Get To Know Wears Valley, Tennessee

Last week, we passed along some useful information about one of our neighboring communities, Townsend, Tennessee. But this week, we’re going to keep things really close to home by doing some exploring just outside our own front door. Our Timbercreek offices and most of our rental properties are located in the charming Smoky Mountain hamlet of Wears Valley, and we think it’s worth talking about. It doesn’t take long to drive through our town, but there’s a lot more here than meets the eye.

Let’s start with what does meet the eye, and the most prominent feature is Cove Mountain, which looms tall over the town, providing an inspiring background to our peaceful rolling valley. Standing at 4,078 feet in elevation, it’s one of several mountains that form the framework for Wear Cove, the geological valley in which the community of Wears Valley is located. Many of our properties are located on or near Cove Mountain itself, so anyone headed to East Tennessee in search of luxury cabins, Smoky Mountains views and scenic pastureland will find this to be an ideal location.

The area was named after Revolutionary War veteran Samuel Wear, although it was originally named Crowson Cove in honor of Aaron Crowson, the area’s first settler in 1792. The name didn’t change to Wear Cove until around 1900.

Wears Valley is known geologically as a limestone window, which means older layers of Precambrian sandstone have worn away to reveal younger levels of Paleozoic limestone. The exposed limestone resulted in fertile soil, which is one of the factors that originally drew early settlers to the area. Also, Wears Valley was the site of several skirmishes with native Cherokee residents around the time of the Civil War, despite East Tennessee’s attempts to remain neutral in the conflict.

One of the things our visitors love so much about the town is that it offers so much pristine beauty but is still only about a 10-minute drive from Pigeon Forge, where there are more attractions, shops and restaurants than you could shake a stick at. The town also offers an often-overlooked entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park via Line Springs Road (or you might see it called Lyon Springs Road). From the main highway, U.S. 321, Line Springs will take you to the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area of the park in about five minutes. From there, you’re a short drive from Cades Cove, one of the most popular destinations in the national park.

While Wears Valley itself isn’t nearly as developed as Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg (and we like it that way), we do offer several attractions, restaurants and shops for those who want to enjoy those features without venturing too far from their cabins. Some of the things you can do around here include ziplining, horseback riding, hiking and fishing.

Visit Townsend, Tennessee, For A Change Of Pace

More than 10 million people come to the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee each year. During peak seasons like summer and October, that’s a lot of folks making their through, in and around the communities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. For many vacationers, it’s the recipe for a vibrant, fun-filled adventure in the Smokies.

Others, however, prefer their Smoky Mountain experience to be a little more laid-back, and for those folks, we’d like to recommend spending a day or more in Townsend, Tennessee, which is only about a 15-minute drive from Timbercreek Cabins on U.S. Hwy. 321.

Once you’re there, you’ll immediately notice how the pace is a little slower, and there’s not quite the density of development you’ll find in the other towns. But you’ll still discover a lot to do in Townsend, and this week, we’ll share a few of the highlights you might want to investigate for yourself.

  1. Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center

Learn all about the history of the region – from the first native inhabitants to the formation of the national park – at this interactive museum. The self-guided tour has authentic relics and hands-on displays that make area history come alive. The indoor tour is complemented by authentic outdoor exhibits like mills, barns and homesteads.

  1. Inner Tubing

Once spring and summer roll around, you’ll be able to partake in a long-standing Townsend tradition – inner tubing in the Little River. There’s no better way to beat the heat of a summer day than lying back in an inner tube and floating lazily down the river. Several vendors in town will set you up with a tour, including Smoky Mountain River Rat and River Rage.

  1. Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum

This roadside attraction tells the story of how the lumber and railroad industries transformed Townsend from a sleepy mountain village to a vibrant center of commerce in the early 1900s, prior to the formation of the national park. The indoor exhibits convey much of the information, but you can also see restored train components outside the main building. It’s free, but donations are encouraged.

  1. Tuckaleechee Caverns

For decades, this attraction has been drawing people to the Smokies with its underground cavern tour. It’s a steady 57 degrees inside all year long, and guests get to see a host of fascinating rock formations along the way as they also learn about Smokies history.

  1. The Townsend Greenway

You may not notice it from the main road through town, but there’s a paved greenway trail that runs the entire length of the city on both sides of the highway. In all, the trail runs almost 10 miles, and is a great way for bicyclists and runners to see the sights of town and perhaps stop at a shop or restaurant along the way.

  1. Outdoor Adventure

You’ll find several outfitters in town who are geared to take guests on a variety of fun outdoor excursions like horseback riding, ziplining, fly fishing, ATV rides and more. Look for businesses like Next to Heaven Adventures, Mountain Trax UTV Rentals and Davy Crockett Riding Stables, to mention just a few.

Timbercreek Cabins and Valentine’s Day – A Match Made In Heaven!

Everything slows down just a little here in the Smokies this time of year. It’s all part of the winter lull we’ve come to expect. However, this next week, we’ll be seeing a temporary surge in visitation that coincides with Valentine’s Day, especially here at Timbercreek Cabins Gatlinburg.

While we have a lot of bookings for this special week, we still have some properties available for overnight rental. That means it may not be too late for you to make a reservation today and book a few nights here in the Smokies with your significant other. We can’t think of any better way – or location – to create lasting Valentine’s Day memories for both of you.

In many ways, an overnight rental is a self-contained Valentine’s Day experience. Even if you just get a one-bedroom property, the amenities our cabins offer can add so much to any romantic getaway. You can enjoy the soothing heat and bubbles of an outdoor hot tub, no matter how chilly the evening may get, or you can soak in the relaxation of a whirlpool tub in your master bathroom. And if it gets cold enough, you can start a fire in the gas or log fireplace and cozy up in front of the heat and the dancing flames.

Many of our properties are in secluded rural areas and offer lots of privacy. You’ll generally enjoy quiet locations, often with stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains or perhaps a peaceful valley setting. Imagine watching the sunset from your porch or balcony or enjoying the beauty of a Smoky Mountain sunrise (depending on the location of your cabin).

You could have a great Valentine’s Day getaway without ever leaving the property, but if you choose to do so, your options are virtually endless. For entertainment, you could go see a live production show at one of the area’s many music theaters, or you could go hear a live band at a local nightspot or just go see a movie at one of the new state-of-the-art movie theater complexes in Pigeon Forge or Sevierville.

During the day, you could visit a world-class attraction like Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies or the Titanic Museum Attraction, or if the weather is suitable, you could spend an entire day in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Take a hike or take a drive; either way, the scenery is gorgeous, even in winter, when the deciduous trees are bare.

If nothing else, you could both go out and enjoy a romantic dinner on the town. Gatlinburg has several romantic eateries, like The Peddler steakhouse, The Melting Pot (fondue) and Greenbrier Restaurant – a purely local product that has delicious cuisine and borders the national park.

Guided Tours Offer A Personal Way To Experience The Smokies

When most folks visit the Smokies, they usually serve as their own guides, visiting all kinds of attractions and other points of interest but usually relying only on their own eyes and ears to interpret and enjoy the destination or activity. However, guided tours are an often-overlooked means of experiencing the Smokies, giving guests unique insights and behind-the-scenes explorations of some of the area’s most interesting places and sites.

Read on to discover just a sampling of activities you might want to try. There may be a few on this list you weren’t even aware existed. So next time you visit Timbercreek Cabins Pigeon Forge, you’ll certainly have a fun and exciting new adventure waiting for you.

A Walk In The Woods

Based in Gatlinburg, this business claims to be the oldest guide service in the Smokies and is the recipient of the coveted REI Top Guide Award. That makes them the only guide service east of the Rockies to receive that honor. Their guides take guests on excursions into Great Smoky Mountains National Park – from driving tours and easy walks to challenging backpacking trips on the Appalachian Trail. The guides are professionally trained naturalists, historians, storytellers and all-around educators. They can plan your trip, rent your gear, provide shuttle service and help you safely explore the natural world around you.

Segway Rentals And Sales Of Pigeon Forge

If you’ve never ridden a Segway vehicle, you’re missing out. It’s super-fun, fairly easy to pick up on and it offers a unique way to experience the sights and sounds of Pigeon Forge. This tour service guides you through the town with ease as you pass sights like the Old Mill, The Island, the Greenway and the Parkway. It’s easier than driving and way more fun than walking. Your hour-and-a-half rental experience will help you develop your skills and learn a lot about the area along the way.

Smoky Mountain Llama Treks

Located in rural Sevier County, outside Sevierville, this tour takes guests on a scenic and friendly Smoky Mountain trail walk accompanied by experienced guides and friendly pack llamas that provide assistance along the way. They carry water, food, tables and chairs so guests can spend their time focusing on enjoying peaceful fields and babbling brooks as they hike to the top of a picturesque mountain peak. Be sure to bring a camera to capture all the views and the distant mountain vistas.

Taking Better Photos

Speaking of cameras, this highly rated class teaches beginner and advanced photography classes at major resorts. They also provide driving and walking tours so students can practice what they’ve learned while enjoying the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Special Events Are A Great Way To Play In The Smokies

Do you know why millions of people make their way to the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee each year? For starters, we’ve got the mountains themselves – impressive and awe-inspiring – and a national park in which to enjoy their beauty. We’ve also got attractions, shops galore and restaurants for all tastes and budgets. And fortunately, we’ve got plenty of room to accommodate all those millions of people, including our gorgeous, scenic cabins in Wears Valley, TN.

If that weren’t enough, visitors also can participate in the dozens and dozens of special events and happenings that take place in the cities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville each year. And just because the Smokies is in the middle of the so-called “off” season doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do around here now.

So this week, we thought we’d pass along a few recommendations for cool special events that are taking place all around the area. Many are free, and we think you’ll agree, there’s something for everyone.

Smoky Mountain Snowdown
January 26 – 29
Townsend Visitors Center, Townsend

The Snowdown festival features Appalachian music events, including live performances, as well as activities like dulcimer classes, banjo picking, cast-iron cooking classes, Sunday church breakfast, a chili cook-off and chocolate making – just a sampling of the many things going on this weekend. Also look for authentic regional food and beverages as well as textile arts galleries, quilting demonstrations, fly-fishing demonstrations and more.

Smoky Mountain Square Dance
January 27 – 29
Music Road Resort Hotel, Pigeon Forge

Also known as Smoky Mountain Celebration, this three-day event allows guests to experience the excitement and fun of square dancing, as taught and led by two experts. The price includes five dance sessions, two nights lodging, an after-party and all the amenities of the resort. Dancers will be divided into three groups, based on experience.

Tennessee Winter Special Olympics
January 29 – 31
Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort, Gatlinburg

One of the premier winter events in our area, this competition is a great opportunity to cheer on the state’s Special Olympics athletes as they compete for medals in events like snow skiing, ice skating and snow boarding.

In addition to these date-specific happenings, don’t forget that you still have until January 28 to see all the Winterfest Lights in Gatlinburg on one of their special Winter Magic Trolley Ride Of Lights tours. Departing from downtown, these heated trolleys take guests all over town to see highlights of Gatlinburg’s dozens of animated light displays and millions of individual lights. The cost is $5 per person, and trolleys depart nightly from the downtown trolley station at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.

But that doesn’t mean the Winterfest lights are going away on January 28. You’ll still see those all over town in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville through February 28.

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.