Saddle Up 2015

This week, if you’re staying with us at Timbercreek Cabins, Gatlinburg is probably not your best bet as a destination for an outing, especially considering the road conditions this week. However, it might be more convenient to travel into Pigeon Forge, which will be hosting what has grown into one of the biggest special events to take place in the city each year. The 15th Annual Saddle Up celebration rides into town February 18 through 22, bringing a uniquely fun cowboy-themed experience to these here parts.

This five-day event that celebrates the American West will feature live entertainment by musicians and poets as well as other cowboy-themed activities like dances, cook-offs and even a church service. Most happenings are headquartered at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge.

Many of the daily events are free, including Old Time Cowboy Songs and a Western Swing Fiddle Class on Wednesday, a Western Dance Class on Thursday, Stories & Strings and Tales & Tips From A Cowboy Cook on Friday, Buckaroo Roundup on Saturday and Cowboy Church on Sunday.

Other events are ticketed activities and mostly revolve around the Intimate Evening Dinner Concerts. The dinner shows ($54.88, with tax) have limited seating and feature steak and all the trimmings, served at local venues such as Mama’s Farmhouse and the LeConte Center. There are also several Saddle Up Concerts ($21.95, with tax) scheduled, featuring a wide variety of live music acts.

Other paid admissions include Cowbucks Café at Pigeon River Pottery on Thursday morning, Stories & Strings at Stages West on Friday and the Chuck Wagon Cook-Off and Lunch and the Cowboy Dance on Saturday. Prices range from $5 for the dance to $21.95 for Stories & Strings.

Featured performers this year include:

Baxter Black – This cowboy poet, former veterinarian and current entertainer has traveled the U.S. and Canada for more than 25 years, scattering his wit and left-handed observations to those looking for a bright spot in their day.

Wylie & The Wild West – This musical act has spent a quarter-century performing their unique blend of cowboy, swing, folk and yodeling music worldwide. Wylie is the voice of the famous Yahoo! yodel in the TV commercials.

Brenn Hill – This Utah native’s music reveals the heart of the American West to anyone who takes the time to listen. He revisits many of the stories that come from his homeland with a fresh, contemporary and personal twist.

Chuck Pyle – For more than 40 years, this performer has mixed infectiously hummable melodies with straight-from-the-saddle poetry. An accomplished songwriter, his songs have been recorded by John Denver, Suzy Bogguss and many more.

Jean & Gary Prescott – This couple has been entertaining folks from the concert stage, around campfires and in churches all over the country. Their Texas songs go straight to the heart, and the music is always toe-tapping good.

Andy Nelson – This Idaho native is a second-generation farmer with the experience, talent and humor to bring authenticity to every performance. He is a two-time recipient of the Western Music Association’s Male Poet Of The Year award.

Skip Gorman – Skip is a masterful cowboy singer, a fine Western and Celtic fiddler, and one of the country’s premier mandolin players.

T. Scot Wilburn & The Shut Up-N-Playboys – This group draws on their musical influences to play the best in hillbilly swing and Western tunes.

Kent Rollins – This entertainer and chuck wagon cook entertains audiences with his poetry and storytelling about the life and legacy of the cowboy.


A Hike On Middle Prong Trail

Looking for an easily accessible hike in the Great Smoky Mountains that’s pretty easy and offers some gorgeous waterfall scenery? Consider spending an hour or so hoofing it along the Middle Prong Trail, which is located near the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, inside the national park.

Overall, the trail stretches 4.1 miles and generally follows the Middle Prong of the Little River. At the 2.3-mile mark, the trail intersects Panther Creek Trail then continues for another 1.8 miles, ending at the junction of Lynn Camp Prong Trail and Greenbrier Ridge Trail.

To get to the trailhead from Timbercreek Cabins, drive to Lyons View Road in Wears Valley (which is very close to most of our cabins) and take that road south until you enter the national park. The road will take you through the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area and eventually to Little River Road. Turn right on Little River Road, travel 10.6 miles and turn left onto Tremont Road to go toward the Great Smoky Mountains Institute.

Instead of turning off Tremont Rd. to enter the Institute, continue straight as the road turns from paved to gravel. Continue several more miles until the gravel road dead ends at the Middle Prong trailhead. Park wherever you can find space.

The trail is very gently sloping uphill for most of the way out, but the path is wide, because it once served as a railroad bed. In fact, you can still see a small length of rail still embedded in the ground not far from the start of the hike. Also note that this trail is often used by horseback riders, so you may want to watch your step, if you catch our drift.

Most of the scenery comes in the form of great views of the many cascades and falls that make up the turbulent journey of the Middle Prong waterway. At 4/10 of a mile into the hike, you’ll see one of the largest cascades, and there’s even a bench designating a scenic spot to sit and rest or take some photos.

At many other points along the trail, you can worm your way off the path and right down to the river itself, where you can cool off in summer or pose for some great photos year ‘round. In winter, keep an eye out for cool icicle formations on the rock walls that will often come up to your right.

Another point of interest along the way is the cool rock formation on the left, where two giant boulder slabs are resting against each other, forming an arch. It’s plenty big enough for hikers to walk through and pose for pics or gain access to the river.

At the two-mile mark, look for some hand-stacked rocks just to the right of the path. Turn off the path there and venture about 50 yards over a swell and into the woods to find the rusted shell of a vintage car from the early 20th century. There’s also a huge fallen tree near the car that makes a great place to stop and have a snack.

This is just some of what’s in store on this hike, and the good news is, it’s all gently sloping downhill on your way back. And since there’s no specific destination on the Middle Prong Trail, it’s ideal for hikers who are interested in only biting off as much as they feel up to taking on.

Cabin Of The Week – Smoky Mountain Solitude

When searching for the right accommodations, it’s sometimes hard to strike a balance between having all the amenities you want and finding a rustic setting that captures the spirit and essence of the mountains. This week’s property, Smoky Mountain Solitude, walks that fine line between roughing it and living in luxury.

This one-bedroom, one-bath chalet on the edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is reminiscent of an old-style camping lodge, but it’s packed with features that ensure you’re far from roughing it.

Although it does sleep four, thanks to the sleeper sofa, this particular cabin is ideal for a honeymoon, anniversary trip or romantic getaway. Everything is laid out on one level and centers primarily around the living room and kitchen areas.

The living room boasts a 42-inch flat-screen satellite TV, a wood-burning fireplace and a six-foot pool table. Architecturally, that mountain feel is evidenced by hand-hewn beams that draw attention to the cathedral ceiling and serve as a counterpoint to the rustic hardwood flooring.

Meanwhile, the kitchen is set up so that you can buy your own groceries and prepare your meals in-house, if you like. All the appliances are there, including refrigerator, oven, microwave and dishwasher, and basic cookware and dinnerware is on hand as well. The nearby dining area is capable of seating four, in case you bring friends or children along for the journey.

The master bedroom also has a rustic camp motif thanks to the king-size log bed and accompanying dresser. The bedroom has its own TV/DVD/VCR capabilities, and the bathroom offers a separate shower and a corner whirlpool tub.

Other interior amenities include washer/dryer, all the linens you’ll need, central heat and air, iron and ironing board, and wireless Internet.

But the amenities don’t stop there. Outside on the back covered deck, you’ll find a gas grill, a couple of rocking chairs and a hot tub. Winter or summer, you can take advantage of the deck and enjoy the long-range mountain views.

Because it borders Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Smoky Mountain Solitude is convenient to outdoor recreational opportunities like hiking, biking, fishing, sightseeing and more. Its location is also just a few minutes’ drive from tourist destinations like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, home of hundreds of attractions, restaurants and shops.

And remember that even though it’s technically the off-season in the Smokies, there’s still plenty to see and do. This is a great time to hit the outlet malls, craft shops and attractions, and you won’t find many long lines, especially while the crowds are down for the season.

If you’re staying in one of our scenic-view cabins, Gatlinburg should be considered as a daytrip option as well. One place that does get busy this time of year is Ober Gatlinburg ski resort, and this is the ideal time to head up to the mountains of Gatlinburg to do some skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing or ice skating. And that’s just a sampling of everything that attraction has to offer.

Plan Your Valentine’s Getaway Today

No sooner does Christmas come and go that Valentine’s Day swoops right in as calendar date that a lot of us need to keep an eye on. But this year, instead of the usual unimaginative gifts like chocolate and flowers, how about giving that special someone a memorable romantic weekend getaway in the Great Smoky Mountains?

Our Wears Valley, TN cabin rentals make a great foundation for a night or two or three of solitude in the peaceful mountains of East Tennessee. For example, we have a dozen one-bedroom luxury rental properties in our inventory, any of which would make a great love nest in the Smokies. Features include bedrooms with whirlpool tubs in the bathrooms, outdoor hot tubs, wood-burning or gas fireplace and great views of the nearby mountains and/or valleys.

If you choose to stay in, you can prepare your own romantic dinner for two in the fully equipped kitchen or have fun shooting a game of pool or watching your favorite movie on the large-screen television.

But our cabins are also conveniently located near all the great places to visit in the Smokies, including Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

That means dozens and dozens of restaurants are only a short drive away, so you should have no trouble finding one that would serve as a great place to have a Valentine’s Day dinner. Just keep in mind that most area restaurants don’t take reservations, but even though it’s first-come, first-served service, the number of area visitors drops off significantly in February, so you probably won’t have a huge wait on your hands.

Our communities also have lots of fun nightspots to take your favorite guy or gal for some dancing or live music, or maybe you can spend your getaway days and evenings at any of the cool attractions in the area. Places like the Titanic Museum Attraction, WonderWorks and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies are just a few of the fun spots where you can have a great time, even without a bunch of kids in tow.

In between are dozens of family-friendly museums, amusement centers and interactive exhibits to try. And you might even be able to find a music theater show or two on the weekends, even during the off-season.

Another idea for a romantic outing is to take a scenic drive in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As long as the roads are open, you can see some great sights in places like Cades Cove, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and even the scenic drive along U.S. Hwy. 441 between Gatlinburg and Cherokee, NC.

And for you guys, you know that taking your lady shopping is one sure-fire way to win her heart. Fortunately, there’s no way to go wrong in the Smokies. We have everything from outlet malls to antique shops to the hundreds of studios and galleries in the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community.

So give us a call at Timbercreek Cabin Rentals today to get started on planning your awesome Valentine’s Day getaway in the Smokies.

Wilderness Wildlife Week

Once the Christmas and New Year holidays have passed, the number of special events to enjoy in the Smokies tapers off significantly until the arrival of spring and summer. However, there’s one event in particular that takes place in Pigeon Forge every year that has turned out to be one of the single most popular events in the region.

This week, visitors from all over the country will be coming to the Smokies for the 25th presentation of Wilderness Wildlife Week, Pigeon Forge’s annual salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which incorporates a wide variety of topics related to nature and outdoor recreation. The event takes place January 24 through 31, 2015.

When it was first suggested 25 years ago by East Tennessee wildlife photographer Ken Jenkins, few probably had any idea that his idea for a winter program about the Great Smoky Mountains would become a much-loved winter event drawing visitors from across the U.S.

In fact, that first year of what would evolve into Wilderness Wildlife Week consisted of only a half-day of programs, but it was so successful that it blossomed into a weeklong event in only its second year. Today, the event features some 400 programs taking place over eight days, plus 66 hikes and excursions in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Each year offers photography workshops, wildlife lectures, mountain music mini-concerts, crafts classes and special sessions for children. More than 200 experts – nature photographers, biologists, raptor rehabilitators, social historians, musicians and just plain folks who grew up in the Smokies – donate their time to lead the programs.

The Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism organizes the week, and admission is free. Most of the events are held indoors at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, a city-owned special events facility.

Note, however, that outings like hikes and nature walks require participants to sign up in advance, so check out the city’s website (below) to learn more about how to get your name on the list for your favorite field trip.

Wilderness Wildlife Week 2014 drew attendees from 41 states, including Alaska. Total program attendance was 27,800, and almost 550 hikers logged 2,588 miles. New last year was the Southern Trout Fly Fishing Fair, a day of programs about mountain trout, fly fishing and fly tying, produced by the online magazine Southern Trout. The second Southern Trout Fly Fishing Fair is set for Jan. 31.

Wilderness Wildlife Week, which 10 times has been named as a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event, is a part of Pigeon Forge Winterfest, which starts in November and runs through February.

Pigeon Forge wraps up its Winterfest February 18 through 22 with Saddle Up, a celebration of cowboy poetry, western music and chuck wagon cooking. Learn more at or call 800-251-9100.

And if you decide you want to come in later this week to attend part of Wilderness Wildlife Week, it’s not too late to book one of our Tennessee cabins. Most of them are located in the Wears Valley area, which is only a 10-minute drive from the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge. Give us a call today!

Where Should I Stay In The Smokies?

If you’ve never visited the Great Smoky Mountains before, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is where to stay, whether you’re in town for just a couple of nights or for a whole week.

But that can be quite an overwhelming proposition. The Smokies corridor runs for nearly 30 miles, from Interstate 40 in Sevierville all the way to the border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And in between, and in all the outlying areas, there are literally thousands of hotel and motel rooms, bed and breakfast inns, campsites and overnight rental properties to choose from. How do you pick?

There are a lot of factors to consider, including location, price and amenities. When it comes to location, it’s helpful to be close to all the things you want to do in the Smokies. But what if you want to see a pro baseball game in Sevierville one day, go to Dollywood the next, visit the aquarium in Gatlinburg the next and then spend some time in the national park? What’s the most strategic location to do all those things?

We’d like to suggest focusing your search on the corridor between Pigeon Forge and Wears Valley. That’s not only a central location to Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, but it’s also convenient to the national park. There’s actually a Wears Valley entrance to the park that most tourists don’t know about. It’s scarcely traveled and can quickly take you to destinations like Metcalf Bottoms, Tremont and Cades Cove.

At Timbercreek Cabin Rentals, most of our properties are located in this area, which our customers have found convenient not only to the highly visited areas but also to the “peaceful side of the Smokies,” as they call it, in Townsend, Tennessee.

Our Wears Valley cabins are all top-notch, high-quality, luxury properties, which means they’re also packed with amenities. All of our cabins have features like fully operational kitchens, game rooms, hot tubs, fireplaces, decks, whirlpool tubs and more. And with sizes ranging from one to five bedrooms, we have dozens of cabins designed to accommodate most any travel need, whether it’s a honeymoon or romantic getaway or a family reunion or corporate gathering.

And when it comes to price, you may find that cabins are your biggest bang for the buck, compared to hotels and B&Bs. For one thing, you’re getting a virtual home away from home, complete with separate bedrooms, private bathrooms, kitchens and outdoor living areas. Cabins even have laundry facilities to ensure that no one runs out of clean clothes on the trip. And by cooking at the cabin instead of eating out every meal, you can actually save money.

Also, the more people you have staying in a cabin, the more you can share the costs. Yes, larger cabins are more expensive, but when you split that among multiple families, you might be surprised how affordable staying in a cabin can be.

And don’t forget to check the specials on our website. We offer seasonal and other special discounts year ‘round, which will help you save even more money.

So before booking that next trip to the Smokies, consider staying in the Pigeon Forge/Wears Valley area with us here at Timbercreek Cabin Rentals.

Cabin Of The Week – Bear’s Den

If you’re looking for a fabulous mountaintop property that sleeps six guests, then you’ll find that Bear’s Den is a Goldilocks cabin; that is, it’s juuust right. With three bedrooms, each with a queen-size bed, this charming home away from home in the Smokies will have you all set to get the most out of your next trip to the mountains, be it a family trip, a getaway for multiple couples or even just a bunch of friends. It’s convenient to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville while also delivering plenty of privacy and seclusion.

Bear’s Den’s biggest asset is its location, perched high on a mountain and offering outstanding views of surrounding hills and valleys. And there are plenty of ways to enjoy those beautiful sights, whether it’s looking out the array of main-level windows from the climate-controlled comfort of the great room or relaxing on one of the multilevel cabin’s decks. You might cool off in summer by kicking back in the shade of the outdoor dining area on the main level, or in winter, you can keep things warm by soaking in the views while you also soak in the hot tub on the lower level.

Inside, the cabin was designed with comfort and luxury in mind. The main floor offers a living area with leather seating group, wood-burning fireplace and an entertainment system complete with cable TV, PlayStation 2 and a library of movies. This level has one bedroom, which comes with cable TV and its own adjacent bathroom.

Nearby, the full kitchen comes equipped with everything you’ll need to prepare your own meals, if you like, whether it’s a simple breakfast or a full-blown sit-down meal at the log dining table. (By the way, that table is also a great spot for playing board games or putting a puzzle together.)

The master bedroom is on the top level, and it comes with cable TV, a leather chair that makes a great reading spot, and a large whirlpool tub for unwinding after a long day of sightseeing or shopping. The private balcony is ideal for looking out on the views afforded by Great Smoky Mountains National Park or for relaxing with a morning cup of coffee and your own quiet thoughts.

The third bedroom is on the downstairs level, and it also has its own cable TV and private bathroom. This level is also where you’ll find the game area with pool table. Both the bedroom and game room open onto the lower deck, where you’ll find that the fire pit makes a great place for the gang to gather any time of year. Great bonding moments await as you roast marshmallows, tell stories or just gaze at the stars.

Of course, this is just one of the many properties we have in our inventory at Timbercreek Cabin Rentals. We have secluded Gatlinburg cabins, as well as properties in Pigeon Forge and Wears Valley, that give our guests multiple options when it comes to size, location and amenities. Whether you’re looking for a secluded honeymoon spot or a large, spacious lodge for hosting a reunion or corporate outing, we have lots of cabins from which to choose.

New Year’s Eve in the Smokies

It’s New Year’s Eve, that annual event when we say goodbye to an old year – with all its ups and downs – and ring in a fresh new year, one that comes unblemished and full of hope and promise. For those of you looking for a festive way to celebrate the occasion, we’ve got a couple of options lined for places to go and things to do to usher in 2015.

One of the best known New Year’s Eve events in the area is the annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show, which is marking its 27th year in the Smokies. Taking place at the intersection of Parkway and Historic Nature Trail in downtown Gatlinburg, this is one show that truly welcomes the new year with a bang.

Tens of thousands of revelers will gather near the base of the Space Needle attraction, and at the stroke of midnight, fireworks will begin booming from the top of the 400-foot-tall Space Needle, accompanied by special music that’s timed to go along with the pyrotechnics presentation. This year, the Space Needle also boasts rhythmically timed LED lights, which will only add to the impressive visual display.

If you don’t want to gather with the masses at the base of the Space Needle, you can always plan to watch from a distance, perhaps from your balcony at a local motel/hotel or from another vantage point on the Parkway. Of course, downtown Gatlinburg’s many restaurants and night spots will also be open on New Year’s Eve, offering visitors plenty of alternative gathering spots for ringing in 2015.

Meanwhile, in Pigeon Forge, there will also be New Year’s Eve happenings going down at The Island multipurpose development, which is located between Parkway and Teaster Lane, not far from the outlet malls.

It all gets started at 6 p.m. with live music performances by Joe The Show and a showcase by The Live Rock ‘n’ Roll Theater, followed by headliners Fairview Union. This family-friendly event will also include face painting and kids’ activities throughout the evening, culminating in a countdown to midnight and a fireworks spectacle to usher in 2015.

The Island is a popular new tourist destination in Pigeon Forge, which offers visitors a wide array of things to do, from attractions like the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel to notable restaurants like Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville to numerous specialty shops. There’s plenty of parking on site and shuttle transportation from the parking area to The Island itself.

It may be a little late to book one of our cabins for tonight, but when it comes to your next trip back to the Smokies, be sure to explore all the properties we have to offer at Timbercreek Cabins, Pigeon Forge. We have dozens of luxury properties not only near Pigeon Forge but also Wears Valley, Gatlinburg and Sevierville. It’s a great alternative to hotels and motels when you’re looking for comfort, amenities and scenic beauty in the Smokies.

Where Do Our Christmas Traditions Come From?

Whether you’re celebrating Christmas in the Smokies while staying in one of our cabins in Pigeon Forge or whether you’re sharing the experience with family at your own home, you’re probably partaking in any number of Christmas traditions, including essential ones like putting up a Christmas tree or waiting for Santa Claus to arrive with his reindeer in the middle of the night.

These days, we pretty much take these holiday components as a given, as if they’d always been around. But much of what we associate with the celebration of Christmas has actually only been a part of our American culture for the past century or so. Ever wonder how we wound up with the Christmas identity that we know today? This week, we’ll be sharing a little background on how our modern-day holiday traditions – many of which originated in the 1800s – came to be.

Santa Claus was a concept borrowed from early Dutch settlers in America, who considered St. Nicholas a patron saint. They used to hang stockings in early December to receive presents from him on St. Nicholas Eve. Noted author Washington Irving made reference to him in a history book, mentioning how St. Nicholas would ride over the tops of trees in a wagon when he brought his annual presents to the children.

Further, the Dutch gave us the word “Sinterklaas,” which evolved into “Santa Claus thanks to a New York City printer who published a poem referring to “Santeclaus” in 1821. That poem was the first to mention the St. Nicholas character having a sleigh and being pulled by reindeer.

Of course, it was Clement Moore’s famous poem “The Night Before Christmas” that cemented a lot of our modern-day visions of Christmas. However, before that poem, people would typically wait for St. Nicholas on the night before his holiday in early December. It was Moore’s poem that first described these events happening on what we now call Christmas Eve, the day before Christmas. It was also the first time that Santa’s reindeer were given the names that we know them by today.

Charles Dickens’s work A Christmas Carol helped further cement Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as more prominent holidays, and in the 1860s, illustrator Thomas Nast gave us our first modern depiction of Santa Claus as we visualize him today. That first illustration, drawn at the request of President Lincoln, appeared on the cover of Harper’s Weekly in 1863 and depicted Santa Claus in a red suit and riding on a sleigh. Nast also introduced the notion that Santa lived at the North Pole and had a workshop full of elves.

The idea of Christmas trees came from Germany, but they didn’t become popular in America and Britain until Prince Albert had one installed in Windsor Castle in 1841. And did you know that most people lit their trees with small candles in the 1800s, although an associate of Thomas Edison invented electric Christmas tree lights in the 1880s?

A Christmas tree was first put up in the White House in 1889, during the presidency of Benjamin Harrison. Since then, the tradition has evolved into an essential activity of the sitting presidential family.

6 Things To Do During Your Smoky Mountain Christmas

Christmas may be next week, but it’s not too late to put together an extended stay in the Great Smoky Mountains. Call us today to book one of our cabins in Pigeon Forge, TN, and you’ll be in a great location for turning the Smokies into your holiday getaway destination.

For example, just imagine spending Christmas Eve and Christmas morning in one of our cabins, surrounded by family and/or friends. The fireplace in the living room would be the ideal place for everyone to gather to exchange gifts or even to sing your favorite Christmas carols.

But beyond the immediate celebration of the holiday, there’s so much more that you can do in the Smokies this time of year. Here are six suggestions, just to get you started.

1. Christmas at Dollywood – Dolly Parton’s theme park in Pigeon Forge will be celebrating its Smoky Mountain Christmas festival through early January. Enjoy holiday-themed music shows, decorations and foods, in addition to much of the park’s usual assortment of shows, attractions and crafts. The lights alone are worth the admission price.

2. Winterfest lights – Speaking of lights, the communities of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville are all decked out in their winter finest this season. Each city boasts dozens of arrays of colorful LED light displays all over town, and in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, you can even take narrated tours of all the lights on special heated trolleys. All together, the three cities plus Dollywood showcase some 12 million individual lights.

3. Shop! – What better place to squeeze in some last-minute Christmas shopping than the Smokies? With its numerous outlet malls, hundreds of craft shops and studios, specialty stores and antique galleries, there’s no excuse for not finding the perfect gifts for those on your shopping list this year. And in the case of the outlet malls, you can probably save a few bucks in the process.

4. See a show – The many music and variety theaters in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are offering fun holiday-themed versions of their usual shows. You’re sure to hear lots of your favorite Christmas carols, get a visit from Santa and generally enjoy a big dose of holiday cheer. Plus, stepping into the warmth of a theater is a great way to escape the cold.

5. Have fun in the cold – OK, so maybe you like the cold weather. Then consider a trip to Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort, where you can hit the slopes and experience the thrills of downhill speed. Whether your preference is traditional skiing, snowboarding or even snow tubing, there’s a way for you to do what you like best at Ober Gatlinburg. The resort also offers shopping, dining, animal exhibits and an indoor ice skating rink. Even the ride to the mountaintop on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway is a great winter activity in itself.

6. Taste the Smokies – There are tons of restaurants in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and surrounding areas, and many of them will be open on Christmas day. Find one that serves your favorite cuisine and make plans to have a holiday dinner where someone else does all the cooking for a change.