Hollywood In The Smokies

If you’ve ever been to the Great Smoky Mountains, or if you’re thinking about visiting some time this year, one of the main reasons for your trip probably has something to do with the mountains, the beauty and the unique character of the area. You’re not the only one who feels that attraction. Over the years, Hollywood has found this area irresistible as well, to the extent that a number of motion pictures and television shows have been shot on location in our many scenic locales. It’s really the only way to capture imagery that you just can’t re-create on a studio soundstage.

This week, we thought we’d pass along a few tidbits about some notable films and TV shows that have been shot in this area within the last 20 years or so. So next time you watch those programs, you can look to see if you can spot any recognizable sights. And next time you come to the area and stay in one of our cabins in Pigeon Forge, TN, you can look around and maybe see some of the same locations that were used in these productions.

Films

A number of major motion pictures have been shot in the Smokies, Knoxville and other parts of East Tennessee. That Evening Sun, starring Hal Holbrook, was a critical hit just a few years ago and was produced by a Knoxville-based company. And most of us are probably familiar with the hit film October Sky, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, much of which was shot near Coalwood, TN. Other notable film titles produced in East Tennessee include The Evil Dead, Box of Moonlight, Road Trip and The Dollmaker.

In addition to these widely distributed studio and independent films, there have been a number of smaller-scale indy films that have been shot and produced around here. These titles may not have the name recognition as some of the bigger productions, but they still enjoy worldwide distribution, and they’re proof that there’s plenty of writing, acting and producing talent right here in the Smokies. When you’re online some time, check out films like Something/Anything, Bandit & The Saints Of Dogwood, Amateurs, Boys Of Summerville, Bell Witch The Movie, Prison Break-In and The Little Ponderosa Zoo.

Television

The most notable television series to be produced in the Smokies was the TV hit Christy, which aired on CBS in the mid-1990s. Starring Kellie Martin, the series followed the story of 17-year-old school teacher Christy Huddleston, who set out from her hometown Asheville, NC, to teach at a mission schoolhouse in a rural Appalachian community. Most of the exterior scenes were shot in and around Townsend, TN.

Why Winters Were Made For Timbercreek Cabins

We could just as easily have called this blog post Why Timbercreek Cabins Were Made For Winter. Either way, there are a lot of good arguments to be made for why winter is the ideal season for staying in one of our cabins in Sevierville, TN, Pigeon Forge, TN or Gatlinburg, TN. And now that we’re almost a month deep into winter, we thought this would be a good time to show you why it could make sense to go ahead and make reservations for one of our properties before spring arrives.

  1. Fireplaces

All of our cabins, regardless of the number of bedrooms, feature either a wood-burning or gas fireplace. Whether you’re just trying to take the chill off during the day or hoping to create a romantic mood in the evening, the light, heat and (in some cases) crackle of a fireplace create an atmosphere that makes you just want to hunker down and ride out those cold winter nights. Curl up with that special someone or even gather the whole family around the fireplace and lose yourselves in the warmth and glow of fiery magic.

  1. Hot Tubs

There’s nothing like warming up the bones by stepping into a bubbling outdoor hot tub and settling in until the heated jets of water transform tired muscles and bones into relaxed bodies. Even on the coldest of nights, the warmth of a hot tub is just the ticket for you and a significant other or perhaps a group of friends to share that unique juxtaposition of chilly winter air and steaming-hot water.

In addition to outdoor hot tubs, many of our cabins also feature whirlpool tubs in the master bath, meaning you can enjoy hot water and bubbles on a slightly smaller scale in the privacy of the cabin.

  1. Remote Locations

A stay in a Timbercreek cabin means quiet and solitude. Most of our properties are in remote mountain settings, so you can sit out on the deck and soak up the peace and tranquility of the Great Smoky Mountains. Usually, the only sounds you’ll hear are the birds and other native wildlife – as opposed to traffic and noisy neighbors.

Our cabins are also great places to cozy up with a book and take advantage of the peaceful setting, whether you’re curled up on the living room couch or tucked away in a quiet loft or nook somewhere on the cabin’s upper level.

  1. Indoor Entertainment

On winter days, it’s often easier to find fun and entertainment inside, where it’s nice and warm. Especially on snowy days, there’s nothing like staying in with the family and watching your favorite movies on DVD or putting a puzzle together or playing a board game or perhaps shooting a game of pool. Thanks to the recreational amenities at our cabins, that kind of fun is always at hand.

  1. Great Deals

Because it’s technically the off season, we generally have more cabin availabilities in winter, so you’ll have an easier time finding the property that best suits your travel plans. And we offer a number of great discounts and deals in the winter. For example, if you book any three-night stay that takes place before March 12, you’ll get the third night free and only pay for two.

Ski Season Is Here!

The months of January and February are generally considered the off season here in the Great Smoky Mountains. But for the folks who work and play up at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort, the next two months are peak season for winter fun! The cold weather that comes on the heels of winter means the conditions are ideal for all the fun that this long-time Gatlinburg attraction has to offer.

To get to Ober Gatlinburg, you can either drive up Ski Mountain Rd. from downtown Gatlinburg to the top of Mt. Harrison, or you can take the Aerial Tramway from its Parkway boarding station downtown and ride 2.1 miles to the amusement park and ski area. The views of downtown Gatlinburg and the surrounding Smoky Mountains you’ll see on the ride up are incredible.

Once you’re there, you’ll find skiing opportunities aplenty. There are nine trails total, four of which are open this week, running on a 10- to 12-inch base with a machine-groomed surface. Look for daytime highs in the mid 30s up there for the next few days. Three lifts are currently servicing the open trails, which means you shouldn’t have any trouble getting lots of downhill skiing and snowboarding time.

Even if you’ve never done either activity before, Ober Gatlinburg has a ski school to help beginners get started, and they have plenty of gear and even some snow-wear available for rent in their pro shop.

Elsewhere at Ober, you can find more downhill thrills on their 10-lane snow-tubing course, which features a “magic carpet” escalator for easily getting back to the top of the hill. For a flat fee, you can enjoy a 90-minute session on the course and coast down the multiple dips as many times as you can. For more winter fun, you might even head inside to the main facility to lace up some blades for some year-round indoor ice skating.

Ober Gatlinburg also has several other attractions that are open throughout the year, including a scenic chairlift, which offers stunning mountain views, a wildlife encounter that’s home to bears and all sorts of nocturnal critters, a ski mountain coaster, a number of specialty shops and a full-service restaurant.

If you’re thinking about heading to Ober Gatlinburg in the next couple of months, we still have plenty of cabins in Gatlinburg, TN available for rental, putting you within an easy drive of the slopes. This is a great time of year to book, because many of our cabins have more availabilities than in summer, and you can also take advantage of some great winter deals.

We hope to see you soon!

5 Things To Try In 2017

As the last week of 2016 slips away from us, we find ourselves facing the blank slate of a new year. It’s a time that many people traditionally make New Year’s resolutions to improve their lives, but as most of us have probably experienced, the best of intentions often fall prey to flagging momentum or falling back into old, comfortable habits and patterns of behavior.

But that doesn’t mean trying to make positive changes is a bad idea. On the contrary, it’s always a good thing to try to drop an unhealthy habit like smoking or perhaps to increase one’s level of activity if weight gain has been an issue. The problem often lies in trying to do too much at once, which is why many behavior experts recommend not taking on too many resolutions and instead trying just one or two and breaking them down into bite-size stages that allow you to experience real progress.

So this week, we’re going to offer several suggestions for things you might want to try in 2017. We won’t call them resolutions in the traditional sense, because some of these aren’t necessarily lifestyle behaviors that require permanent change. And you don’t even have to try them all; maybe somewhere in this list you’ll find just one achievable goal that will have a positive influence on your life.

  1. Be kind to each other

It seems that lately, it’s been too easy to divide people into groups according to faith, politics, geographical differences, etc. But in 2017, try to focus on the fact that we’re all human beings who in many ways share the same goals, dreams and desires. Maybe try to recognize what you have in common with others instead of focusing on the things that separate you.

  1. Be more active

Instead of saying that you intend to lose X number of pounds or X inches from your waist this year, maybe simply try upping your activity levels and just see what happens. That might mean joining a gym, or it might just mean taking morning walks or taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Find creative and, hopefully, fun ways to keep moving! Here in the Smokies, taking a hike in the national park is a great way to check off that item.

  1. Cut back on screen time

Between our TVs, our computers and our smartphones, we spend an awful lot of time staring at an electronic screen. No need to go to the extreme and ditch all those devices, but perhaps you can be more mindful of how much time you’re devoting to gadgets and try to cut back. Maybe reserve Facebook for specific hours of the day or limit yourself to just your absolute favorite TV shows.

  1. Spend more time in nature

Who couldn’t use a little time recharging in the beauty of nature? Here in the Smokies, we have a huge beautiful national park and one of the most majestic mountain ranges in the country to fill our view. Take a nature walk or a hike, do some camping, take a bike ride or go for a picnic. Folks staying in our Tennessee cabins often tell us how spending a few days or even a week in the mountains was just what they needed to reset a positive attitude.

  1. Cut the clutter

You’d be surprised how much getting rid of your unnecessary stuff can rejuvenate your spirit and boost your energy and emotions. Be ruthless; go through your house and clear out the things – even some of the sentimental items – that are simply taking up space. Have a yard sale, donate to charity or fill up some garbage packs. You’ll be amazed at how simplifying your living space can improve your life.

Happy new year from Timbercreek Cabin Rentals! We wish you happiness, peace and prosperity for 2017!

Upcoming Winterfest Events

Christmas week is finally here. We know many of you will be spending at least a day or two of it here in the Great Smoky Mountains. Some will be doing last-minute shopping, while others will actually be spending multiple nights in one of our Wears Valley cabins, celebrating Christmas in one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

Whatever may bring you to the Smokies this next week, you might also find some time to participate in Winterfest, the annual seasonal celebration held in the communities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. Even after Christmas, there are still a lot of ways that visiting families can enjoy the holidays thanks to the many special events scheduled throughout the area.

See The Lights

Between our three main cities and Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, the Smokies are home to millions and millions of brilliant and colorful holiday lights and dozens of animated displays. You could drive for miles and miles by car as you take in all the sights, or if you’re in Gatlinburg, you can try one of the city’s Winter Magic Trolley Rides of Lights. For $5 per person, you can see all the lights from the heated comfort of one of the city’s trolleys. Tours depart at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. nightly through January 31.

Another way to enjoy the magic of holiday lights is to visit Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, a drive-through tour located in the parking area of the Tennessee Smokies baseball stadium in Sevierville, just off Interstate 40 at Exit 407. This attraction offers up large-scale animated light displays that move in synch to music, which you can hear by tuning in to a designated station on your vehicle’s radio. Christmas Wonderland is open through January 1.

Happy New Year!

You can say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017 by attending the annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show at the Space Needle in downtown Gatlinburg on December 31. Tens of thousands of revelers will gather on the streets near the attraction as midnight approaches and then count down to the new year as the ball drops from the top of the Space Needle. Then at midnight, fireworks will blast from the rooftop of the 400-foot-tall tower, in synch with special music and animated LED lights.

If you’re in Pigeon Forge on New Year’s Eve, you can celebrate at The Island multi-use development, home to Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen and the new Alcatraz East Crime Museum. Free activities include the music of Jackie Lee and fireworks at midnight. Also, the Smoky Mountain Opry will ring in the new year with a live video feed from Times Square in New York and a balloon drop, all following a performance of the theater’s special Christmas presentation.

Other upcoming Winterfest happenings to look for in the Smokies include Free Music Nights at the Hard Rock Café in Pigeon Forge and the Tennessee Winter Special Olympics, which take place January 29 – 31 at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort.

The Smokies Are Back Open For Business!

The devastating wildfires that invaded Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains a couple of weeks ago took a heavy toll in terms of property and lives lost. But the good news in the wake of that event is that Gatlinburg is open for business again, as of last Friday, and most areas of Great Smoky Mountains National Park are once again accessible to the public.

For example, popular park destinations like Sugarlands Visitor Center, Elkmont Campground, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area and the Cades Cove loop are all open to the public during their usual seasonal hours.

Also, many of the major routes through and around the park are open, including the Gatlinburg Bypass, Laurel Creek Rd., U.S. 441 (Newfound Gap Rd.) and Little River Rd., the last two of which accommodate most of the park’s north-south and east-west traffic, respectively. Some other roads are closed now due to their annual seasonal schedules but not because of the fires. These include Clingmans Dome Rd., Little Greenbrier Rd., Rich Mountain Rd. and Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which are typically shut down from December through March.

Many of the park’s hiking trails are open as well, but note that some trails are still closed due to the aftermath of the fires. These include Cove Mountain Trail, Twin Creeks Trail, Old Sugarlands Trail, Huskey Gap Trail, Sugarland Mountain Trail and, of course, Chimney Tops Trail, which is where the wildfires originated nearly three weeks ago.

For a comprehensive listing of road, trail and facility closures as well as downloadable maps to assist you planning your trip the national park, visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/grsm.

So if you’ve been considering a winter or holiday visit to the Great Smoky Mountains this year, we encourage you to forge ahead with your plans. Here at Timbercreek Cabins, we still have plenty of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Wears Valley and Sevierville cabins available. With properties ranging from one to five bedrooms and a variety of scenic locations, we’re likely to have the luxury mountain cabin that you and your party need to help create an unforgettable getaway to the Smokies.

While you’re here, there are tons of other things to do besides visit the national park. You can head over to Gatlinburg and enjoy that city’s unique attractions, including Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort. In Pigeon Forge, Dollywood is open through the end of the year – rides and all – or you might want to check out the fascinating sights at the Titanic Museum Attraction or Wonderworks. In Sevierville, you’ll find some of the best outlet malls in the region, featuring dozens and dozens of stores that will help you wrap up that last-minute Christmas shopping.

Should You Visit The Smokies This Week?

We’ll start off with the short answer to the question posed in this week’s headline: Yes!

In the aftermath of the devastating wildfires that hit Gatlinburg and parts of Pigeon Forge last week, we’ve heard and seen way too much bad news coming through over the airwaves. Fourteen people lost their lives, approximately 150 were injured, and more than 1,700 structures were damaged or destroyed. Multiple hundreds of people are without homes, and those who don’t have friends or family to put them up have had to stay in temporary shelters until they can make other arrangements.

The good news is that East Tennesseans have stepped up to the plate in a big way to help the permanent residents and tourists impacted by the wildfires. Relief agencies have been overwhelmed by donations of essential supplies, and multiple organizations and individuals – including Dolly Parton – have set up funds to help those affected by the fires get back on their feet. So far, monetary donations have been impressive, but we’ve also seen people volunteering in droves to assist with tasks like sorting through donations and helping get resources to those who need them most.

We’re also seeing some very positive signs of recovery in the Smokies this week. Property owners who thus far have had only limited access to their homes are being allowed full-time occupancy again, and the City of Gatlinburg announced that it would be re-opening to the general public beginning 7 a.m. this Friday, December 9. Not all areas of Gatlinburg will be accessible, but the most popular routes – including the Parkway, River Road and Historic Nature Trail (formerly Airport Rd.) – will be open.

And right now, if you haven’t already contributed in some way to the relief effort, patronizing the businesses of the Great Smoky Mountains may be one of the best ways you can help out. Even those businesses that weren’t directly impacted by the fire have been affected by a week and a half of lost revenue, so we encourage all our guests to go to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge (parts of that city were damaged by the fires as well) and show the businesses of those communities your support.

It’s still Winterfest in the Smokies, so you can still see all the beautiful light displays, and attractions like Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre, Ober Gatlinburg, Star Cars Museum and many others will be open for business. You can still come to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge to do your Christmas shopping, and there are hundreds of restaurants to choose from while you’re in town.

Fortunately for us at Timbercreek Cabin Rentals, our properties did not suffer fire damage, so we still have some of the best scenic-view cabins Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have to offer. We hope to see you in the near future as the Great Smoky Mountains area continues to bounce back.

Wildfires In The Great Smoky Mountains Of East Tennessee

As most of you reading this probably know by now – thanks to social media and regional and national news coverage – Great Smoky Mountains and the nearby communities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have been besieged by wildfires in the last few days. Because of severe drought conditions in the region, there have been as many as 70 different wildfires raging in East Tennessee for many weeks, but this latest one, which started in the Chimney Tops area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, has been the most devastating.

High winds helped the fire spread quickly into Gatlinburg and further north into parts of Pigeon Forge. Thankfully for us here at Timbercreek Cabins, all our Wears Valley and Gatlinburg cabins have been spared from the flames, but our hearts and prayers go out to so many people who weren’t as fortunate in recent days. Hundreds of private and rental homes were lost, as were a number of businesses, some of which have become landmarks over the years.

In Gatlinburg, among the businesses destroyed are Alamo Steakhouse and Cupid’s Chapel of Love while parts of Hillbilly Golf and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts suffered some amounts of damage. Contrary to some earlier reports, downtown Gatlinburg in general as well as specific locations like the Park Vista Hotel, Mysterious Mansion, Ober Gatlinburg and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies remain intact. Ober and the aquarium are also reporting that all their live animal exhibits are safe. Rental communities like Cobbly Nob and Highland Condominiums have suffered extensive to total destruction, while others like Westgate Resort and Tree Tops Resort have experienced at least partial damage.

In Pigeon Forge, Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort were both threatened but were spared the flames, although some cabins near Dollywood were destroyed. Likewise, the nearby Parrot Mountain attraction was at risk but reports indicate that it is still intact.

The long, soaking rains we’ve been getting the past couple of days will surely help the firefighting efforts, but there’s likely more work to be done before the fires are completely contained. And then, of course, there’s the issue of so many locals being displaced from their homes and losing all their material possessions. Also, firefighters from the local area and from around the region have also been hard at work to minimize the damage and prevent further spread of the fire. All these people need assistance.

How can you help? Fortunately, the giving spirit of our region has been on full display lately, and dozens of area agencies, businesses and individuals have set up relief efforts. SmartBank has established the Gatlinburg Relief Fund, 865-453-2650, and the American Red Cross is accepting donations for evacuees and responders at the Pigeon Forge Fire Hall, Station 1, at 3229 Rena St. in Pigeon Forge. They are also accepting monetary donations. You can donate $10 by texting REDCROSS to 90999.

For a full list of assistance opportunities, visit the WBIR Channel 10 website at http://www.wbir.com/news/local/how-to-help-gatlinburg-pigeon-forge-fire-evacuees/357810685.

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