Happenings in The Smokies

 

   
 

 

 

New Attraction in Pigeon Forge and More!

A new attraction has opened in Pigeon Forge and I have to admit, it’s pretty darn fun!  The Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is now operational.  Unlike most roller coasters, this ride is a one or two person cart that is pulled up the side of the mountain and is released.  Like typical roller coasters, this cart is dependent on gravity to move forward.  As the rider, you have the ability to control the speed by “hitting the brakes”.  So, if you feel you’re going too fast, apply a little brake and you’ll slow down.  If you plan to ride this coaster during the tourist season, expect to wait about 30-45 minutes from the time you buy your ticket until you get to ride.  Visit www.smokymountainalpinecoaster.com for more details!

Another new attraction which is really cool is the Island in Pigeon Forge.  There are new shops, rides, and hours of enjoyment.  For more information regarding this area, visit www.islandinpigeonforge.com.

Since my last post, we have visited the cabin several times and made a few improvements such as installing a screen door on the kitchen entry.  Now, on those crisp cool season days you can enjoy the cool breeze and mountain air as you sit at the kitchen table.  We’ve also had the hot tub serviced so that it is working again at 100%.

We enjoy reading the Guest Book we have in the cabin in which we encourage our guests to sign.  We’ve had some very nice compliments and helpful suggestions posted in the Guest Book. If you choose to stay in our cabin, I encourage you to leave your comments!

Until next time, stay safe and enjoy your time in the Smoky Mountains!

 


Government Shutdown Hit’s the Smokies

Though by now most American’s are aware of our government’s inability to act like grown-ups, I wanted to take a moment and briefly discuss some of the changes in the park.  First, Hwy 441 from Gatlinburg to Cherokee, NC will remain open.  However, you are not permitted to stop at a scenic overlook or pull off to hike a trail or park rangers will take action.  I’m surprised that they aren’t requiring passengers to wear blindfolds as to not allow anyone to enjoy the colors of Fall which are quickly approaching.   I digress.

Roadways that are strictly for park use MAY be closed.  Before setting out on a journey, you may want to check the NPS website which may (or may not) have announcements regarding the closings.

Please do not let our Government’s temper tantrum persuade you to not come out and see what all the area has for you to enjoy!  Many businesses around the Smokies are still open and rely on tourism to keep their families fed.


Time to Visit the Smokies!

It’s getting close to the time of year where there is a cool breeze blowing and the Fall colors begin to show their beauty.  September is typically a slower time of the year for cabin rentals due to kiddos heading back to classes all around the area.

We are offering special low rates for the month of September.  If you’re interested in booking for a quick trip or a full week, we will offer a low rate that typically isn’t available.  Just look on the “Availability” tab to see if the time you would like to visit is available.  Additionally, if you are a repeat customer of ours, we want to say THANK YOU!  We will discount the rate even lower.

October is peak time for the Fall colors and rates typically skyrocket in the area.  However, we discount our rates in order for you to have a wonderful time staying in our cabin.

We also offer free maps of the area in our cabin which highlight a few of the “back road” options which can get you to where you want to go without waiting in inevitably long traffic back-up’s along the Parkway.

We just got home from the cabin a couple days ago and had a great time from our visit.  In fact, we tried out the Sugarland Riding Stables for the first time.  Overall, we enjoyed it very much.  We did experience a first however; riding horses in a thunderstorm!  It just so happens that a thunderstorm popped up as we were halfway through the ride.  My fear was the horses freaking out due to thunder.  I am happy to report my horse didn’t skip a beat!  She just kept on walking (and sometimes galloping) till we finished our ride.  All of our family enjoyed the time riding and having a new adventure to share with our friends!

Keith

 


Summer Has Arrived

Wow!  What a difference between Winter and Summer in the Smoky Mountains.  Let the outdoor fun begin!  If you want to enjoy water sports in the Smokies, now is the time to act.  White water rafting, tubing, exploring the creeks and rivers along with fishing are all part of the excitement of summer activities.  Word of warning – if you choose to fish, have a State of Tennessee fishing license and read up on what you can catch and keep/release.  The Park Rangers do travel the waterways and will check up on you.  If they do, just remember they are doing their part to conserve the fish population and limit the dwindling population of certain species.

Don’t be shocked if the water is cold!  Honestly, the water stays pretty chilly all year round but the fun is well worth the chill.  As a matter of safety, be careful if you choose to walk on rocks in the streams!  They may be unstable or be slippery whether they are wet or dry.  You want to wear some form of footwear while in the water.

We were just down there not too long ago and while in Cades Cove, we had a bear sighting!  Nothing stops traffic in the mountains (or Cove) like a bear sighting.  As a tip, be sure your passengers have cameras ready to go at any time while driving along the roads in the mountain areas.  It is possible to get a picture of bear in the park, but remember – safety first!  They are wild animals.  Do not approach a bear thinking they are cute and won’t hurt you.  Typically, they will run away.  However, there can be exceptions to the rule.

TIP – If ever in a position of meeting a black bear in the Smoky Mountain area, DO NOT PLAY DEAD!  That is the worst thing you can do.  Make yourself look as large as possible and get as loud as you can.  That is your best option.  Also, never turn your back and run from a bear!  They are faster and can climb trees. The rule for Grizzly Bear is different, but we don’t have to worry about that in the Smokies!

Best of all, enjoy the area.  If staying in our cabin, we have all kinds of publications in the bookshelf including maps that show some traffic tricks that you can use to bypass the main Parkway and the sometimes frustrating “sit and wait”.  Have fun!!

Keith


A Great Scout Inspired Trip

One of the reasons we decided to purchase a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountain area was so that we could enjoy the outdoors and spend quality time as a family in the mountains.  Both Tyler and myself are Eagle Scouts and really enjoy getting out and exploring the park.  A couple weeks ago, we invited the youth leadership and scoutmaster of Tyler’s boy scout troop to spend a long weekend with us at the cabin.

Now, you just can’t go to the Smoky Mountains with the idea of doing some hiking and leadership training without throwing in a few other fun activities!  Tyler did an outstanding job proving that you can wreck on every go-kart track you decide to drive on.  A few of the other boys put a new spin on the traditional form of Putt-Putt by playing “Commando Putt-Putt”.  Needless to say, they also discovered the many candy stores along the Parkway!

We did stop by the Sugarland Ranger Station to check in and see which trails were in decent shape.  The Smoky Mountain area has had a lot of rain recently which has caused some wash out’s.  In fact, Newfound Gap Road (US-441) is closed at MM 22 on the North Carolina side of the park due to a large portion of the roadway washing out.  We chose to hike the Alum Cave Trail along Newfound Gap Road (near MM 13 on the Tennessee side).  The incline wasn’t too terribly bad and a good portion of the trail was snow covered and a bit slick.  Even so, the scenery was beautiful and everyone had a great time.  The temperature outside was about 35 degrees and we were comfortable wearing layers of clothing.  It’s always best to wear layers so that you can take a layer off if you begin to sweat.  Sweating in winter is NEVER a good thing while hiking.  Many hikers have found themselves in deep trouble when they sweat through their clothes and then had nothing dry to wear as the temperature began to drop again.

All in all, our scouts had a great time enjoying the cabin, playing in the wilderness and taking in the sights the area offers!

Keith


Last Chance To See The Christmas Lights

Winterfest is drawing to a close in the Smoky Mountain area.  Tammy and I took our youngest son and nephew down January 4-6, 2013.  The weather was a little brisk, but was still warm enough for the boys to ride go-karts.  We also tried out the Earthquake simulator in Gatlinburg and played some putt putt indoors.  Even though the holiday season has past for another year, it was enjoyable to see all the lights lit up.  It’s certainly worth visiting the area someday if you haven’t seen Winterfest in person.

We may be making a few structural changes to the cabin in the next few weeks.  We are going to change sleeping arrangements in the loft area.  We discovered one of the bedframes was damaged, so to prevent this from happening again, we are looking to build “cubby bunks”.  Check back in a few weeks for pictures!

As always, we want to thank everyone who has stayed in our cabin and we invite everyone else to give it a try!  We also made a few structural changes to better “child proof” the cabin.  We’ve purchased a gate that can be used to limit young children from climbing the stairs and added rails under the steps to prevent young children from crawling through the gaps between the stairs.

My next post will be after this weekend when some boys from my oldest son’s scout troop visit the cabin for a leadership summit an fun activities.  I’m sure it’s going to be a great event!

Keith


A Great Weekend Away

Last weekend, the stars and planets aligned allowing Tammy and myself to make a quick visit to our cabin.  We were able to get our Christmas decorations placed around the cabin and read the nice comments our guests have written in our Guest Book. After working around the cabin, we went into town and got busy with Christmas shopping.

 

We ate dinner in the Park Grill Restaurant located in Gatlinburg which was a great dining experience.  Walking along the Parkway, we couldn’t help but enjoy the holiday lighting around town. We also stopped by the “Moonshine Holler” for a bit.  Even if you don’t drink alcohol, it’s worth stopping by to see the actual process in making moonshine.  This establishment is actually the first legal moonshine distillery in Tennessee.  A short walk down the parkway, we ran into another micro brewery, “Davy Crockett”. They actually produce whiskey from their location.  Both places had entertainers playing away drawing large crowds of spectators.

 

Whether visiting for the weekend or staying on a longer vacation, the Smoky Mountain area always provides us a good time!  We are booking dates in 2013.  Please consider staying at “A View for You” during your next trip!

 

Keith


Winterfest!

November 6th marks the beginning of Winterfest in Pigeon Forge and the surrounding areas such as Sevierville and Gatlinburg.  Holiday lighting adorns the drive from Sevierville along the Parkway and into Gatlinburg.  You will be amazed at all the lighting!

Most shops also switch to winter hours around this time of the year, so it’s best to check with the stores you want to visit in order to see their hours of operation.

Bear are still on the move!  A co-worker just returned from Gatlinburg and there was a bear in the parking lot as they pulled in!  Remarkably, there was also a bear in the parking garage exploring each trash can.  It doesn’t take long for the Park Police to respond and shew them away.  Human interaction actually can endanger a bear’s life expectancy.  If a bear becomes a nuisance, the Park Police will destroy the animal.  Please – admire the wildlife from a safe distance and never feed the animals.  Also, ensure your trash is placed in a secure refuse container when you are in the outdoors.


Change is in the Air!

October is one of the best month’s of the year to visit the Smoky Mountains!  Leaves are changing colors, the cool air is wonderful for hiking and for the wildlife fans, bear are on the move getting ready for the winter.

If you visit the Smoky’s during October, be sure to pack your patience because the Park will be crawling with visitors!  If you plan to visit Cades Cove, try to be “on the loop” no later than 10:00 am.  If you wait much longer than that, you may find yourself sitting in a long line of traffic which doesn’t move very fast.  While at Cades Cove, there is a wonderful picnic area just outside the loop’s main entrance.  Be sure to pack your food for the day because there are no restaurants in the Park.  Also be sure to dispose of your trash correctly so that bear and other wildlife aren’t endangered by plastic wrappers and other trash.

Even though October is busy, I don’t believe there is ever a bad time to visit the mountains!

Keith