Category Archives: Tennessee
by Trish Utter
Are you longing to see the autumn colors, cool brisk air and the smell of the Holidays?
Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are set high in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The drive into this area is breathtaking with mountains, log cabins and lots of wildlife.
This is a destination for great family gatherings as it has something for everyone, from the glitzy tourist attractions to the untamed beauty of nature. Hotels and log cabin rentals are all around. On one side of the Smokies is Gatlinburg and on the other is Pigeon Forge. You can easily travel between both towns, however, there is so much to do that you may want to plan several trips. I traveled there with my two teens, Colt and Brooke and found that even my hard-to-please teens were enjoying themselves.
Pigeon Forge Lumberjack Feud: This dinner show is top notch….…pun intended! One of the best dinner shows we have ever seen. Real lumberjack athletes from ESPN showcase their skills…..and believe me the girls in the audience noticed their every move. The show captures the history of logging in the area before the Smokies was declared a National Park. We marveled at the shear strength of the Lumberjacks as they climbed to the top of large logs chopping the tops off, stood on floating timbers and wielded their chain-saws. There is also singing and dancing. We all adored the Timberdogs. These specially trained dogs compete worldwide and here you get a close up view of how talented they are. Leaping into water and racing back with decoys. The show even has horses on stage! Oh, and the food! Guests enjoy a half roast chicken meal, enough for any hungry lumberjack! Great value, great show and top on our list. Check out their Holiday Show. www.lumberjackfeud.com
Gatlinburg A Walk in the Woods: This was a highlight of my trip to Gatlinburg. A true vision of what this area is all about. We were lead on a trail that starts right in the middle of Gatlinburg’s busiest tourist area. I could not understand why our guide, Erik Plakanis was meeting us at such a touristy place. We followed him across a busy street and then into…….. a forest! Erik took us for a leisurely stroll down by a wide picturesque river. The scenery looked as if it was from a story book. Beautiful round boulders dotted the water. He stopped and pointed out leaves and their medicinal use and showed us mushrooms that were edible. Our guide even had leaves and things for us to taste. One leaf tasted just like spearmint chewing gum. We came across a pile of small white glittering rocks that was quartz. There are many trails that you can go on, some are good for small children, others for those that are more adventurous and they even have a pet friendly trail. Without our guide we would have walked right past all the amazing natural things and we certainly would never have thought that there would have been a wilderness trail right in downtown Gatlinburg. www.AWalkInTheWoods.com 865-436-8283
Gatlinburg Sky Lift: You cannot enjoy the beauty and scale of the Great Smokey Mountains without a trip to the top of them in the Sky Lift. Grab a cup of coffee and relax as you ascend and make sure you take lots of breathtaking photos. Sunsets from here are spectacular. At the top is a gift and snack shop with picnic tables. After dark you will see Gatlinburg ablaze with twinkling lights. www. gatlinburgskylift.com
Hollywood Star Cars Museum: This is a large collection of cars that are mainly the creation of George Barris, who made these vehicles for TV shows and movies. Knight Rider, General Lee, the DeLorean from Back to the Future and my favorite, the Batmobile. www.StarCarsTN.com
Circus Golf in Blacklight 3D: I am not a putt-putt kinda girl but we had fun in this place. The 18 hole course is beautifully painted with a circus theme, clean and inexpensive. My teens had a blast and we all laughed our heads off. 865-436- 4415
A Brit of Magic: It was good to sit down and put our feet up for a laugh with British magician and comedian, Keith Fields. His tongue-in -cheek humor is suitable for everyone. This small venue gives you a close up personal show. My son, Colt, was called up to the stage to help with one of the many magic tricks. www.KeithFields. com 888-482-3330
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies: In Florida we see a lot of marine life…but not like this! Many say it is the best aquarium they have ever seen and tourists from all over the world descend on this special place. Large exhibits are done in natural settings. The gigantic shark Lagoon is so vast that you stand on a moving walkway while sharks and stingrays glide overhead. www.Ripleys.com/Gatlinburg.com 865-436-5096
Pancake Pantry: You know it’s good when the locals eat there. It’s been open since 1960. Meals are very large and good for splitting with family. They specialize in exotic style pancakes such as Orange-Walnut, Red-Raspberry Crepes and Apricot-Lemon Delight to gourmet sandwiches like the Dutch Diplomat and homemade soups. We had so much food that we could not even see one bit of the table. Get there early as lines are long and bring cash as that is the only form of payment they accept. www.PancakePantry.com
We are excited to let you know that the owners of the Great Outdoors Restaurant in High Springs, FL, will be opening a huge resort in Gatlinburg in 2017 called, Anakeesta™. Anakeesta is a Cherokee word that translates to ‘place of the balsams’ or ‘place of high ground’. It is also a recognizable geographic feature found throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This ambitious project will feature a 105 room hotel, restaurants, shopping, zip lining and craft stores. There will also be a Chondola. This aerial lift is comprised of both quad chairs and gondola cabins. The resort has a website that you can visit now. www.Anakeesta.com
www.Gatlinburg.com 800-588-1817 www.MyPigeonForge.com 888-402-2390