7 Places To Find The Best Views In The Smokies

People enjoy coming to the Smokies for things like attractions, shows and outlet mall shopping. But if it weren’t for the Great Smoky Mountains themselves, none of those other things would exist. After all, it’s the mountains that have been attracting visitors to this area for decades.

The challenge sometimes is finding the places that will give you the best views of the mountains. So if you’re staying in one of our Pigeon Forge cabins in the near future, consider one or more of the following suggestions for places to enjoy the beauty of the Smokies at their grandest.

  1. From A Mountaintop

Sometimes, the best views of the mountains are afforded from the top of a mountain. For example, a hike to the peak of the Chimney Tops, (the trail begins just off Newfound Gap Road in the national park) gives you majestically high but up-close views of several nearby mountains. Similarly, if you make the trek all the way to the top of Mt. LeConte, there are offshoot trails near the summit that lead you to vantage points offering stunning easterly and westerly views. It’s a unique way to watch a sunrise or sunset if you’re staying at LeConte Lodge. And don’t forget about the Clingman’s Dome observation tower on Newfound Gap Road. It’s a short hike with a big payoff.

  1. Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway

Even if you don’t plan to visit the Ober Gatlinburg attraction, the ride to the top of Mt. Harrison on their Aerial Tramway is quite an experience. You’ll get great views of the mountains surrounding Gatlinburg, and traveling in a suspended gondola car is pretty fun too. If you do stay for the attractions up top, you can also enjoy long-range views from Ober Gatlinburg’s chairlift attraction.

  1. Foothills Parkway

There are several partial segments of this scenic drive that stretch for miles through Sevier and Blount counties. No matter which route you choose, you’ll pass a number of automobile pull-offs where you can park your car, stare out across the vast miles and get some great photographs in the process. One particularly scenic but also handy viewing area is the Look Rock observation tower, located along the stretch of Foothills Parkway that begins on U.S. Hwy. 321 between Maryville and Townsend, TN.

  1. Cherohala Skyway

Much like Foothills Parkway, this scenic autoroute has multiple pull-offs for roadside gawking. The Skyway begins in Tellico Plains, TN, which is accessible via Madisonville, TN. The route ends in North Carolina.

  1. Gatlinburg Space Needle

Just take the elevator to the top of this 407-foot-tall observation tower in downtown Gatlinburg and enjoy 360-degree views of the town and the nearby Great Smoky Mountains.

  1. Great Smoky Mountain Wheel

This giant Ferris Wheel can be found at The Island development in Pigeon Forge. This anchor attraction at The Island takes passengers up to 200 feet above the city in climate-controlled gondola cars for year-round enjoyment. From the top, you can see the expanse of the Smokies to the south and all the way up to Sevierville and beyond to the north.

  1. Helicopter Tours

Sevierville is home to a couple of helicopter tour operators that offer a wide range of packages at multiple price points. Rides can last from just a few minutes all the way to hours-long tours that cover up to 100 miles. Along the way, you can see sites that include the mountains, the national park, Gatlinburg, Wears Valley and Douglas Lake.

Timbercreek Cabin Rentals Has Great Off-Season Deals

Most folks choose summertime to visit the Great Smoky Mountains, because that’s when schools are out. It’s easier to pack up the whole family for a full week of vacation days, and the warm summer weather just lends itself to a wide array of outdoor fun.

But because summer is our peak season at Timbercreek Cabin Rentals, we’re not able to offer the discounted rates that we can in spring, fall and winter. So if you haven’t already taken your big family trip yet this year, you might consider waiting until later in the summer, or even beyond, to stay in one of our cabin rentals in Tennessee. You can get some great discounts during those times and still get to enjoy a lot of neat things going on here in the Smoky Mountains.

With our Late Summer Special, you can book any three nights between August 17 and September 2 and get one night free. The advantage of this deal is not only the free night but still getting to visit the Smokies while it’s nice and warm. As such, you can still enjoy outdoor attractions like Dolly’s Splash Country as well as recreational sites like Douglas Lake.

We offer a similar deal for our Fall Special: Book any three nights in a row and get one of them for free. This promotional discount is good from September 7 through October 5 and could be a good option for families looking to make a long weekend of it or travel during their school’s fall break. It could also be a good deal for couples not traveling with children, who can visit the Smokies during the week, when much of the traffic has dropped off with the start of school.

There won’t be any discounts available during October, because that’s the fall color season, when we typically have high booking rates. But after that, the Extended Fall Special runs November 2 through 23 and also allows you to book two consecutive nights and get a third one free.

Visitors who come to the Smokies during that period of time can enjoy the remnants of the fall color transformation, and it’s also the kickoff of the Winterfest celebrations in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. The weather is still seasonable enough to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, but we’re also getting those chilly nights, which are ideal for soaking in the hot tub or building a roaring fire at one of our rental properties.

You can also get three nights for the price of two during our Christmas Shopping Special, which runs from November 30 to December 19. Book three nights during that time period and enjoy the pre-Christmas spirit here in the Smokies with lots more Winterfest events. And as the special’s name suggests, it’s a great time to hit all the outlet malls and get your Christmas shopping done before you head back home.

And for the record, we have one special deal that we offer all year: Book seven consecutive nights and only pay for five.

Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair – July 17-26th

The Smoky Mountains region is known for a lot of things – mountains, bears, outlet malls and music theaters, just to mention a few. But no such list would be complete without mentioning arts and crafts. After all, tourism in the Smokies was borne of the crafts industry, which sprang up in the early 1900s. And to this day, when folks flock to cities like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, they are often in search of authentic arts and crafts pieces that reflect the history and culture of the area.

One of the most popular destinations for crafts fans is the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair, which returns to that city for its annual summer fair, from July 17 to 26 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center downtown. There, guests will discover some 200 different booths featuring the works of some of the nation’s finest crafts people and artisans, many of whom are native to this area.

On display are works that span a wide range of artistic media and native craft forms, including basket weaving, broom making, candle making, jewelry, woodworking, metal work, painting, sculpture, photography and many more. One of the things that makes this fair so special is that it is a juried event, meaning that each applicant’s work is reviewed, so that only the best quality of arts and crafts are represented at the fair.

Also, in addition to being able to browse the different pieces and purchase them, guests can watch many of the crafts people at work and ask them questions about their special skills. One such crafter is potter David Howard, who discovered his interest in clay as an undergraduate at the University of Montevallo in Alabama. Twenty years later, his once-hobby is now a full-time vocation, with his work focusing primarily on the traditional and functional folk pottery reminiscent of the 1800s.

Also at the fair this year is Charles Adams of Troy, Alabama, who has created a unique collection of stained glass works, including windows, doors, clocks, lamps, kaleidoscopes, sun catchers and his specialty, glass angels. He has been participating in the Craftsmen’s Fair for more than 18 years.

But that’s not the only thing that has made the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair one of the most popular special events in the Southeast. The fair also features live country, gospel and bluegrass shows taking place on the music stage daily. This year, “Fiddle Man” Tim Watson returns to the event, as does Dennis Lee & Band.

Fair hours are 10 a.m.to 6 p.m. daily, except for Sunday, which is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Music shows take place at 12, 2 and 4 p.m. daily and at 12 and 2 p.m. on Sundays; Admission is $7 for guests ages 13 and older. Kids 12 and younger get in free.

In addition to the summer event, there’s a fall edition of the fair, which runs October 8 through 25. Fall is a popular time for crafts in the Smokies, especially as so many guests converge on the area to see the annual autumnal color show.

Whether you plan to see this week’s fair or the one in the fall, contact us soon to make reservations for one of our Gatlinburg cabins, which will be convenient to the event.

Cabin Of The Week – Little Creek

If what you seek is peace and quiet in the Great Smoky Mountains, then allow us to offer Little Creek up for your consideration the next time you’re looking to book overnight accommodations. It’s just minutes from Pigeon Forge, but at the same time, it benefits from a private, two-acre setting that even features a mountain stream bordering the property. In fact, that’s how this cabin gets its name.

The cabin itself is the perfect setting for a private retreat in the mountains, whether you’re traveling solo, just to get away from it all, or visiting with that special someone on a honeymoon, anniversary trip or romantic weekend getaway.

Although it’s considered a one-bedroom cabin, Little Creek actually has a smaller second bedroom with two sets of bunk beds. As such, you might also consider this property as a possibility when planning a family vacation to the Smokies. The bunk beds would be ideal for the kids or the kids and even a couple of friends.

Little Creek’s coziness is offset by the spacious feel imbued by the cathedral ceiling in the living room, which also features a sleeper sofa, gas log fireplace, satellite TV and a VCR/DVD player (remember that the sleeper sofa gives you even more sleeping capability). The master bedroom boasts a queen-size bed as well as a dressing table with lighted vanity mirror.

The cabin also has a couple of outdoor areas where you can relax and enjoy the solitude, including the covered back patio with outdoor hot tub and a picnic table. The hot tub can be enjoyed year ‘round, while the picnic table is a great spot for some al fresco dining on a breezy summer day or evening.

Meanwhile, there’s also a covered front porch with a swing and rocking chairs, both of which are ideal for quiet reflection or laid-back conversation with family and friends. This would be a nice spot to start or end your day.

The kitchen has everything on hand that you might need to do some cooking in on the nights you’re not eating out. Just stop by a local supermarket and stock up on supplies, and Little Creek’s refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave and coffee maker will take care of the rest. Whether you’re just looking to make a quick breakfast before hitting the attractions and outlet malls or maybe grill up some steaks, the kitchen has most of the cookware, utensils, dishes (and more) you’ll need.

Other amenities in the cabin include a tabletop Pac Man game, washer and dryer, charcoal grill, wireless high-speed Internet, iron and ironing board.

Of course, Little Creek is just one of our many secluded Pigeon Forge cabins. We have a wide selection of properties, ranging from one to five bedrooms, capable of accommodating just about any size travel party. And all of our cabins are loaded with amenities, which will help make your stay in the Smokies feel an awful lot like home. Maybe even better…

Celebrate The 4th Of July In The Smokies!

Whether you choose to observe our nation’s independence on the third day of this month or the fourth, either way, you’ll be able to say “Happy birthday, U.S.A.” with a bang this year, thanks to all the special events taking place in the communities of the Great Smoky Mountains. So if you’re staying in one of our Smoky Mountain cabin rentals this week, you might want to check out this overview of some of the festivities taking place in our area.

fireworks-dollywoodOne of the biggest such celebrations around here is in Gatlinburg, which will be holding its annual Independence Day parade at midnight July 3 (or 12 a.m. July 4, depending on how you look at it). That’s why it’s known as the first July 4th parade to take place in the nation each year. Now in its 40th year, the parade will be led by Nan Kelley, host of GMC’s Top 20 Country Countdown, and army captain Steve Voglezon from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The parade will step off at 12:01 a.m. on the 4th under the watchful eyes of some 80,000 spectators. As always, the parade will honor our nation’s military veterans and will include entries from five states. Among the entries will be floats, giant balloons, live entertainers, exotic cars, antique tractors and military vehicles.

The parade route will run for more than a mile, starting at traffic light #1A on East Parkway, then turning onto the Parkway at traffic light #3 and heading south to traffic light #10 at Ski Mountain Road. Parade goers are encouraged to arrive early on the 3rd to claim a good viewing spot.

Later on the 4th, Gatlinburg will host its annual River Raft Regatta, a race of unmanned floatables that begins at the bridge in front of Christ in the Smokies on River Road and ends at the bridge in front of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Prizes will be awarded to the race winners.

The festivities wrap up at 10 p.m. with a 20-minute fireworks display in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg. The best viewing areas will be near traffic lights #3 and #5. The 129th Army Band will play patriotic music leading up to the fireworks, beginning at 9 p.m. on the Ripley’s Aquarium plaza.

There will be fireworks on the 4th in Pigeon Forge as well, thanks to that city’s 25th Annual Patriot Festival. Taking place at Patriot Park, the fun begins with live entertainers at 1:30 p.m. Capping off the entertainment will be Departure, a Journey tribute band, which will lead up to the evening’s headliners, Diamond Rio. At 9:30 p.m., a fireworks display will wrap up the celebration.

All activities are free, and parking is free, although a trolley shuttle service will run between the municipal parking lot on Teaster Lane and Patriot Park. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for seating (no coolers or umbrellas allowed).

Elsewhere in Pigeon Forge, Uncle Sam will pay a visit to the Incredible Christmas Place on the 4th. This annual event also features shopping, sidewalk sales, food and candy.

6 Ways To Beat The Summer Heat

It may just barely be summer, but don’t tell that to Mother Nature. She already thinks it’s July or August, and it’s been showing lately in the form of daytime highs in the 90s and heat indexes reaching well over 100.

But that shouldn’t discourage you from making the most out of your trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. This week, we’ve got some ideas for things to do and places to go that will help you stay cool while still having a lot of fun.tubing

  1. Inner Tubing – Our Pigeon Forge cabin rentals are just a short drive from Townsend, TN, home of several different tubing attractions. Each of them offers trips of varying distances down the Little River, which runs the length of town. It’s a fun, lazy and – most importantly – cool way to spend a scorcher in the Smokies.
  2. National Park Swimming Holes – You can’t tube at these places, but favorite tourist spots like The Sinks and the Townsend Y are longtime popular swimming hole destinations. Just park your car, wade in and brace yourself for a blast of cold mountain water.
  3. Whitewater Rafting – You usually have to drive just across the Tennessee-North Carolina state line to reach the area’s many whitewater-rafting outfitters, but the drive is always worth it. They’ll provide you with all the gear and instruction you’ll need to spend a half-day or a day on one of the great whitewater rivers in the area, typically the Big Pigeon River. You’re guaranteed to get doused by rapids, and during the calm spells of the river, you might even get to take a cool dunk on your own.
  4. Dollywood’s Splash Country – This Pigeon Forge water park is the area’s premier water attraction each summer, offering dozens of slides and other water-filled activities that will definitely help you stay soaked and cool all day long. They have something to make everybody happy, from thrill seekers to tiny tots. Splash Country also has plenty of spots to soak in some rays, grab a bite to eat or replenish supplies for those fun-filled days.
  5. An Underground Cavern – You don’t always have to be wet to stay cool. Attractions like Forbidden Caverns and Tuckaleechee Caverns stay the same temperature all year long – around 57 degrees. That comes in mighty handy on a hot summer day when you’ve been out in the sun and are ready for a break.
  6. Any Air Conditioned Attraction – Whether you’re in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, you don’t have look far to find an indoor attraction where you can easily spend several hours, not only protected from the sun but also bathed in air-conditioned comfort. Music theaters are one great example of a cool zone that will entertain. And there are also all sorts of unique museums, animal attractions, arcades and more at which the price of admission is well worth the relief from the summer heat.

Five Free Things To Do In The Smokies

We know that paying for a family vacation can be a challenge, especially if you’re bringing kids along for the trip. Expenses like gas, food and Smoky Mountain cabin rentals are have-tos when it comes to travel budgeting, but then you haven’t even taken the family to a single attraction, outing or activity. This week, we’ll give you five great ideas for places to go and things to do in the Smokies area that are essentially free. And there are enough different suggestions here to please just about anyone in your gang, no matter how old he or she may be.

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Hey, that’s great news, considering that the mountains are the primary reason most folks travel to this area. Our national park has always resisted the growing trend of charging fees to visitors, so all that hiking and auto touring costs you nothing. You will have to buy a license to fish or pay a nominal fee to camp in a campground, but to visit sites like Cades Cove, Mt. LeConte and Clingman’s Dome costs you nothing.

In addition to points of interest in the park, the National Park Service presents a wide range of ranger-led programs and activities, offering multiple options each day during the summer. These can include hikes, walks, seminars and hands-on presentations that get adults and kids alike engaged in learning about their natural surroundings. The vast majority of these are free, although some do charge a nominal fee.

  1. The Old Mill, Pigeon Forge

This is one of the oldest structures in town, dating back to 1836, and you can watch its outdoor paddle wheel still faithfully turn in the Little Pigeon River daily as it grinds out fresh grains and meals for visitors. You can even go inside and tour the shop, although you’ll have to pay just a few bucks for a guided tour of the actual internal workings of the mill.

  1. Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community

Consisting of Glades Rd., Buckhorn Rd. and U.S. 321 East, this 8-mile loop near Gatlinburg is home to hundreds of craftsmen and is the largest collective of independent artisans in North America. You’ll see authentic artists and crafts people at work in media such as pottery, broom making, jewelry making, basketry, photography and much more. You can visit the shops and watch these folks at work for free.

  1. Douglas Lake

This TVA reservoir is located near Sevierville, TN and offers 33,000 acres and 513 miles of shoreline for warm-weather water fun. Put your boat in for a day of skiing or wakeboarding, go to a beach for some sunning and swimming, or take your favorite trawler out to catch some fish. Other than fishing permits, you can do all this for absolutely no charge.

  1. Free Kids’ Admissions At Theaters

Adults have to pay admissions to get into all the music and theater shows in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, but many of these venues offer free admission for children under a specific cut-off age, usually around 12 years old. Be sure to check out that option when ordering your tickets or making reservations.

This Week In The Smokies…

We’re into the prime summer months here in the Smokies – those months when families are on vacation and there are just a lot of things to see and do. Whether you’re visiting Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg or Sevierville, you’ll have no trouble finding any number of ways to fill out your vacation to-do list.

So if you’re staying in one of our cabins in Tennessee this week, in addition to all the attractions, shows and shops, don’t rule out taking part in one of the many special events that our cities host on a regular basis. Some are special events that are related to attractions, and some take place within the national park; in any case, you’re bound to find something going on this week that everyone in your group can enjoy.

  • The Tennessee Smokies minor league baseball team hosts the Birmingham Barons on June 9 and 10 at Smokies Stadium in Sevierville. Tuesday’s game starts at 7:05 p.m., while Wednesday’s game starts at 12 noon. The stadium is located just off Interstate 40 at Exit 407.
  • The Sevierville Convention Center hosts Parker’s Greatest Knife Show on Earth June 11 through 13. This show is known as one of the best antique pocketknife shows in the country, with top-quality knives for sale by more than 75 dealers.
  • Appleview River Resort in Sevierville is hosting a free outdoor showing of the movie Maleficent on June 12 at the resort’s riverside location. Bring a chair and a blanket to enjoy this family event.
  • Country Tonite Theatre in Pigeon Forge hosts Chubby Checker in concert on June 12 as part of its celebrity concert series. This 1950s legend, best known for his hit “The Twist,” takes the stage at 8 p.m.
  • Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge kicks off its new Great American Summer event on June 13, and it runs through August 2. Each day begins with a live performance of the Star Spangled Banner and ends with a fireworks extravaganza entitle “Dolly’s Nights of Many Colors.” During the event, the park will stay open until 10 p.m., which means guests can experience thrill rides like Wild Eagle, Thunderhead, Mystery Mine, Tennessee Tornado and FireChaser Express under the stars.

There are also several interesting ranger-led programs scheduled in Great Smoky Mountains National Park this week. They include:

  • Old-Time Toy Demonstration – June 10, Cades Cove Visitor Center, blacksmith building. 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. Free. See how wooden toys were made and used back during the heyday of the Cades Cove community.
  • Evening Campfire Program at Elkmont – June 14, Elkmont Amphitheater. 8 to 9 p.m. Free. A park ranger will host a topic that will enhance your knowledge of nature and/or the national park.
  • Early Bird Hayride – June 15, Cades Cove Riding Stables. 8 to 10 p.m. $14 per person. This ranger-led open-air hayride features wildlife viewing and discovering the diversity of the Cades Cove section of the park.

Cabin Of The Week – Smoky Mountain Solitude

For some Smoky Mountain vacationers, staying in a rental cabin is the only way to go when it comes to accommodations. There are visitors who cherish the peaceful majesty of the Smokies and the national park, and for them, staying in a crowded motel or hotel on the strip just isn’t the way to do a trip to the mountains.

If you can identify with that philosophy, then you’ll definitely want to consider one of our Wears Valley, TN cabin rentals on your next journey to the Smokies, because this week, we’ve got a property that’s right in line with your way of thinking. It’s called Smoky Mountain Solitude, and it’s the ideal destination for couples. With one king bed and a sleeper sofa, this cabin can actually sleep as many as four guests, but it’s ideally suited for a getaway like a honeymoon, anniversary trip or romantic weekend.

This one-bedroom, one-bath chalet is strategically situated for those who plan to make excursions into the national park a priority. It’s located on the edge of the park and is easily accessible through the Wears Valley entrance. This is a little traveled entry point that’s easy to find, has little traffic and takes you directly to the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area. From there, Little River Road can take you to notable park destinations like Cades Cove, Elkmont and Tremont.

The cabin itself blends old-fashioned atmosphere with modern touches and amenities. The single level boasts a full kitchen with appliances and cookware, a dining table for four and a living room with 42-inch flat-screen TV, satellite hook-up, wood-burning fireplace and a pool table. The mountain vibe is captured everywhere from the hand-hewn beams in the cathedral ceiling all the way down to the hardwood flooring.

In the bedroom, that rustic feel is brought out in the form of a king-size log bed and matching dresser, while the 21-st century TV/DVD/VCR set-up allows for the latest in entertainment. The bathroom offers a separate shower and whirlpool tub.

This summer, you’ll be able to make the most out of Smoky Mountain Solitude with outdoor features like a gas grill, rocking chairs and hot tub, all of which are found on the deck. It’s the perfect place to start the morning with a cup of coffee, stay cool during the heat of the day or enjoy a sunset as evening creeps in.

While the national park is certainly easy to get to from Smoky Mountain Solitude, the property is still conveniently located near the cities of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville, for those times when you might be ready to venture out and spend some time enjoying an attraction or shopping the outlet malls or spending a night on the town. Depending on traffic, you can be in Pigeon Forge in about 10 or 15 minutes.

Give us a call or click online today to book Smoky Mountain Solitude for your next vacation in the mountains.

(Note that this cabin does share a common entrance deck with our Ranger Ricks chalet.)

What To Bring (And What Not To Bring) When Staying In A Rental Cabin

We hope you’ve already made plans to stay in one of our cabins in Wears Valley, TN this year. But whether you plan to stay with us, or even another company, in the near future, there are generally quite a few features and amenities that you can expect from your chosen rental property. After all, it’s all about making guests feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible while vacationing in the Smokies.

Because we have so much to offer in each of our cabins, guests typically need not bring along a number of essential items from home. For example, all of our bathrooms come with a starter supply of toilet paper, while towels, linens and pillows are provided as well. Of course, if you have a preferred brand of toilet paper or a favorite pillow from home that you must have to sleep well, you are certainly welcome to bring those with you if you like. If you’re planning to go to a water attraction of some kind, you may also want to bring your own beach towels from home.

Our kitchens are very well equipped, starting with all the major appliances like ovens and refrigerators as well as smaller appliances like coffee makers and microwaves. You will find all the cookware and dishes you’ll need as well, including pots and pans, skillets, plates, silverware and glasses. We also provide limited supplies of items like dishwashing liquid and trash bags. Many of our cabins have charcoal grills (instead of gas), but you are responsible for providing your own charcoal, and you may want to bring your own barbecue tools as well.

You are similarly responsible for supplying your own food, but our properties are generally a short drive from the nearest supermarket or convenience store. And depending on the owner, some properties might include basic food staples like seasonings. It’s a good idea to check to see what is already on hand before making your trip to the market for supplies.

Our cabins usually have washers and dryers on site, but to be on the safe side, you might want to bring your favorite brand of laundry detergent from home if you’re planning on doing a few loads while you’re staying with us.

You can generally expect to find at least one DVD player in your rental cabin. Often, the owners will also have a library of movies for you to watch available in the cabin, but you are welcome to bring some from your own collection to watch as well. The same goes for books and board games. Many cabins have their own titles on hand, but you are always free to bring your favorites from home.

If you’re not sure and still have any questions about items that you should or should not bring on your next trip to one of our cabins, feel free to call us any time and ask about the property you’re staying in. We’ll be glad to offer whatever help we can to make sure that your next stay with Timbercreek Cabins is an enjoyable one.