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.

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WILDlife!

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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a vital sanctuary for a wide variety of animals. Around 65 species of mammals, over 200 species of birds, 50 native fish species and more than 80 types of reptiles and amphibians can be found in the park. Some of the most commonly seen animals include the white-tailed deer, groundhog, chipmunk, black bear and some other squirrel and bat species. Of the 200 species of birds, 85 of those species migrate from the neotropics. Over 700 miles of streams, creeks and rivers support the fish populate here in the Smokies and the park has been able to reintroduce some of the native species that has been eliminated in past years. Climatic and geographic factors make a perfect combination for the variety of 30 salamander species found in the park. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most diverse places in the world for salamanders, so you are lucky to see one!Pileated WoodpeckerPolliwogs, Eggs & Singing Frogs

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Unfortunately, many species have become threatened and endangered such as:

  • Indiana Bat
  • Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel
  • Red-cockaded Woodpecker
  • Spot-fin Chub
  • Duskytail Darter
  • Smoky MadamThere are approximately 2 bears per square mile in the National Park!
  • Yellowfin Madtom
  • Spruce-fir moss Spider
  • Eastern Small-footed Bat
  • Watershrew
  • Appalachian Cottontail
  • Henslow’s Sparrow
  • Olive-sided Flycatcher
  • Cerulean Warbler
  • Red Crossbill
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • Golden-winged Warbler
  • Eastern Hellbender
  • Seepage Salamander
  • Junalusica Salamander
  • Olive-darter
  • Tennessee Dace

The park staff is continually working on making sure the environment for these particular species is accommodating to their individual needs, however, visitors to the park must be aware of these endangerments and be respectful of the native species surrounding them.

Viewing wildlife in the Smokies can be a challenge as most of the park consists of dense forest. Wildlife is often seen in the Cataloochee and Cades Cove areas. Animals can be seen while taking hikes in the park as well. Many animals are most active at night and morning, so these are the best times to catch a glimpse of the wonderful wildlife in the Smokies. It’s also a good idea to bring binoculars and scan the trees for wildlife as well.

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.

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

Bill Gladwell, The Mentalist

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Bill Gladwell’s new show in Gatlinburg, TN has been voted the #1 show in Gatlinburg by TripAdvisor. The star of the most mind-blowing show in Gatlinburg, Bill Gladwell, combines psychology, suggestion, hypnosis, directed awareness and showmanship to predict and control human behavior as well as perform mental feats that appear supernatural. From Lima, Ohio, Bill wanted to bring a Las Vegas style show to the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. Located inside Gatlinburg’s Space Needle at IRIS Theater, his show “Head Case” has been a huge hit with visitors. He predicts what people are thinking by reading their body language among other techniques. His show involves a high level of audience participation both on the stage and from their seats. Bill creates an experience that you will talk about and remember or a very long time.

Bill Gladwell has authored two books and has been featured in many others. His first book sells worldwide and his second book is a best-seller in the fields of Influence and Social Dynamics. Bill has made several appearances on television and in film. Two future films are currently in negotiations.

Bill says:

“The look on a person’s face when they have just witnessed a miracle, whether it be during a performance or some other interaction, is what make me wake up early and go to bed late. When I see that look I know I have created a moment in that person’s life that they will remember forever.”

Reviews:

“My fiance and I went to see “Head Case.” We loved the show! It started right on time. Bill interacts with all of the audience, even the kids. He stays after the show to visit with everyone and answer questions. He is very talented. Next time we visit, we will be sure to go back to the show! We have friends going next month to Gatlinburg, and we have recommended they also go to the show! We look forward to seeing him on America’s Got Talent:)”-TripAdvisor

“What can I say? Thought my wife and I were just going to see a cool show and I ended up being a part of it! Bill got in my head and guessed a childhood pets name from 25 years ago!! Bill will include everyone in his performance either from your seat or on stage.The theatre is small and will fill up fast so buy your tickets in advance or you will miss out on a great show!! We didn’t bring our kid’s on this trip, but Bill’s show is family friendly and we will definitely bring the whole crew next time to his show. I know my kids will enjoy his talent!!”- TripAdvisor

“Great show and experience! Bill had us wondering how he had done things even after we left the show. We loved it so much we will be going back for more shows. My husband and I do not get away often; so when we do, we want to find shows we both will enjoy. We saw Bill on YouTube and wanted to see him in person. We had to go, and we liked that everyone was involved in the audience. Super cool!”-TripAdvisor

Reserve your cabin rental with ERA In The Smokies and walk downtown to see Gatlinburg’s #1 show!!

“Rocky Top Sports World”

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Gatlinburg is expecting to open the new “Rocky Top Sports World” sports tournaments and events center new Summer, 2014. This $20 million indoor/outdoor sports campus is on 80 acres of land next to the Gatlinburg-Pittman Highschool. It is becoming the most talked about new tournament destination in the Southeast. Less than 10 minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance and downtown Gatlinburg, this facility is a tournament and event organizer’s dream.

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Many sports will be able to be played at this facility including:

  • Soccer
  • Lacrosse
  • Football
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Wrestling & Martial Arts
  • Table Tennis
  • Band
  • Other turf-based tournaments and events

court sports

The facility will house 7 outdoor fields, 6 basketball courts plus 4 more on site, championship stadium field, 12 volleyball courts plus 5 more on site and an indoor climbing wall. The indoor facility is 86,00 square feet and features state-of-the-art synthetic turf and field amenities. It will also include seating for 1,500 people complete with a press box.

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Space for any event!

The development and management of Rocky Top Sports World is overseen by the Sports Facilities Advisory (SFA), a global leader in the development and operation of sports and special events complexes. Construction began in March 2013 and is expected to continue through late spring 2014. The SFA works closely with the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau to make sure that the level of service provided by the Rocky Top Sports World is parallel with the friendly reliable service that Gatlinburg is known for. The facility will offer a fantastic concessions area, convenient drop-off and pick-up area and the best spectator viewing options of any facility of this type. With seating capacity for several thousand and over 40,000 square feet of column free, weather proof, indoor events space, Rocky Top Sports World will be able to host any event imaginable. The staff at Rocky Top Sports World will help you plan the perfect holiday or birthday party, team event and awards ceremony, corporate and community events or faith gathering. The facility is currently booking tournaments and events. Contact (865)325-0044 or email info@rockytopsportsworld.com for further information. Play and Stay at ERA In The Smokies!!

running_bear_indexThese fantastic cabins are located just minutes from the future Rocky Top Sports World!

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