Things To Do: Gatlinburg Summer Camps for Kids

Click Here to Subscribe by Email!We know you are always looking for fun things to do with your kids, but this time we have a slightly different idea! If you need a bit of a break from the kids, but leaving them behind is not an option, bring them with you to Gatlinburg, and send them to summer camp! You’ll still get to have them with you in the evenings and mornings, but from as early as 8:30 am, until as late as 3:30 pm, depending on the age(s) of your child(ren), you could enjoy some private time with your soul mate while your kids have a spectacular time enjoying the best fun our area has to offer!

The City of Gatlinburg is offering 6 Summer Camps for kids this summer! Unfortunately, we just now heard about it and 3 of them are already over. But there are still three more to choose from. (And hopefully we’ll get our report out a bit sooner next spring!)

Petting ZooPipsqueak Camp- Ages 5 – 7

July 7 -11, 2014 :: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Cost: $50.00
This fun day camp for the little bitties includes a T-shirt at no additional cost. Please provide your child with a sack lunch. Children will visit a petting zoo, go swimming, watch movies, go bowling, try putt putt golf, go to Kid’s country, try ice skating, and visit the Knoxville Zoo!

Ice Skating at Ober GatlinburgSportacular Camp- Ages 8 – 13

July 14 -18, 2014 :: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Cost: $50.00
Your super little athlete will get their fill in this busy sport camp! A T-shirt is included, but please provide your child’s own lunch each day. Activities include basketball, dodgeball, lasertag, swimming, capture the flag, bowling, tubing, Hot Air Balloon, soccer, flag football, ice skating, and go-carts.

Camping in Cades CoveSurvivor Camp- Ages 8 – 13

July 21 – 25, 2014 :: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm and one overnight camp-out
Cost: $90.00
If you have a young adventurer on your hands, look no further than Survivor Camp! Children will need to bring their own lunch with them each day (excluding the camp-out) and a T-shirt is included in the cost! This amazing camp includes a treasure hunt, Haunted Adventure, obstacle course, The Tomb, craft and puzzle challenges, dogeball tournament, tubing, White Water Rafting, and a camp-out at Cades Cove.

For more information, call the City of Gatlinburg at (865) 436-4990 or visit the City of Gatlinburg website!

Oh Those Bears!

Oh Those Bears!

Oh Those Bears!Seeing a bear is definitely a thrill! Not so much the, “Aww, what a cute fuzzy animal!” thrill. More the strange, awe-inspiring combination of, “What a beautiful, majestic animal!” and “Wow! I could’ve been killed!” If that’s the kind of thrill you’re looking for, search no further than the Great Smoky Mountains! They’ve been known to even come down into town and visit the candy shop, make house calls (or cabin calls), or pass by the cabin rental office (yes, ERA In The Smokies, the one that sponsors this blog), but to have the best chance of glimpsing one, visit their natural habitat: The Great Smoky Mountains National Forrest!This bear crossed the road in front of our office, as you can see!

Bears on the Abrams Falls TrailThe bears are, in fact, so active right now, that certain areas of the park have been shut down to cut down risk of attack. No attacks have yet been reported this year, but there was a man who reported that a bear followed him for quite a while as he rode his bike, even though the man was trying to move away. This is most unusual behavior for bears, as they are usually afraid of humans, and prefer to avoid us. A couple of years ago, when I was naive and reckless, I went hiking by myself on the Abrams Falls Trail in Cades Cove fairly early in the morning, about 8am. The trail was nearly deserted, and as I hiked along in solitude, I looked up and saw a mama bear and her cubs up the hill a bit. Even as my heart jumped into overdrive, I calmly continued my walk down the trail. Thankfully I was already headed in the opposite direction as the bears, but if I had been going the same direction, I would have turned around, even if it meant cutting my hike short. That mama bear behaved as a normal bear, and gave no sign that she even noticed my presence, but continued on her way.

What should you do if you encounter a bear? Well, we know you want to take a picture, but please consider your safety and the bear’s needs first. The National Park has the following recommendations: “If you see a bear remain watchful. Do not approach it. If your presence causes the bear to change its behavior (stops feeding, changes its travel direction, watches you, etc.)-you’re too close. Being too close may promote aggressive behavior from the bear such as running toward you, making loud noises, or swatting the ground. The bear is demanding more space. Don’t run, but slowly back away, watching the bear. Try to increase the distance between you and the bear. The bear will probably do the same.

Close Encounters of the Bear Kind“If a bear persistently follows or approaches you, without vocalizing, or paw swatting, change your direction. If the bear continues to follow you, stand your ground. If the bear gets closer, talk loudly or shout at it. Act aggressively to intimidate the bear. Act together as a group if you have companions. Make yourselves look as large as possible (for example, move to higher ground). Throw non-food objects such as rocks at the bear. Use a deterrent such as a stout stick. Don’t run and don’t turn away from the bear. Don’t leave food for the bear; this encourages further problems.”

2010 Bear Photo Contest Winners!The following areas are currently closed due to aggressive bear activity: Spence Field Shelter, Backcountry Campsites 13,18, 21, 113, and Bull Head Trail. Areas with merely a warning include: Appalachian Trail for Shuckstack to Doe Knob, Curry Mountain Trail, Gregory Bald Trail, Laurel Falls Trail, Icewater Spring Shelter, and Backcountry Campsite 24. Cades Cove is also known for being the site of tons of bear sitings. We’ve even seen pictures that people were able to take from their cars, sometimes of a bear crossing the road just in front of or behind them.

These bears were caught in the hot tub of our cabin Chipmunk Haven!Another way to see a bear is to rent a cabin. ERA in the Smokies usually receives several reports each year from guests and staff alike that bears have been viewed at the cabins. Sometimes only their handiwork is encountered, however! They do like to try to dig in the trash!

ERA In The SmokiesThis 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.

Top Ten Ways to Celebrate July 4th in the Smokies in 2014

Stay in a Smoky Mountain Cabin During July 4th Holiday!The 4th of July is a prime week to come to the Smokies! With so much to do and that great summer weather, who wouldn’t want to join us?! Four different options for fireworks, a variety of music, good food, summer sales, roller coasters, and more! There’s so much to do, you can’t possibly do it all in one day. Why not come for a week?!

Gatlinburg 4th of July Parade1. First Independence Day Parade in the Nation

“The first Independence Day Parade in the Nation marks its 39th year by honoring Military Veterans and other U.S. Military Heroes.  The annual Gatlinburg 4th of July Midnight Parade leads off at 12:00AM (midnight) on Friday, July 4, 2014 to the cheers of close to 100,000 spectators lining the streets of the City for this award winning parade.” Get there early in the day with your lawn chairs to claim a good spot! Traffic will be tight, so it may be a good idea to find a parking spot early on July 3, or park at the Gatlinburg Welcome Center at Wiley Oakley Rd just before you come into town, and ride the trolley (free during the summer!) into town.

River Raft Regatta2. Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta

“This year’s fun-filled Fourth of July celebration in Gatlinburg will feature the always-competitive River Raft Regatta, the unmanned kind. Anything floatable can be entered starting at 10 a.m. at the Christ in the Smokies bridge on River Road and will end at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. There are two categories: Trash (not hand-made) and Treasure (hand-made) – awards will go to the top 3 in each category. Additionally, the “Judges Choice” award will go to the most creative “raft.”  Awards will be given to the oldest and the youngest participant. Registration begins at 10 am and the race will start at 12:00 pm.  Trophies will be supplied by the Gatlinburg Recreation Department.”

Gatlinburg Fireworks Finale3. Gatlinburg Fireworks Finale

“Join the celebration in downtown Gatlinburg to mark our nation’s “Independence Day” with a magnificent fireworks show. The City of Gatlinburg lights up the mountain skyline downtown centered on the area of traffic light #3 at 10 p.m. with this grand display. Designated a Top 20 event by Southeast Tourism Society. ”

View of the Fireworks from Eagles Nest4. Stay in a Cabin

The best way to enjoy all Gatlinburg has to offer during 4th of July week is to stay in a Gatlinburg Cabin! ERA In The Smokies offers a variety of cabins to suit all your vacation needs! Want to be secluded and private? Stay in Chipmunk Haven! There’s a little bit of a view as well, rare in private cabins! Want a spectacular mountain view? Stay in Sky Highway! You can even enjoy that view from a relaxing hot tub! Want a pool table and other fun games? Stay in Black Bear Holler! Want to bring your pet along for the adventure? Stay in On the Rocks! But for the 4th of July, there are probably a ton of you who just wish there was some way to enjoy the fireworks without having to leave the comfort of your cabin! You are in luck! We have 6 cabins from which you can do just that! Above the Rest, At the Top, Eagle’s Nest, Great Escape, Sunset Ridge, and Southern Comfort sit up on a small hill overlooking the town of Gatlinburg. From these cabins, you have a gorgeous mountain view, as well as a view of the city lights at night, and of course- the fireworks! They also boast pool tables, hot tubs, and gas fireplaces, as well as close proximity to town. You can drive less than half a mile down the hill, park for free on River Rd (if you get there early enough in the day) and walk a block over to the main Parkway in Gatlinburg! Have fun!

Smoky Mtn Tunes and Tales5. Smoky Mtn Tunes & Tales

Tunes & Tales is a summer-long street performance event throughout downtown Gatlinburg featuring musical performers, cloggers, storytellers and artisans giving you a taste of Appalachian culture. This popular event truly highlights one of Gatlinburg’s greatest assets – the walkability of the community – and provides guests with an interactive, educational and entertaining experience the whole family can enjoy.”

Lonestar will play at the Patriot Festival6. 24th Annual Pigeon Forge Patriot Festival

July 4- “Thousands gather at Patriot Park each year for this free event. The fun typically starts around noon with games and activities for kids. There’s also live musical entertainment, which starts early in the afternoon and lasts until 9:30 or 10 at night. This years lineup features the Pigeon Forge Community Chorus, the Tim Kellar Band, bluegrass group Adkins & Loudermilk, the Jimmy Buffet tribute band Sons of Sailors and the event headliners Lonestar! After the music it’s time for the evening’s finale – an extravagant fireworks display!”

July 4th Sale at Tanger Outlets7. 4th of July Weekend Sale at Tanger Five Oaks

July 3-6 Tanger Outlet Mall at Five Oaks in Sevierville will be having their July 4th Sale! And we thought those outlet deals couldn’t get any better! With over 100 stories and eateries, Tanger is a complete day experience of its own! View their current coupons and sales! For those in your family who don’t wish to shop til they drop, Ripley’s Old MacDonald’s Farm Mini Golf is just a short walk through the parking lot, and the NASCAR Speedpark is next door.

Smokies Baseball8. Tennessee Smokies Baseball

July 3- Start off your celebrations early with a classic American baseball game at Smokies Stadium at exit 407 on I-40. The Smokies face off against the Montgomery Biscuits. At the end of the game, enjoy a beautiful fireworks display!

The Art of the Picnic9. Pack a Picnic

Whether you want to stake a claim for a parade view, or set up to see some fireworks, whether you’re going to spend all day shopping or seek some peace and quiet at one of our area’s many parks and picnic areas, you’re going to need lunch (and/or dinner)! So pack a picnic! If you want to make it super easy, you can always get take out from your favorite restaurant, and whisk it away to your desired location to enjoy! If you want to go more traditional, and perhaps save a little money, you can visit our local grocery store, Food City, and pick up those sandwiches, pickles, and chips (or your own favorite picnic foods). You can also pick up disposable plates, forks, napkins, and even a disposable tablecloth! If you want to be even more thrifty, you can check out the prices for those items at the Family Dollar store just up the hill from Food City.

Great American Summer10. Great American Summer at Dollywood

Dollywood makes every day this summer feel like July 4th with their Great American Summer Celebration! The park stays open longer- 10am to 10pm- to allow you to enjoy all the park has to offer for just a little bit longer, including a nightly fireworks display! “Synchronized to music, each evening features Paint Your Dreams across the Sky, an inspiring musical crescendo written specifically for the occasion by Dolly, along with other songs that underscore this colorful summertime celebration!”

The Sugarlands Distillery

The Sugarlands Distillery

On March 21, 2014, Sugarlands Distillery held their grand opening celebration!

Making Moonshine

An exciting place “with one foot firmly planted in the past and the other in these modern times,” Sugarlands Distillery offers authentic moonshine flavors such as: Silver Cloud, Appalachian Apple Pie, Blockader’s Blackberry, and much more! They use a 7 Step process to make the moonshine:


1st Step of Distillation Artisanal Stone Burr Mill– Tennessee white corn is milled to a cornmeal consistency in our artisanal stone burr mill.
2nd Step of Distillation Fermenter– Milled corn & pure cane sugar are then combined with “backins” from a prior batch along with yeast & water from the Smoky Mountains to create our sour mash. During fermentation the mash bubbles over 4-5 days.
3rd Step of Distillation Copper Pot Still– Fermented “corn beer” is transferred to the Copper Pot Still where the mash is heated until the alcohol vaporizes. This is the first distillation.
4th Step of Distillation Copper Distillation Column– As it moves through the copper distillation column, it condenses and is redistilled 5 more times for a total of 6. The copper removes sulfites from the alcohol vapor.
5th Step of Distillation Spirit Safe– As the liquid is cooled and poured off the tap in the Spirit Safe the new moonshine’s heads, hearts, and tails are collected and separated. Only our hearts are kept for final bottling.
6th Step of Distillation Sugarlands Shine– The “backins” from the pot still take on new life when they are blended with the next run. The Authentic Sugarlands Shine Silver Cloud is born and savored.


Historic Roots

Though a new company, the Sugarlands Distillery has made every effort to keep itself deeply rooted in the Tennessee History from which moonshine originates. You can see this in a variety of ways, including the materials used to construct their main building- a barn-house built from reclaimed wood.

Red Blue and White WoodsBlue and White Wood

The rustic blue and white painted wood used throughout the distillery interior was rescued from the Grey family home which was nestled in the Cane Creek area of Tellico Plains. The home was built upon a brick foundation which pre-dates the civil war. The wood carefully selected for our distillery consists primarily of interior painted wood from this warm family home, soaking up the history of family gatherings through the years.

Red Wood

The signature red wood came from an old barn in the Appalachian foothills of Tellico Plains, which was built and then painted by the Carriger family in the 1930’s. Just up the road from there a few of the light greenish/grey boards came out of the interior of a house in an area called Turkey Creek that also dates back to the Civil War.

Brown and Grey WoodsBrown and Grey Wood

The weathered brown and grey wood which covers the distillery’s exterior and some high interior walls were saved from a barn in Sweetwater. Built by a well-respected barn builder of the time by the name of Wilson, a copy of the handwritten deed of the property reveals it was most likely built in the late 1850’s. It is all white oak wood. The brown was most likely interior wood protected from the elements while the grey wood shows 150 years of cold mountain snows and the heat of Southern summers.

Our SugarlandsTennessee Legends

Another interesting way the Sugarlands distillery shows their pride in their roots is by sharing some of the fascinating history and legends of our area on their website!  Stop by there sometime and enjoy learning about the moonshine history of the area and the part it played in our economic development, Wiley Oakley, for whom one of Gatlinburg’s most traveled roads is named (ERA In the Smokies has several cabins available for rent which are on or just off of Wiley Oakley Rd), and much more!

Worth a Visit

Below are just a few reasons the Sugarlands Distillery is worth a visit!

The Back PorchThe Back Porch

Rest your feet and sit a spell on our Back Porch; an outdoor pine pavilion which includes our performance stage ready for you to relax and savor your time with us at the distillery. We keep our calendar filled with touring regional and national musical acts as well as talented local favorites. Highlighting styles ranging from; Appalachian Americana, old-timey, bluegrass pickin’ jams, folk, acoustic, and singer-songwriter.

The Back Porch is also home to the Smoky Mountain Storytellers Association, which brings tale tellers to the stage from as close as our backyard to the world over. Check out our Happenings page for our up to date entertainment calendar and plan your next visit to hang out with us.

The Trading PostThe Trading Post

Shop moonshine, mountain merchandise, apparel, books, music and more in the Trading Post. You’ll find a collection of shirts, hats and other accessories to outfit your Sugarlands style. There’s also a nifty assortment of gifts and tools for the outdoor adventurer. Since we care an awful lot about our Sugarlands Shine we’ve got glassware, flasks, and other gizmos to serve it up in fine fashion. Don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of extra large bags for you to carry all your stuff. Visit the shop link to preview our full range of online Sugarlands Merchandise available.

Sippin' PostsThe Sippin’ Posts

We wanted to make it easy to sip free samples of our delicious Sugarlands Shine while you’re visiting, so we constructed three octagon bars for folks to gather around. We call em Sippin’ Posts. We’ve saved a place just for you to get acquainted with our friendly Tastemakers as they pour savory sips of all of our fine moonshine. At the Sippin’ Post, you will find your favorite flavors of shine to take home and share with friends and family.

When you buy a full case of twelve jars from the distillery, or even a six pack you will receive your very own Sugarlands wood crate absolutely free. Warning- you will receive very interesting looks on the street while walking around downtown Gatlinburg and may gain many new friends in the process.

Sugarlands Still HouseSugarlands Still House

Although the recipes and craft of making moonshine are ages old, the Sugarlands Still House features custom-designed distilling equipment that produces a superior moonshine.

With one foot firmly planted in the past and the other in these modern times, the Still House is where our delicious Sugarlands Shine is made.

Our artisanal stone mill grinds grains like corn and rye into meal that is then mixed with pure Smoky Mountain water and is then moved to our giant cooker. From there, the liquid is transferred to the fermenter to simmer for a few days. When the time is right that “wash” is pumped into the copper pot still where it is heated and distilled. The alcohol vapor filters through the copper pipes and rises up through the plates of the distillation column, down through the chilling column to cool and is finally poured out of the Spirit Safe.

You can see the whole production through the screen windows or if you want to take a closer look you can book a free talk and tour. As long as you knock on our speakeasy door, whisper the password, keep mum,  and you are in!

Most of the above contents, including most of the photos, were copied directly from The Sugarlands Distillery Website. Please visit their website to get more information, stories, and pictures!

A New Perspective!

The warmer months are coming and you are already planning your return visit. If you have experienced our nature hikes, you are aware of the surroundings. You look at nature with a keen sense, you take a moment to capture and admire light, sounds and the critters along the way. Well, it may be time to take that experience to a higher elevation.

CLIMBWORKS CANOPY provides you with the opportunity to take it in, with a higher perspective in mind. Their area is surrounded on three sides by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which means you zipline over ravines, streams, trees and the wildlife found below. Feel the air, as you slide across the mountain scenery on nine different ziplines and step across three canopy bridges. Their tour guides will drive you to the top of a mountain, then be prepared to glide among the trees for two hours.

As you glide from tree to tree taking in the view along those lines, see the beauty that makes this area a treasured site. If you still can’t enough of the excitement it provides, then try it again – this time at night!


Climb_logoThis blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more information on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 865-430-3366. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.

ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals


Our Guest Shared the Joy!

During the winter season the Smoky Mountain area delights its guest with an array of glistening lights. As the participation throughout the area has increased, more visuals are added with each turning year. So, we decided to ask our guest what about Winterfest and Winter Magic allures you to the Smokies, what is it that brings you or your loved ones joy? Is is it the season, the lights, the events, or the ambiance of a winter cabin? We asked that our participants submit photos that display and give visual representation of their Joy. The fun behind this particular contest, was that the meaning was different to each person. Here are a few samples submitted by Share the Joy contestants.

Photo Contest

Our winner was Nancy Colby for the city of Gatlinburg during the winter, gives her joy. Nancy was awarded a gift certificate for a FREE 2 Night Stay in one of our 2 Bedroom cabins. We enjoy interacting with our guest throughout the year and our photo contests are just one of the avenues in which we do that. We always like to see what brings you here to the Smokies, lookout for the next photo contest for spring is in the air!

This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more information on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 865-430-3366. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.

ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals

A Sporting Feud!

You stroll down Parkway, making your way to your destination and you begin to ponder as to how you are going to fit it all in! We suggest breaking it down by your interest and if you are into competitive action and extreme sports then the Lumberjack Feud will provide you with both. This attraction is a dinner & show that provides its audience with an amazing display of intense physical competitions.The audience watches authentic Lumberjack athletes compete in these high thrilling events:


Watch these Lumberjacks utilize their ability to chop and climb in the Springboard chop event. After they ascend they use springboard placements to chop through a 12-inch-diameter aspen log mounted on the top of the pole.



Single Buck

In the Single Buck competition a Lumberjack utilizes a one-man bucking saw to pierce through 19 inches of white pine within the designated time frame.





During the Hot Saw competition a lumberjack uses a STIHL MS880 chainsaw to make three vertical cuts—down, up, and down—through a 20-inch-diameter white pine log. This competition is based on the time frame in which the third slice is severed. All cuts must be complete to qualify.



Double_ BuckIn the Double Buck competition, two Lumberjacks utilize a two-man buckingsaw to pierce through a 20-inch-diameter white pine log. The Lumberjack team that cuts through their log first wins!





This Standing Block competition simulates the action of chopping down a tree. Lumberjacks will be striking the front side of the block. They then strike the back side, as their axe is driven into the wood severing it into two.




Underhand_chop copy

In this competition Lumberjacks will be standing on a block, swinging a 7 pound axe in a downward position continuing half way through the front side in the Underhand Block Chop event. Swiftly they helicopter over to the other side to sever their block in two.




In the 60-foot speed climb Lumberjacks will ascend poles with their ropes in order to cross the top line. Once this goal is achieved, they must be the first to touch ground in order to accomplish the win!


The Log Roll competition is the grand finale it challenges a Lumberjacks ability for balance, speed, movement and longevity. A Lumberjack will attempt to lodge their opponent off a floating log within a designated time frame. The win is based on a two out of three score.

Take a peek at what you will see at the Lumberjack Feud in Pigeon Forge! If you book a stay with ERA In The Smokies you will receive a Buy 1, Get 1 coupon for this Dinner & Show! (This offer is valid until February 28th and excludes the Valentine’s Holiday weekend)

This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more information on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 865-430-3366. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.
ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals