At the Top & Above the Rest, at Winfield Heights!

WH_AT_ARComing to Gatlinburg for some holiday shopping and don’t want to be to far from the strip? Winfield Heights is a unique destination spot, which is located less than a mile from Parkway. These three duplex cabins offer a convenient location with accommodations and amenities in mind! Their distinct setting, graciously gives the guest a marvelous view of the lively Gatlinburg area and its surrounding mountains. For that reason, they are continually admired from those who have ridden the Ober tram.

Each cabin provides its guest with:W_H

  • A fireplace
  • Jacuzzi
  • A hot tub
  • Wireless Internet
  • A gameroom with pool table & air hockey
  • Fully equipped kitchen
  • Washer/dryer
  • Along with 3 levels of decks

While staying in this comfortable setting, one can fulfill their holiday shopping, as they check out all the unique places there are here. The Village is a quaint little plaza with an old world setting. It has a unique collection of boutiques, eateries and galleries.

Arrowcraft, is one of the Southern Highland Craft Guild Shops and is the oldest gift shop in Gatlinburg. This historic shop sells the best crafts from a nine-state region – weaving, basketry, pottery, woodcarving, glass, and toys – ensuring that these skills passed from hand to hand for generations will be preserved for the future.

The Marketplace is a cute little place, with shops that provide an eclectic mix of brand name, specialty and artisan stores. Experience fine architecture, authentic gas lit walkways and mingle in the local culture.

Baskins Square Mall has the Mountain Woodcarvers Shop, the Little Sparrow Gallery, the Scents of Gatlinburg, The Lollipop Guild, God’s World, and Doc’s Magic Shop.

One can always take the trolley and set out for The Arts & Crafts Community.     The 8 Mile historical loop is a place to find; gorgeous quilts, old-fashioned straw brooms, exquisitely woven baskets, hand-dipped scented candles, ceramic pitchers, pottery, dulcimers, stuffed bears and leather vests. The handmade jewelry is unlike anything you’ll find in a mall back home. If there is something quite particular that you need click here downloadable PDF for an extended listing of the retail locations off the Parkway.

sunset_viewtramsmSo, if you were one of those on the tram wondering…how do I get that cabin? Now you know ERA In The Smokies has them and we invite you to stay, with our spectacular winter rates! See http://erainthesmokies.com/deals.html

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

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Motorcycle Trails!

 

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Gatlinburg, TN has attracted many visitors traveling by motorcycle over the years. With it’s winding roads and gorgeous mountain views, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a wonderful place to have fun riding motorcycles and take in the beauty of the mountains. Throughout the many different motorcycles trails there are quaint mountain tours offering culture and history to visitors. Stop in each town and have a meal and discover what the natives have to offer. The trails range from moderate in difficulty to strenuous in difficulty for all levels of experienced drivers. Have fun and remember to always put safety first when riding!

Here is a complied list of great motorcycle trail in the Smokies:

  1. Gatlinburg, TN tour NC, TN- Approximately 225 miles round trip. Travel along the Blue Ridge Parkway heading West and onto Gatlinburg, TN. Abrp terrific road with abundant scenery. Time permitting, drive onto Pigeon Forge, TN and then return home after lunch.
  2. Cherohala Skyway tour NC, TN- Approximately 320 miles round trip. Truly a road in the sky! Typically less traffic than the Blue Ridge Parkway and much more isolated. Arrive in Tellico Plains, TN and have lunch along the river. Return home on the same road with a totally different view of the scenery.
  3. Cherokee/Casino tour NC- Approximately 180 miles round trip. Ride the Blue Ridge Parkway over to Cherokee and learn about the Indian heritage in the area. If you are a gambler, Harrah’s Casino offers an abundance of gambling diversions to take your money.
  4. biltmorefront3Biltmore Estate tour NC- Approximately 65 miles round trip. Ride the Blue Ridge Parkway into Asheville and then to the Biltmore Estate, “America’s Castle”. Spend as much time as you like exploring the Estate and Gardens and have lunch while you are there.
  5. Oconee Forest/ Highlands tour NC, SC and GA- Approximately 150 miles round trip. Travel through a canopied forest and up a back road to highlandsHighlands. This is one of the more spectacular curvy mountain roads around. Have lunch in the quaint mountain village of Highlands and experience some great shopping afterwards and then head home.
  6. Deals Gap tour NC, TN- Approximately 200 miles round trip. Travel to Bryson City and beyond to Deals Gap and the “Tail of the Dragon”, 318 turns in 11 miles. This is the longest trail in the Smokies, but possibly the most rewarding.tail of the dragon
  7. Hot Springs tour NC- Approximately 160 miles round trip. Travel scenic mountain roads to North Carolina’s only natural hot water springs/baths. Be careful, the springs really relax you.
  8. The Newport Trail tour TN- Enjoy scenery of mountain streams, rivers, mountain coves and valleys, town of Newport, TN and the river gorge.
  9. The Dandridge/ Douglas Lake Trail tour TN- Enjoy scenery of mountain streams, river gorge, mountain coves, mountain lake, historic town of Dandridge, TN, Douglas dam and bypass around Pigeon Forge, TN.
  10. The Waynesville/ Cherokee Trail tour NC, TN- Enjoy scenery of mountain streams, river-cut canyon through the Great Smoky Mountains, quaint mountain resort towns and the Cherokee Indian National Reservation. A final ride over the high range of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a grand finale for this scenic and entertaining trail.
  11. The Maggie Valley/ Blue Ridge Parkway Trail tour NC, TN- Enjoy scenery of mountain streams, river-cut canyon through the Great Smoky Mountains, a quaint mountain resort town with regional amusement park combined with spectacular views at roadside overlooks, picnic areas and quiet trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway for one of the most popular motorcycle trails for locals and visitors alike.

Stay at an authentic mountain cabin with ERA In The Smokies and travel to all of the fun motorcycle trails!

Things to do in Gatlinburg- For Kids!

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When vacationing in Gatlinburg, many visitors look for something fun to do with their kids. There are a range of activities to participate in from hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to riding bumper cars in downtown Gatlinburg. There are many cheap or free things to do in Gatlinburg also if you are on a budget. At the Nantahala Outdoor Center right before the National Park in downtown Gatlinburg, kids can climb the rock wall while you shop for new camping gear.Climbing_with_NOC_(001) The NOC is a great place for the whole family. There are several Ripley’s attractions throughout downtown Gatlinburg  including Ripley’s Aquarium in the Smokies with an interactive kids area, live mermaid diving shows and a specially designed kid friendly penguin exhibit, Davy penguinsCrockett mini golf, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze and Candy store, Ripley’s Moving Theater, Ripley’s Fun Zone, and the famous Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum. Ober Gatlinburg also has a lot to offer not only in the winter months, but in the summer months as well. Ride the Aerial Tramway from downtown Gatlinburg up to Ober Gatlinburg and enjoy the best views of the Great Smoky Mountains. After you get to the top, visit the Wildlife Encounter where you can see Bears. While on your visit to Ober Gatlinburg spend a few hours Ice Skating, ride the Alpine Slide, the Scenic Chairlift, the Blue Cyclone Rapids water slide and Ober’s Lightin’ Raft Ride and alpine slideShoot-the-Chute. There is also a fun-filled Amaze’n Maze and a Kiddie Land and Rides for children.

Gatlinburg also offers Zip-lining, Whitewater Rafting, hiking, biking, horseback riding and fishing noc raftingspots. You may book zip-lining and white water rafting trips through the NOC in downtown Gatlinburg as well as rent bicycles for the day and get information about where to go fishing. The Sugarlands Visitors Center is also a great place to take your children for free where the whole family can learn about the history of the park and go through the wildlife museum inside the Visitors Center. Get information about the Junior Ranger program and the activities that your children may participate in for free. Cades Cove is also an excellent place to take your family in the park. Take a ranger led hayride through Cades Cove for $14.00 per person.

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Mynatt Park, one of Gatlinburg’s City parks, is near downtown Gatlinburg. Take the family to the park for a picnic lunch, to play in the river, play on the jungle gym, or even play a fun game of tennis or basketball. All kids live candy, so while downtown visit any of the local Candy stores where the candy is made on site. Watch Saltwater Taffy being made at Ole Smoky’s Candy Kitchen.

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Stay with ERA In The Smokies and easily access all that Gatlinburg has to offer for the entire family!

15th Annual ERA for MDA Golf Classic

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ERA In The Smokies is sponsoring their 15th annual ERA for MDA Golf Classic on September 11, 2013. The golf Classic and Live Auction will occur Wednesday, September 11 at Bent Creek Golf Resort on Highway 321 in Gatlinburg, TN. Lunch will be served at 11:00 am, and players will tee off at noon. Teams will be made up of four golfers and players may bring a pre-made team or come alone and be placed in a team. The fee to play in the fund-raising tournament is $100 per player and includes lunch, green fees, cart fees, an embroidered golf shirt, goody bag, dinner and entrance to the live auction held after the tournament. Players will also have the opportunity to win a new car from Taylor Ford in Waynesville, NC during the Hole-In-One Competition.

ERA In The Smokies sponsors the MDA Golf Benefit to raise money to send local children living with Muscular Dystrophy to MDA Camp Discovery in Gainesboro, TN. 100% of the profits of the Benefit and Live Auction go to send local children to camp- no administration fees.

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What is MDA?

MDA is a non-profit health agency dedicated to finding treatments and cures for neuromuscular diseases, specifically muscular dystrophy, by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education. Muscular Dystrophy is a group of genetic diseases in which muscle fibers are unusually susceptible to damage. These damaged muscles become progressively weaker. Most people who have muscular dystrophy will eventually need to use a wheelchair. Symptoms of the most common variety of muscular dystrophy begin in childhood, primarily in boys. People who have muscular dystrophy may have trouble breathing or swallowing. Their limbs may also be drawn inward and become fixed in that position- a problem called contracture. The heart and other organs may also be affected in some varieties of the disease. There is not cure for muscular dystrophy, but medications and therapy can help slow the progression of the disease.

“MDA campers dream about summer camp all year and often say it’s better than Christmas; some even say it’s changed their lives. Almost all campers agree that it’s “the best week of the year””

MDA camp offers a fun and safe outdoor experience, along with opportunities to engage in a variety of activities such as horseback riding, swimming, adaptive sports, arts and crafts, camp dances and much more. However, if you talk to some of the campers about their experience, they will tell you that the real benefits are the lifelong friendships, the increased self-esteem and confidence and the chance to spend at least one week of the year in a place where physical disabilities are the norm rather than the exception. MDA staff and volunteers assume all camper care, including physical and emotional support, allowing parents much-needed time to attend to their own need and, in some cases, spend some special time with the camper’s siblings.

Businesses or individuals may sponsor a golf hole for $100; signage for the Hole Sponsors will be present at the Hole sponsored on the day of the event. Items and/or services of value are needed for the Live Auction. All sponsors are recognized in the participant program  available on the day of the event. To become a sponsor or player, please call (865)430-3366.

Tax-FREE Weekend in Tennessee!

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Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 2, 2013 and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 4, 2013, Tennessee will allow a tax-free holiday for going back to school. However, any one can make a purchase tax-free; you do not have to prove you are a student or buying for a student. The only items that will be tax-free are clothing, school supplies and computers.

Clothing ($100 or less per item) examples of tax-free clothing items include:

  • Belts
  • Capsclothes
  • Coats
  • Dresses
  • Gloves
  • Hats
  • Hosiery
  • Jacketssneakers
  • Jeans
  • Neckties
  • Pants
  • Scarves
  • School Uniforms
  • Shirts
  • Shoes
  • Socksschool-uniform
  • Sneakers
  • Underwear

Tax exempt clothing items do NOT include accessories such as jewelry, bags or sports or recreational equipment like baseball gloves. When customers put clothing items on layaway during the tax-free holiday period, they will also be tax exempt when final payment and delivery is made after the exemption period.

School Supplies ($100 or less per item) examples:

  • Bindersbackpack
  • Bookbags/backpacks
  • Calculators
  • Chalk
  • Crayons
  • Eraserscalculator
  • Folders
  • Glue
  • Lunch boxes
  • Notebooks
  • Paper
  • Pens
  • Pencilspaintbrushes
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Clay and Glazes
  • Paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Sketch and drawing pads
  • Watercolors

Specifically excluded items include instructional material, including reference books and school computer supplies (compact discs, printers and printer ink).

Computers ($1,500 or less)

Computers with a purchase price of $1,500 or less, not for use of trade or business, are exempt from tax. Additionally, there is no requirement that purchases be made only for students.computer

The following items are NOT exempt from tax:

  • Computer parts, such as monitors, keyboards, speakers and scanners when not sold in conjunction with a computer set
  • Individually purchased software or other software not part of a preloaded software package on the initial purchase of a computer
  • Storage media, such as compact discs and USB flash drives
  • Handheld electronic devices
  • Personal digital assistants (PDAs) and electronic readers (i.e. Kindle, Nook, etc.)
  • Video game consoles
  • Computer printers and supplies for printers, such as paper and ink

Places to shop during the tax-free weekend in Gatlinburg include the Mountain Mall, the Village shops and the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). The great things about shopping in Gatlinburg is that all the shops are within walking distance from one another or you can catch the Gatlinburg Free Parkway trolley.noc

Great places to shop in Pigeon Forge include the Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall, the Pigeon Forge Belz Outlet Mall, the Tanger Outlet Mall and the Pigeon Forge Factory Outlets- The Red Roof Mall.

Some places to shop during the tax-exempt weekend in Sevierville are the Five Oaks Mall with well known clothing stores, TJ Maxx, Belk, Kmart, Wal-Mart, Staples, and Lee and Levi stores.tanger-five-oaks

There are multiple places to shop for back to school in Gatlinburg and surrounding areas near luxury cabin rentals, such as ERA In The Smokies cabin rentals, so make a last minute vacation and save on back-to-school items!

Ten Cheap or FREE things to do in Gatlinburg-2013

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1. Driving Trails- Enjoy nature and view wildlife on these driving trails: Trail of the Dragon, Balsam Mountain Road, Cades Cove Loop Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Upper Tremont Road, Newfound Gap Road and the Cataloochee Valley.

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2. 8 mile driving loop around the Arts and Crafts Community- With more than 120 working artisans this loop is the nations largest organization of independent artisans.

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3. Historic Structures in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park– There are over 90 structures preserved or rehabilitated in the park. You can see them in Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Oconaluftee and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

4. Free Wine Tasting- Try locally made wines at these wineries: Smoky Mountain Winery, Sugar-lands Cellars, Ole Smoky Winery and Moonshine Distillery

5. Sugar-lands Visitor Center- Pick up maps and see exhibits of Mountain life and culture as well as all of the different species of animals that can be found here in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

6. Outdoor Activities- Bicycling, Camping, Fishing, Hiking and Picnicking. There are many places in the park to enjoy multiple activities such as the Chimmeys Picnic area, the Greenbrier Picnic area, the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic area and Cades Cove.biking

Seasonal Events:

7. Winterfest– This event brings the opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills, share ideas and compete against other posts and crews and have fun.

8.Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival– Beginning in September, the people of Gatlinburg celebrate the Autumn colors by decorating and entertaining guests and start out with the Fall Craftsman’s Fair.

9. New Year’s Eve Ball Drop– Celebrate the New Year at Gatlinburg’s 26th annual Ball Drop and Fireworks Show around the intersection of the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg and the Historic Nature Trail at the Base of the Space Needle late Tuesday night, December 31, 2013.

10. Gatlinburg Festival of Lights Christmas Parade- Celebrate the Christmas season at Gatlinburg’s 38th annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade at 7:30 p.m. on Friday December 7, 2013. There will be over 100 parade entries, helium balloons and marching bands from Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Alabama. gatlinburgchristmasparade

Waterfalls in the Smokies

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Few experiences in nature are more rewarding than taking a beautiful hike knowing there is a majestic waterfall waiting for you at the end. Waterfalls are commonly formed when a river is young at the time when the channel is often narrow and deep. When the river courses over resistant bedrock erosion happens slowly while upstream erosion occurs more quickly. As the water increases its velocity at the edge of the waterfall, it picks up material from the riverbed. The erosion capacity is increased when whirlpools created in the turbulence as well as sand and stones carried by the water stream. These whirlpools cause the waterfall the carve deeper into the into the bed and to recede upstream. Many times over a period of time, the waterfall will recede back to form a canyon or gorge downstream as it recedes upstream and will carve deeper into the ridge above it. The rate of retreat for a waterfall can be as high as one and a half meters per year.

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Waterfalls normally form in a rocky area due to erosion. There is usually a deep area just below waterfalls because of the kinetic energy hitting the bottom. Often, the rock stratum just below the more resistant shelf will be of a softer type, meaning that undercutting due to splashback will occur here to form a shallow cave-like formation known as a rock shelter under and behind the waterfall. Eventually, the outcropping, more resistant cap rock will collapse under pressure to add blocks of rock to the base of the waterfall. These blocks of rock are then broken down into smaller boulders by attrition as they collide with each other, and they also erode the base of the waterfall by abrasion, creating a deep plunge pool or gorge.

There are many waterfalls that are just a short hike away here in the Smokies, these include:

  • Laurel Falls- This 80 foot high waterfall is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the smokies. Located just a few minutes from downtown Gatlinburg, this trail is paved making it stroller, wheelchair and walker accessible.
  • Grotto Falls- Easily walk behind this 25 foot high waterfall just minutes from Gatlinburg off the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. This trail is 3 miles round trip and should take around 2-3 hours to complete.

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    Grotto Falls

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Laurel Falls

  • Abrams Falls- This 5 mile roundtrip hike along Abrams Creek is moderate, but worth it. The large amount of water creates a very deep pool, but swimming is not allowed because of the dangerous currents. This hike is in Cades Cove.

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    Abrams Falls

Ramsey Cascades- At 100 feet, this is the highest waterfall in the park. The water collects in a small pool where salamanders can be found. This is a strenuous 8 mile trip  will take 5 to 7 hours to complete, but the reward at the end is worth it. To get there drive 5.9 miles from Gatlinburg on 321, then turn right at Greenbrier, at mile 3.2 turn left at the sign for Ramsey Cascades onto the bridge that crosses the Middle Prong and drive 1.5 miles to the parking area.

  • Hen Wallow Falls- At the bottom of the 90 foot high waterfalls you can often find salamanders. During a very cold winter, the falls often freeze to form a beautiful ice formation. At 4.4 miles roundtrip, this hike is moderate in difficulty. Access this hike at the Gabes Mountain Trailhead at the Cosby Picnic area.

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    Hen-Wallow Falls

  • Mingo Falls- Just outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you can hike this moderate set of wooden stairs .4 of a mile to this waterfall. The access trail is at the Pigeon Creek Trailhead. From the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, drive south toward  Cherokee on US 441 and take the second bridge to the left and drive 4.5 miles to Mingo Falls Campground where the trail begins.

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    Mingo Falls

  • Rainbow Falls- A rainbow is visible on a sunny day when the mist creates a canvas. This 80 foot high waterfalls creates an impressive ice formation in the winter .This hike is 5.4 miles roundtrip and moderate in difficulty. The access trail is at the Rainbow Falls trailhead in the Roaring Fork area. From the Gatlinburg parkway, turn at traffic light #8 and follow the Historic Nature Trail into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Continue past Noah “Bud” Ogle cabin to the Rainbow Falls parking area.

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    Rainbow Falls

Waterfalls in the Smokies you can drive to:

  • Meigs Falls- The pull off for this waterfall is along Little River Road 13 miles west of the Sugarlands Visitor Center. This waterfall can be easily missed while driving so be sure to watch carefully for it!
  • Place of 1,000 drips- From the parkway in Gatlinburg, turn at traffic light #8 and follow the Historic Nature trail in the park. Take the Roaring Fork Motor Nature trail and continue to stop #15 at the falls.

These waterfalls are breathtaking, but make sure to hike prepared with plenty of water, snacks and hiking essentials in case of emergencies.