Autumn Has Arrived!

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The Great Smoky Mountains is gearing up for it’s most treasured time of the year. With the mountains starting to turn their beautiful shades for Autumn, this is the perfect time to plan a trip to the Gatlinburg Area. Visit ERA In The Smokies for some special deals on lodging!

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Ober Gatlinburg is putting on Oktoberfest, their annual celebration inspired by the festival in Germany. Traditional foods are served up daily, using recipes from other Bavarian festivals. These include schnitzel, turkey legs, pretzels and more. Of course, you can’t experience Oktoberfest without tasting beer! Featuring an Outdoor Bier Garten with several different vendors you’ll be sure to find a favorite among the selection. Games and live music will also be available throughout the celebrations.

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Dollywood Harvest Festival is boasting it’s new and exciting theme, Great Pumpkin Luminights. Join them for the best family fun gathering in the Smokies! They have giant pumpkin displays with jack-o-lanterns done by master carvers, along with a Glow Maze sure to impress both children and adults. There’s also tons of new autumn flavored treats such as Pumpkin Funnel Cakes, Candy Corn Cotton Candy and Caramel Apple Sundaes. Kaman artists are also doing glow in the dark art and face painting throughout the park.

 

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What better way to experience the changing of the seasons than a drive through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Beautiful views offered around every turn, wildlife viewing and hikes for every level of experience are some of our favorite things to do around this time of year.

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Cades Cove is an 11-mile loop near Gatlinburg. It offers a leisure drive through the scenery as well as several walking paths. Alum Cave Trail has some of the best fall foliage views in the park, at an elevation of around 5,000 feet. The trail is a 5-mile loop and is for intermediate hikers.

 

 

This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and LOGO with textRentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. 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, Pigeon Forge, and Smoky Mountain areas.

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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!

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

CANDY! Local candy stores in the Smokies

Everyone LOVES…..

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Candy has been around since the cave man, who would eat honey off the honey comb. Over 3000 years ago, chocolate became known when the cacao trees reached the tropical lowlands of southern Mexico. It was then that cacao began to be used for culinary purposes. Candy as Americans know it has been around since the 1800s. The first packaged box of Whitman’s Chocolate hit the scene in 1854.  Gatlinburg, TN is known for their numerous local candy stores. Candy Stores have been in Gatlinburg since the 1930s. Downtown Gatlinburg is the right place to be for a delicious homemade sweet treat. There are many myths about candy, but none as infamous as the myth that there is no such thing as healthy candy. The truth is, many treats such as lollipops, candy canes and gummies have no cholesterol or fat, making them a healthier treat than many people realize. Gum drops, most licorice products and many hard candy varieties are fat-free and have little to no cholesterol, plus, they are low-calorie. For example, a cup of candy corn contains fewer calories than the same amount of raisins.

Salt Water Taffy is a big candy item here in the Smokies. The first recorded documents of Salt Water Taffy are dated from the latetaffy making 1800s. Salt Water Taffy got its name in 1890 in Atlantic City, New Jersey when an ocean wave came ashore one night filling Mr. Bradley’s candy store on the Boardwalk full of ocean water. The next day, a small girl came into the store asking Mr. Bradley if he had any taffy. He replied, “Yes, I have salt water taffy.” Mr. Bradley’s mother overheard his remark and thought the name fit perfectly. In the early 1900s, this new candy was seen at County Fairs and soon many stores were opening. Salt Water Taffy came to the Great Smoky Mountains in the early 1950s and has since been a big attraction for travelers. Is it real “salt water taffy?” You decide.

Below is a list of local candy stores in Gatlinburg and surrounding areas.

  • Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen-774 Parkway, Gatlinburg,TN 37738ole-smoky-candy-kitchen
  • Glades Homemade Candies- 1402 E Parkway #9, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • Kilwin’s Chocolates- 645 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • Mountaineer Kandy Kitchen- 1001 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • Peaches Sweets and More- 849 Glades Rd., Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • Aunt Mahalia’s Candies- 611 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • Unbearably Sweet- 651 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • Log Cabin Candy Kitchen- 329 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • Old Mill Candy Kitchen-177 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863kilwins
  • The Funnel Cake Co.- 631 Baskins Creek Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • Country Candy Kitchen- 3341 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
  • Smoky Mountain Candy Makers- 2880 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
  • The Lollipop Shop of the Smokies- 3609 Outdoor Sportsman Pl, Kodak, TN 37764

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aunt mahaliasold mill candy kitchen

Wine on the Lawn- What’s your favorite?

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Wine On The Lawn is an event hosted by Rocky Top Wines every 3rd Friday of each month from 5:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. This Friday June 21, 2013, the event will be held at Hillside Winery in Sevierville, TN. The event will change locations and have a featured wine each month. This is a free event and is open to the public, and fun for the whole family!! There will be live music and games provided, so be sure to bring a picnic dinner and chairs and or blankets and sip wine for free! At the event you can enter into the Corn-hole Tournament. There will be multiple boards and brackets so bring as many teams as you can! Prizes will be awarded to winning teams, courtesy of Hillside Winery.

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Hillside Winery is is one of five wineries on the Rocky Top Wine Trail, a 12 mile wine tasting route. The wines featured at these wineries are all from local vineyards. The Rocky Top Wine Trail is now offering a free wine glass after your third stop on the 12 mile route and a free gift after your 5th stop on the trail. A printable passport to record your stops on the trail is available at rockytopwineries.com. The Rocky Top Wine Trail offers a great way to learn about the wine making process through educational and family friendly tours! The Hillside Winery focuses on making bubbly and Italian style wines ranging from dry to sweet.

Experience Hillside Winery’s specialty bubbly wine and then learn the steps that are added to the wine making process to produce the bubbly wine. Hillside Winery is affiliated with 14 amazing restaurants, five different brands in the Sevierville-Pigeon Forge area! Hillside Winery is located at 229 Collier Dr. Sevierville, TN 37862. Their hours are April 1st to December 1st Sunday-Thursday 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. and Friday-Saturday 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.

The Wineries in the Rocky Top Wine Trail are:2013wine-trail-map_small

  • Mountain Valley Winery- Pigeon Forge
  • Apple Barn Winery- Sevierville
  • Hillside Winery- Sevierville
  • Sugarlands Cellars- Gatlinburg
  • Eagle Springs Winery- Kodak

Hard Rock in Gatlinburg: Live music with Calico Theory

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The Hard Rock Cafe in Gatlinburg has free live music every Friday night featuring acoustic performances by local and regional musicians. This Friday night, June 21, 2013, Calico Theory will be performing! The band has performed at the Hard Rock Cafe previously for the Hard Rock Rising Competition.

The members of Calico Theory are: Jonathan Sword- vocals and guitar, Ryan Eastridge- vocals and bass, Evan Pease- guitar, and Caleb Coe- drums. This band sounds like Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Matchbox 20. They have been endorsed by the Bristol Herald Couier, the Washington County News, the WCYB TV station, and Pop Vulture Magazine. Songs by the band have been played on several radio stations ranging from Southwest Virginia, to Tennessee and also in South Carolina where their hit song “Sympathy” is currently still in rotation with several plays per day. “Ghost Town” has also been featured on a jazz guitar web site as the video of the day. The up and coming band also had a very complimentary write up in the Bristol Paper about their upcoming album.

calicoThe band has also earned a lot of local support for their willingness to help numerous fundraisers and benefit groups through providing entertainment at the events. Such events have included: several Cancer Awareness walks, a Veteran’s Day Expo at UVA, a relief event in support of the residents of Glade Spring, and as the special guest of the Virginia Highland’s talent show. They are also respected for their performance at the Virginia Highland’s Fall Festival held over the last summer.

“There is music in everything we hear, and there are those that have the gifts and passions in order to hear it. This is what it means to be a musician–to discover this music. To feel the rhythm of the earth. To find beauty where most wouldn’t. To explore the music of the ultimate soundtrack we hear everyday. This is why our music is as original as we are, and why we plan on keeping it that way. This is also why we play music because it is what we live for, rather than living for fame and wealth.  We appreciate each and every one of you who have helped us pursue this goal and we are grateful for all of the support we have received so far.” -Calico Theory

ERA In The Smokies has several cabins within walking distance to the Hard Rock Cafe. Check out a few of the convenient options we have to offer!

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City Lights 3 bedroom, behind the Aquarium

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Rivers Edge 2 bedroom, Roaring Fork Rd about 1-1.5 miles from the Hard Rock

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Dreams Inn 2 bedroom, Roaring Fork Rd

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Gatlinburg Safari 1 bedroom condo, walk to downtown

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Winfield Heights cabins, behind Benett’s Barbecue

Gatlinburg Farmer’s Market

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On Saturday mornings the residents of Sevier and Cocke county come together to create a haven of locally grown produce, jellies, baked goods and topical products. The Gatlinburg Farmers Market has been in full swing for several weeks now. From May 11,2013 to October 12,2013 the Farmers Market will be up and running from 8:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M.. The market provides locals and visitors with local produce for fair pricing while supporting and stimulating the local economy. The vendors this year are:

  • On Cosby Day-lilies- Beautiful garden day-lilies of many different varietiesveggies
  • Mountain View Orchard- Vegetables, jellies, jams, baked goods, and apples in season
  • Brewers Mushrooms- Gourmet mushrooms: Lions Mane, Shitake, Oyster and Reishi
  • Smoky Mountain Spinnery- Sourdough bread and other baked goods
  • Knotty Gecko Handcrafts- Topical products: lye soap, lotions, lip balm, wooden wick soy wax candles (all natural ingredients and earth friendly)
  • Line Market Garden- Pesticide free fruits and vegetables and cut herbs and flowers
  • Happy Skin Naturals- All natural creams, lotions, scrubs, lip balm, bar soaps, etc. No animal by-products; made from edible oils, sugars and plant based emulsifiers
  • Crooked Letter Farms- Vegetables, fruits, cut herbs and flowers, jellies, jams and baked goods
  • Catskill Farms- Large farmer who sells a variety of vegetables and vegetable plantshoney
  • Ely’s Mill- Seasonal honey
  • Josie Lemming- Pesticide free vegetables and cut herbs and flowers
  • Michael Ogle- Vegetables

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.” -May Sarton

farmer's market booth

Directions to the Gatlinburg Farmers Market: Stoplight #3 in Gatlinburg turn north onto Highway 321 toward Cosby, Market is located about a mile on the left in the Alamo Steakhouse parking lot. (705 East Parkway Gatlinburg, TN 37738)

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Roasted Garlic & Herbs

Total time: 1hr 35 min

Servings: 6201007-r-grilled-corn

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads garlic
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped tarragon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large ears of corn, in the husks

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut off the top third of the garlic heads. Stand them cut side up on foil and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of oil. Wrap the garlic in the foil and bake for about 1 hour, until very soft. Squeeze the garlic into a bowl. Stir in the lemon zest, butter, cilantro, tarragon and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Light a grill. Peel back the corn husks, keeping them attached. Discard the silk. Spread the herbed garlic all over the corn. Fold the husks back over the corn and tie the tops with string. Wrap the corn in foil.
  3. Grill the corn over moderate heat, turning, until the kernels feel tender, 15 minutes. Remove the foil. Grill the ears over moderately high heat, turning, until the husks are nicely charred, 5 minutes, then serve.

Notes: One serving- 186 cal, 7 gm fat, 2 gm sat fat, 31 gm carb, 4 gm fiber