10 Great Gatlinburg Souvenirs. Do you ever suspect that people seem more excited to have you back home after vacation when they think you’ve brought them really cool souvenirs–as opposed to shot glasses retrieved from the last gas station headed out of town? Me too. I think that may be why they sit through the slide shows and keep telling me how much better my photography is getting. They’re just buttering me up for the ultimate prize…a souvenir. Here are some great idea for Gatlinburg souvenirs that are sure to keep your friends & family anticipating your return:
1. Junior Ranger Badge from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I agree that most people don’t have to work for their souvenirs…but this one is work it. Kids—if you’re between the ages of 5-12, you can become a Junior Ranger! Pick up a Junior Ranger booklet for $2.50 at any park visitor center or at the Cades Cove or Elkmont campground. Complete the activities in the booklet then stop by a visitor center to talk to a ranger and receive your Junior Ranger badge. You can become a Junior Ranger at any time of year, but during spring, summer, and fall, ranger-led Junior Ranger programs are offered especially for children. Read through the schedule of ranger-led programs to find these special Junior Ranger programs.
2. Screensaver. There are lots of screensavers available of the Great Smoky Mountains; however, some cabin rental companies like ERA In The Smokies will create a screensaver that includes the cabin where you stayed as well as some personal information like your names and a “Happy Anniversary” or “2009 Family Reunion” message as well. These screensavers usually cost $10 or less, and the best part is…your screensaver can be taken home on CD or emailed to you at home. Book your cabin at ERA In The Smokies and ask about getting your screen saver!
3. Art. I cannot say this often enough…art is a great gift. The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community in Gatlinburg is thriving with shops run by artist/owners. Many of them will create custom pieces to order and can often have them ready to take with you or can ship them to you. The cost of shipping is usually offset by not having to pay local sales tax. So go ahead…have your portrait sketched, your mailbox painted, or buy a pot for your patio.
4. Hard Rock Cafe collectibles. A lot of people like to collect items in series…it used to be matches, ashtrays and shot glasses, and then it became spoons and snow globes. Lately, we hear of people who choose their vacation destinations by its proximity to a Hard Rock Cafe. Well, you’re in luck, despite the tiny local population, Gatlinburg is home to its very own Hard Rock Cafe. Whether you’re looking for t-shirts, purses, or collectible pins…the Rock Shop stocks all things Hard Rock.
5. Black Bear Salt & Pepper Shakers. Okay, you can’t take a real one home, but the Black Bears from Pigeon Forge Pottery at the Old Mill are great gifts and no two are alike. If you don’t want to buy salt & pepper shakers, they have black bears in virtually every size and shape you can image. Make souvenir shopping fun by searching for the perfect bears for your family and friends.
6. Dulcimer Music. The dulcimer is a fretted, plucked musical instrument. My child think it looks like a violin crossed with a guitar. And, while its origins are suspected to be Persian, the instrument has enjoyed a strong revival in American Folk Music. Smoky Mountain Dulcimers Owner Mark Edelman is certain he can teach you a tune in just 2 minutes, and he sells songbooks and instructional materials to go along with the dulcimers. If you aren’t musically inclined, there’s no doubt that one of your friends or family members will enjoy owning the music on CDs starting at just $10.
7. Embrace your heritage. Whether you can boast celtic origins or just wondered how to find the celtic music you always hear on PBS, Celtic Heritage (located in The Village near traffic light #6) is for you. Celtic Heritage offers quality merchandise from Ireland, Scotland & Wales including jewelry from over 15 manufacturers, Belleck porcelain & the now rare Royal Tara, Scottish & Welsh Tartan products, hard-to-find Celtic music, prints by Greta Stiles, Phillip Gray & Edmond Sullivan as well as Coat of Arms & Family Name histories.
8. Chainsaw Carved Bear. Granted, if you’re flying home, this gift may be a little too heavy to check as baggage, but since Gatlinburg is a day’s drive from 1/2 of the US…I couldn’t resist. At Make it Magic in the Arts & Crafts Community in Gatlinburg, you can get your very own “Stump Brother.” These bears are carved with a chainsaw and detailed with an angle grinder. Each bear is signed and number and comes with a Birth Announcement, too. Of course, you don’t have to buy a bear, but we they’re our favorites!
9. Taffy. A visit to Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen, located at the entrance to the Village Shops near traffic light #6, is sure to please the kid in everyone. Watch taffy being made through the big picture windows then take home a box for you, the kids, and every co-worker you’ve got. Candy comes in a huge variety of package sizes, flavors, and style which makes the recipients of these souvenirs feel special…how sweet.
10. All Things National Park. After all of this, you forgot to buy souvenirs, didn’t you? We love the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Great Smoky Mountains Association has been a non-profit partner of the Park since 1953. They are the official source for maps, guide books, and branded clothing. And lucky for you, they have an online store…no one ever has to know you forgot…we won’t tell, I promise.
This blog is sponsored in part by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN. For more information on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.