Timbercreek Has The Right Size Lodging For All Occasions

So you’re planning a trip to the Smokies, eh? One of the first things you’ll probably want to do is book your accommodations. Sure, there are tons of options for that, including that trusty old standby, the hotel. But this time around, think outside the box of a hotel room when it comes to your overnight lodging. Think about trying Smoky Mountain cabin rentals.

At Timbercreek Cabin Rentals, one of our biggest advantages is that we have different size cabins to suit just about anyone traveling to the Great Smoky Mountains. With properties ranging from one to five bedrooms, we can meet your needs, whether you’re traveling solo or with a large group. Here are a few guidelines for choosing the cabin that fits you best.

If you’re traveling alone or with a significant other, we recommend going with a one-bedroom cabin. A smaller cabin has that cozy feel to it, which is ideal if your intentions are to get away for a romantic weekend, anniversary trip or honeymoon.

Anything larger than a one-bedroom would be overkill, and even if you have a child or two with you, you can most likely still make it work by implementing your cabin’s fold-out couch, if that applies to your specific property.

Two-bedroom cabins offer a lot of flexibility. That will provide comfortable sleeping for four guests, whether it’s a couple with children or perhaps two couples enjoying some friend time in the mountains. And again, if the cabin has a foldout couch, you could even incorporate two additional people into your travel plans.

Three-, four– and five-bedroom properties are more suited to the larger groups. Maybe you’re planning a family reunion in the mountains, or maybe your work group is looking for a place for a corporate retreat or team-building getaway. We often host church groups or other organizations looking for some peaceful time in the mountains of East Tennessee. In any of these cases, a larger cabin will do the trick for as many as 20 guests.

The best thing about a cabin is that regardless of size, you’ll find all the comforts of home on site to make your stay in the mountains a luxurious one. Enjoy perks like fireplaces, outdoor hot tubs, whirlpool tubs, game rooms and fully equipped kitchens. The kitchens especially make it more cost-effective to stay in the Smokies, considering that you can easily defray the expenses of dining out by shopping for food and preparing your breakfasts, lunches and snacks in the cabin. And with the assistance of the outdoor grill, you could even fire up steaks or hotdogs for dinner if you’re not up for visiting a local restaurant.

Cabins are also the way to go if you’re wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of the main drag in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg or Sevierville. No noisy neighbors, no screaming kids at the pool into the late hours, no constant rumble of traffic. Just kick back on the deck of your cabin and enjoy the symphony of nature as the crickets and bullfrogs serenade you and your guests into a Smoky Mountain evening.

How To Celebrate Earth Day In The Smokies

With a place as a grand and beautiful as Great Smoky Mountains National Park in our backyard, it’s no wonder that East Tennessee is also a great place to commemorate Earth Day. What better way to celebrate the natural resources of our planet than by hanging out in one of the most scenic natural resources in the country?

Earth Week is being celebrated in Gatlinburg this week, through Saturday April 21. Presented by Hilton Garden Inn, the weeklong event features daily activities designed to share easy green practices through games, crafts, music and multiple opportunities to get outside and enjoy our surroundings.

New this year is E-Waste Recycling Day, when team members from the local Convention and Visitors Bureau will collect unwanted computers, small electronics and more at the Special Events office on Cherokee Orchard Road from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday the 19th. From there, donated items will be properly recycled.

On Thursday the 20th, the Earth Day Festival will take place in downtown Gatlinburg from 12 to 5 p.m., featuring music, crafts, food, kids’ activities and more. Attendees can also learn about easy green practices as local green businesses and organizations will be onsite to share planet-friendly information. Earth Week T-shirts will be on sale as well, the proceeds of which will benefit the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation. That organization provides local scholarships, makes donations to area schools and funds the Gatlinburg Goes Green Program and other community-education events.

On Friday the 21st, lace up your running shoes for the Earth Day 5k Run/Walk, which will also raise money for the Chamber Foundation’s initiatives. This fourth annual USATF-sanctioned event starts at 10 p.m. in downtown Gatlinburg. All runners are welcome, and race-day registration starts at 8 p.m. at the Nantahala Outdoor Center on the Parkway.

If you’re coming into town this weekend, it’s not too late to make a reservation to stay at one of our Smoky Mountain cabin rentals. Our cabins are located near Gatlinburg, so if you’d like to participate in any of the Earth Day festivities, it won’t take you long to get there by car.

Plus our cabins benefit from one of the most beautiful settings in the Smokies. With towering mountains and scenic rolling valleys outside your window, you’ll love just sitting out on your wraparound deck and rediscovering a level of peace and tranquility that you might not have experienced in a long time. Imagine waking up and enjoying your morning coffee while watching a Smoky Mountain sunrise or taking a hike through nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Our cabins are also packed with amenities. Take a soak in the outdoor hot tub after a long day in the national park (or the shopping malls), and breathe in the smell of sizzling steaks as they cook on the outdoor grill. Later, you can watch your favorite movies on the big-screen TV or challenge your family and friends to a game of Eight Ball on the pool table.

5 Ways To Enjoy Spring At Your Timbercreek Cabin

If you currently have a reservation for one of our Pigeon Forge cabin rentals and are planning to arrive this week, you’re in luck. We’ve had awesome weather here lately, and if you’re joining us in the Smokies, you can be a part of the experience too.

We know you’ll want to make the most of the seasonal conditions by getting out and enjoying things like hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park or perhaps spending a day at Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge. Or maybe you’ll want to spend a day boating on Douglas Lake or doing something fun like ziplining or horseback riding.

That’s all fine. Just don’t forget that spring is also a great time to make the most out of your rental cabin experience, so we thought we’d pass along a few ideas for things you can do to enjoy spring without ever leaving the property.

  • Grill out – All our cabins come with a grill of some kind, so why not fire that baby up out on the deck and add that special smoky flavor to favorite dishes like burgers, steaks, hotdogs or chicken. Depending on the direction your cabin is facing, you might even be able to watch the sun set while you enjoy the smell of dinner and the cool evening breezes.
  • Stare at the mountains – Let’s not overlook one of life’s simpler pleasures. Our cabins offer fantastic views and generally have an outdoor deck or balcony of some kind from which you can sit and stare out at the mountains or whatever happens to fall within your field of vision. In many cases, you’ll have some kind of rocking chair for kicking back (and forth) and soaking in the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains.
  • Have a soak in the hot tub – The great thing about spring is that while the days are warm, the nights can still get a little chilly, which means it’s not too warm to fire up the outdoor hot tub, hop in and let all that hot bubbly water transport your stress and tension to another dimension. Hot tubs are usually located on an outdoor deck and can sometimes offer tremendous views if you happen to partake during the day.
  • Explore your surroundings – Depending on the location of your specific property, you may just want to get out and take a hike and see what the landscape looks like in your neighborhood. You may find a view you hadn’t seen from the cabin, or you might even stumble across some deer or wild turkey.
  • Read a book outside – This is similar to the aforementioned mountain gazing, but in this case, you can get lost in your favorite novel while kicking back on the porch or deck of your rental cabin. You’ll literally have it made in the shade as spring breezes nip at your face and the sounds of birds and other critters are likely to be the only distractions you’ll have.

Wilderness Wildlife Week Returns To The Smokies

Now that spring has finally taken root in the Smokies, we’re starting to see visual evidence of the seasonal change in a multitude of forms: Trees are budding, flowers are sprouting, and gorgeous wildflowers are blooming all over the Great Smoky Mountains region.

Wildflowers are such an iconic part of spring here that there’s a whole festival devoted exclusively to their pervasive beauty. This year, the 67th Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage returns to Gatlinburg April 11 through 15. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the arrival of spring in one of nature’s most gorgeous settings.

This five-day event, which takes place primarily in Great Smoky Mountains National park, offers professionally guided programs for exploring not only the region’s rich array of wildflowers but also wildlife, ecology, culture and natural history. Guests get to participate in walks, motorcades, photographic tours, art showings and more. Most of the outdoor programs are scheduled for the national park, while the indoor components are held at different venues throughout Gatlinburg.

This year in particular will be unique for the Wildflower Pilgrimage, in light of the devastating wildfires that swept through Gatlinburg last November. The fires burned approximately 3 percent of the national park, in addition to contiguous portions of the city of Gatlinburg. However, the park is alive and recovering, and no national park buildings were affected by the fires. Unfortunately, some 2,200 homes and business were severely damaged or destroyed, but the majority of those Gatlinburg businesses are bouncing back as well.

Attendees of this year’s Pilgrimage will get to observe how a wilderness recovers from fire damage. Several walks will explore the effects of fire on a natural environment. For example, the Friday evening program by National Park Zone Fire Management Officers Greg Salansky and Rob Klein will discuss the park’s fire ecology.

Other evening speakers will also focus on the environmental aspects of the national park. Author and outdoorsman Charles Maynard will present “Reading Between the Lines – Stories of Writing about the Smokies’ Waterfalls, Churches and Trails,” and on Thursday, national park biologist Scott MacFarland will talk about his research on natural sounds and night skies in the Smokies.

The host venue, Mills Conference Center in downtown Gatlinburg, will display a collection of native plants in addition to housing the Great Smoky Mountains Association store and vendors of other Smokies-related merchandise.

All of us at Timbercreek Cabin Rentals hope that you make plans to attend the 67th Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in Gatlinburg if you’re going to be in town that week. The city of Gatlinburg is still bouncing back and can benefit greatly from your participation.

Kid-Friendly Destinations In The Smokies

If you’re going to be vacationing in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee this year, there’s a good chance you might have some pint-sized passengers tagging along for the trip. Whether it’s your kids or the grandkids, you may have had travel experiences in the past that were challenging when it came to finding activities the young ones enjoyed.

When it comes to the Smokies, however, no one can say we aren’t kid-friendly. In fact, if you have the young ‘uns with you on that next mountain vacation, we have some recommendations for several destinations that are sure to keep their interest and maybe even put smiles on faces. And no smart phones are required.

  • Dollywood – Duh. It kind of goes without saying that kids and theme parks go together like peanut butter and jelly. But not everything at Dollywood is suitable for kids, especially preschoolers. So if you’re spending a day there, here are a few recommendations for attractions that cater to tots:

The Country Fair section of the park has a bunch of kiddie rides like the Amazing Flying Elephants, Busy Bees and Lemon Twist. And kids of many ages can enjoy the water rides like Daredevil Falls, Mountain Slidewinder and Smoky Mountain River Rampage. New for 2017 is the Whistle Punk Chaser, a junior roller coaster, and the Li’l Pilots Playground can be found near the Barnstormer ride. Finally, don’t forget that the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary and the Wings of America Birds of Prey show, which takes place at an adjacent amphitheater, are entertaining for kids and grown-ups alike.  

  • Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies – Kids love animals, and they’ll get to see a whole bunch of the swimmy kind at this downtown Gatlinburg attraction. Fascinating creatures from all the world’s oceans are represented at this multi-level facility, including stingrays and sharks. Kids can get up-close views of the sharks in the aquarium’s underwater tunnel or from above on the new glass-bottom boat ride. Guests can also pet stingrays in Touch-A-Ray Bay, and the new Penguin Playhouse exhibit lets kids watch Antarctica’s favorite residents at play right here in the Smokies.
  • Smoky Mountain Deer Farm and Exotic Petting Zoo – Keeping things in the animal world, you might want to check out this cool petting zoo outside Sevierville. The farm has all sorts of neat creatures you can see, pet and feed, including elk, goats, camels, zebras, emus, kangaroo and reindeer, just to mention a few. The whole family can go riding at the horseback stables, or the littler kids might want to take a pony ride.
  • Family amusements – You probably can’t go wrong taking the kids to one of the many family amusement centers you’ll find in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. Depending on the location, these are your best bets for finding things like miniature golf courses, go-cart tracks, laser tag and video arcades.

When you plan your next trip, be sure to go ahead and make reservations for one of our cabins in Tennessee here at Timbercreek Cabins. That will help you plan family-friendly outings that are also convenient to your accommodations.

What’s New In The Smokies For 2017?

Now that spring is here officially, a lot of folks are already planning their next trip to the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Whether you’re thinking about heading this way next week or during the summer or even next fall, we hope you’ll consider reserving one of our Wears Valley cabin rentals for your vacation accommodations. We have luxury cabins to fit every size party and every budget, and our peaceful, scenic locations are likely to make you fall in love with the mountains all over again.

And if your next trip back happens to be your first visit of 2017, you may be interested to know that there are several new attractions and points of interest that may not have been around last time you here. This week, we thought we’d share a few highlights of places to consider working into your vacation itinerary.

  • Ripley’s Glass Bottom Boat Adventure

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.

  • Alcatraz East Crime Museum

Explore American history from a criminal perspective at this new Pigeon Forge attraction. Five unique galleries burrow deep into the worlds of criminal intent, criminal profiles, the penal system, victims, crime prevention, forensic science, law enforcement and the judiciary branch of government. The 25,000-square-foot attraction covers two levels and includes more than 100 interactive exhibits.

 

 

  • New Dollywood Ride

Dollywood theme park and Dollywood Splash Country water park in Pigeon Forge are offering several new rides and attractions for guests this season.

First, Drop Line is a new 200-foot-tall free-fall experience that towers over Dollywood’s Timber Canyon section, providing an incredible view of the park as riders ascend to the top of the tower. Then the ride drops guests nearly 20 stories in an exhilarating free fall down toward the Canyon’s water feature below.

Next, Whistle Punk Chaser is a new junior coaster that throws thrilling twists and turns at Dollywood’s younger thrill-ride fans, preparing them for the day when they can join their parents aboard award-winning adult grown-up coasters like Thunderhead and Wild Eagle.

Finally, water park guests can enjoy the new TailSpin Racer, a wet-and-wild group of slides featuring unique, spiraling, high-speed AquaTubes. Passengers experience plenty of thrills as they twist and turn their way to the slides’ splashdown finale in the pool below.

Bicycle-Friendly Places In The Great Smoky Mountains

If you’re like the late great Freddie Mercury and just want to ride your bi-cy-cle, you might want to consider bringing your favorite two-wheeler along with you on your next trip to the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Biking is a fantastic way to see the sights of the Smokies while also enjoying the fresh air and immersing yourself in the beauty of our region. Like walking does, bicycling allows you to see things you might not otherwise notice behind the wheel of a car.

This week, we’d like to share a few ideas for places you can ride that are safe and, depending on when you visit, free of auto traffic.

Cades Cove – This once-thriving community inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park stands today as a preserved slice of life from the turn of the 20th century. The 11-mile one-way auto loop is closed to car traffic until 10 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays from early May to late September, so you can travel at your own pace without having to keep an eye on those pesky four-wheeled vehicles.

Along the way, you’ll encounter vast, rolling meadows, majestic mountains, hiking trails, deer and other wildlife, and preserved structures from yesteryear such as churches and homesteads. If you visit later in the day, you can pack a picnic meal and pull over to enjoy the peace and quiet of the cove in the location of your choosing.

If you don’t want to travel with your own bicycles, you can rent bikes by the hour from a vendor located at the Cades Cove Picnic Area store. You can also stock up on snacks, drinks and other provisions at the store before beginning your journey.

Townsend Greenway – Not far from Cades Cove, you’ll find the peaceful mountain town of Townsend, which features a greenway that runs the entire length of the town (five miles) on both sides of the highway. So you actually have nearly a 10-mile route to explore. The greenway ranges from flat and level to robustly rolling, but it’s all easily manageable by bicycle.

The path takes you along a wide selection of shops, restaurants and attractions, including the Little River Railroad Museum and the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, both of which are heavily steeped in the history of the region, from Native American inhabitants to white settlers to the Little River Lumber Company and the formation of the national park. Also note that Townsend is only about a 10-minute drive from Wears Valley, Tennessee, where most of our cabins in the Smoky Mountains located.

Sevierville Memorial River Greenway – This riverside park features a two-mile trail that runs alongside the banks of the Little Pigeon River. It features beautiful landscaping and connects with Paine Memorial Park, which features picnic tables and a gazebo. Numerous benches line the trail, and those who travel it can enjoy views of migratory birds and other waterfowl. The trail connects to Sevierville City Park, which has its own half-mile-long trail that runs along the park perimeter.

Pigeon Forge Riverwalk Greenway – With entrances at Patriot Park, Butler Street (at Ashley) and Jake Thomas Road, Pigeon Forge’s Riverwalk Greenway is a beautiful two-mile route to walk, run or ride your bike

Web Cams Offer Sneak Previews Of What’s Going On In The Smokies

Most of us would probably like to be spending some vacation time in the Great Smoky Mountains this spring or summer. Or this week, for that matter. And many of you may already be planning such a trip. But regardless of whether you actually visit the Smokies this year or not, you can still experience some of what the area has to offer without leaving your home or office. (Although if you’re at work, save this for your break time. Don’t be a slacker.) How? Via webcam. April the giraffe sure has gotten a lot of viewers lately, and you can take advantage of that same technology in the Smokies.

Several area businesses and locations in the Smokies have webcams that will give you a live view of whatever is going on at that location at any given time. So if you’re longing to see what’s going on in the mountains today, or if you’re gathering information for a future stay in one of our Tennessee cabin rentals, or if you’re just checking out the weather conditions, webcams are a useful (and fun) tool for exploring our area from a long distance away.

Here are just a few recommendations for local webcams you might want to look into.

• Live Penguin Cam – That’s right; this link will let you watch the penguins at play at the Penguin Playhouse exhibit at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg. If you visit in person, you can crawl through tunnels in their indoor-outdoor habitat and see their antics above and below the surface of the water. You can even pet the penguins or purchase one of their paintings. Until then, watch them here: https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/gatlinburg/penguin-cam/

• Gatlinburg Space Needle Webcam – This camera is mounted on one of the most iconic attractions in Gatlinburg, the towering Space Needle on the Parkway. It allows you to take in great aerial views of the city’s downtown area as well as nearby resorts and the national park. Check it out here: http://www.gatlinburgspaceneedle.com/webcam/

• Ober Gatlinburg Webcam – With this camera, you can see what’s going on at the area’s only ski resort. It’s a high-resolution camera mounted at 407 feet in the air, so you can see much of the resort as well as bird’s-eye views of downtown Gatlinburg. With temperatures dropping this weekend, you might get to view one final good weekend of snow activity up at Ober. Here’s the link: http://obergatlinburg.com/webcam/

• Great Smoky Mountains National Park Webcam – This camera is mounted at the Look Rock observation tower, just off Foothills Parkway in Blount County. The Parkway is an easy, beautiful drive with multiple pullover parking areas with scenic outlooks that open up the landscape for dozens of miles. At the Look Rock parking area, you can either hike a half-mile up to the observation tower or enjoy the views from the observation deck just off the parking lot. In the meantime, here’s the webcam:

https://www.nature.nps.gov/air/Webcams/parks/grsmcam/grsmcam.cfm

Get Fired Up For Spring With Some Smoky Mountain Barbecue

Some foods and drinks just go with certain seasons. Hot cider and eggnog are winter beverages, and nothing says fall like a holiday turkey. So what’s the quintessential food of summertime? If you’ve ever spent much time in the Great Smoky Mountains, you’ll know that the answer is barbecue, and next time you come to the Smokies for a visit, you definitely need to make a point of sampling some for yourself.

If you’re not from the South, you may think that barbecue is barbecue. However, not all barbecue is created equal or made the same. First of all, there’s not just smoked pork but also smoked brisket, ribs, chicken and more. You can even barbecue vegetables. And once it’s cooked, are you going to drown that shredded meat in a ketchup-based sauce or a vinegar-based sauce?

The good news is that we’ve got some great barbecue places that collectively will cover most of those bases. So maybe just visiting one won’t be enough. Maybe after we introduce you to some of the big barbecue names around here, you’ll want to create your own barbecue tour of the Smokies. Or take some back to enjoy while staying in one of our Timbercreek cabins.

Delauder’s Smoky Mountain BBQ

Located in the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community in Gatlinburg, this highly rated barbecue stand was rated by voters on Yelp as one of the top 100 places you need to eat in THE COUNTRY in 2017. If that’s not enough to entice you, we’re not sure what is.

Tony Gore’s Smoky Mountain BBQ & Grill

You might notice this barbecue set-up just off Tenn. Hwy. 66 (Winfield Dunn Pkwy.) when you’re traveling from Interstate 40 toward Sevierville. We’ve eaten there before and can attest to the fact that the products that come off Tony’s smoker are the real deal, from pulled pork to beef brisket. Also look for catfish plates, fried chicken and loaded tater chips.

Hungry Bear BBQ

This Gatlinburg eatery’s two locations are small, but the flavors are big, with a menu that includes sandwiches, dinners, sides and more. It’s a relaxed setting but also a good place to grab some ‘cue to go on your way to a picnic in the national park.

Boss Hoggs BBQ Shack

You’ll find this eatery on Wears Valley Rd. in Pigeon Forge, and it’s a good place to score barbecue plates featuring ribs, chicken, pork, brisket and smoked sausage. Sides include cole slaw, green beans, baked beans and potato salad.

Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que

This local product has been around about as long as any barbecue joint in town. Located in downtown Gatlinburg, it offers a full menu that has a reputation for pleasing palates.

Also look for national chains like Corky’s Ribs & BBQ, which is a full-service eatery, and Buddy’s Bar-B-Q, which is a popular fast-food stop.

Get To Know Wears Valley, Tennessee

Last week, we passed along some useful information about one of our neighboring communities, Townsend, Tennessee. But this week, we’re going to keep things really close to home by doing some exploring just outside our own front door. Our Timbercreek offices and most of our rental properties are located in the charming Smoky Mountain hamlet of Wears Valley, and we think it’s worth talking about. It doesn’t take long to drive through our town, but there’s a lot more here than meets the eye.

Let’s start with what does meet the eye, and the most prominent feature is Cove Mountain, which looms tall over the town, providing an inspiring background to our peaceful rolling valley. Standing at 4,078 feet in elevation, it’s one of several mountains that form the framework for Wear Cove, the geological valley in which the community of Wears Valley is located. Many of our properties are located on or near Cove Mountain itself, so anyone headed to East Tennessee in search of luxury cabins, Smoky Mountains views and scenic pastureland will find this to be an ideal location.

The area was named after Revolutionary War veteran Samuel Wear, although it was originally named Crowson Cove in honor of Aaron Crowson, the area’s first settler in 1792. The name didn’t change to Wear Cove until around 1900.

Wears Valley is known geologically as a limestone window, which means older layers of Precambrian sandstone have worn away to reveal younger levels of Paleozoic limestone. The exposed limestone resulted in fertile soil, which is one of the factors that originally drew early settlers to the area. Also, Wears Valley was the site of several skirmishes with native Cherokee residents around the time of the Civil War, despite East Tennessee’s attempts to remain neutral in the conflict.

One of the things our visitors love so much about the town is that it offers so much pristine beauty but is still only about a 10-minute drive from Pigeon Forge, where there are more attractions, shops and restaurants than you could shake a stick at. The town also offers an often-overlooked entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park via Line Springs Road (or you might see it called Lyon Springs Road). From the main highway, U.S. 321, Line Springs will take you to the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area of the park in about five minutes. From there, you’re a short drive from Cades Cove, one of the most popular destinations in the national park.

While Wears Valley itself isn’t nearly as developed as Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg (and we like it that way), we do offer several attractions, restaurants and shops for those who want to enjoy those features without venturing too far from their cabins. Some of the things you can do around here include ziplining, horseback riding, hiking and fishing.