Walkin’ In A Winter Wonderland

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Don’t let the winter months scare you from going outside, there is still so much to be seen. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is brimming with beauty, even in the colder months. Several hikes will give you luxurious views of snowy mountains, icy falls and even traces of wildlife!snowycreek_ig

Alum Cave Bluffs is a 5 mile, round trip hike that sits off of Newfound Gap Road. The trail has recently been restored for better access to hikers. During the winter months, the drips from the Bluff turn into icicles, so watch out! If you continue from the Bluffs up another 2.5 miles, you’ll reach the summit of Mt. LeConte and run into some amazing views. This is a difficult hike, especially in the snow so don’t forget to come prepared for anything.

Another Local favorite is Porters Creek Trail. This kid-friendly, 2 mile hike leads into what used to be a small farmstead. You will see several buildings and other structures still standing from the early 1900s. Follow the trail left up to Fern Branch Falls for a magnificent view of the 60-foot frozen waterfall. laurel250xv

Laurel Falls is a paved, relatively easy trail, but one of the most traveled in the area. The trail is kid-friendly, although it does have a few steep drop offs along the way. In the winter, the Falls will ice over providing you with the perfect winter snapshot.

Our favorite winter hike would have to be Rainbow Falls. This 5.5 mile hike is rated as moderate to difficult, climbing a total of 1,700 feet. This trail sends you right through Bear Country so always keep an eye out for wildlife, even though they usually hibernate through winter. The 80-foot Falls usually boasts a beautiful rainbow, hence the name, although in the winter months it will freeze, creating a gorgeous hourglass shaped ice sculpture! You really have to see this one for yourself!

Remember that preparation is key for hiking, especially in the winter. Some guidelines to ensuring your safety include carrying a map of the area, informing another person(s) where you are going and when you plan to return, researching terrain or trail conditions and staying up to date on weather and weather alerts. Don’t forget to bring key items such as water, food, a flashlight, trekking poles for stability, an emergency blanket and other items you may need in case any unforeseen issues arise. Always dress in layers and wear adequate shoes or boots. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times and always practice Leave No Trace principles.

 

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This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals 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.

Smoky Mountain Thanksgiving

 

The Great Smoky Mountains are a place for families to come together and remember what life is all about. There are many things for us to be thankful for this season, and with Thanksgiving nearing we thought we could share what we are most thankful for!

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1. We are thankful for the Great Smoky Mountains! Being surrounded by these majestic mountains day in and day out is such a blessing. If you’re walking through or driving, you’re sure not to miss just how beautiful they are. We are SO glad we get to enjoy them year round! US-NationalParkService-ShadedLogo.svg.png

2. We are thankful for the National Park Service! This year, the NPS turned 100 years old! Without their aid and effort, the Smokies might not have made the Number One spot on the Most Visited National Park List. They strive to preserve our natural beauty and work hard to ensure that it stays that way and we are so very grateful.

 

3. We are thankful for the Seasons! We can not believe how much our surroundings change throughout the year. We were fortunate enough this Spring to walk through the wildflowers and spot a few salamanders! Summer was a hot one, but it made for lazy lake days and pleasant walks through the shade trees. Fall is still here and the colors are bountiful!

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4. We are thankful for all of the Attractions! There is no shortage of things to do in the Smokies. The area has everything you can think of! Tanger Outlet is the perfect spot to catch a bargain. Dollywood offers a family fun approach with shows and high flying coasters. We have go-karts, ferris wheels, mini golf, and more!

5. We are thankful for all of our visitors! Without all of our wonderful guests, the area would not be what it is today. It makes us SO happy that SO many people share our love of the Great Smokies! With over 10 million visitors to our Mountains, there’s no surprise in the amount of joy that is shared each year.

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6. We are thankful for our firefighters! With the drought we have had recently, the area is full of wildfires. Our firefighters have been working so hard to put out these natural and man made fires to their best ability, to help make sure that our land (and air quality!) is preserved.

 

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This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals 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 area.

 

It’s Still Fall, Y’all!

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November is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean it’s over yet! The leaves are still changing so there’s time to experience the wonderful colors the Smokies have to offer. You may just have to take a walk on the wild side with some adventurous coasters or saddle up for a whole new outlook on the beauty our area has to offer.

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We now have an incredible selection of coasters in the area. Start off small with the Alpine Slide at Ober. This 1800 foot track is fun for all ages! They also have the Ski Mountain Coaster where you can enjoy a faster ride down a 3750 foot metal track! If you would like to see the colors from all areas and angles, try the other coasters in the area as well. Stop by Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster 640px-DW_Wild_Eagle.JPGon your way into town to experience their 35 mph coaster. Or if you’ll be lodging in Pigeon Forge, the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster would be a fun stop for the kids (and adults!). Go big or go home with Dollywood‘s roller coaster the Wild Eagle®. It is definitely one of a kind! While “flying” high above the park itself, the views you catch showcase the Smoky Mountains.

 

sunset riders 250xTo slow down the pace a bit, head over to Cades Cove. This 11-mile loop through the National Park offers a close up look of the flora and fauna we have in the area. Take your time to drive around the loop or just take the shortcut at one of the two they have. They also offer Horseback Riding Tours Guided  Hayrides, and Carriage Tours up until November 30 (weather permitting). You’re sure to see some of the wild animals in this area and some of the prettiest close up views from inside the park itself.

 

Want to soar through the trees? Head over the CLIMB Works Zipline Canopy Tour to get up close and personal with nature. Start off with an ATV ride to the top in groups of six. Sticking with a “true tree canopy” feel, during the tour  your feet won’t touch the ground for 2 1/2 hours! You’ll walk over 3 sky bridges giving you a ‘bird’s eye view’ when not zipping. If you’re looking for more of a challenge they also offer Mountain Biking. El Regis Trail is a two mile loop that is considered intermediate, but beginners up for a challenge are more than welcome on it as well.

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This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and
Rentals 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 area.

Photo Contest

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It’s time for another photo contest!!!cabin-view-gf-250x

  • Photo Contest Category: Autumn: Fall Foliage, Leaves, Waterfalls & Rivers showing the seasons changing
  • Location Requirements for Photos: The photos must have been taken in the Great Smoky Mountain area.
  • Deadline: All entries must be received by November 30, 2016.
  • Prize: Gift Certificate for a 2 Night Stay in one of our 1 or 2 bedroom Rental Cabins.
  • Restrictions apply.
  • Judging: Judging will take place through December 20, 2016.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Can previous contestants/winners enter photos if they have submitted photos to our other contests in the past? Yes, anyone can enter even if they have submitted photos in the past.
  • What address do I email my photos to? marketing@erainthesmokies.com
  • Is there a limit on the number of photos I can submit? Yes, we are limiting each person to 15 entries. The use of multiple email addresses by the same person or having every family member enter 15 could lead to disqualification so please be fair and understand the reasons for the limitation.
  • Are there any restrictions to what kind of photos I may enter? Yes! Photos must be your own original work and must be consistent with the category listed above, Autumn in the Great Smoky Mountains.

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If you don’t have any photos yet, come visit, quick! One good idea is to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park website to start planning where to go to see the fall colors. Feel free to email or call with questions. Good luck & I look forward to viewing a ton of great photos!

 

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This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and
Rentals 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 area.

 

The leaves are Fall-ing!

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October is here and the weather is boasting it’s beauty! The leaves are shedding their green hues for a richer color palette of yellows, oranges, and reds making for a picture perfect view. This year the leaves are still in the process of changing at different altitudes. If you would like to see the current view, you can head over to the Webcams on the Smoky Mountain National Park site.

Ready to let your head fall where it may? Look no further than ERA! They offer affordable cabins near the Smoky Mountains. A few of the ones they offer with a view are:

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Almost Heaven – This 2 bedroom, 2 bath cabin is located minutes from the National Park. Spacious log cabin with all of the amenities. You can enjoy the fall color from your hot tub or porch –no hiking necessary!

 

At Trail’s End – This beautiful 2-level log cabin, withAtTrailsEnd_edit.jpg
spectacular winter mountain views, will sleep up to 6 people and offers recreation for the whole family including a fully equipped gameroom, Jacuzzi, hot tub and picnic tables…located just minutes from the Smoky Mountain Arts & Crafts District.

 

Chipmunk Haven – This is a cute, private log cabin with a view, a rare find! Chipmunk Haven has 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, an outdoor hot tub, an indoor whirlpool tub, and is located just 3 miles from the downtown Parkway in Gatlinburg.

 

On The Rocks– This adorable two level log cabin is equipped with a wood-burning fireplace, an outdoor hot tub and has a mountain views! With a two bedrooms and 1 1/2 bathrooms, there is no better place to spend your vacation or family weekend getaway! Conveniently located close to Downtown Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

 
Winfield Heights – From a spa-like couples getaway to a family-fun vacation, the cabins of Winfield Heights offer you and yours deluxe accommodations and amenities–in-room whirlpools, outdoor hot tubs, pool tables & fireplaces. Enjoy both a mountain view AND a downtown city view!

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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.

Bear Alert!

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Black bears have been very active during this time of year here in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. With Summer coming to a close and Fall setting in, they are preparing for the upcoming Winter season. Some campsites and hiking trails are on High Alert for Bear sightings in the area. A few of these include Backcountry Campsites #10, #21, #60, #63, and #92, Mt. LeConte shelter, Laurel Falls Trail, Abrams Falls, Ramsey Cascades Trail, Grotto Falls Trail, Forney Creek Trail, and Grapeyard Ridge Trail.

What do I do if I see a bear?

The National Park Service recommends that if you spot a bear to remain watchful and don’t approach the bear. Watch for changes in its behavior to ensure that you have not gotten too close. In this event you would walk backwards slowly, to let the bear know you bears-in-field_djbeckare giving it space. Once far enough you can resume your hiking – away from the bear. Black bear attacks come few and far between. Preventative measures are often the best way to avoid any sort of bear sighting or attack. This can be done by practice Leave No Trace principles, such as packing out trash or using proper trash bins, disposing of food and waste properly, minimizing your impact on the environment, and hanging your food away from your campsite.

 

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If you would like the chance to ‘safely’ view a bear, try heading up to Cades Cove to drive through the Park and view some of the wildlife. Early morning sightings are more frequent, although we have found critters at all times of the day! The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is also frequented with wildlife and you may be able to catch a glance of one through the trees!

 

Of course you may even spot one in Downtown Gatlinburg! Garbage has been a big issue in the area. Black bear diets consist of nuts, berries, and insects. Being that Gatlinburg city borders the National Park, bears can get confused to the smells that
waft in from town. They will follow those smells to campsites, picnic areas, and bear_picnic_tablesometimes even businesses and houses! That is why it is so important to follow the guidelines set in place to control garbage problems. Just a reminder to never feed or leave food out for a bear or any other animals as it can cause that animal to be less fearful of humans and they will likely seek out more food. In fact, citations can be issued by park rangers trying to reinforce these guidelines, with fines up to $5,000 or even jail time.

 

 

But it’s almost Winter..don’t Black Bears hibernate?

Towards late Summer and early Fall black bears start storing food and can eat up to 30 pounds of it a week. Smoky Mountain black bears do hibernate, but not like many of other bears in different areas. They can go long periods of time without food, water, exercise, and using bodily functions. Bears will usually find a hollowed out tree or some other form of burrow to take refuge from the cold. They usually slumber through the Winter, but on warmer days some will wake and wander around. Their bodies release a chemical called leptin, which is used to curb their appetite and their metabolism rate drops to about 50% of the normal rate. Body temperature only drops by a few degrees, unlike black bears in the northern regions. Their hibernation period in the Smokies may not be as lengthy as black bears in Northern regions such as Alaska due to our short winters.

 

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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.

 

Snowed In? Snow Day!

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Here in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, we experience our fair share of snow days. While getting out of school or work is exciting, spending the day inside can be a bore. We’ve come up with some activities that are perfect for a good snowy day.

Make Snow Cream!

Snow Cream is a delicious treat that you can’t get all year long. Kids 10890636_1572602209620477_2098604635_nlove getting involved in the kitchen -especially if they get to bring snow in the house! All you need is milk, vanilla extract, and some clean, fresh snow. We recommend setting a big bowl out once the snow starts falling. Once you mix everything together add in any toppings you would like. Sprinkles, chocolate chips, coconut, and honey are some favorites.

Do Yoga!

Yoga is a great way to warm up on a snow day. Practicing yoga has many benefits. These include increased blood flow, boost in immune system, boosts metabolism, and much more. Loosen up after walking around with all those layers from playing in the snow. Try out some basic poses like the Mountain Pose, Tree Pose, and Downward Facing Dog.

Make it a Spa Day!

There’s nothing more relaxing than a day at the spa, but no one wants to trek out into the snow to do so! Grab some ingredients from your pantry and put together some DIY spa treatments. Combine coconut oil, honey, and lemon juice for a fantastic face mask. For a hair mask use 1/2 a ripe avocado and mix it with coconut oil and vitamin E oil. After throwing snowballs all day, your hands will want some love too. Mix coarse sugar with lemon juice and coconut oil for a silky hand scrub.

Set up a Photoshoot!

10525552_347616358767131_1087180128_nGrab any type of camera and head for the pretty white blanket that has covered your yard. Snow makes for such a fun backdrop to candid
photos. Have someone snap several pics of you tossing up the snow,
trudging through it, shaking a tree to cover yourself, the possibilities are endless! The lighting on snow days is perfect for pictures so even if you’re just using your phone, there’s bound to be a good one!

Build a Fort!

Tap into your inner child and break out the extra pillows and sheets for nostalgic purposes. Everyone loved building forts as kids and now that we understand construction a little better it’s a great time to get your creative juices flowing. You can get really creative with all of those left over boxes from Christmas and put together a cardboard fort. Just attach some tape to secure them together. Mr. McGroovy’s sells boxes of rivets to help bring your creation to life. They also have tons of downloadable plans if you’re not up for designing your own.

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Play Outside!

Of course playing in the snow is the best part about snow days! Step your snowball game up by using a ball press. You can also get a snowball launcher to have even more fun! Build a snowman, snow bear, or any other snow creature that may be native to your area. Grab a sled or a tube and find the nearest hill to spend hours entertained or even just plop down and make a snow angel.

 

Now that you have a day full of activities planned, go ahead and get started! Enjoy your day full of snow!

 

 

LOGO with text 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.