Spending Christmas In The Smokies

For most families, Christmas is a time for traditions, whether it’s waking up with the kids at the crack of dawn to open Santa’s bounty of presents or driving over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house for a family meal. From watching specific TV programs to Elf on the Shelf, most of us probably have our rituals that we go through year in and year out.

However, if the usual routine is wearing thin or if you’re looking to start a new Christmas tradition, consider spending the holidays here in the Smokies. It’s not as outrageous an idea as you might think at first, and as we’ll show you, it might even have a lot of advantages.

For starters, our cabin rentals in Tennessee are the next best thing to your own home. Whether you’ll be traveling as a couple or with the kids or as a large family gathering, we have luxurious cabins that range from two to four bedrooms, ensuring you’ll find the accommodations that will best suit your travel needs. A cabin is an ideal option, because it allows everyone to spend time together, but at the end of the day, everyone has his or her own individual bedroom to get away to.

Plus you’ll enjoy all the comforts of home and a lot more. Our cabins have large-screen TVs for those holiday-movie rituals (“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”), and everyone will love opening presents in front of a roaring fireplace on a chilly Christmas morning. And how often can you say you’ve spent part of Christmas day or night soaking in a steaming outdoor hot tub with family and/or friends? Maybe this is the year to give it a try…

When it comes to that holiday meal, you won’t have to sacrifice a thing. If you still insist on preparing your own feast, our cabins feature full kitchens with all the appliances, cookware and serving pieces you’ll need to feed the whole gang. All you’ll need to do is stop by a local supermarket and pick up the ingredients. Or if you don’t want to go to the trouble of cooking that day, you’ll find a number of restaurants in the Smokies are open, including Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant in Sevierville, Calhoun’s in Pigeon Forge and Cherokee Grill in Gatlinburg.

But don’t forget that our cabins are close to everything that’s great about the Smokies, from the national park to all the attractions and shops of Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg. Yes, everyone enjoys opening presents, but usually, folks (especially kids) start getting a little stir crazy as Christmas Day wears on. So why not go see an attraction or a show? It’s another way to bond as a family and create Christmas memories you’ll always cherish.

And if you stay the day after Christmas, you might even want to venture out to the outlet malls and see if you can snatch up some post-holiday bargains. It’s also a great time to stock up on Christmas supplies and décor for next year, as prices are usually slashed on that kind of merchandise.

Book A Cabin For The Winter And Save!

Some of our guests consider fall the best time to stay in the Great Smoky Mountains, while others prefer the warmer days of spring and summer. And then there are those who know that winter is one of the best times to book a cabin and spend a few days relaxing in the mountains of East Tennessee.

Why? Because there’s something about those cool days and chilly nights that makes staying in a mountain cabin a magical experience. Whether it’s soaking in an outdoor hot tub, curling up in front of a fireplace or simply gazing out picture windows at the stark beauty of snow-covered mountaintops, these are ideal cabin conditions for many.

The best part is that the rates for our cabins in the Smokies are generally lower than they are during peak-season times like summer and fall. That means you can save some money on your accommodations, which means you’ll have more in your pocket to visit area attractions, attend Winterfest events, dine out or maybe even snag some post-holiday steals at the outlet malls.

We have additional specials that guests can take advantage of all year. For example, with our Year Round Special, if you book seven nights, you’ll get two of them free. And if you’re a repeat guest, we’ll take 10 percent off the price of your stay any time. In both cases, we still recommend visiting our website first, and you’ll need to mention these discounts at the time you book your cabin.

Remember that the earlier you make your reservations, the larger the selection we’ll have available from our inventory of one- to five-bedroom luxury cabins. But even if you’re wanting to come here in January or February, there’s a good chance we’ll be able to find something to suit your needs and budget.

Once you arrive, we’ll have taken every possible measure to ensure that your stay is a memorable one. We’ll start you out with clean linens and towels and starter supplies of things like toilet paper and paper towels. And if you plan to cook, our cabins come with full kitchens, complete with just about all the appliances, cookware, serving utensils and dinnerware you’ll need for a sit-down meal.

From there, it’s all up to you. What do you feel like doing that day? Sipping your morning coffee while watching a Smoky Mountain sunrise? Playing some family games? Watching a movie on the flat-screen TV? Or if you decide to get out of the cabin for a while, consider taking a hike in the national park or driving around Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg to look at all the Winterfest lights. They’ll be up and shining through February.

There’s No Business Like Snow Business…

Yep, we’re well into fall here in the Smokies, and winter is just around the corner. Although depending on the day and the time of day, many might say that the chill of winter has already arrived. Colder weather does have its up side, however; it means that conditions are finally becoming ideal for enjoying winter activities like skiing, skating, tubing and more.

For Smoky Mountain visitors, Ober Gatlinburg has long been one of the area’s go-to destinations for enjoying winter sports. The ski resort is open all year, but it’s not until the temperatures drop far enough that it begins opening the slopes and lifts. Typically, that happens in early to mid-December, so we’re not far away from ski time in the Smokies. Even when nature doesn’t cooperate, the resort is able to manufacture its own real snow to help add to the base and powder depth.

For skiers and snowboarders, Ober Gatlinburg has 10 trails (their active status depends on current weather conditions) and seven ski lifts, which offer experiences for everyone from beginners to the most seasoned of mogul masters. Those who are new to the sport can take lessons and rent ski apparel and equipment while they’re on site.

But you don’t have to wait for ski season to enjoy sliding downhill at Ober. Their snow-tubing course opened on November 18, allowing guests to tube down one of 10 snow-covered lanes for up 90 minutes per session. The attraction’s outdoor escalator hauls you back to the top to start another run.

In addition, Ober Gatlinburg is home to indoor ice skating, a scenic chairlift, a wildlife encounter and the Ski Mountain Coaster. You get to the resort by driving to the top of Mt. Harrison or by taking the Aerial Tramway from downtown Gatlinburg.

But soon, Ober won’t be the only snow game around the Smokies. A new attraction called Pigeon Forge Snow is currently under construction, and will be the nation’s first indoor snow facility. Guests will be able to enjoy downhill tubing on real snow all year long. In fact, snow will even fall from the roof, and it will have its own moving sidewalk to take riders to the top of the hill. Also look for a special snowy play area for younger kids. Right now, the 35,000-square-foot attraction, located on Teaster Lane, is expected to open some time in January 2018.

Whether you plan to do some skiing at Ober Gatlinburg or some tubing at Pigeon Forge Snow, you can get to either location easily if you’re staying in one of our Smoky Mountain cabin rentals. Imagine spending a glorious winter day in the mountains, enjoying outdoor winter sports during the day and then coming back to your cabin and warming up in front of the fireplace or in the cabin’s outdoor hot tub. Contact us today to get the process started!

Fall And Winter Travel In The National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a year-round destination, offering 800 square miles of unspoiled mountain and valley terrain, more than 800 miles of hiking trails and dozens of historic sites that tell the story of our region’s history. And while the park is a sight to behold when it’s in full spring and summer bloom, fall and winter paint the area with their own striking colors, from the brilliant hues of autumn to the stark, bare beauty of winter.

However, those interested in driving, hiking or camping in the national park this time of year may need to do a little extra planning before setting out on that next adventure. While weather conditions in the lowlands might be more seasonable, that can be misleading, as the climate is distinctly different in the higher elevations, some of which near 5,000 feet above sea level. It’s not unusual to have a warm, pleasant day in the valley while it’s snowing on top of Mt. LeConte.

So to help you avoid a vacation-ruining ordeal, we’ve got some helpful advice that might keep you out of a jam the next time you stay in one of our Pigeon Forge cabin rentals.

One of the main routes often affected is U.S. 441, which runs from Gatlinburg, across the national park, into Cherokee, North Carolina. Also known as Newfound Gap Rd., this highway winds its way from the foothills, up to the crest of the Smokies on the Tennessee-North Carolina border and then back down toward Cherokee. This road is frequently closed to traffic in winter because of weather conditions that make driving too treacherous to attempt.

Your best resource for finding out what’s going on with closures and alerts in the national park is to visit their website, specifically: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm. This will give you the latest information that can help you plan your outing while avoiding unnecessary or hazardous travel. You can also call the park service at 865-436-1200 and then dial extension 631 for road information or 630 for a weather forecast.

Also, some roads and hiking trails are routinely closed for the winter, regardless of current weather conditions. Primary routes like U.S. 441, Little River Road and the Cades Cove Loop Road are open year ‘round, weather permitting. For a complete list of secondary roads that are subject to seasonal closings, visit https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/seasonalroads.htm. Many of these roads are now closed until next spring.

If you’re staying in one of our cabins during your visit, you can enter the park via Line Springs Rd. in Wears Valley, which takes you to the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area. The nearby road is one of the main routes through the park and takes you west toward Cades Cove or east toward Elmont and the Sugarlands Visitor Center just south of Gatlinburg.

Fall Is Ideal Cabin Weather!

Historically, the term “cabin fever” has had negative connotations, usually referring to a general feeling of needing to escape the confines of the indoors. But at Timbercreek Cabin Rentals, we think the term should have an entirely different meaning. Why can’t “cabin fever” mean having a strong DESIRE to stay in a cabin? That’s the way we see it anyway, and that’s actually the way a lot of our guests see it too.

After all, there are so many advantages to staying in a cabin, especially during autumn, we have repeat customers who come back every year during this particular season. They know from previous experience that fall is ideal cabin weather, especially if you’re spending vacation time in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Here’s why:

Views

Most of our cabins have lots of windows that allow for spectacular views of the mountains or beautiful rolling valleys (or both). If it’s chilly outside, you can snuggle up in a comfortable chair in the living area and look out over the main deck or porch, or if the weather permits, you can claim a rocking chair on the deck and enjoy not only the views but also plenty of fresh mountain air. And while we’re just past the peak colors of the fall foliage, autumn still delivers gorgeous vistas as the deciduous trees make their annual transformation from summery greens to the bare branches of winter and the evergreens still add vibrant color to a beautifully stark mountain landscape.

Fireplaces

Yep, we’re getting into some chilly nights lately and even some chilly days. All our cabins come with central heat, but you can really knock the chill off with a wood-burning or gas fireplace. It creates a great atmosphere for gathering as a family or perhaps setting a romantic mood with that special someone. The dancing flames and the crackling and popping of wood have a way of conjuring up a magical setting for enjoying time in the mountains.

Hot tubs

Our cabins’ hot tubs are great for the same reason that our fireplaces are. It’s another way to stay warm on those autumn days and nights. After all, hot tubs weren’t made for summer; they were made for cooler weather, and fall is an ideal time to fire up those jets and take a soak with family and/or friends. In fact, some people think this is the best time of year for a hot tub, as they are able to simultaneously appreciate the heat of the bubbling waters and the coolness of the surrounding fall air.

Proximity to national park

Most of our cabins are a hop, skip and a jump from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which many visitors appreciate most during fall. The leaves are either on colorful display, or they’re falling, adding a crunchy carpet to the forest floor and giving the newly bare trees a unique beauty. Hiking in fall is a treat too, because the temperatures are cool enough to make for comfortable exertion on the more challenging trails, and you have a decent chance of spotting wildlife as numerous species forage for food stores as winter approaches. By the way, you can be inside the park within 15 minutes or so by taking Line Springs Rd. in Wears Valley south into the park, coming out at Metcalf Bottoms picnic area.

It’s Christmas All Season Long At Dollywood

Dollywood’s a fun place to hang out any time it’s open. What’s not to like about dozens of beautiful Smoky Mountain acres filled with rides, attractions, shows, food vendors and shops? But this time of year, the Pigeon Forge theme park, shifts into a whole different gear, adding a distinctive holiday twist to its usual offerings during the annual Smoky Mountain Christmas festival. This year’s event runs now through January 1, 2018.

What makes Smoky Mountain Christmas so special? We can start off with 4 million reasons, because that’s how many lights Dollywood is adorned with for the holiday season. They’re all over the park, and at night, it’s a spectacle to behold as each section glimmers in radiant and colorful brilliance. You’ll also see some breathtaking light displays during the nightly Parade of Colors, which takes place on Showstreet after dark. Beginning at 8:15, you’ll see a procession of vibrant floats, interactive characters and other surprises, all of which are reflections of Dolly Parton’s unique personality and history.

Dollywood at Christmas is also known for its holiday shows. Live shows are an important component of the theme park throughout its operating year, but at Christmas, the shows take on a decidedly seasonal theme. Highlights include It’s A Wonderful Life (based on the popular film), Appalachian Christmas (acoustic music), Christmas in the Smokies, Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs and O Holy Night. Also keep an eye out for the MistleTones, an a capella ladies trio that performs Christmas standards at the Showstreet Gazebo.

There are also fun, interactive activities for all ages at Smoky Mountain Christmas. Kids can meet Rudolph and friends at the Holly Jolly Junction, and Santa Land is open through December 23, giving families the chance to make unique craft items, marvel at larger-than-life toys and, of course, visit with Santa himself. At Dolly’s Christmas Chapel, you can even attend worship services at 5:30 p.m. each Sunday throughout the festival.

And believe it or not, many of the park’s rides are open through the end of the year, depending on the day’s weather conditions. But don’t expect to jump on any of the water-based rides like Slidewinder or Daredevil Falls; they don’t want anyone catching a cold during the holidays.

Finally, save some appetite for Dollywood’s holiday foods. The grub is already pretty good through the regular season, but during Smoky Mountain Christmas, look for special treats like hot wassail, cinnamon bread, pumpkin rolls and full Christmas dinners served at some of the on-site restaurants.

Need a place to stay throughout Smoky Mountain Christmas? Contact us by phone or online today to make your reservations at Timbercreek Cabins. With a selection ranging from cozy one-bedroom cabins to spacious, five-bedroom mountain lodges, we have a wide-ranging and luxurious selection of cabins in Tennessee. And we’re just a few minutes from Pigeon Forge, so whether your plans include visiting Dollywood or the outlet malls in Sevierville or the attractions in downtown Gatlinburg, we can set you up in a convenient location that also is in the middle of some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the Smokies.

Winterfest Kicks Off In The Smokies

It seems like we just got through with the last remnants of summer, and here we are already, about to usher in another Winterfest celebration in the Great Smoky Mountains. For those who may not be familiar with this annual festival, it’s the four months each year that the communities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville celebrate winter and everything that’s great about that season – especially all things Christmas.

Winterfest is made up of a different special events taking place within each of our three main cities, but what ties the entire celebration together are the millions and millions of holiday lights that have gone up in each town. Crews have been working for months to get all the lights in place, and it’s almost time to turn on the juice.

In Gatlinburg, for example, you can see all the lights on one of the city’s Winter Magic Trolley Rides of Light, which allow guests to view the town’s displays in the heated comfort of a special trolley. In Pigeon Forge, you can see dozens of displays on self-guided tours of town, or you can catch the 4 million lights shining at Dollywood alone. Sevierville has millions more lights spread out through the entire city.

Each of our towns is getting Winterfest kicked off in its own special way in about a week. In Sevierville, they’re launching the festivities downtown on November 6 from 3 to 9:30 p.m. The evening’s events will include a mascot dance-off, a lumberjack exhibition, balloon artists, inflatables, Santa Claus and a grand finale complete with fireworks display.

Pigeon Forge is next on November 7 with old-time games starting at 4 p.m. and live entertainment beginning at 6 p.m. And on that night, you can take a tour of the lights on one of the city’s trolleys, beginning at 7 p.m. All festivities will take place at Patriot Park.

In Gatlinburg, it all goes down on November 8 from 5 to 8 p.m. with the city’s annual Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff. Taking place downtown, the festivities will include local officials powering up the city’s millions of lights at 6 p.m. on the Bush’s Best Stage, followed by musical acts on multiple stages throughout the night. Featured artists include Tara Thompson, The Grassabillies and The Greenbrier Band.

The All Sauced Up Hot Chili Eating Contests will be at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. across from Reagan Terrace Mall, while participants in the annual Chili Cookoff will be competing for awards. Cookoff guests can purchase chili samplings on the street for $10 each.

If you’re going to be in the area and want accommodations that are convenient for accessing all three kickoff celebrations, you still have time to book one of our cabins in the Smoky Mountains. You’ll be just a few minutes from all the fun, and back at the cabin, you’ll enjoy the peaceful and scenic surroundings of the Smokies.

Fall Colors In The Great Smoky Mountains

The weather around these parts has been strange this year, for sure. It had been unseasonably warm for fall, and a lot of our visitors were wearing shorts and sandals well into October. As a result, the transformation of our area foliage has been a little behind schedule. Normally, this would be the time of year that the colors would be peaking, but right now, we’re just now starting to see those first patched of red, orange and yellow in the lower elevations.

The good news is that it’s finally starting to feel like fall around here, and we’ve had some really sunny days, so maybe we can still salvage a fall-color season.

This week, we’ll pass along some of the latest information about the progress of the color change, and we’ll also give you some recommendations for the best places to view the colors if you happen to be visiting the Smokies in the next week or so.

According to the National Park Service, the colder nights in the higher elevations are causing more leaves up there to go ahead and drop. Except for the reds of the mountain ash berries and the oranges of witch hazel trees, most of the higher sections of the national park are a spectrum of yellows and golds.

In the mid-elevations, you’ll see more yellows from the beech, birch, buckeye and tulip poplars, while the black gums and red maples show off their fiery reds. Also look for the orange tints from the sugar maples.

Right now, the lower elevations are colored predominantly by the reds of the dogwood trees as well as poison ivy and Virginia creeper. Maples are finally beginning to develop rich colors in scattered areas, and although the landscape is still mostly green, the rate of color change is increasing.

Why do people love coming to the Smokies to see the fall colors? One reason is that the mountains offer an unmarred palette of colors. Its valleys, undulating foothills and majestic mountains are blanketed in hardwoods and vegetation, making it a sweeping blanket of color.

Also, the Smokies boast a lot of tree diversity. Some 100 species of native trees can be found in the Smokies, the vast majority of which are deciduous (the kind that drop their leaves in the fall).

And in case you were wondering exactly how the leaves change colors every year, here’s the quick science lesson. As summer ends, the green pigments in the leaves begin to deteriorate, giving the other ones a chance to emerge. Carotenoids, the pigment that makes carrots orange and leaves yellow, are exposed as the green fades. Red and purple shades come from anthocyanins, a pigment that’s formed with sugars in leaves break down in bright autumn sunlight. That’s why sunlight is so important to the fall-foliage equation.

Want great views of all the color magic? Call us today to reserve one of our Wears Valley cabin rentals. With proximity to and great views of the national park, you’ll have a front-row seat to one of the most popular (and free) shows in the Smokies.

Three Great Fall Hikes In The Smokies

It finally feels like fall around here! Folks in the Smokies are getting a charge out of waking up to a chilly morning and then heading out to make the most of a crisp, sunny autumn day. If you’re going to be staying in one of our Tennessee cabin rentals in the next few weeks and are still planning your activities, you should know that days like this are made for hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This week, we’re passing along a few ideas for great fall hikes in the Smokies. Honestly, any destination you choose is probably going to be a great experience, but with the recommendations below, you can maximize the sightseeing opportunities as the peak colors creep down into the lower elevations and valleys.

Alum Cave Trail

This is a tried-and-true hike in the Smokies, because it has a little bit of everything – easy going in the lower elevations, challenges toward the top, beautiful vistas, interesting geological formations and, if you go all the way to the top, you reach the peak of Mt. LeConte. At nearly 5,000 feet in elevation, this is one of the higher hikes in the Smokies, and from the summit of LeConte, you can enjoy sweeping views from Little Duck Hawk ridge in the west to Myrtle Point to the northeast. If you choose to stop at the Alum Cave bluff and head back down, your round-trip hike is only five miles. If you choose to go all the way to the top of LeConte and back, it’s closer to 11. Give yourself a full day to do the entire mountain trek.

Appalachian Trail

No, we’re not suggesting you take on the whole trail (it usually takes about six months to do that), but you can enjoy one scenic stretch of it that runs near the crest of the Smokies. This moderate hike starts near Clingmans Dome and covers about seven and a half miles of the AT. It all depends on how much of the trail you want to cover in one session. But if you hit it at the right time, you’ll be rewarded with a canvass of color covering both peaks and valleys. Note, however, that the Clingmans Dome observation tower is temporarily closed for renovations.

Baskins Creek Falls

This hike is easily accessible from downtown Gatlinburg. You drive to the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and look for the signs to Baskins Creek Falls. Once you’re at the trailhead, relax and enjoy an easy three-mile round-trip excursion along the creek, which is decked out in a canopy of fall foliage and accented by a two-tier, 40-foot waterfall. One of the advantages of this trail is that you don’t have to commit to an extended drive into the national park. You can get to the entrance to RFMNT by taking Historic Nature Trail (formerly Airport Rd.) from downtown Gatlinburg and out past the Park Vista Hotel. From there, it’s just a matter of following the signage.  Enjoy!

New International Show Lands In Pigeon Forge

Many of you regular visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains may remember a popular music-theater show called Cirque de Chine, which ran for several years at the former Governor’s Palace Theater in Sevierville. That show helped introduce East Tennessee visitors to the amazing world of Chinese acrobatics, leaving audiences spellbound and astounded performance after performance.

That particular troupe has been gone for a little while now, but one new theater show in Pigeon Forge is excited to welcome a new company of Chinese acrobats to the Smokies. Acrobats of China will be making its debut at its new home at 2135 Parkway, beginning November 1. Fresh off its latest world tour, Acrobats of China showcases an amazing cast of daring acrobats known for their colorful costumes, daring feats and breathtaking renditions of classic Chinese dance and human performance art.

The Jinan Troupe is considered one of the most skilled and highly awarded acrobatic groups in China. It is uniquely distinct in presentation, costuming and performance style and features more than 20 acrobats who have performed around the globe. The company will wow audiences with its revolving line-up of award-winning acts like human strength and beauty, plate spinning, juggling, chair stacking, spinning girls and more.

And that’s just one example of some of the new attractions coming to Pigeon Forge later this year. Usually springtime is the time of year for new businesses to make their appearance, but this just goes to show that there are always new places to be discovered in the Smokies all year long.

Another attraction, Pigeon Forge Snow, is slated to open in the next few months (certainly before winter ends). It 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.

And would you believe there’s also going to be a National Enquirer attraction in Pigeon Forge? This interactive exhibit is expected to give visitors the option to create their own tabloid-magazine headlines to share online. Another new fun destination, Virtual Villains, is billing itself as Sevierville’s premiere virtual reality hub. Guests can play VR games and partake in VR experiences on an hourly basis. You get to experience the ultimate in gaming immersion in an atmosphere that combines the social atmosphere of an old-school arcade with cutting-edge gaming technology.

Next time you travel to the Smokies to visit these new attractions in Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg, be sure to contact us here at Timbercreek Cabins. We offer a large selection of luxury overnight rentals that can accommodate any size travel party, and our convenient location is just a short drive from whatever you’re looking to do in the Smokies, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park.