Let It Snow!!!

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Snow is more controversial than I ever thought possible! We have quite a few people who come here looking, hoping, praying for snow. We also have several people who are afraid of snow, or rather what it might do to the roads. In Gatlinburg we do occasionally get some snow, although rarely more than an inch. And it usually melts the next day. Here are some tips on how to enjoy (or survive) the winter weather here in the mountains!

Rent a Cabin in the Higher Elevations!1. Finding the Snow!
If you are one of those people who wants the snow, be encouraged! Just rent a cabin in a higher elevation, and chances are, if there’s the slightest chance of precipitation, it’ll snow at your cabin. If it doesn’t snow at your cabin while you’re here, stop by the Sugarlands Visitor Center, and ask the nice folks there if they know of any snow in the National Park that you could get to. On the higher elevations, once it snows, the mountains usually keep that white on their tops for the rest of the winter!


4x42. Avoiding Icy Mishaps!

Since they can’t control the weather, cabin rental companies don’t give refunds due to weather or road conditions. Besides, you’re coming to the mountains to enjoy the mountains! If you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, or can borrow one from a friend or rent one, we recommend this. If not, invest in chains for your tires. Our Wal-tireMart here sells them for just $25-$65, depending on tire size. Well worth the investment! If you would still rather just avoid the steep hills altogether, make sure to ask your reservationist for a cabin that has no steep hills to get to. This can be very difficult to find around here, so be sure to book early.

Check the weather for Gatlinburg!3. Timing is everything!
Check the weather before you come. And once you’re here, check your radio, TV, or newspaper for regular weather updates. If there is a chance of snow or ice, plan to do your driving in Gatlinburg at the warmest, sunniest time of day. Don’t wait to go out and about, or wait to head back to your cabin, til after dark, when it will be colder, harder to see, and more difficult to find help if you need it. Don’t stay out much past 7pm, if there is any chance of bad weather. Get to your cabin and snuggle down for a cozy evening. Try to plan your vacation so that you don’t have to leave your cabin early in the morning. (It’s vacation, you want to sleep in anyway!) Give the sun a chance to thaw out the roads for you. If you feel it absolutely necessary to be out early in the morning, remember that 4-wheel drive and/or chains, and maybe even bring a bag of rock salt with you just in case.

Go Snow Tubing at Ober Gatlinburg!4. Enjoy The Adventure That Comes To You!
The snow is absolutely gorgeous! Just imagine waking up to a winter wonderland! Don’t be a worry wart and ruin you and your family’s vacation! Enjoy it! Go sledding! Build a snowman! Snow angels! A fort or igloo! Head to Ober Gatlinburg and try skiing or snow tubing!

Get Some Great Deals This Winter!5. Be Prepared!
Here are some things to have with you:
* 4 wheel drive vehicle and/or chains for your tires
* rock salt
* windshield ice scraper
* flashlight
* starter log and matches or lighter if you have a wood-burning fireplace
* plenty of food
* hot chocolate!
* coffee
* sled
* an adventurous spirit
* a smile!

Now that we’re all ready… Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!!!

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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Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival

Start now with your fall planning, and book your lodging to enjoy smoky mountain fall. September marks a wonderful time of year to vacation to Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This month kicks off the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival, a three month long event featuring fall activities, events and concerts! Many families choose the fall time to visit Pigeon Forge, and it’s no wonder why. With the breathtaking changing of the leaves, the fresh, in-season produce, and the variety of events and activities in Pigeon Forge and nearby towns, there are endless entertainment options to take advantage of.

Check out these events below and begin planning your fall time Smoky Mountain vacation. All events take place in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, which are neighboring towns only a short drive from one another. Reserve your cabin with ERA In the Smokies and begin planning your trip itinerary today!

Sevier County Harvest Festival Events:

September Events

1 – 3

“Hearts That Survive” Book Signing – guest author Yvonne Lehman comes aboard the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, TN. to sign books and talk about Titanic history with guests. 10:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

1 – Dec 31

Titanic Honors Homeschool Students, September – December 2012 – Special Home School Rate on Selected Dates. Reservations Required. Call 800-381-7670. Use the ‘ship’ as a classroom! Students can learn life lessons, along with traditional education in History, Science, Geography, language arts, and Social Studies.

1 – 30

Behind the Scenes of James Cameron’s Titanic – Titanic Museum Attraction – an exclusive behind the scenes of Titanic movie, including costumes  Jack and Rose wore. For more information call 800-381-7670

1 – 2

8th Annual Gatlinburg Fine Arts Festival  Free outdoor family event located at Arrowmont  School of Arts and Crafts. This festival features skilled artist from all over the country, great cuisine and fun music for all!

3 – 8

Sevier County Fair – Enjoy the last moments of summer with an evening at a country fair. Enjoy carnival rides, games, contest, food and concerts at our hometown fair.

7

Star Gazing in the Smokies – Come out to Purchase Knob in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a wonderful night of star gazing on Friday, September 7 beginning around 7:30 p.m. Call (865) 926-6251 for reservations.

7 – 8

Shades of the Past – Thousands of classic car, truck and motorcycle enthusiasts make the pilgrimage to Pigeon Forge each year.

8 – 9

Teacher Escape Weekend – Escape to  the Smokies and join Tremont’s teacher/naturalists for an exciting look at what Tremont has to offer. This weekend is an opportunity to meet other teachers, share ideas, learn about new Tremont programs and answer questions you may have before your school’s visit. It is also a time to relax, enjoy the mountain scenery and make new friends.

13 – 15

Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival – This three day festival is jam packed full of Bluegrass performers that will start playing at 9 a.m. and keep playing well on into the night.

13 – 16

Grand Fall Rod Run – The changing colors and bright leaves falling are the perfect natural backdrop for viewing the colorful selection of cars during this huge event. Car enthusiasts enjoy cruising and meeting on the main parkway amid the fall displays in every restaurant, hotel, and attraction.Located at Grand Resort Hotel & Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, TN.

15

Stargazing in Cades Cove Field – beginning at 8:00 pm.  Park near the exhibit shelter at the entrance to Cades Cove Loop Road, where a ranger will escort the group about one-third of a mile to a nearby field.

16

Classic rock bands ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd will perform at Smokies Stadium in Kodak, TN. Tickets for the show are $46.50 for general admission, $67.50 for VIP seating. Tickets go on sale Friday, July 20 at 10:00 a.m. and will be available at the Smokies Stadium box office, by calling (865) 656-4444,or by visiting knoxvilletickets.com.

21 – 22

Don Williams in Concert – at Country Tonite Theatre. For more information please call 1-800-792-4308 or visit www.firstclassconcerts.com

24

Gerald Charles Dickens Performances: Guests of The Inn at Christmas Place have two opportunities to see Gerald Dickens, the great-great-grandson of author Charles Dickens perform his one-man show “Dickens is Coming!” This is Mr. Dickens’ third appearance at the hotel, and he is a real favorite.

25

“Maritime Artist from England, specializing in Titanic Art” Book Signing – guest author Ed Walker comes aboard the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, TN. to sign books and talk about Titanic history with guests. 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

26 – 29

“Maritime Artist from England, specializing in Titanic Art” Book Signing – guest author Ed Walker comes aboard the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, TN. to sign books and talk about Titanic history with guests. 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

27

Taste of Autumn – supporting the United Way of Sevier County and featuring the fare of the area’s finest restaurants and businesses plus live music at Gatlinburg Convention Center 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

28 – Nov. 4

Oktoberfest at Ober – Ober Gatlinburg is celebrating October with a fantastic festival featuring Bavarian-style food, drink and music. You don’t have to don your finest lederhosen or dirndls to be a part of the fun!

28 – 29

Fall Heritage Festival and Old Timers Day – Come out to the Townsend Visitor Center in Townsend, TN for bluegrass music, clogging, beautiful antique tractors, crafts, food, quilting, apple-butter making, beekeeping and blacksmithing.

29

Railroad Days at the Little River Railroad Museum in Townsend, TN

29 – 30

13th Annual Fall Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament – Come out for great prizes and fun as we stock over 5,000 trout prior to this two day event! (865) 661-3474

30 – Oct. 28

Autumn Workshops at Arrowmont  – From September 30 – October 28, 2012, thirty-six one-week and weekend classes will be offered in baskets, brooms, clay, drawing, enamels, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, painting, photography, printmaking, special topics, and wood. Call (865) 436-5860 for more info.

30

Smokies Half-Marathon, 5k and Fun Run – 8:00 am Be here for the first ever Smokies Half Marathon, 5K and Fun Run which will start and finish in the historic “Old Mill District”, nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Plan to make a long weekend out of it! Stroll the Parkway and enjoy some of the area’s great attractions.

October Events

1 – 28

Autumn Workshops at Arrowmont – From September 30 – October 28, 2012, thirty-six one-week and weekend classes will be offered in baskets, brooms, clay, drawing, enamels, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, painting, photography, printmaking, special topics, and wood. Call (865) 436-5860 for more info.

1 – Dec 31

Titanic Honors Homeschool Students, September – December 2012 – Special Home School Rate on Selected Dates. Reservations Required. Call 800-381-7670. Use the ‘ship’ as a classroom! Students can learn life lessons, along with traditional education in History, Science, Geography, language arts, and Social Studies.

4 – 21

“1912 Facts About Titanic” Book Signing – guest author Lee Merideth comes aboard the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, TN. to sign books and talk about Titanic history with guests. 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

1 – 31

Behind the Scenes of James Cameron’s Titanic – Titanic Museum Attraction – an exclusive behind the scenes of Titanic movie, including costumes  Jack and Rose wore. For more information call 800-381-7670.

1 – Nov. 4

Oktoberfest at Ober – Ober Gatlinburg is celebrating October with a fantastic festival featuring Bavarian-style food, drink and music. You don’t have to don your finest lederhosen or dirndls to be a part of the fun!

5 – 31

Ripley’s Fright Nights – Every evening at 6:13 p.m. beginning with a New Orleans-style character parade. Ripley’s Haunted Adventure is celebrating its 14th Annual Fright Nights show entitled “Backwoods Terror: You Just Made A Wrong Turn”, a show dedicated to all things Halloween!

6 – 7

Teacher Escape Weekend – Escape to the Smokies and join Tremont’s teacher/naturalists for an exciting look at what Tremont has to offer. This weekend is an opportunity to meet other teachers, share ideas, learn about new Tremont programs and answer questions you may have before your school’s visit. It is also a time to relax, enjoy the mountain scenery and make new friends.

6 – 7

Robert Tino’s Smoky Mountain Homecoming – Come out to the pumpkin patch for old fashioned games, bluegrass music and the unveiling of Robert Tino’s latest print.

6 – 7

Smoky Mountain Woodcarvers Festival – held at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, located in the peaceful gateway community of Townsend, TN. Through an assortment of artifacts dating from 3000 B.C. to the 1930’s, visitors catch a glimpse of Native American life and its pottery.

10 – 16

Titanic Honors Pastors and Clergy, October 10-16, 2012 – Reservations Required. Call 800-381-7670. Learn about the religious heroes of Titanic and what they did in those final hours to spread the gospel and save the unsaved.

11 – 28

Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair – One of the Southeast’s favorite events featuring over 200 booths of artisans finest work. Live entertainment daily!

Foothills Fall Festival – one of the most anticipated events in the southeast! Nestled at the Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Maryville, Tennessee hosts three days of amazing world class concerts, juried arts and crafts, and activities, shows, and much more for the whole family. We’re setting the stage for you this October!

15 – 20

Mountainfest at The Inn at Christmas Place – Mountainfest event located at The Inn at Christmas Place includes bluegrass music, singers, storytellers and demonstrations of mountain crafts.

19 – 21

Women’s Backpack – What better way is there to enjoy early fall than with a group of adventurous women on the trail and around the campfire. It’s “Girl Power” all the way as we climb mountains, ford streams and leave our hectic lives behind.

19 – 20

Autumn Brilliance Photography Workshop – Willard Clay, widely recognized as one of our nation’s preeminent landscape photographers, leads this annual workshop. Unlike many photography workshops, our price includes meals, lodging and instruction by one of the finest teams of photography instructors anywhere in the country.

22 – Nov 5

“The Sinking of the Titanic” Book Signing – guest author Bruce Caplan comes aboard the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, TN. to sign books and talk about Titanic history with guests. 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

26

Ray Stevens in Concert (two performances 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.) – at Country Tonite Theatre. For more information please call 1-800-792-4308 or visit www.firstclassconcerts.com

November Events

1 – 5

“The Sinking of the Titanic” Book Signing – guest author Bruce Caplan comes aboard the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, TN. to sign books and talk about Titanic history with guests. 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

1 – 4

Oktoberfest at Ober – Ober Gatlinburg is celebrating October with a fantastic festival featuring Bavarian-style food, drink and music. You don’t have to don your finest lederhosen or dirndls to be a part of the fun!

1 – Dec 31

Titanic Honors Homeschool Students, September – December 2012 – Special Home School Rate on Selected Dates. Reservations Required. Call 800-381-7670. Use the ‘ship’ as a classroom! Students can learn life lessons, along with traditional education in History, Science, Geography, language arts, and Social Studies.

1 – 30

Behind the Scenes of James Cameron’s Titanic – Titanic Museum Attraction – an exclusive behind the scenes of Titanic movie, including costumes  Jack and Rose wore. For more information call 800-381-7670.

2 – 4

Climate Change in the Smokies – Join rangers and scientists from Great Smoky Mountains National Park along with Tremont staff to learn the current state of climate change in the Smokies and possible future outcomes for the park.

5 – 12

Titanic Honors Veterans, November 5-12, 2012 – Military Members Receive VERY SPECIAL OFFER with Military ID during Pigeon Forge Veterans Week. Guests must present a Military ID/Papers.  Call for details. 800-381-7670.

5

Sevierville Winterfest Kickoff

6

2nd Annual Salute to Veterans Parade: Join us in Pigeon Forge as we salute the men and women of America’s military during this annual parade through the city.

6

23rd Annual Pigeon Forge Winterfest Kickoff

6 – Feb 28

23rd Annual Pigeon Forge Winterfest  – Join all the fun this winter with activities in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and all over the Smoky Mountains as we celebrate Winterfest in Pigeon Forge, TN. Enjoy holiday lights Nov. 6, 2012 through Feb.28, 2013.

6 – Dec. 31

Winterfest Trolley Tour of Lights – Nov. 6, 2012  until  Dec. 31, 2012 at Patriot Park. Come out and experience the stunning light displays on board a Pigeon Forge trolley. The Tour of Lights begins and ends at Patriot Park. Please call (865) 453-6444 for specific departure times.

7

Winter Magic Kickoff & Chili Cookoff – Sample mouth-watering recipes of homemade chili. Grab a spoon and savor everything from mild and delightful to wild and adventurous. The City of Gatlinburg hosts the 23rd Annual Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff on Wednesday 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in downtown Gatlinburg.

11

Veterans Day Celebration – Join Gatlinburg in saluting America’s veterans of the Armed Forces, featuring stirring musical numbers and words of tribute. This popular free-admission event on Sunday, November 11 will be held in the plaza at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies at 2:00 p.m.

20 – 24

Festival of Trees – Dozens of decorated Christmas trees amaze visitors in this winter wonderland at Gatlinburg Convention Center’s W.L. Mills Conference Center. This annual display is a fundraiser for Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministry.

21 – 25

Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show – Authentic items crafted by Smoky Mountain artisans who are members of Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community. Autumn and holiday items for sale at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.

11

Veterans Day Celebration – Join Gatlinburg in saluting America’s veterans of the Armed Forces, featuring stirring musical numbers and words of tribute. This popular free-admission event on Sunday, November 11 will be held in the plaza at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies at 2:00 p.m.

20 – 24

Festival of Trees – Dozens of decorated Christmas trees amaze visitors in this winter wonderland at Gatlinburg Convention Center’s W.L. Mills Conference Center. This annual display is a fundraiser for Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministry.

21 – 25

Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show – Authentic items crafted by Smoky Mountain artisans who are members of Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community. Autumn and holiday items for sale at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.

22 – 24

Real Snow off the Bow of Titanic Museum Attraction – 7:00 p.m. Free in Parking Lot – Bring your Cameras! Each night, November 22-24 and every Saturday in December, the Titanic will produce real, falling snow off the bow of the ship. AND…the entire ship inside and out will be aglow with Christmas lights and decorations.

22

Fireworks at Titanic Museum Attraction – 7:30 pm (or when it gets dark) The night sky will be filled with a major fireworks show to celebrate the lives and legacies of the ship’s passengers, crew and rescuers. It will be the largest fireworks event on the Parkway since the Titanic Museum Attraction’s grand opening in 2010.

26 – Dec. 2

Great Smoky Christmas Arts & Crafts Show – Authentic items crafted by Smoky Mountain artisans who are members of Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community.  Christmas items for sale at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.

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.

Groundhog Day 2012

Subscribe To A Day In The SmokiesYesterday was Groundhog Day and the results are in! Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow which means we are in for another 6 weeks of winter. But I guess it depends on where you live as to what that really means for you! Here in Gatlinburg, we have had a rather mild winter, and I have to say, I’m glad for the year off! I think I can take another 6 weeks of the weather we’ve been having!

But we thought you might want to know a little about the history. We’d like to share this great article from the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club on the history of Groundhog Day!

Groundhog Day History

European Roots

(Adapted from “Groundhog Day: 1886 to 1992” by Bill Anderson)

Punxsatawney PhilGroundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. It is also a legend that traverses centuries, its origins clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates. Myths such as this tie our present to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.

If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.

If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.

According to an old English song:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.

According to an old Scotch couplet:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There’ll be twa (two) winters in the year.

Another variation of the Scottish rhyme:

If Candlemas day be dry and fair,
The half o’ winter to come and mair,
If Candlemas day be wet and foul,
The half of winter’s gone at Yule.

The Roman legions, during the conquest of the northern country, supposedly brought this tradition to the Teutons, or Germans, who picked it up and concluded that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, an animal, the hedgehog, would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of bad weather, which they interpolated as the length of the “Second Winter.”

Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers were Germans and they found groundhogs to in profusion in many parts of the state. They determined that the groundhog, resembling the European hedgehog, was a most intelligent and sensible animal and therefore decided that if the sun did appear on February 2nd, so wise an animal as the groundhog would see its shadow and hurry back into its underground home for another six weeks of winter.

The Germans recited:

For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until the May.

This passage may be the one most closely represented by the first Punxsutawney Groundhog Day observances because there were references to the length of shadows in early Groundhog Day predictions.

Another February 2nd belief, used by American 19th century farmers, was:

Groundhog Day – Half your hay.

New England farmers knew that we were not close to the end of winter, no matter how cloudy February 2nd was. Indeed, February 2nd is often the heart of winter. If the farmer didn’t have half his hay remaining, there may have been lean times for the cows before spring and fresh grass arrived.

The ancient Candlemas legend and similar belief continue to be recognized annually on February 2nd due to the efforts of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

Growing Fame

From offering support of political events, to rooting for area sports teams, to becoming the star of a Hollywood movie, Punxsutawney Phil has increasingly been in the public eye.

Early observances of Phil’s predictions were conducted privately in the wooded areas that neighbor the town. Today’s celebration sees tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world as revelers await Phil’s appearance as most fans wait to see their favorite rock stars.

The Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper is credited with printing the news of the first observance in 1886 (one year before the first legendary trek to Gobbler’s Knob):

“Today is groundhog day, and up to the time of going to press the beast has not seen his shadow.”

Over the course of Phil’s appearances, Phil has had numerous noteworthy highlights:

During Prohibition Phil threatened to impose 60 weeks of winter on the community if he wasn’t allowed a drink.

In 1958 Phil announced that it was a “United States Chucknik,” rather than a Soviet Sputnik or Muttnik that became the first man-made satellite to orbit Earth.

In 1981 Phil wore a yellow ribbon in honor of the American hostages in Iran.

Phil traveled to Washington DC in 1986 to meet with President Reagan. He was joined by Groundhog Club President Jim Means, Al Anthony and Bill Null.

Phil met Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburg in 1987.

In 1993, Columbia Pictures released the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray.

Phil appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show in 1995.

In the years following the release of the movie, record crowds numbering as high as 30,000 have visited Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney!

In 2001, Phil’s prediction was shown live on the JumboTron at Times Square in New York City.

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell attended the ceremonies, making him the first sitting governor ever to do so.

 

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: Your Place To Relax

Subscribe To A Day In The Smokies! Any time of year, Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains are the perfect destination for a relaxing retreat! Whether it’s off-season or peak-season, it’s easier than you might think to find a myriad of ways to just sit back and relax. And with the crazy, fast pace of life these days, I’m sure we’d all love a chance to unwind.

Rent A CabinRent a Cabin
Whether you are just looking for a comfortable, private place to chill out after a fun-filled day, or a place to retreat from the world for a while, try renting a chalet or cabin. I would be perfectly happy to hole up in a cabin with some food-stocks, some movies, some books, my notebook, a pen, and my guitar. I know there are some of you out there besides me who really need to be by yourself every once in a while. A cabin is the answer!

Go Hiking!Go Hiking
In the Spring, Summer, and Fall hiking can lead you to beautiful views of creation, peaceful walks through the woods, and the tranquility you’ve been looking for. For those of you who can’t sit still, but need to let your mind rest, go on a hike. It’s the perfect way to think while moving! If it’s winter, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a trek through the Park. Try winter hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing! Experience a winter wonderland with evergreen plants, winter birds, gorgeous winter waterfalls, pristine snow, and more!

Visit Utopia Day SpaEnjoy Some Pampering
Visit a Day Spa, such as Utopia Day Spa or About You Salon & Day Spa, for everything from hair & nails to packages including massage, facial, body wrap, manicure & pedicure, shampoo & blow dry, make-up application, and lunch! Have someone come give you a massage at your cabin, or have gift baskets, flowers, romantic dinners and more delivered to your cabin, or even set up and ready when you arrive!

Some of Our Favorite Places to Eat Out!Go Out to Eat
Sometimes you just don’t have the energy to prepare your own food. For those times, just head out to one of our many restaurants. Whether your idea of relaxation and good food is a burger and fries, an organic cafe, or a sit down dinner, we’ve got plenty of options to choose from. We especially like our Italian food here, but that’s definitely not the limit! If you don’t want to prepare your own food, but still relish the idea of eating in the privacy of your cabin, simply order your food take-out and bring it back to your cabin with you!

Relax By a Mountain StreamRelax By A Creek
Here in Gatlinburg you don’t have to go far to find a creek! There is a creek that runs between the two sides of the road between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg! We have three chalets that sit on a creek: Dream’s Inn, River’s Edge, and Water’s Edge. Most of the hiking trails in the Park run beside a creek or cross a creek at at least one point. My personally favorite way to relax by the creek is to go to the Chimney Tops Picnic Area in the Park, rock hop my way out to the biggest rock I can find in the middle of the stream, and sit on it, reading, writing, thinking, or praying. Even if there are tons of people around, no worries, just close your eyes, or lay back and look at the sky or trees above you. The gentle roar of the mountain stream will drown out surrounding noises!

Visit a Historic ChapelVisit a Chapel
There are historic chapels all over this area, where anyone may enter, sit, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Whether you are looking to connect with God, or simply enjoy the tranquility of these historic and beautiful buildings, chapels are a great place to relax. You can find one at Dollywood, a few in Cades Cove, and various others in different areas of the Park. There are countless wedding chapels in the area, many of which I’m sure would be glad to let you come in and relax when they are not in use. Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Gatlinburg has a beautiful chapel where you can sit and meditate.

Retail TherapyRetail Therapy
I had a college roommate that frequently referred to her need for “retail therapy.” To her, going shopping was a way to have fun, ease the mind, and just loosen up! If this is you, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have more than enough shopping to provide a full week’s worth of therapy! Come on down!

Time to Get Wet!Soak Up The Sun
I love to enjoy those sunny days by getting wet! Maybe you just like to lay out! We have several cabins with pool access. But even if you choose one that doesn’t, there are still community pools, Splash Country, Dollywood, white water rafting, and more! There’s no need to miss out!

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.

Winter Hiking Safety!

Subscribe to A Day In The SmokiesWinter In The Smokies!I love hiking in winter! Why you may ask? Consider this:

  • Quiet, peaceful, often private trails
  • Icicles!
  • Animal tracks in the snow
  • Less sweating!
  • It’s the best cure for cabin fever!

If you decide to venture into the woods this time of year, make sure you are prepared! Here are some important things to bring and keep in mind!

To Wear:

Wool or Synthetic Clothing – (socks especially) Ever heard the expression “Cotton Kills”? When cotton gets wet, it gets cold! Wool (and many synthetics) on the other hand retain heat even when wet. Wool socks are the best for winter hiking, because odds are, if there is snow on the Capilene by Patagoniaground, your feet WILL get wet!

Layers – Even if you are not feeling all that cold, it is a good idea to bring layers. If you need to stop moving, (hopefully just for a snack break) your body temperature will drop and you will be happy to have something warm to put on. Remember to bring at least a hat, gloves and an extra sweater or long sleeve shirt. Also, wearing a pair of thermals under your pants will keep you a lot warmer. (remember – no cotton. try Patagonia’s Capilene bottoms)

Appropriate Footwear – Please don’t go hiking in your summer running shoes! Heavy duty winter hiking boots with sturdy soles are ideal. Waterproof GORE-TEX boots are best, but you can probably get by with aYakTrax warm pair of snow boots too.

YakTrax – YakTrax are similar to crampons which help you get a better grip on ice and packed snow. Unlike crampons, which make me think of hard-core mountain climbing, YakTrax are more for everyday use, including walking on icy steps and driveways. If you think the trail might be icy, it would be great to have a pair of these in your pack, just in case!

To Bring:

Get a Water Bottle!Water and Snacks – These are important all year round. You will stay a lot warmer if you are hydrated and have a healthy blood sugar level. Make sure you bring more water and snacks for longer hikes.

Trail Map – Again, something I ALWAYS have, no matter what time of year.

Trekking Poles – These are very helpful on icy trails!

Emergency Supplies – These may not be necessary for a 1/2 mile walk, but definitely bring these on longer hikes.

  • Headlamp or Flashlight – LED lights are best, as they last longer
  • Compass – Don’t rely on only a GPS.Bring your Pocket Knife!
  • Extra batteries – for your headlamp, flashlight or GPS
  • Emergency Shelter
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool
  • First-aid Kit
  • Matches and Firestarter

Safety Tips to Remember:

Never hike alone.

Tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return.

Winter daylight hours are shorter, so plan to hike earlier in the day and don’t get stuck in the dark!

Check the weather forecast before you go out.

Day Hikes Only!

All these tips are intended for short day-hikes. If you are thinking of doing something longer or a winter-camping trip, please do more research! Backpacking is a lot of fun, but it requires much more preparation and a permit from the Park.

ERA In The Smokies

This 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.

Holiday Travel Tips

Click Here to Subscribe to the Blog by Email!Gatlinburg receives millions of visitors each year, in part, due to the fact that we are a day’s drive from half of the United States east of the Mississippi River. Travelling with your family in the car can be an adventure, but you need to be prepared. Thanks to Associated Content for assistance with this great list of car travel tips:

1. Keep Documentation – A week or at least a few days before traveling make sure that all travel arrangements have been secured and confirmed. The last thing you want is to get to your destination and not have a place to stay. Carry a copy of all documents you may need such as emails of cabin rental confirmations. If you pre-paid, we recommend that you hang on to your receipts. Have a valid identification card. Airlines require it as do the security agreements of most cabin rental companies. Keep all this information in a waterproof bag that will be kept with you at all times.

Take your car in for a tune-up before you travel!2. Vehicle Maintenance – If you have decided to take your own car then you need to make sure it is running properly and up for the trip. We recommend you take it in for a routine maintenance check-up. Request that your maintenance provider change and fill your oil as well as check your spark plugs and all liquid levels. Check all the exterior lights and electrical components. Check air pressure in the tires and take a fully functional spare in the trunk. Don’t forget to ask your cabin rental company if you need a 4-wheel drive to get to your cabin in case of inclement weather.

heck out this kit from survival-supply.com!3. Carry an Emergency Kit – Bring an emergency kit with you. It is always better to be safe than sorry. The kit should include items that could come in handy if you are stranded. Including: a flashlight, emergency food items, water, warm clothing, first aid supplies, small tool kit, roadside assistance numbers, cellular phone and insurance cards. In case you get a flat tire, carry a tire iron and jack and learn how to change a tire.

4. Tell people where you are going – In addition to getting to boast about your phenomenal holiday vacation plans, telling someone where you are going ensures that at least one person can send for help for you in the event that you cannot. So many times you hear on the news of people not arriving home when they should have and therefore the authorities were alerted.

Don't forget your medications!5. Take Medications – Don’t forget to get your medication refilled and take them with you. If you have a chronic health condition, don’t forget to research the names and locations of appropriate health care providers and pharmacies in the area.

6. Beat the Rush – Try to travel a day or more before other people start traveling or try leaving on a day or two after the holiday. Staying longer not only prolongs your Smoky Mountain fun, but it will also help you avoid highway traffic. In addition, many cabin companies require that you rent for a minimum of 4 to 6 days during the holiday…so you might as well get your money’s worth.

Pack your entertainment items in the car not the trunk!7. Travel Light – Don’t pack every shoe in your closet. Not only will it be a hassle to carry but it would be devastating to you if they got lost or stolen. Packing wrinkle resistant clothing is always a plus, and don’t forget to ask if your cabin has a washer and dryer or whether you will need to find a local laundromat. Don’t forget that if you are travelling during a gift giving holiday, you’re going to need to leave room for presents too.

8. Pack Important Items in Smaller Bags – Pack the most valuable items in bags you can keep inside the car with you. For easy access and to prevent unnecessary stops on narrow, winding back roads, make sure all medications and entertainment items like iPods, gaming systems and cell phones don’t get left in the trunk.

Click Here for help finding a romantic gift!9. Secure Safe Lodging – If at all possible book your cabin well in advance. Make sure you ask if there are any available discounts and review company policies regarding security deposits and payment. If you have concerns about the security of your family or your items, make sure you ask if your cabin comes with a security system.

10. Presents – If you are spending a gift-giving holiday away from home…think small like gift cards. If the present is huge, maybe you could leave the present at home and let your loved one have a picture of the present instead. Don’t try to cram the presents you receive into your luggage because we all know your clothes don’t fit back in the same suitcase they came in…much less the presents.

For info on local dining and attractions, click here!11. Eat Light and Healthy – Your stomach will surely suffer if you eat all the fast, greasy fried food when traveling. Try to keep it light and healthy like fruit and vegetables. Once you get to Gatlinburg, ask a local for their recommendations for local dining. From the best local burger to their favorite pizza joint, local residents are likely to help you find the best food as well as the best bang for your buck.

12. Take Bathroom Breaks – Take breaks every hour and a half if you are driving. It’s unhealthy for you to hold it when you need to use the restroom. Think of it as an opportunity to get a little fresh air, stretch and consult a map. Tennessee has many beautifully renovated, clean and spacious visitors’ centers that offer bathroom and picnic facilities as well as visitor information like maps, coupons and attraction brochures.

Don't forget your map!13. Pull Off the Road if You Feel Tired – Please don’t try to drive tired. Enjoy your trip and don’t try to rush it. Many cabin rental companies offer a late or after-hours check in, so take your time and enjoy the sites. If you truly are too tired to drive, consider checking into a motel at the midway point.

14. Take a Map – You could stop and ask for directions but what if you are in the middle of nowhere? With a map you can take the nearest cross street to find your location. It can be difficult to find a map these days, but you can always use Mapquest or Google Maps to find your way. When travelling to the Great Smoky Mountains, we don’t recommend relying upon GPS. With many roads being new or privately-owned, GPS is often inaccurate in Gatlinburg. In addition, the mountains often cause spotty or no satellite communication. We recommend you stick with a map or atlas; luckily, your cabin company should provide you with a detailed map to your cabin from your check in location.

Wear comfortable clothes for your car trip!15. Travel Comfortably – Wear clothes that are comfortable and loose. Dress in layers because Gatlinburg is likely to be hotter or colder than your home state depending on your location. In addition, differences in elevation means the temperature can drop significantly as you climb a mountain road. Make sure you are prepared.

To see Associated Content’s full article including flying tips, click here.

Have a safe and Happy Holiday…we’ll see you soon!

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.

Dollywood’s BBQ & Bluegrass Festival

Subscribe to A Day In The SmokiesOn August 19, Dollywood kicks off their 2 week  Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival! Over the course of those 14 days, Dollywood will offer 300 concerts at no additional cost (after park admission). Included in the lineup will be Grammy Award-winner Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, as well as Riders in the Sky, Rhonda Vincent and more for a total of 50 different Bluegrass artists!

Dollywood's Barbeque and Bluegrass FestivalJust think! For one day’s admission of $57.25, you could enjoy 7 shows (if you time it just right)! Download the show schedule from the Dollywood website to plan ahead and make sure you get in as much as possible! That’s only $8.18 a show! If you stay with ERA In the Smokies, you can buy tickets from our office to go to Dollywood 2 full days for the price of 1. That’s 14 shows at $57.25, for only $4.09 a show! If you stay with ERA In The Smokies, you can also get 3 days admission (with access to both parks) for $88.70. It works out to about the same price per day as the 2 days for $57.25, but with the 3 day pass you get access to both Dollywood and Splash Country!

Mountain Cove Bluegrass BandMake sure you come in the next two weeks to enjoy BBQ and Bluegrass! And make sure you stay with ERA In The Smokies to get great deals on Dollywood Tickets and a fabulous time in a cabin all to yourself! Black Bear Cove cabin is located just 1.1 miles from Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, where you can hop on the trolley to Dollywood for just $1 per person each way. Walk to the trolley stop to save even more on gas and parking. If you have 3 people or less (per vehicle) in your group, your trolley fare will amount to less than what it would cost to park at Dollywood.

ERA In The Smokies 1-800-309-0277This 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.