times you really want to be alone, to experience the kind of re-charging you can only get from peace and tranquility? Believe it or not, even through the Great Smoky Mountains is the nation’s most visited national park – welcoming nearly 10 million visitors a year – you can find peace and quiet here without finding yourself smack dab in the middle of the vacationing throngs. Read on to discover a few tips for finding solitude in the middle of the Smokies, even in the peak season we’re currently experiencing.

Here at Timbercreek, we like to think we can help you take that first step with our selection of secluded Pigeon Forge cabins. Our properties are located primarily in scenic mountains and valleys, well off the beaten path. Instead of traffic, the main sounds you’ll hear are those of nature.

You’ll be able to truly unwind and let go as you kick back on the deck or porch of your cabin, enjoying the beauty of a sunrise or sunset. Or, weather permitting, you can let the invigorating jets of your outdoor hot tub melt the stress away as you tune in to the sounds of rustling trees and chirping birds.

There are also plenty of places you can visit in the Smokies to get away from the masses. Instead of plunging into the heart of Pigeon Forge, consider visiting Townsend, TN, which is known as the “peaceful side of the Smokies.” The pace of life is a little slower over there, there aren’t as many visitors or cars, and you can immerse yourself in a true Smoky Mountains experience at places like the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center and the Little River Railroad/Lumber Museum.

The national park itself is full of potential for getting away from it all, provided you pick the right spot. Avoid heavily trafficked destinations like Cades Cove, Laurel Falls, the Chimney Tops, Elkmont and even Mt. LeConte. Instead, chart a course for less-traveled sites like Cataloochee Valley, the Middle Prong Trail, Charlies Bunion and Greenbrier.

One of our favorite spots is the Cosby entrance to the national park. There you’ll find a campground and several interesting hiking trails that often get overlooked by most people traveling to the Smokies.

In summer especially, we can’t promise you’ll have these places completely to yourself (you won’t), but the population will definitely be less dense than some of those other spots we mentioned.

Some other tips to consider for finding solitude include arriving at destinations early in the day, visiting them on weekdays instead of weekends and avoiding traveling to the Smokies during holiday periods.

Beat The Heat On Your Next Visit To The Smokies

Summer is officially still a week away, but thermometers have been creeping up toward 90 already, and the Humidity Monster officially paid his first visit this week here in the Smokies. However, that shouldn’t be a problem for anyone planning to travel to the mountains this summer. If you’re going to be staying in one of our cabin rentals in Pigeon Forge, TN, we can share with you a few ways you can keep your cool this summer, even if you’re planning to spend time outdoors. 

  1. Dollywood’s Splash Country

Located adjacent to the original Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, this water park opened in 2001 and gave Smokies visitors 25 acres’ worth of ways to stay cool. Today, the park boasts some 35 acres’ of water-based attractions as well as dining options, canopy and retreat areas, and beautiful mountain scenery. Activities include numerous raft and body slides, Bear Mountain Fire Tower, Downbound Float Trip, Little Creek Falls for younger folk, Mountain Waves and Raging River Rapids. The newest addition, TailSpin Racer, opened this year, featuring six side-by-side slides, allowing guests to race each other to the bottom.

  1. Whitewater Rafting

East Tennessee is known for its rivers, and many of them feature thrilling whitewater rapids. Several rafting companies operate in our area, including Rafting in the Smokies and Pigeon River Rafting. Many of these guided excursions have offices in Gatlinburg but actually operate on the Pigeon River in Hartford, TN, about an hour’s drive from Gatlinburg. You’ll also find companies that have outposts on the Ocoee River in East Tennessee. Regardless of where you go and which company you choose, you’re in for several hours of thrilling whitewater action as you and your fellow rafters take on rapids as challenging as Class III and IV. Trips are led by experienced guides, but it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll get soaked by the bracing waters of our region’s rivers. 

  1. Inner Tubing

There’s only one thing more refreshing than riding a raft down a river, and that’s floating in an inner tube down a river. In Townsend, TN, you’ll find several outfitters that run inner tube companies on the Little River, including River Rat, River Rage and River Romp. In most cases, they’ll either transport you to a put-in point, and you float back to the outpost, or you’ll start at the outpost and then pick you up at the take-out point. Either way, the water is invigorating, and you’ll enjoy relaxing as you float lazily down the river. There’s also a company in Maryville, TN – River John’s – that will go with you to a put-in point (with your own canoe/kayak or one of theirs) and then drive your vehicle back to the outpost/take-out point, seven miles downstream.

Of course, at our cabins, you can beat the heat too. All our properties are air-conditioned and have some sort of shaded deck or porch where you can kick back and stay cool while you enjoy fabulous views of the Smokies.