4th of July 2011- Celebrate In the Smokies!

Subscribe to A Day In The Smokies!People love to come to the Smokies to celebrate Independence Day! Parades, concerts, fireworks, cookouts, hiking, water activities, and more compel people to return for the excitement year after year! Take your pick, or do your best to join in every celebration!

Midnight Parade4th of July Midnight Parade- Gatlinburg
Join in the first Independence Day celebration in the country, as the 4th of July Midnight Parade kicks off in Gatlinburg at 12am on July 4th! People begin lining the streets with their folding lawn chairs as early as 7am on the 3rd to save their spot. And “the 100th US Army Band from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, will feature concerts of different groups on Sunday, July 3, with all performances on Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza. The Sunday lineup will include the Dixieland Band at 10 a.m., the Brass Quintet at noon, the Jazz Ensemble at 2 and the Rock Band at 4. On Monday, July 4, the entire 100th Army Concert Band will perform on the Plaza beginning at 8:30 p.m. before the Independence Day fireworks finale at 10 p.m.”

“Catherine Bach, famous for her role as “Daisy Duke” in the hit series “Dukes of Hazzard” will appear in Gatlinburg’s 36th annual Fourth of July Midnight Parade, courtesy of Cooter’s Place. Rick Hurst, a.k.a. “Cletus,” also from the series will be in attendance. An escort of vehicles from Hazzard County including the famous “General Lee” will also be in the parade.”

All this and much more will be featured in the parade!

River Raft Regatta4th of July River Raft Regatta- Gatlinburg
If you don’t stay up too late for the parade, or perhaps if you just stay up all night, you can take your kids (or the young at heart) to join in the festivities at the river raft regatta. Kids may register to enter anything floatable in the regatta that will begin at 9am at the Christ in the Smokies bridge on River Road. “There will be prizes for the top three places in these divisions: Hand-made Decorated, Floatable Object (no creativity), Small Entry (pill bottle sized), Oldest Entry, Youngest Entry, Judges Choice (or most unique), Ripley’s Believe It or Not Entry. Trophies will be supplied by the Gatlinburg Recreation Department.” During registration there will also be tons of games available on the lawn. Come on down!

"Stand Here" Fireworks Finale in Gatlinburg!“Stand Here” Fireworks Finale- Gatlinburg
You’ll probably need a nap in the afternoon, but make sure you wake up in time to see the fireworks finale at 10pm. This has been designated a Top 20 event by Southeast Tourism Society! The best way, in my humble opinion, to enjoy the parade is from the comfort of your own cabin. Granted, there is something to be said for the excitement of being down on the street. But I prefer the more comfortable, laid back atmosphere of a cabin Stay in Sunset Ridge and catch this view of the fireworks!with a view of downtown. Share drinks and h’ordeuvres (snacks!) with that special someone or maybe a small group of friends as you relax and enjoy the fireworks from the decks of your own Smoky Mountain cabin! ERA in the Smokies (as of the writing of this blog) still has two rentals available with a perfect view of the fireworks. Call and reserve soon before they’re gone!

Restless Heart will be preforming at the Patriot FestivalPatriot Festival- Pigeon Forge
“Celebrate our nation’s independence during the Patriot Festival of Pigeon Forge. Our Fourth of July Party is a family friendly explosion of entertainment, food, fun and games, with fireworks! All of this will be presented against the backdrop of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. Get set for an outstanding lineup of entertainment, a free Kids’ Karnival area and a tasty selection of foods.” Festivities begin at 1pm, and the fireworks will occur once it gets dark, usually around 9:30 or 10.

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.

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The Best Mother’s Day EVER!

Subscribe to A Day in the SmokiesHave you missed the last couple of Mother’s Days, and you need to make it up to your mom? Or is your mother just so wonderful that she needs an extra special celebration this year? When a card or a phone call simply isn’t enough, try some of these ideas!

Treat Your Mother to a Cozy Cabin!Weekend Getaway!
Surprise your mother this year with a weekend getaway to Gatlinburg! What could delight your mother more than a weekend of pampering, surrounded by the beauty of the Smoky Mountains?! Reserve a cozy cabin for her, where she can relax in the hot tub, enjoy views of the mountains, and then let someone else clean up when she leaves! While you’re at it, make it a long weekend! ERA in the Smokies is offering the 3rd night half price in any of our cabins, chalets, and condos!

Best Italian- One of Our Favorite Restaurants!The Perfect Meal
Or two or three! If you send her for a weekend getaway in a cabin in Gatlinburg, she’ll have tons of delicious restaurant choices at her fingertips… finally no dishes! Or if she really likes to cook, each cabin and chalet has a kitchen fully stocked with dishes, pots, and pans! And if you’re going to be with her on mother’s day, why don’t YOU cook her the perfect meal AND do the dishes afterward!

Order a Gift Basket for your Mom from our friends at Klassy Snacks!Baskets and Bouquets!
Or course there’s the old stand by… various kinds of gift baskets- fruit baskets, cheese and meat baskets, gourmet coffee baskets, s’mores kit baskets, pet lover baskets, outdoors baskets, etc. And then there’s about as many bouquets to choose from… besides all the different kinds of flowers, you also have cookie bouquets, candy bouquets, and who knows what else! For a nice touch have one waiting in her cabin for her!

Treat your Mom to an in-room massage from our friends at Beneficial to Life Massage.Pamper Your Mother!
What would a Mother’s Day Weekend be without some pampering for the one who took care of you all those years (and still is!)? Pay for a day at a spa, or have a massage therapist come to her cabin to give her a massage. You can even choose a cabin with an indoor sauna! Most cabins also have an outdoor hot tub, and some even have an indoor jacuzzi, where she can relax in the privacy of her bedroom, or perhaps by the fireplace!

Take your Mom on a shopping spree to the Tanger Outlets in Pigeon Forge!Shopping
In my experience, most mothers love to shop! So take your mother on a shopping spree! And what better place than Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Gatlinburg is packed with quaint shops of all shapes and sizes, and let’s not forget the outlet malls of Pigeon Forge! It’s more than enough to keep any shopaholic happy for days!

Give your mom a roaring good time at the Comedy Barn!Shows and Other Attractions!
Laughter is the best medicine! If your mother has been stressed or burdened with something lately, take her to one of Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge’s exceptional shows- there are musical performances, comedies, cultural experiences, and more! If your mother, like mine, craves adventure, take her white water rafting, or on a Hummer tour, or let her try the zipline, or the Zorb! If your mother enjoys nature, take her for a day in the National Park– hike out to a waterfall, have a picnic by the stream, drive through the Loop in Cades Cove and view all the wildlife!

Here’s your chance to be the perfect child, and give your mom the perfect Mother’s Day!

ERA In The SmokiesThis 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.

Pigeon Forge: Dolly Parade

Visit Dolly Parton's Official WebsiteWhen you’re on vacation, everybody loves a parade! And we here in Sevier County love Dolly Parton. That’s why, on May 6, 2011, at 6pm, Pigeon Forge will host the 26th annual Dolly Parade in her honor!

Why We Love Dolly Parton
She’s not just a talented writer, singer, actor, business woman, and cook, although we thoroughly enjoy all these talents of hers. We love the way she gives back to her hometown community here in Sevier County. She was born and raised here, and she hasn’t forgotten it! Out of all her numerous awards and honors, the one that means the most to her is the bronze statue of her on the Sevier County Courthouse Lawn because, as she says, “it came from the people who know me.” Her Dollywood Theme Park, Dollywood’s Splash Country, and The Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction employ over 3,000, and further boost the local economy by using local vendors as much as possible, and of course, bringing all you lovely visitors our way!

Imagination LibraryWe also love what she does for children with her Imagination Library. It started out as a book club for local Sevier County Children, and now sends books not only all over the country, but to Canada and the UK as well! Children registered with the Imagination Library receive one free age-appropriate book in the mail each month until they turn 5 years old. What a great way to encourage literacy, imagination, and big dreams for the future. Dolly herself provides the funding to supply the books to the communities where her businesses operate. Other towns across the globe have partnered with her to provide books for their communities as well. For more information, visit the Imagination Library Website

The Dolly Parade!The Dolly Parade
On May 6, 2011 at 6 pm, the parade will begin at light #6 in Pigeon Forge, and make its way through downtown to light #3. Dolly herself will of course be the queen of the celebration! Here’s your chance to see her for yourself. Adding to all the fun will be other beautiful floats, marching bands, and local celebrities. In addition to this, colorful displays of flowers will line the street in honor of the parade and the Spring season! Be sure to come early and set up your lawn chairs along the Parkway for a good seat.

We hope you are looking forward to it! We certainly are!

ERA In The Smokies Realty & RentalsThis 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.

Things To Do: Gatlinburg Fun For The Kids- Part 2

Subscribe to A Day In The Smokies!Our first article on Gatlinburg Fun For The Kids, published nearly 2 years ago has been extremely popular, so we decided to send some more kid friendly ideas your way! Some of these are repeats from the last article (they were just too good to leave out!), but we will include some fresh ideas as well! This article is a collaboration between a mom who has used her kid to test out pretty much all of these places, and a young lady who is still a kid at heart!

WonderWorksWonderWorks
The self-proclaimed amusement park of the mind, WonderWorks is one of my child’s favorite destinations.  You can experience an earthquake, scale a rock face, explore outer space, design a roller coaster, ride an extreme 360 degree bike, or put your self in a bubble of your own making.  Did I mention the building is upside down? “WonderWorks takes family fun to new heights with the World’s Largest Indoor Ropes Course. Standing 50 feet tall, visitors will climb 4 stories of ropes as they encounter over 50 different obstacles and activities; including swinging steps, lily pads, a tremor bridge and more. Conquer your fears and get an adrenaline rush. This exciting experience is included in the price of General Admission. Closed shoes required for this experience and proper dress required. No skirts permitted. Must be at least 42″ ( 3’6″ ) with an adult or 48″ ( 4′ ) to participate alone. Maximum height is 80″ ( 6’8” ). Maximum weight limit is 300lbs and you must safely fit in the harness.” Your kids won’t want to leave (and neither will you). Stop by our office (207 Parkway) & pick up a coupon.

Dollywood & Splash CountryDollywood & Splash Country
Dollywood is geared for family fun all year long, with roller coasters for the big kids, traditional fair rides and games for all ages, and several attractions specifically for the little bitties! Come during KidFest for extra special fun for the kids with shows, booths, and demonstrations specifically geared for the kids! I am particularly looking forward to Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 4D (as you’ve probably noticed if you’ve been following this blog)! Opening on Memorial Day weekend, Splash Country brings a whole new world of water adventure to the scene and is definitely fun for the kids.

The Track The Track
“The Track is your family headquarters for fun in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Our action–packed family fun recreation center, with many amusements, FEATURES the ultimate in go kart tracks, like The Wild Woody, a three–tiered go kart/roller coaster hybrid. Race your kart around our large figure eight style Track. Challenge your friends and family to exciting themed miniature golf, splash ‘em on Blaster Boats, and smash ‘em on Bumper Cars. Test your courage from the top of our Bungee Jumping Tower, or enjoy the thrill of a skydiving effect on The SkyFlyer! Visit Kids Country for your kid’s activities, which feature the following: The Rio Grande Train, The Carousel, The Red Baron Planes ride, The Spin Tops, The Swing, The Ferris Wheel, and The Noah’s Lark Swinging Boat! Also featured are two smaller go kart tracks better known as The Kiddie Karts and The Rookie Karts. Whether you are local here or on vacation, consider having your kid’s birthday party here with us. Maybe you are a part of a large group? We would be happy to put a vacation package together for your particular needs.”

Horseback RidingHorseback Riding
Isn’t it every child’s dream to have a horse or a pony? Whether you are blessed enough to be able to provide that privilege to your children or not, we are sure they would enjoy a chance to ride one, even if it’s not theirs! Especially if your child is a nature-lover, don’t miss the opportunity to experience riding in the Smokies, with the beauty of woods, flowers, and wildlife all around. There are tons of great places to ride around here, offering differing types of rides trails, from beginner to advanced. For tons of great horseback riding ideas, visit our Horseback Riding! post.

Ripley's Mirror Maze & Candy FactoryCandy Shops
The health-nut, mom-ish side of me says, “Candy stores! Stay away!” But the sugar-loving, kid-at-heart side of me says, “Oooooooo! CANDY!” And we’re sure your kid will say the same! There are so many enthralling candy stores around here, it’s really hard to pick! Dollywood has its Sweet Shoppe, where they make homemade candies of every variety and also offer colorful novelty candies sure to catch the eyes of your kids. Ripley’s also offers a Candy Factory where kids can mix and match their selections from every type of candy imaginable. Watch them make taffy the old-fashioned way at the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen in the Village Shops near traffic light #6. My personal favorite is Aunt Mahalia’s Candy at light #5, where not only do they have delicious homemade (“made in small batches!”)candies of every kind, from taffy to fudge, but they even provide a wide selection of extremely delicious sugar-free candies! So whether you’re a health-nut, a diabetic, or you’re just trying to keep your kids from getting so hyper, there’s hope for you yet!  

Ober GatlinburgOber Gatlinburg
 If you are coming in the winter, Ober Gatlinburg is one of the obvious winter activities, providing a venue for skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, ice skating, and more! As I’m writing this, though, its Spring, and you may not know that Ober Gatlinburg is a year round attraction! This time of year you can still enjoy the aerial tramway, alpine slide, ice skating, wildlife encounters, scenic chairlift, Amaze’N Maze, a carousel, chair swing ride, Blue Cyclone Rapids water slide (in the summer), Kiddie Land & Rides, mini golf, arcade, and raft & shoot rides. Come enjoy the Spring and Summer side of Ober! 

Camel RidesCamel Rides
Maybe horseback riding is not quite enough of a novelty for your children. For something a little more exotic, try camel rides out in front of the Miracle Theater in Pigeon Forge! “The ride includes a 6×8 souvenir photo with one of our extraordinary camels that is used in the actual production based on the life of Christ. This is fun for the entire family! Get up close and personal with our friendly dromedaries.” This is the Miracle Theater’s last season, though, so make sure to come this year!

Smoky Mountain Field SchoolSmoky Mountain Field School
The Smoky Mountain Field School offers high-quality workshops, hikes, and adventures for students of all ages who want to enhance their enjoyment, appreciation, and understanding of the Smokies and the great outdoors. Family Programs are available specifically to provide a fun and educational experience to include the little ones. Just a few examples of upcoming classes are: Sensational Salamanders, Exploring Stream Life In The Smokies, Wildflowers and Trees With the Family, and Storytelling. Make sure you register ahead of time!

Junior Ranger ProgramsJunior Ranger Program
Kids—if you’re between the ages of 5-12, you can become a Junior Ranger! Pick up a Junior Ranger booklet for $2.50 at any park visitor center or at the Cades Cove or Elkmont campground. Complete the activities in the booklet then stop by a visitor center to talk to a ranger and receive your Junior Ranger badge.  You can become a Junior Ranger at any time of year, but during spring, summer, and fall, ranger-led Junior Ranger programs are offered especially for children. Read through the schedule of ranger-led programs to find these special Junior Ranger programs. 

The Comedy BarnComedy Barn
This theater, located in Pigeon Forge just a short 10 – 15 minute drive from downtown Gatlinburg,  is the award-winning family comedy variety show in the Smoky Mountains.  The side-splitting show features magicians, fire-eaters, jugglers, ventriloquists, clean family comedians, live music AND barn yard animals. My child had soda squirting out his nostrils during this one–clearly he thought it was hilarious.

Rafting and Other Adventurous Vacation IdeasRafting & Tubing
In my experience, a summer in my childhood was not complete without a rafting trip! If you and your children love thrill and adventure, look no further than a day of white water rafting! You will be an irreplaceable member of your rafting team, as you learn to paddle together according to your guide’s instructions! Experience the thrill of making it through those roaring rapids, and in the intensity, don’t forget to look at the gorgeous creation around you! If you are more interested in viewing the creation and less interested in thrill and adventure, perhaps tubing is for you! Enjoy a lovely afternoon floating down a calmer section of a creek or small river as you gaze at the beautiful surroundings! Either way, don’t forget the sunscreen! There are tons of places around here that can provide these aquatic adventures for you! Here are just a few: Smoky Mountain Outdoors, Rafting in the Smokies, and Nantahala Outdoor Center.

Rent A Cabin!Rent a Cabin
Kids love games, and especially on vacation. Rent the beautiful At Trails End to enjoy a pool table and pin ball machine. Pointe of Grace provides air hockey and a shuffle board table. Or if your children love those video games, try Cub’s Crossing or Moose Crossing, both of which come with a Play Station 2 & XBox (a few games are in the cabin, but I’m sure your kids will want to bring their own favorites, or rent some from the local video store).  A cabin is cheaper than you think, and if you count the savings of having a fully equipped kitchen, premium movie channels, pool table & swimming pool access (at some units), some cabins could be considered cost-efficient, pre-planned vacations within themselves.

We hope this has provided some more inspiration for your kid-friendly vacation! For more ideas see our previous post Things To Do: Gatlinburg Fun For The Kids.

ERA In The Smokies Realty & RentalsThis 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.

Spring Rod Run 2011

Subscribe to A Day In The SmokiesThe Spring Grand Rod Run in Pigeon Forge is next weekend, and already you can sense the anticipation! I noticed a couple of classic cars parked alongside the main Parkway in Pigeon Forge, and I thought to myself, “Have they always been there?” Whether or not those cars have, in the next few days, thousands of cars, old and new, shiny, rusty, some really cool, and some just plain weird, will start showing up from all over the country!

Come to the Spring Rod Run!“The Spring Grand Rod Run kicks off the car show season with classic Fords, Chevy/GMCs and Gold Wings. Thousands of classic car, truck and motorcycle enthusiasts make the pilgrimage to Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville, Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains each year for the first, big Pigeon Forge car show. Pigeon Forge is a popular host to rod runs and car shows. Participants love to take their classic car or hot rod group on a Smoky Mountain scenic drive.

See more photos from the 2010 Spring Rod Run!The participants in these car shows are so eager to get the weekend started that the Parkway and hotel parking lots begin to fill with classic cars on Tuesday of that week. The events feature more than just rare and unique autos, though. Throughout the event weekend, visitors can enjoy interactive displays presented by vendors from all over the country.

Stay in a cabin when you come for the Rod Run!Those who enjoy the mechanical aspects of the auto world will savor the opportunity to participate in workshops and get answers to technical questions.”

If you’re planning to come enjoy the Rod Run, but haven’t made reservations in Pigeon Forge, yet, its time to start looking in Gatlinburg! Why not enjoy all the comforts of home by staying in a cabin or chalet! ERA In The Smokies offers some great choices between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, if you would like to get as close to the Rod Run as possible. And if you’d like to distance yourself a little more from all the traffic that ensues, we also offer several rentals closer in to Gatlinburg! Either way, it’s time to choose a cabin!

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.

PIGEON FORGE: Saddle Up

11th Annual Saddle Up!“Join us for Saddle Up!, a celebration of the American West and one of the featured events of Pigeon Forge Winterfest. This award-winning festival includes entertainment presented the cowboy way, including concerts by western musicians and cowboy poets—”

Wylie & the Wild West
The Quebe Sisters Band
Brenn Hill
Yvonne Hollenbeck
Chris Isaacs
Jean & Gary Prescott
Ray Doyle 

This will be a great event, full of family fun!

The Quebe SistersFebruary 24, 2011 6:00 P.M.
Start off the fun with a An Evening with The Quebe Sisters. “When Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe (pronounced Kway-bee) raise their fiddles and play, audiences marvel. When the girls sing their vintage style three-part harmony, audiences are blown away. Add the extraordinary rhythm guitar of Joey McKenzie and the swinging upright bass of Drew Phelps and the Quebe Sisters Band becomes a force of nature. The QSB’s unique brand of music has taken the Americana music scene by storm. They perform a refreshing blend of western swing, vintage country, bluegrass, jazz & swing standards, and Texas style fiddling.” Enjoy the concert with dinner at Mama’s Farmhouse Kitchen. Cost is $40 plus tax.

Wiley and the Wild West

Photo by Ross Hecox, Western Horseman

February 24, 2011 6:00 P.M.
That same evening there will be another concert with dinner. It is already sold out! If you’ve got tickets already, get ready for an Intimate Evening with Wylie & the Wild West Dinner/Concert at The Partridge & Pear Restaurant. “In this era of prepackaged superstars, of pale imitations of country music being pushed onto the public by faceless media giants, the music of Wylie & The Wild West is a beacon of truth and honest beauty. As one critic says, ‘Wylie Gustafson is the coolest cowpoke around. Forget everything you hate about modern country, this guy is old-school cool without being a tired period piece.’ Singer, songwriter, rancher, horseman, and the original, world-famous Yahoo!® yodeler, Wylie Gustafson leads the musical outfit known as The Wild West.”

February 25, 2011 1:00 P.M.
Join us for the sounds of Gary & Jean Prescott, Ray Doyle, Chris Isaacs, and the Quebe Sisters Band! The concert will be at the Smith Family Theater. Tickets are $15 plus tax, or free for kids 17 yrs old and under. Come delight your ears with this musical sampling! To review the artists in this concert that haven’t already been featured…

Jean Prescott“A multiple award winning singer/songwriter, Jean Prescott hangs her hat just a little bit south of Abilene, Texas, with her husband, singer/songwriter Gary Prescott. Jean’s music has been referred to as “the spiritual essence of the west” and she shares her love of western life through her songs about the real west of yesterday and today.”

Ray Doyle“Singer/songwriter/guitarist Ray Doyle has contributed to more that a dozen CDs as a longtime member of the popular cowboy Western band Wylie & The Wild West. He has logged countless miles performing on five continents at venues ranging from the Grand Ole Opry to the Kennedy and Lincoln Centers. Ray has played at national folk festivals and cowboy poetry gatherings, at French rodeos and in Australian woodsheds.”

Chris Isaacs“A three-time winner of the Academy of Western Artists “Will Rogers Award”, Chris Isaacs is a poet and storyteller who has lived the life that he writes about. He has seen life from a cowboy’s point of view for all of his 60-plus years, and his poems and stories are alive with the heart and humor of life from a cowboy’s point of view. He can usually find the funny side of any situation, and is considered by many to be one of the finest humorists in the country.”

February 25, 2011 4:00 P.M.
Another delightful concert, featuring a musical sampling of Yvonne Hollenbeck, Chris Isaacs, Brenn Hill, Wylie & the Wild West. The concert will be held at the Smith Family Theater. Tickets are $15 plus tax, or free for kids 17 yrs old and under. Allow us to feature the two artists listed here who have not already received that honor above!

Yvonne Hollenbeck“A multi-award winner in the world of cowboy poetry, Yvonne Hollenbeck performs throughout the United States, captivating audiences in her wake. She is one of the most published cowgirl poets in the West and is not only a popular banquet and civic entertainer, but also co-writes songs with many western entertainers… Yvonne’s poetry reflects everyday experiences that arise while sharing the range with Glen and their neighbors. However, a fleeting moment or simple event may also stir her pen to action. Mostly humorous in nature, her poems take a turn toward the serious side, especially the stories of her mother’s and grandmothers’ lives. From homesteading to the present, Yvonne often writes about women on the ranches of the Great Plains.”

Brenn Hill“Singer/Songwriter Brenn Hill doesn’t just sing about the American West, he reveals its heart to anyone who will take the time to listen. His most recent release, “Equine,” (2010) clearly defines what might be his most profound work to date, as well as a mirror of his growth as an artist over the last ten years. Its broad theme of horses, the cowboy’s working partner, is but a pathway into and through his own personal journey. No longer just the observer or narrator of our Western story, but its strongest interpreter, life’s trials and tribulations are also his raw material. Faith, trust and love are his guide.”

Western Marketplace
February 25, 2011 – 10:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M. – free
February 26, 2011 – 10:00 A.M. – 9:30 P.M. – free
Takes place at the Belz Outlets

Chuck Wagon CookoffFebruary 26, 2011
Chuckwagon Cookoff
“Tickets will be for sale [at $10 a piece] on Feb 26th at Clabough’s Campground starting at 9 A.M. and will not be sold online.”
Event takes place at Clabough’s Campground.

February 26, 2011 3:00 P.M.
Come join us for another delightful concert, featuring a musical sampling of Gary & Jean Prescott, the Quebe Sisters Band, Brenn Hill, Wylie & the Wild West. The concert will be held at the Smith Family Theater. Tickets are $15 plus tax, or free for kids 17 yrs old and under.

Don't sit at home bored! Come to the Western Swing Dance!February 26, 2011 8:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.
Get ready for some Western Swing Dancing, featuring Wylie & The Wild West! Join us at the Belz Outlets for all the fun! “Tickets [at $5 a piece] will be available for sale at all events and not sold online. 17 years of age and under are free.”

February 27, 2011
8:30 A.M.- Breakfast at Stages West- $5 at the door
10:00 A.M.- Cowboy Church at Stages West – free!

ERA In The SmokiesThis 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.

GATLINBURG: Spring Break 2011

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Kick off your shoes and Stay a While!There is still snow on the ground, but Spring Break will be here before you know it. I know that many of you think of the beach for Spring Break, but I want to challenge you to consider a mountain trip this year.

Although you won’t get a sandy beach in the Gatlinburg area, you can easily find boardwalk style attractions and shopping. The traffic isn’t nearly as bad, and the weather is divine. You know you want to try something different…be brave and just do it. Here are a few of our favorite ways to spend Spring Break in the Smokies:

Spend your Spring Break in a Smoky Mountain Cabin!1. The Strip. We know that wandering “the Strip,” wherever it may be, is one of the biggest attraction to heading to the beach during Spring Break. The Gatlinburg area offers “The Strip” in more than one location! You can wander the Strip in Downtown Gatlinburg to take in cool attractions like the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum or stop for a corn dog at Fanny Farkles Arcade. Or, you can head to Pigeon Forge and find the perfect Smoky Mountain T-shirt, stuffed bear or souvenir for the friend or family member that couldn’t make the trip. If neither of those options suit you, give the Smoky Mountain Arts & Crafts District a try.

Pick a Cabin large enough for the whole family!2. Go Karts. There are plenty of go kart tracks to choose from in Pigeon Forge, but we are particularly fond of The Track. Race the Wild Woody track–their three-story spiraling wooden track, or take a spin on the classic track with overpasses. With single and double-seated karts, everyone in the family can get in and go! The Kiddie and Rookie Karts are great for youngsters starting out. You only have to be 4 years old to drive!Take the plunge!

3. Bungee Jumping. Are you or your kids looking for an unforgettable thrill on this year’s Spring Break?

While you are at The Track enjoying a ride on the Wild Woody go kart track, make sure you put on your brave face and take the 65-foot bungee jump plunge at The Track!

They guarantee it is the fastest ride in town!

Check out all the great things to do in Gatlinburg!4. Lazer Tag. Here’s a fun idea for the whole family. At Lazerport Fun Center, they offer the largest laser tag arena in the Great Smoky Mountains area. There are two arenas at over 7,000 square feet that offer the best most exhilarating and heart pounding fun and excitement that Pigeon Forge has to offer! Each game lasts for a period of 15 minutes each, and they run back to back games starting every 20 minutes! Whether you choose to play one, two, three or unlimited games, take the challenge today – test your skills against your friends and family alike!

Check out all the cabin discounts!5. Flyaway Indoor Skydiving. This vertical wind tunnel that allows you to experience the freedom of human flight and is located at traffic light #5 in Pigeon Forge. As a flyer, participants attend a 20-minute training class, receive a suit, helmet & other safety equipment. Following a short review of the basics, a group of 5 flyers enters the wind tunnel with their instructor. Almost anyone can fly as long as you weigh at least 40 lbs. Watch this video for a preview of kids in flight. Link to pricing & coupons.

Check out the latest cabin coupons!6. Roller Skating. When is the last time you went roller skating? If the idea conjures awkward images of retro fashions and braces, maybe it is time to try again. Spin City USA, the newest indoor Pigeon Forge attraction for family fun, is a state-of-the-art roller skating rink located in downtown Pigeon Forge. Spin City USA offers theme nights including retro skate and live entertainment by their own DJ for affordable fun, with holiday special events held throughout the year. When looking for fun things to do in on a rainy day, try Spin City Roller Rink.

Golf Vista is close to Shopping!7. Shopping. Interested in Outlet Malls? Try Tanger Outlets of Pigeon Forge for “Brands You Know. Choices You Want. Prices You’ll Love.”

I have a soft spot for a few of the Tanger Stores like Calvin Klein and Jones New York, but there is a little something for everyone from the kids (OshKosh B’gosh) to the teens (Aeropostale and rue 21) to the man of the family (Brooks Brothers and Nautica). There is even a great selection of lunch and dinner options.

Do you need a Pet-Friendly cabin?  Try Here!8. Mini Golf. Hillbilly Golf is one of dozens of miniature golf options in the Gatlinburg area. Hillbilly Golf is the world’s most unusual miniature golf course. Ride the Incline 300 feet straight up to the mountain top above the city. Two challenging 18-hole courses await you. Both are riddled with mountaineer hazards from outhouses to stills, rocky walls and lush native plants. It’s great fun and excitement for the whole family. A truly unique adventure you won’t forget.

Here are some other great dining options!9. Pancake Houses. Pancake houses are to the Smoky Mountains what seafood shacks are to the the beach. You can find pancake houses everywhere, and the choices are endless. My favorite…the Pancake Pantry.

Since 1960 when the Pancake Pantry became Tennessee’s first pancake house, visitors to Gatlinburg have made dining with them a tradition. What keeps them coming back? It’s the real butter, the honest-to-goodness fresh whipped cream and everything made from scratch. Maybe you’ll select the Austrian Apple-Walnut Pancakes covered with a rich apple cider compote made with melted butter, black walnuts, apples and sweet spices and then topped with powdered sugar and real whipped cream. Want a sandwich instead? Try a Polish Aristocrat, Polynesian Delight or British Dipper among other distinctive choices.

Take a look the At Trail's End cabin!10. Rent a Cabin. What could be better than the room to stretch out, a gameroom, indoor whirlpool tub, outdoor hot tub and the cool breeze of the Great Smoky Mountians?

How about getting it all in one place. Rent a family vacation cabin like At Trail’s End and enjoy the convenience of a home away from home while relaxing in comfort and style. The kids will love the gameroom–you’ll love having them hidden away IN the gameroom. Give it a try, but beware, you’ll never want to go back to staying in a hotel room again.ERA In The Smokies

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.