5 Reasons To Stay At Timbercreek Cabins In Fall And Winter

The leaves are still falling, the temperatures are dropping, and most folks’ younger kids are smack in the middle of the school year. Here in the Great Smoky Mountains, we used to call this the “off season,” and it was a time of year when visitation plummeted and many businesses even temporarily shut down for the reason, only to re-open in spring.

But those days are gone in the Smokies. Yes, visitation does drop off in fall and winter when compared to spring and summer, but nowadays, there’s a lot more motivation to come to the Smoky Mountains and stay in one of our secluded Gatlinburg cabins. This week, we’ll give you five good reasons you should book a stay with us in the next four months.

  1. Winterfest

The towns of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville will be celebrating winter and the holiday season through February with a long list of special events. Happenings range from craft fairs and Christmas celebrations to trolley tours of light displays and holiday-themed music events. Many of these events are free to the public and are a fantastic way to get into the holiday spirit. If you stay in one of our cabins, you’ll be within just a few minutes’ drive of most of these special Winterfest celebrations.

  1. Seasonal Specials!

At Timbercreek Cabins, we offer several different seasonal discounts for the next several months. Our Christmas Shopping Special runs 11/28 through 12/18, and if you book three nights, you get the fourth free. The same goes for our Winter Special, which runs January 2 through March 12. We also have a year-round special – book seven nights and get two of them free – and a Repeat Guest Special, where returning customers receive 10 percent off any stay, any time. Discounts cannot be combined.

  1. Fewer People

Fewer visitors to the Smokies means less traffic – especially on weekdays – and shorter lines to get into attractions and restaurants. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as the annual Christmas parade in downtown Gatlinburg every December, but for the most part, it’s just easier to get to your favorite destinations and manage the crowds once you arrive.

  1. Holiday Shows

The Smokies boast some 15 different music theater venues, which collectively are home to nearly two dozen shows. They range from country and bluegrass productions to magic shows, horseback competitions, lumberjack feats and much more. The variety is enough to entertain even the most persnickety fan. During November and December, however, many of these theaters present holiday versions of their regular-season shows, adding a Christmastime twist to the onstage entertainment. The music is tailor-made for the holidays, and you can almost count on a visit from Santa Claus during the show.

  1. Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg ski resort, located on top of Mt. Harrison, offers snow skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing in winter, when weather conditions allow. Peak season is usually December through February, when it’s cold enough up there to help nature out a little bit with manufactured snow. They also offer indoor ice skating, a full-service restaurant, shops and much more.

The Mountains Really Are Smoky This Week!

The Great Smoky Mountains got their name from the low-hanging fog and mist that can often be seen settling into the valleys between the mountains. It’s a phenomenon that fascinated the early Native American residents of the area, and it’s still a sight to behold today.

For the past few weeks, however, we’ve been dealing with real smoke in the Smokies. It’s been generated by a series of wildfires located throughout East Tennessee and the Carolinas, and it’s caused the entire multi-state region to be socked in by a light, smoky haze.

First of all, none of the fires being battled are located anywhere close to our secluded Pigeon Forge cabins. So if you already have a reservation with us for the next week or two, there’s no need to be concerned about that. That being said, however, we do want all our guests to exercise caution when staying in our cabins. That’s because we’ve had little rainfall in the past several months, and with all the dry leaves on the ground, conditions are ideal for an unattended fire to get out of hand.

So if your property has an outdoor fire pit, we ask that you not leave it unattended and also make sure that the fire is completely extinguished before you leave it for the evening. Also, please do not build a fire outdoors that’s not within the confines of a fire pit.

As for the smoke itself, the air quality has been improving, and unless you plan on spending extended periods outdoors or doing some sort of heavy physical activity, it shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll mainly just notice a slight smokiness in the air. If you have breathing issues, you may want to exercise caution when choosing your outdoor activities, but otherwise, the smoke shouldn’t be too limiting.

Also, the Smokies has a lot of things to do that are indoors, thus eliminating the air quality from the equation altogether. You might visit a world-class attraction like Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Wonderworks or the Titanic Museum Attraction, and you’ll find more than a dozen music theaters in the area that have a diverse range of shows playing day and night. Our many outlet mall and specialty shops offer indoor refuge as well.

In general, the air quality shouldn’t have much of an impact on your Smoky Mountain vacation or your ability to enjoy all the things you’d planned to do. But we did want you to be aware of it before you arrive so you can adapt accordingly and make the most out of your experience.

In fact, you can see for yourself what the air looks like at any given moment by checking out one of the live webcams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm

Winterfest Events Keep Visitors Busy in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville

It looks like nature finally caught up with the calendar, as it’s finally starting to feel like fall here in the Smokies. This would be a great time to consider a visit to the mountains, especially if you choose to stay in one of our cabin rentals in Pigeon Forge, TN. We’ve got the ideal accommodations for chilly days and evenings; imagine cozying up in front of a toasty fire at night or soaking in a steaming, bubbling hot tub at the end of a long, satisfying day in the mountains.

But as nice as our cabins are, there’s still a lot of things you can do while you’re visiting this area. Did you know that Winterfest is now under way in Pigeon Forge as well as in Gatlinburg and Sevierville? That means the next four months are going to be jam-packed with a wide array of special events in each of those towns, from Christmas-themed activities and shows to awesome light displays that keep our nights glowing all season long.

If you happen to be in town now, here’s just a sampling of what’s going on for the next few weeks:

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas
Through December 31
Dollywood Theme Park, Pigeon Forge

With 4 million dazzling lights, award-winning entertainment and delicious food options, this event features something for every member of the family. Holiday-themed shows include Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Dollywood’s A Christmas Carol, Christmas in the Smokies, An Appalachian Christmas and more.

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland
Through January 1
Smokies Park, Sevierville

Enjoy this amazing drive-through holiday lights experience, which brings Christmas and winter to life with incredible animated displays.

Veterans Day Celebration
November 11
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg

Honor the men and women who have served our country during this annual celebration at 11 a.m. at the Ripley’s Aquarium plaza. The event will feature entertainment by the 82nd Airborne All-American Chorus and the Gatlinburg-Pittman High School Band.

Old Mill Square Holiday Open House
November 12
Old Mill Square, Pigeon Forge

Stop by to sample a bit of down-home Southern cooking and visit shops like the general store, pottery store and toy bin.

Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show
November 22 – 27
Gatlinburg Convention Center

Unique hand-crafted gifts made by members of the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community are offered during this annual Thanksgiving show. Hours are weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Arts & Crafts Community, located in Gatlinburg, is the nation’s largest organization of independent artisans.

Thanksgiving Fireworks On Titanic
November 24
Titanic Museum Attraction, Pigeon Forge

The night sky will be ablaze in colorful bursts of light during this annual fireworks extravaganza honoring the lives and legacies of the ship’s passengers, crew and rescuers.

How To Have A Great Day Without Leaving Your Cabin

If you plan to stay in one of our Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg cabin rentals in the next few months, you’ve picked a great time of year to visit the Great Smoky Mountains. There’s something about fall and winter in the Smokies that gives the area its own special appeal and sense of beauty, and with overall visitation down during the off season, it’s actually a good time to come and enjoy the many shops, restaurants and attractions while they’re more easily accessible.

However, if for some reason you’re not interested in getting out and exploring our neighboring communities or Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you can still have a fun (and somewhat more relaxing time) without ever setting foot off your rental property. Don’t believe us? Here’s a rundown of some of the things you can do to get the most out of your rental-cabin experience.

You could start your day by heading to your cabin’s fully equipped kitchen and brewing up a mug of morning coffee or tea. Take your beverage out on the deck and enjoy it while kicking back and taking in the surrounding views. You’ll be astonished at how quiet it is up in the mountains, especially in the morning; usually all you can hear are the birds. If it’s too cold to sit outside, you can at least snuggle up on the couch in the main living area and enjoy the views through large picture windows overlooking the deck.

Afterward, you might take a morning walk around the property and explore your surroundings. You’ll enjoy fresh mountain air and, depending on your specific location, some great views of the Smokies. Allow yourself to be at peace as you listen to the sounds of nature.

Throughout the rest of the day, you’ve got multiple ways to enjoy your time in the mountains. You can snuggle up in a comfortable chair and read a book or listen to some of your favorite music. And don’t ever forget the value of a good, lazy nap on a cool fall or winter day. You might also watch your favorite shows or movies on one of the flat-screen TVs or maybe shoot some pool in the game room. Many cabins also have board games or electronic gaming systems to help kids of all ages enjoy good times with the family on vacation.

Of course, that full kitchen will come in handy at both lunch and dinner. You’ll find everything you need on hand (plus the groceries you buy) to make any kind of meal, from a quick snack to a multi-course spread. Weather permitting, you could even grill steaks, chicken, burgers or dogs on the gas or charcoal grill, which is usually found on the deck.

After dark, you can always enjoy more in-house recreation, or you could take things outside for a nice, relaxing soak in the hot tub, also located on the deck. It’s the perfect way to warm up on a chilly night, and once you come back in for the evening, you can keep those warm vibes going by starting fire in the gas or wood-burning fireplace.

Chances are, the day will pass faster than you want it to, but that’s OK; you can always start over again the next day.

Halloween Happenings In The Great Smoky Mountains

This next week, things are going to get spooky here in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. And that’s good news for those of you who enjoy celebrating Halloween each year; if you’re visiting the Smokies between now and the end of the month, you won’t have to miss out on all the scary fun or sweet treats that go along with the creepiest night of the year.

  • Halloween Trick or Treat – This event takes place on Thursday, October 27 at the Pigeon Forge Community Center. Kids are encouraged to wear their costumes and load up on candy at this annual event, which runs from 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Happy Halloween Weekend – Guests staying at the KOA Campground on Veterans Blvd. in Pigeon Forge will enjoy an entire weekend full of Halloween activities, October 28 through 30.
  • Halloween Carnival at The Island – This popular multipurpose development in Pigeon Forge will celebrate the holiday with free entertainment, including aerial circus acts, stilt walkers and more. Kids can trick-or-treat throughout the property from 5 to 9 p.m., and there will be a costume contest beginning at 6:30 p.m., all on October 29.
  • Halloween in Gatlinburg – Businesses along the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg will be handing out candy throughout Halloween day and evening.
  • Trick or Treat Kickoff Karnival will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. on the 31stat Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. This annual event features contests, costumed characters, games, food vendors and lots of candy for visitors of all ages. Proceeds from the event will benefit the United Way of Sevier County.
  • Scary Attractions – The Smokies are also home to several spooky attractions that are open year ‘round, including Ripley’s Haunted Adventure and the Mysterious Mansion, both in Gatlinburg.

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure hosts Ripley’s Fright Nights each Friday through Sunday in October. This year’s theme is Movie Monster Madness as the attraction takes guests through 85 years of movie monsters – from the classics all the way up to today’s horror villains. Fright Nights run 6 p.m. to closing, and the nightly character parade starts at 6 p.m. All kids ages 6 through 11 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian

Meanwhile, the Mysterious Mansion has been creeping out guests for more than 35 years. The house is designed and decorated in the style of an early 1900s Victorian mansion, and some believe the attraction is actually frequented by a ghost.

Finally, at the Gatlinburg Space Needle, their annual month-long Shocktober! event will still be going strong. The highlight of the celebration is the Wicked Things show at the Iris Theater featuring magical comedian Chris Collins and master mentalist Erik Dobell. The show takes audiences back in time to 1889 and the mysterious happenings at Weiss Manor. The show runs this Thursday through Sunday plus a special showing on Halloween night.

It’s not too late to book one of overnight rentals if you’d like to get in on the Halloween fun in the Smokies. Our cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are convenient to all the fun celebrations taking place in the area.

5 Cool Places Within A 15-Minute Drive Of Timbercreek Cabins

titanic-museum-pigeon-forgeOne of the great things about staying in one of our Smoky Mountain cabins is that you really do get the best of both worlds. On one hand, our properties benefit from remote locations that enjoy great views, usually of the mountains. Our peaceful, quiet settings allow our guests to get away from the hassles of everyday life and enjoy the reverie of being surrounded by the wonders of nature and all its natural beauty. With few visible neighbors, you’ll really get the sense that you have a little corner of the Smokies all to yourself.

On the other hand, however, our properties are not so remote that you can’t easily get to some fun destinations, many of which are within a 15-minute drive of our Wears Valley location. While our cabins are scattered throughout the area, we’ll use our rental office on Wears Valley Rd. as a starting point.

  1. Outlet Malls – Take Wears Valley Road into Pigeon Forge, hang a right, and you’ll be within just a mile of several different outlet malls, including the Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall and the Z Buda Outlets.
  2. Music Theaters – Again, if you follow Wears Valley Rd. to Pigeon Forge, you’ll have nearly a dozen different music and variety shows within a mile in either direction. These shows run the gamut from country and bluegrass music to magic, horseback competitions and even lumberjack skills. Many theaters also serve a multicourse dinner to enhance the entertainment.
  3. WonderWorks and Titanic Museum Attraction – If you take Wears Valley Road to Pigeon Forge and turn left, heading north on the Parkway, you’ll first come to the Titanic attraction and then a little farther down, the WonderWorks attraction. These are both world-class family-fun destinations at which guests can easily spend a half-day or more exploring fascinating worlds and times.
  4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – If you go through Gatlinburg, it will take you close to a half-hour to reach the park on a good day. If you take Wears Valley Road west to Line Springs Road and turn south, you’ll be in the national park in less than five minutes. You’ll come out at the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area. If you want, you can travel on to other park destinations like Cades Cove and Elkmont.
  5. Townsend, TN – If you head west on Wears Valley Road from our office, you’ll be in Townsend in about 15 minutes. Known as “the peaceful side of the Smokies,” Townsend is home to the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center and the Little River Railroad Museum, both great places to learn about the area’s history. And the actual Little River is literally a cool place to go inner tubing on hot summer days. Townsend also has several great restaurants as well as a pedestrian bike/running trail that forms a 10-mile loop, running from one end of town to the other.

4 Reasons Why Fall Is A Great Time To Stay In A Rental Cabin

fall-colorsAny time of year that you visit the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee is a great time to stay in one of our cabins in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg or Wears Valley. But we have to admit that autumn may be one of the best seasons to do so. Here’s just a few reasons why.

  1. Fall Colors

Most of our properties are located in the Pigeon Forge and Wears Valley area and have great views of nearby mountains like Cove Mountain. From some of the higher elevations, you’ll have sweeping views of the Smokies range that include Mt. LeConte and other towering peaks. And during October and early November, the leaves are turning colors, so instead of a sea of green, you’ll see a rolling blanket of red, yellow and orange extending into the distance and up the mountains themselves.

It’s a great sight to behold while sitting on the deck of your rental cabin. Our properties come with porches, decks and balconies that afford a wide range of views, and you can usually enjoy them kicked back in a comfortable rocking chair.

  1. Cool Nights

After a long, scorching summer, it’s been sweet relief to get some pleasantly cool days and slightly chilly nights. And when you’re staying in one of our rental properties, you can spend those chilly nights either huddled up in front of a gas or log fireplace, or you can slip into the steaming bubbles of your outdoor hot tub while taking in the cool wonder of a fall evening in the Smokies.

  1. Family Break Time

Still have a school-related fall break on your family calendar? Then head to the Smokies and spend a few days or the entire week in one of our cabins. With multiple bedroom options to choose from, our cabins can accommodate anywhere from four to 10 or more guests. It’s a great place to stage a family get-together or reunion while taking advantage of all that the Smokies have to offer in autumn. Also, our cabins generally come with recreational amenities like a pool table, board games, and in some cases, video game consoles.

  1. Close To The Park

Most of our properties are conveniently located near an infrequently used back entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The traffic is nearly nonexistent, and the entrance takes you right to the popular Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area. From there, it’s not a far drive to other frequented park destinations like Cades Cove, Elkmont and the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. Collectively, these sites offer numerous opportunities to hike, explore, bike, fish and picnic.

Five Great Fall-Break Hikes In The Smokies

hiking-national-park

A lot of schools are already getting their fall breaks, and when you also consider the fact that the turning colors are making the Smoky Mountains more beautiful than ever, you can see why fall is one of the most popular times of year to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

If you haven’t yet made plans to come to the Smokies this autumn, it’s not too late to do so, whether you’re on fall break, ready for a weekend getaway or perhaps have a schedule that’s flexible enough for you to travel whenever you want. In addition to the turning leaves, we’re getting cooler, sunny weather, and the conditions are ideal for taking a hike or a scenic drive in the mountains.

If you wind up staying in one of our Pigeon Forge cabins while you’re in this area, here are a few recommendations for places to hike and drive in the national park, any of which would be an ideal way to experience the mountains in fall.

  • Appalachian Trail – Or part of it, at least. Park at the Newfound Gap parking area, cross Newfound Gap Road at the cross-walk and look for the trail sign. Follow the AT to Indian Gap (where the trail meets Clingmans Dome Road), which is 3.4 miles round trip.
  • Inspiration Point on Alum Cave Trail – Park at the Alum Cave Trail parking area 10.5 miles south of Gatlinburg on Newfound Gap Road (U.S. Hwy. 441). The 1.8-mile (one-way) hike to Inspiration Point offers a walk through a rich old-growth forest and views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Oconaluftee River Trail- Park at Oconaluftee Visitor Center on the North Carolina side of the national park. The trail starts near the entrance to the historic buildings area. It follows the Oconaluftee River 1.5 miles to Cherokee, NC.
  • Look Rock Tower – From Townsend, TN take U.S. Hwy. 321 to Foothills Parkway and follow this scenic road to the Look Rock Tower parking area. The moderate hike to the top is one mile round-trip, and the views are spectacular.
  • Sutton Ridge Overlook – Park in the designated hiker parking area just before the entrance to Cosby Campground. Follow the Cosby Self-Guiding Nature Trail past the amphitheater to the beginning of the Lower Mount Cammerer Trail to Sutton Ridge. It’s 1.4 miles to the 200-yard spur trail that leads to the overlook.

In addition to these hikes, consider a scenic drive along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which starts and ends near downtown Gatlinburg. The self-guided, one-way motor loop will take you into sections of the national park that feature historic homesteads, mountain views, hiking trails and waterfalls.

Also, consider taking a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which begins just north of Cherokee, NC and follows the crest of the Smokies for 469 miles, all the way to Shenandoah national Park in Virginia.

Harvest Festival Happenings

robert-tino-homecoming

It’s officially fall in almost every respect. The calendar says so, football season says so, and now that the daytime highs have dropped from the 90s to the 70s and the leaves are starting to turn and fall, nature says so as well.

Also, the communities of the Great Smoky Mountains are celebrating the area’s annual Harvest Festival with a wide array of special events and happenings. Businesses and homes throughout the county get dressed up for fall with autumn décor like pumpkins, gourds, hay bales, scarecrows and more. But it’s the lineup of unique events that really taps into the flavor and spirit of the season.

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s going on in the Smokies this week.

National Quartet Convention

Through October 1

LeConte Center, Pigeon Forge

Gospel music’s largest gathering of nationally known quartets is currently appearing in concert at the LeConte Center. Headliners include the Booth Brothers, Greater Vision, the Hoppers, Kingdom Heirs and the Mark Trammell Quartet.

Gatlinburg Farmers’ Market

Through October 8

Glades Rd., Gatlinburg

Located in the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, this weekly farmers’ market is winding down for the year. You’ll find it at the covered bridge at 849 Glades Rd., and it runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. Vendors provide fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, eggs, honey, baked goods, artisanal products, and live arts and crafts demonstrations.

Oktoberfest at Ober

Through October 30

Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort, Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg celebrates this annual festival with authentic Bavarian foods, beverages and music. The Bavarian Fun Makers Band will be performing folk dances, oompah music, sing-alongs and yodels, and guests can enjoy dishes like German wurst, schnitzel, sauerkraut, strudel, pretzels and more.

Robert A. Tino Smoky Mountain Homecoming

September 30 through October 1

Robert Tino Gallery, Sevierville

This noted Smoky Mountains landscape artist hosts his annual homecoming event, which celebrates days gone by with activities like crafters, bluegrass music, Southern foods, kids’ art classes and a pumpkin patch. Guests can browse Tino’s gallery, and those who purchase $100 or more of merchandise will receive a free limited-edition print. $5 admission and free parking.

40th Annual Pigeon Forge Rotary Club Craft Fair

October 1 through 30

Patriot Park, Pigeon Forge

Guests can view and purchase handmade items made by some of the area’s most talented artisans and crafters. Admission to the event is free, although proceeds from donations will be distributed to a variety of local charities.

Ripley’s Fright Nights

October 1 through November 1

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Gatlinburg

This downtown attraction presents its 18th annual Fright Nights month, titled Movie Monster Madness, which takes a look at 85 years of film monsters, from the classics right up until today. For ages 6 and older only, and kids ages 6 through 11 must be accompanied by a guardian.

Smoky Mountain Woodcarving Festival

October 1 and 2

Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, Townsend

This family-friendly event will showcase the work of woodcarvers from around the region.

Whether you plan to attend events in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge or Sevierville, don’t forget to book your accommodations first. We have a wide selection of cabin rentals in Tennessee that will put you near the events and destinations you’re most interested in. Give us a call today!

5 Best Things To Do In The Fall In The Smokies

The summer-long heat wave is finally, stubbornly, starting to break its grip on the Smokies, even though fall officially arrives this week. But it’s not too early to start planning your next weekend or weeklong trip to the Great Smoky Mountains this fall. It’s one of the best times of years to visit, and when you do, we’ve got some great suggestions for things you can do that will maximize your experience of being in the Smokies in autumn.

  1. Rent A Cabin

Of course, we’re a little biased about this, but seriously, booking one of our cabins in the Smokies is the best way to have accommodations that let you immerse yourself in the beauty and majesty of the Great Smoky Mountains. Wake up to gorgeous, painted-foliage views in the morning or watch the sun set behind the mountains in the evening. On those crisp fall evenings, you can soak and relax in the warmth of your cabin’s outdoor hot tub, and on the chillier nights, you can curl up in front of the fireplace. It’s the way fall memories are made.

  1. Hike The Great Smoky Mountains

In autumn you must, we mean must, do something in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One of the most popular activities there is hiking, and you’ve got dozens of trails and hundreds of miles of trails to choose from. Popular destinations include Mt. Cammerer, Mount LeConte, Andrews Bald, Abrams Falls, Charlies Bunion, Porters Creek and the Chimney Tops. Any way you go, you’re bound to be surrounded by the fall foliage as it morphs from summer green to shades of red, yellow and orange. The cooler daytime temps will make the hiking easier and the experience more pleasant overall.

  1. Visit Dollywood

Dollywood’s annual National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration runs September 30 through October 29 and features the sounds of gospel music at free concerts at multiple venues throughout the park. This year’s slate of performers includes Eighth Day, Eternal Vision, Freedom Quartet, the Kingdom Heirs, New Ground, Sandi Patty and The Chandlers. Meanwhile, Harvest Celebration will feature crafters from all over the nation, in addition to Dollywood’s resident craftspeople, displaying their talents in a number of traditional crafts, including jewelry, porcelain, painting, dulcimers, sorghum making, wood working, pottery, basket making, stained glass and more. Also look for seasonal decorations throughout the park as well as traditional harvest-time foods.

  1. Drive The Cades Cove Loop

Try to make time to drive the 11-mile one-way auto loop of the Cades Cove community in the national park. This route takes you through a historic valley setting that was a thriving community in the late 1800s and early 1900s, before the creation of the national park. Along the way, look for historic churches and homesteads, rolling valleys, towering mountains, rugged hiking trails, native wildlife and much more. You can stop and learn about the history of the area at the Cades Cove Visitor Center, located just past the halfway point of the loop.

  1. Visit A Craft Fair

We mentioned all the crafters that will be at Dollywood in October, but that’s not the only arts and crafts action taking place in the Smokies this fall. The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair takes place at the Gatlinburg Convention Center October 6-23, featuring some 200 crafters from around the country, in addition to daily, live bluegrass shows. Meanwhile, the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community presents its annual Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show November 22-27, also at the Convention Center. In Pigeon Forge, the 40th Annual Rotary Club Craft Fair runs October 1-29 at Patriot Park, helping that organization to raise funds that will be distributed to a host of local and area-wide charities.