5 Top Attractions In Sevierville, TN

When most people think about visiting attractions in the Great Smoky Mountains, they’re most likely to first think of Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, TN. After all, these are the two most visited cities in the Smokies and they are, in fact, home to most of the attractions that the area has to offer.

However, we don’t want you to overlook what neighboring Sevierville has going for it. As the county seat, it has the largest full-time population in the county, and it already has a lot to offer visitors, like the area’s top outlet malls and great restaurants.

But Sevierville has its share of family attractions too, so if you’re planning to stay in one of our Pigeon Forge or Sevierville cabins this summer, consider adding these fun stops to your travel itinerary.

  • Tennessee Smokies baseball

The Smokies are the AA minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and play about 40 home games each season at their stadium just off Interstate 40. The season runs from late March into early September, and home games at Smokies Park are a blast. In addition to exciting baseball action, there are fun promotional events, giveaways, competitions between innings, food and more. It’s a nine-inning vacation!

  • Helicopter rides

There are actually a couple of vendors that offer helicopter tours of the Great Smoky Mountains, and they’re both in Sevierville. Look for Smoky Mountain Helicopters and Scenic Helicopter Tours. Both companies offer a range of packages for guests, and the packages are priced depending on the amount of time and distance covered on the trip.

  • Forbidden Caverns

This underground cavern has been in business for decades, offering visitors a unique subterranean tour filled with towering chimneys, grottos and a crystal-clear stream. Special lighting effects and an audio presentation accompany the leadership of the caverns’ trained guides. The trails are well lighted, and handrails are provided at necessary points along the tour. By the way, it remains a steady 58 degrees in the caverns all year long, so dress accordingly.

  • Smoky Mountain Deer Farm & Exotic petting Zoo

Here’s a great place to take children of all ages, because many of the animals are touch-friendly. Look for a wide range of creatures that you can look at and interact with, including camels, kangaroos, zebras, goats, reindeer, miniature horses, donkeys and more. They also offer pony rides for younger kids and trail rides on horseback for bigger guests on this 140-acre farm in the foothills.

  • Tennessee Museum of Aviation

Experience the history of aviation in Tennessee at this interactive museum adjacent to the local airport in Sevierville. The museum houses a self-guided tour that takes guests on a chronological journey through the development of aviation in the state and pays tribute to the many people who contributed to it. There’s also a 35,000-square-foot hangar that houses dozens of historic aircraft, from World War II P-47 Thunderbolts to the North American P-51D Mustang.

And this is just scratching the surface. Other notable attraction stops in Sevierville include Rainforest Adventures, the Dolly Parton statue at the courthouse, NASCAR SpeedPark and Floyd Garrett’s Muscle Car Museum.

Finding Seclusion In The Mountains

You ever get that feeling that you just need to get away from it all? From time to time, we all fall prey to the stress and anxiety that can mount from work and family responsibilities. Fortunately, that’s exactly what vacations are for.

But what about those times you really want to be alone, to experience the kind of re-charging you can only get from peace and tranquility? Believe it or not, even through the Great Smoky Mountains is the nation’s most visited national park – welcoming nearly 10 million visitors a year – you can find peace and quiet here without finding yourself smack dab in the middle of the vacationing throngs. Read on to discover a few tips for finding solitude in the middle of the Smokies, even in the peak season we’re currently experiencing.

Here at Timbercreek, we like to think we can help you take that first step with our selection of secluded Pigeon Forge cabins. Our properties are located primarily in scenic mountains and valleys, well off the beaten path. Instead of traffic, the main sounds you’ll hear are those of nature.

You’ll be able to truly unwind and let go as you kick back on the deck or porch of your cabin, enjoying the beauty of a sunrise or sunset. Or, weather permitting, you can let the invigorating jets of your outdoor hot tub melt the stress away as you tune in to the sounds of rustling trees and chirping birds.

There are also plenty of places you can visit in the Smokies to get away from the masses. Instead of plunging into the heart of Pigeon Forge, consider visiting Townsend, TN, which is known as the “peaceful side of the Smokies.” The pace of life is a little slower over there, there aren’t as many visitors or cars, and you can immerse yourself in a true Smoky Mountains experience at places like the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center and the Little River Railroad/Lumber Museum.

The national park itself is full of potential for getting away from it all, provided you pick the right spot. Avoid heavily trafficked destinations like Cades Cove, Laurel Falls, the Chimney Tops, Elkmont and even Mt. LeConte. Instead, chart a course for less-traveled sites like Cataloochee Valley, the Middle Prong Trail, Charlies Bunion and Greenbrier.

One of our favorite spots is the Cosby entrance to the national park. There you’ll find a campground and several interesting hiking trails that often get overlooked by most people traveling to the Smokies.

In summer especially, we can’t promise you’ll have these places completely to yourself (you won’t), but the population will definitely be less dense than some of those other spots we mentioned.

Some other tips to consider for finding solitude include arriving at destinations early in the day, visiting them on weekdays instead of weekends and avoiding traveling to the Smokies during holiday periods.

Beat The Heat On Your Next Visit To The Smokies

Summer is officially still a week away, but thermometers have been creeping up toward 90 already, and the Humidity Monster officially paid his first visit this week here in the Smokies. However, that shouldn’t be a problem for anyone planning to travel to the mountains this summer. If you’re going to be staying in one of our cabin rentals in Pigeon Forge, TN, we can share with you a few ways you can keep your cool this summer, even if you’re planning to spend time outdoors. 

  1. Dollywood’s Splash Country

Located adjacent to the original Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, this water park opened in 2001 and gave Smokies visitors 25 acres’ worth of ways to stay cool. Today, the park boasts some 35 acres’ of water-based attractions as well as dining options, canopy and retreat areas, and beautiful mountain scenery. Activities include numerous raft and body slides, Bear Mountain Fire Tower, Downbound Float Trip, Little Creek Falls for younger folk, Mountain Waves and Raging River Rapids. The newest addition, TailSpin Racer, opened this year, featuring six side-by-side slides, allowing guests to race each other to the bottom.

  1. Whitewater Rafting

East Tennessee is known for its rivers, and many of them feature thrilling whitewater rapids. Several rafting companies operate in our area, including Rafting in the Smokies and Pigeon River Rafting. Many of these guided excursions have offices in Gatlinburg but actually operate on the Pigeon River in Hartford, TN, about an hour’s drive from Gatlinburg. You’ll also find companies that have outposts on the Ocoee River in East Tennessee. Regardless of where you go and which company you choose, you’re in for several hours of thrilling whitewater action as you and your fellow rafters take on rapids as challenging as Class III and IV. Trips are led by experienced guides, but it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll get soaked by the bracing waters of our region’s rivers. 

  1. Inner Tubing

There’s only one thing more refreshing than riding a raft down a river, and that’s floating in an inner tube down a river. In Townsend, TN, you’ll find several outfitters that run inner tube companies on the Little River, including River Rat, River Rage and River Romp. In most cases, they’ll either transport you to a put-in point, and you float back to the outpost, or you’ll start at the outpost and then pick you up at the take-out point. Either way, the water is invigorating, and you’ll enjoy relaxing as you float lazily down the river. There’s also a company in Maryville, TN – River John’s – that will go with you to a put-in point (with your own canoe/kayak or one of theirs) and then drive your vehicle back to the outpost/take-out point, seven miles downstream.

Of course, at our cabins, you can beat the heat too. All our properties are air-conditioned and have some sort of shaded deck or porch where you can kick back and stay cool while you enjoy fabulous views of the Smokies.

Experience Smokies History With A Visit To The Walker Sisters

It’s one thing to read about the history of the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s another altogether to step into it and see firsthand the locations and sites that helped shape the character and personality of this little corner of East Tennessee.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers many ways that visitors can do just that, especially through the preservation of many of its historic structures. One such structure is the Walker Sisters Cabin, located in what is today called Five Sisters Cove, within the national park. The cabin is where five spinster daughters of 19th-century settler John Walker lived and maintained a homestead, even after their land was acquired to form the national park.

We’ll tell you more about the Walkers below, but we first want to tell you that guests staying in our Gatlinburg cabin rentals can easily get to this section of the park by taking Line Springs Rd. in Wears Valley (a very short drive from most of our cabins) and following the road to an infrequently used park entrance. That road will take you to the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area, where you can park and then set off on foot for the cabin.

Your hike begins with a half-mile walk to the Little Greenbrier schoolhouse built by John Walker and his son. From there, follow the Little Brier Gap Trail another mile to the Walker homestead, built by John for his new family following his service in the Civil War. The main house, made of tulip-poplar logs and insulated with mud and rock, is where the family lived, growing orchards and raising chickens, sheep, goats, hogs and vegetables to live on.

The homestead also featured a barn, corncrib, smokehouse, pigpen and blacksmith shop. Many of those structures, including the corncrib and a springhouse, can still be toured today. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the ways that pre-national-park settlers lived and worked just to maintain day-to-day existence.

There were 13 Walker children altogether, including seven daughters. Six of the girls remained unmarried and stayed on the farm after their father’s death in 1921. After the death of sister Nancy, the remaining five fed and clothed themselves and maintained the farm for another 40-plus years.

When the national park was created, the sisters initially refused to sell their 122-acre homestead. After years of holding out, the federal government relented and agreed to pay the sisters $4,750 for their land but also allowed them to live the rest of their lives in their home through a lifetime lease. The sisters welcomed park visitors for many years, selling them handmade items and sharing their stories.

The last sister to continue living in the cabin passed away in 1964, while another sister, who had already moved away, died in 1966. Though the Walker sisters are gone, their legacy lives on through their homestead, the objects they created and lived with and the neighbors and visitors they interacted with well into the 1950s.

5 Places To Get Great Seafood In The Mountains

Obviously, when you think about places that serve great seafood, your mind will probably first be transported to some oceanfront locale – maybe a gulf-side shack that specializes in fresh crab or coastal Maine, where lobster reins supreme. But just because you happen to like vacationing in the mountains doesn’t mean you have to go without tasting the flavors of the sea.

Here in the Great Smoky Mountains, we have several awesome seafood restaurants that are known for their saltwater and freshwater cuisine as well as overall fun customer experiences. This week, we’ll give you a quick overview of several of the area’s top picks. If you stay in one of our cabins in Gatlinburg on your next visit to the mountains, several of these locations will be very convenient to you, although all of them will be within a fairly short drive. 

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Located in downtown Gatlinburg, this national chain of eateries helps bring to life the tastes and the sights of the beloved movie Forrest Gump. The restaurant is named in honor of the shrimping company run by Forrest and his buddy Bubba, and the menu is faithful to the concept, showcasing items like the shrimp po’ boy sandwich, Southern fried shrimp, shrimp and grits, shrimp New Orleans and the Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp. Also look out for seafood favorites like steamed crab legs and Maine lobster.

Harpoon Harry’s Crab House

In nearby Pigeon Forge, you’ll find this seafood stop, where diners can choose from dishes like pan-seared scallops, glazed salmon, crab parm grouper, Portuguese shrimp, crab cakes, fried catfish and even shrimp pot pie. For the full crab experience, choose from crab buckets featuring Alaskan king, Dungeness or snow crabs, or go raw with an order from the oyster bar. In addition, the menu features pasta, sandwiches, steak, chicken and pork dishes.

Smoky Mountain Trout House

Not all seafood is from the sea, you know. Here in the Smokies, we know a thing or two about mountain trout, which is why we recommend a visit to the Smoky Mountain Trout House. The rainbow trout used by the kitchen are caught in the sparkling clear waters of the Smokies, packed in ice and shipped directly to the restaurant. Since 1975, this Gatlinburg eatery has been one of the go-to places for authentic mountain cuisine.

Joe’s Crab Shack

Here’s another national chain but one that’s been doing well at its Sevierville location. Joe’s offers a wide seafood selection, including a variety of steampots, which can include ingredients like crawfish, crab, clams, lobster, shrimp, mussels and more. Also look for crab buckets, a host of shrimp dishes and main catches like cedar-roasted salmon, shrimp skewers and twin lobster tails.

Crawdaddy’s Restaurant And Oyster Bar

We finish up back in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg at this upstairs seafood restaurant that opened in 2002. If items like oysters on the half shell, shrimp or oyster po’ boys, crab cakes, shrimp brochette, or a snow crab bucket sound tempting, then consider stopping here. They also have low-country boils featuring favorites like crawfish and shrimp, each of which comes with new potatoes, corn on the cob and Andouille sausage.

Partner Organizations Enhance National Park Experience

When you think about visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’re likely to think first of the most obvious ways that most of us utilize the most visited national park in the nation. The park’s hundreds of square miles are a place of beauty and majesty where visitors of all ages can play, relax, explore and learn. On any given day, you’ll find park guests hiking trails, visiting historic structures and locations, fishing, picnicking, cycling and camping.

But there are many other ways to experience the park that are designed to complement and enhance visitors’ appreciation and enjoyment of its preserved natural environment. A lot of folks aren’t familiar with them (both locals and out-of-towners), which is why we’re sharing an overview of the park’s partner organizations and the many ways visitors and park supporters can get involved.

  • Friends of the Smokies(Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park) is a non-profit fund-raising organization that offers guided hikes and events that increase awareness of and support the national park. Hikes vary in distance and difficulty, and feature trails in both North Carolina and Tennessee. Expert guides include noted authors and wellness professionals.

 

  • Great Smoky Mountains Associationoffers hikes and activities that enhance the knowledge and appreciation of the national park. The programs cover a variety of topics from cultural activities, night walks, and guided hikes.

 

  • Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremontis a year-round residential environmental education center in the Smokies that offers workshops and programs for everyone from grade-school children to Elderhostel groups and teachers. Programs may include summer camps, family camps, naturalist workshops, hiking adventures and more.
  • Smoky Mountain Field Schooloffers workshops, day hikes, family adventures and more. Programs cover such topics as synchronous fireflies, butterflies, wildflowers, mushrooms, old-growth forests, salamanders, stream life, elk, bears, tracking, early settlers and Native Americans.

You can learn more about these programs by visiting the national park website at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/partner-programs.htm and clicking the link to go to each organization’s respective website.

Even if you’re visiting from out of town, if you start planning your trip far enough in advance, you can still very likely find a specific program that will match up with your travel schedule and allow you to participate without making an ongoing commitment. The programs are user-friendly, so most of them are designed to appeal to and accommodate the park’s 9-million-plus annual visitors.

Our guests staying in our cabins in Pigeon Forge will find traveling to the national park to be a simple endeavor. Most of our properties are near the Wears Valley entrance to the park, which is convenient to the Tremont institute as well as other popular destinations like Cades Cove. The entrance doesn’t see nearly the amount of traffic that the other major park gateways do, which makes accessing the park a breeze.

3 Reasons Why Cabins Are Better Than Motels

When you’re planning any vacation or getaway, the first decision you usually have to make is where you’re going to be staying. But that’s not always an easy choice to make. Nowadays, especially in markets like the Great Smoky Mountains, there are seemingly endless options, from overnight rentals to hotels and motels to campgrounds to bed and breakfast inns.

Which is best? That can depend on a number of factors, but we believe that in most cases, our cabin rentals in Tennessee offer the most advantages to the widest range of travelers. Especially when compared to the typical hotel or motel room, we think that cabins come out on top almost every time. Here’s why:

Space flexibility – Most hotel rooms will sleep no more than four guests, whereas our rental cabins can accommodate well into the teens. So if you’re booking for the purposes of a family reunion/celebration or a corporate retreat, then no other type of lodging will offer the number of bedrooms or space needed. Sure, you can always book multiple motel rooms, but in such cases, you miss out on sharing times together as a group. What fun is a family reunion if everyone is in a different room with no common meeting areas? You miss out on moments like watching movies and sports together, cooking and sitting down to meals together or maybe just sitting out on the deck and watching a Smoky Mountains sunset together.

Cost-effectiveness – This is a big one. Multiple hotel/motel rooms, on average, are going to cost more money per person than if everyone pools their resources for a single overnight rental. And at Timbercreek, we offer specials and discounts throughout the year, so if you book X number of nights, you’ll get a bonus night at no additional cost. That drives everyone’s financial share down even further. And don’t forget that staying in a cabin means you have a fully equipped kitchen. If your party makes a stop at a local supermarket and prepares many of your meals in the cabin, you can enjoy even more savings compared to dining out at a restaurant every time.

Peace and quiet – Most of the time, Smoky Mountain hotels and motels are located right on or near the Parkway or other main strip in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge or Sevierville. That means lots of traffic and, in some cases, a lot of noise. Not so with our rental cabins. Tucked away in the quiet mountains and valleys outside Pigeon Forge, our properties are big on scenery and small on the unwanted distractions. The best part is that despite their remote settings, our cabins are still conveniently located near Pigeon Forge and the rest of the Smokies. You’re usually not more than 10 minutes away from the Smokies’ most popular attractions, shops and restaurants, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park is even more accessible via the Wears Valley entrance.

What To Look For At Dollywood In 2017

The Smokies’ favorite theme park has already been open for nearly two months, but we know that a lot of folks won’t make their annual pilgrimage (or perhaps first visit ever) to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge until some time this summer. If you haven’t had a chance to make it out to the park yet this year, we’ll give you an overview of what’s new for 2017. As always, there’s something that appeals to all ages and tastes, so even if you’re a Dollywood veteran, chances are there will be something new waiting for you this summer that you’ll be eager to experience.

Drop Line – Located in the Timber Canyon section of Dollywood, this new thrill ride lifts guests more than 20 stories into the air as passengers buckled into the circular gondola slowly spin around the main tower, giving them a bird’s-eye view of the rest of the park and the mountains beyond. Once at the top, the gondola plummets toward the ground in a single thrilling rush of adrenaline. It’s a family-friendly ride, but passengers must be at least four feet tall to ride.

Whistle Punk Chaser – This is a new junior roller coaster, which guests will find in the Timber Canyon section as well. It’s a little tamer than its big brother Thunderhead, but this ride will still give thrilling twists and turns to riders who are at least three feet tall. Guests shorter than 3’ 6” must be accompanied by someone who is at least 16 years old.

Once Memorial Day rolls around, Dollywood’s Splash Country water park will be open, offering acres of wet-and-wild excitement. New for this year is the TailSpin Racer, a water slide featuring unique, spiraling, high-speed Aqua Tubes and mats. The enclosed slide allows passengers to race each other to the bottom in a head-to-head competition, and the ride is full of tight turns and daring drops. At more than five stories tall and longer than a football field, this six-lane slide will appeal to water lovers of all ages.

This may be looking a little past summer already, but we’ll also give you a heads-up that in October, Dollywood will be open during the evening for the first time ever. It’s all to showcase the Great Pumpkin LumiNights event, in conjunction with the park’s traditional Southern Gospel Jubilee and Harvest Festival celebrations. The illuminated pumpkin décor will help bathe the park in colorful brilliance during the entire month.

It’s not too early to start booking your accommodations for your next trip to the Smokies, whether it takes place this summer or this fall. We have a large inventory of Pigeon Forge cabins that would make for an easy drive to Dollywood while still helping you enjoy the peace and seclusion that you can only get from an overnight cabin rental.

4 Things To Do On A Spring Day In The Smokies

At Timbercreek, this is one of our favorite seasons of the year. Spring offers those ideal days that are a blessed mix of sunshine and moderate temperatures – or at least warm days without the sometimes-oppressive humidity of summer. It’s a time when we all shake off the winter blahs and start getting active outdoors again. Fortunately, the Great Smoky Mountains is nature’s playground when it comes to maximizing a great spring day.

We hope you plan to spend a few nights with us in one of our cabins in the Smokies in the next month or so, but even if you don’t, we can offer a few suggestions for what to do the next time you’re in town.

  1. Enjoy nature in bloom. The best way to do that is to drive to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and hit the trail – a hiking trail, to be precise. Depending on specifically when you book your trip, you’ll find a wide and colorful array of life springing forth along the park’s hiking trails and in popular gathering spots. Look for mountain laurel, rhododendrons and a rainbow spectrum of other wildflowers and vegetation. If you’re handy with a camera, this is a great time to capture some vividly inspiring images.
  2. Play ball! I guess we don’t literally mean for YOU to play ball, but you can hear an umpire shout that phrase out when you attend a Tennessee Smokies baseball game. The Smokies play their home games at Smokies Park, located just off Interstate 40 at exit 407 in Sevierville. This AA minor league affiliate of the reigning world-champion Chicago Cubs is exciting to watch in action, and the game-day experience offers interactive fun for fans of all ages.
  3. Make it a lake day… If you’re a boat owner who lives within a reasonable drive of the Smokies, you can hitch that baby up and haul it to Douglas Lake, located near Sevierville, TN. This TVA reservoir offers more than 500 square miles of surface area, formed by the damming of the French Broad River. On the lake, you can enjoy boating, skiing, tubing, jet skiing, fishing, swimming and much more. Several marinas service the lake, and TVA provides two recreational areas for public use – one above the dam and one below.
  4. The active outdoors. Again, there are all kinds of things you can do outside that are also quite a bit of fun. You can fly through the treetops like a bird on a local zipline course or maybe hit the trail while saddled up on horseback. Several venues offer ATV rides, and if you’re looking for something truly unique, visit the Outdoor Gravity Park in Pigeon Forge, where you can slide downhill inside a large, inflatable, transparent sphere. Other outdoor options include riding go-carts or maybe taking the elevator to the top of the Space Needle in downtown Gatlinburg, where you can enjoy stunning 360-degree views of the Smokies from the top observation deck.

Timbercreek Has The Right Size Lodging For All Occasions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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