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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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.

Fall Color Update from the National Park Service

Fall Leaf Color – October 2, 2012
Article quoted from Great Smoky Mountains National Park website.

Visit the Smoky Mountains National Park WebsiteFall colors are nearing peak at high elevations in the park. Some trees are still green, but yellow and golds are becoming predominant along roadways above 4,000 feet elevation. Newfound Gap Road near the crest of the mountains and Clingmans Road are particularly nice at this time. At lower elevation, early trees are turning now, but these are scattered patches of color–the majority of trees at low elevation are still green. Dogwood, black gum, sourwood, sumac and Virginia Creeper are among the species showing red color at lower elevations now.

Fall wildflowers are blooming in abundance along park roadways. Look for goldenrod, asters, snakeweed, and jewelweed.

The park usually experiences an autumn leaf season of several weeks as fall colors travel down the mountain sides from high elevation to low. However, the timing of fall color change depends upon so many variables that the exact dates of “peak” season are impossible to predict in advance.

Elevation profoundly affects when fall colors change in the park. At higher elevations, where the climate is similar to New England’s, color displays start as early as mid-September with the turning of yellow birch, American beech, mountain maple, hobblebush, and pin cherry.

From early to mid-October, fall colors develop above 4,000 feet. To enjoy them, drive the Clingmans Dome Road, the Blue Ridge Parkway, or the Foothills Parkway.

The fall color display usually reaches peak at mid and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. This is the park’s most spectacular display as it includes such colorful trees as sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and the hickories.

Autumn is both a beautiful and a busy time in the Great Smoky Mountains. The annual show of fall colors attracts huge numbers of sightseers, especially during the last three weeks of October. Areas in the park which experience the longest traffic delays are Cades Cove and Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441). Try some of these suggested autumn drives and hikes to enjoy fall leaf colors in areas of the park that are a little less crowded.

Why are fall colors so remarkable in the Smokies? One reason is the park’s amazing diversity of trees. Some 100 species of native trees live in the Smokies and the vast majority of these are deciduous.

Visit the Smoky Mountains National Park WebsiteHow do colors change? As summer ends, the green pigments in leaves deteriorate, giving other colors a chance to shine. Carotenoids, the pigment that makes carrots orange and leaves yellow, are exposed as the green fades. Reds and purples come from anthocyanins, a pigment that is formed when sugars in leaves break down in bright autumn sunlight.

There are no motels or rental cabins located within the national park. However, communities surrounding the national park offer a wide choice of accommodations including hotels, cabins, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds. October is a busy month in the park, so it is advisable to make accommodation reservations as early as possible. Information about accommodations in the surrounding communities.

Vividly colored fall leaves leaves may grab your attention, but don’t overlook the park’s fall wildflowers which bloom in profusion along roadways!

Fall Leaves in the Smoky Mountains!

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Hobblebush photo courtesy of Harvard ForestWhy are fall colors so remarkable in the Smokies? One reason is the area’s amazing diversity of trees. Some 100 species of native trees live in the Smokies and the vast majority of these are deciduous.

How do colors change? As summer ends, the green pigments in leaves deteriorate, giving other colors a chance to shine. Carotenoids, the pigment that makes carrots orange and leaves yellow, are exposed as the green fades. Reds and purples come from anthocyanins, a pigment that is formed when sugars in leaves break down in bright autumn sunlight.

Bring the family to see the leaves change!The Great Smoky Mountains National Park usually experiences an autumn leaf season of several weeks as fall colors travel down the mountainsides from high elevation to low. However, the timing of fall color change depends upon so many variables (including rainfall) that the exact dates of peak fall foliage color each year are impossible to predict in advance.

 

Elevation profoundly affects when fall colors change in the park. Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway!
At higher elevations, where the climate is similar to New England’s, leaves begin to change as early as mid-September with the turning of yellow birch, American beech, mountain maple, hobblebush (above right) & pin cherry.

From early to mid-October, fall colors develop above 4,000 feet. To enjoy them, drive the Clingman’s Dome Road, the Blue Ridge Parkway (right), or the Foothills Parkway. Support the Park, buy the Cades Cove Story!The fall color display usually reaches peak at mid and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. This is the park’s most spectacular display as it includes such colorful trees as sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and the hickories.

Autumn is both a beautiful and a busy time in the Great Smoky Mountains. The annual show of fall colors attracts huge numbers of sightseers, especially during the last three weeks of October. Areas in the park which experience the longest traffic delays are Cades Cove (see book pictured left) & Newfound Gap Road. Try some of these less crowded autumn hikes & drives:

  • Check for current discounts!Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, a narrow, steep, but paved one-way road that winds through rich forests and offers glimpses of rollicking Roaring Fork creek. As the name implies, this road is designed for leisurely travel and enjoyment of nature.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway follows the crest of the mountains for 469 miles, all the way to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Frequent auto pullouts along the first few miles provide spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains in all their autumn finery.
  • Balsam Mountain Road offers intimate views of northern hardwood forest at the top, transitioning to cove and southern hardwoods toward the bottom. The road eventually leaves the park and enters the Cherokee Indian Reservation.

There are no rental cabins located within the Great Smoky Mountain National Park; however, take a look at some of these cabins with phenomenal views:

  • Stay a week or Stay a lifetime!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.
  • At Trail’s End– This luxurious cabin is located in a peaceful setting off the beaten path
  • Almost Heaven – This 2 bedroom, 2 bath cabin is located minutes from the National Park. You can enjoy the fall color from your hot tub or porch –no hiking necessary.
  • 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!

ERA In The SmokiesSpecial thanks to the Smokies Guide, the official newspaper of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as www.nps.gov/grsm for providing the fall color update information.

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.

Fall is Here!

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There's more to do than see the leaves change!Fall is one of the most popular times of the year to visit Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains. I know you love the leaves, but there are many activities that are even more special in the Fall. From German food to a ghostly tour, make sure to include this list of Fall activities on your vacation “To Do” list. We’ll see you soon!

Hobblebush photo courtesy of Harvard Forest1. See the Leaves. October is the busiest month of the year in Gatlinburg for one reason alone–the changing of the leaves. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park usually experiences an autumn leaf season of several weeks as fall colors travel down the mountainsides from high elevation to low. However, the timing of fall color change depends upon so many variables (including rainfall) that the exact dates of peak fall foliage color each year areMtn over 250x impossible to predict in advance. From early to mid-October, fall colors develop above 4,000 feet. To enjoy them, drive the Clingmans Dome Road, the Blue Ridge Parkway, or the Foothills Parkway. The fall color display usually reaches peak at mid and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. This is the park’s most spectacular display as it includes such colorful trees as sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and the hickories. Rent a cabin with a view.

Don't Miss the Chili Cook Off!2. Annual Gatlinburg Chili Cookoff. It’s fall…are you thinking chili, too? Offering mouth-watering recipes of homemade chili ranging from mild and delightful to wild and adventurous, the City of Gatlinburg hosts its 22nd annual Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff on Wednesday, Nov. 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. on River Road and at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza. Be pleasantly tempted and tested before casting your vote for the People’s Choice Award. Also, judges will select winners in categories including Best Presentation, Best Chili Apron, and Best Chili.

Red Setter Trout Lure3. Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament. The 11th Annual Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament is open to adults or children – and is equally challenging for both visitors and locals, with multiple categories to be contested in the largest trout tournament in the Smokies. All Gatlinburg and state fishing regulations will be observed. For information, call 865-661-FISH (3474) or click here.

Enjoy a Smoky Mountain Harvest with the whole family!4. Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival. This county wide celebration, held in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, features an array of craft shows, a decorating contest and other “artistic” special events that are sure to keep everyone’s energy level lively. If you’re in to knick knacks and friendly faces, then the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival is sure to keep you entertained throughout your entire stay in the area. Don’t miss out, start making your plans to be part of the celebration today! The Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival will be held September 15 – October 31 with many events to enjoy. For a full list of events, click here.

Enjoy the lights for over 3 months!5. 22nd Annual Gatlinburg Winter Magic tmis the four-month winter lighting promotion featuring custom designed, one-of-a-kind lighting displays which now sport all LED bulbs along Gatlinburg’s famous Downtown Parkway adjacent toRiver Road. Listed as one of winter’s “Top 20 Events” by the Southeast Tourism Society, Gatlinburg’s four-month Winterfest Celebration transforms the mountain resort town of Gatlinburg into a spectacular winter wonderland from November through February. A holiday craft show, Christmas parade, Winter Magic Tunes & Tales, and the popular New Year’s Ball Drop combine with millions of LED lighting displays and attractions to make Winterfest an activity filled season in Gatlinburg. The kickoff is the same night as the Gatlinburg Chili Cook Off. In 2011 it is on November 9th from 5 to 8 p.m.

Gatlinburg Sky Lift6. Gatlinburg Sky Lift. Of course, the chair lift is open year ’round, and the Smokies are always a beautiful site…but, never is it more beautiful than during the fall. the Gatlinburg Chair Lift is a special experience–a 1200 foot climb up the side of Crockett Mountain. One little known fact is that the lift was originally purchased from the Sugar Bowl Ski Area in California in the 1950s, unassembled, and then reconstructed in Gatlinburg. Aptly put, it is the best seat in Gatlinburg. Rates are Adults $12 and $9 for children.

Try the Super Reuben on your visit!7. The Hofbrauhaus. 1969 The Cheese Cupboard opened it’s doors as Gatlinburg’s premier cheese shop. Since that time, thousands have enjoyed their large array of imported and domestic cheese and chocolate from Switzerland and Germany. The second floor is occupied by The Hofbrauhaus Restaurant. As you enter, you get the feeling of being transported to Europe. Styled after a German pub, the visitor can enjoy a small respite in the middle of busy Gatlinburg. Through the years the Famous Super Ruben has become the favorite. Enjoy any of their hot specialty sandwiches such as the Hoagie, Turkey, Pastrami or Bratwurst along with a cold beverage or beer. Click Here for a full menu.

Tour White Oak Flats Cemetary on your Gatlinburg Vacation!8. Haunted Ghost Tour. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, taking a ghost tour of Gatlinburg will be a memorable part of your vacation. Take a leisurely stroll and search along the shadowy streets and alleys of Gatlinburg to hear stories of the unexplained and strange. Hear about a number of haunted hotels and buildings in the downtown area, about a gruesome murder committed at a very famous hotel & the young girl and security guard who still haunt it. Listen to the tale of a young man who made a foolish mistake and continues to pay for it to this very day. Tour a cemetery that was built in 1830-a most frightful place indeed! Tours run 7 days per week March through October. Buy tickets online.

Find a Deal in the Smokies!9. Caramel Apples. Can’t make it to the Smokies this fall? Order a few caramel apples made here at the foot of the Smokies and have them shipped to you at home for a taste of the Great Smoky Mountains. To read the fascinating history of the Raimondi family’s caramel apple legacy, click here. Whether you like your caramel apples dipped in nuts or chocolate chips, they are sure to have one to tickle your Fall fancy. Don’t forget to order online!

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.