Category archive: Smoky Mountains

Bluegrass and Hot Rods: September 2018 in the Smokies

Two completely opposite events are happening in the Pigeon Forge area Thursday through Saturday, September 13-15, 2018. There’s the astonishingly muscular Fall Rod Run classic car event in Pigeon Forge, and to the north a little ways in Kodak is the astonishingly musical Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival. Take your choice!

Fall Rod Run

In Pigeon Forge the local event is the Fall Rod Run, which fills the town with thousands of horsepower and a myriad gleaming paint jobs, as the classic cars and hot rods swarm into town to cruise the strip, compete in multiple categories for cash prizes worth $10,000, and generally have a nice time.

image courtesy of the Rod Run

Traffic gets a little congested,. as you might expect, and Parkway is the strip for cruising, late into the night. So plan on walking, bring a lawn chair and and gaze at all the cars during those days. The crowd, as with every event in this area, is super friendly.

The headquarters for the Rod Run is the LeConte Center, which hosts the huge Swap Meet and hundreds of show cars. It’s on Teaster Lane, close to The Island. There’s plenty of free parking, and some very fancy wheels on display.

The event draws thousands of extra visitors to Pigeon Forge, so expect a bustle around town. But if you want a party, here’s one that lasts three days.

See the Rod Run website for full details. And here’s some video:

Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival

And now for something completely different! If you want to get out of town and listen to some great bluegrass and country music, at a super kid-friendly event with some of the best music in the Smoky Mountains, then Dumplin Farm is where you’re headed.

The 19th Annual Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival takes place to the north of Pigeon Forge just a few miles, at Kodak where the Smokies Stadium is. Dumplin Farm is an easy drive, and has an RV camp and campground, which people book often a year ahead of time to be at the festival. Drop-ins are more than welcome, with tickets at the gate available daily.

The event attracts amazing talent for such a little-known festival. It draws around 3,000 attendees, and this year features 15 acts, performing from noon until 11 pm, with a “supper break” around 5 pm – and sometimes some late night jamming after hours that just goes on until everybody is plumb full of happiness. Many of those campers have non-professional musicians in them also, so music jams can break out at any time, day or night.

Children are more than welcome, in fact it wouldn’t be Dumplin Farm without them. Kids 12 and under get in FREE. The venue is covered, so rain is not a problem, with a huge tent area and a converted barn. There are clean restrooms, a spacious lawn to play on, and no alcohol for sale.

We should mention the food. It’s wonderful home cooking with good ingredients, and with many local treats including the legendary Dale’s Fried Pies! There are food trucks, merchandise vendors, and people who love great music, as well as know how to play it. Bring a lawn chair and come visit the Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival.

For more information check the Festival website and Facebook page.

Here’s a video about the event:


Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge: Which is Best?

If you’re planning a trip to the Smoky Mountains, chances are you’ll be choosing between two of the most popular Tennessee towns for your stay: Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Both towns are great vacation destinations, and they’re right next to each other, with just a few minutes drive between the two towns. While both towns are close to the mountains, offer breathtaking views, and are full of activities and attractions, each one has its own unique personality that may influence your ultimate decision of where to stay.

Image courtesy of Gatlinburg


Everything Turns Green After the Fires

Local broadcaster WBIR Channel 10 News has footage of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in a recent story showing the dramatic recovery of the forests, following the wildfires of 19 months ago in the Gatlinburg, TN area. As the interview with the park’s fire ecologist Rob Klein makes clear, this is a great example of how quickly forests can snap back and regenerate with new life following a wildfire.

According to the story, 70 percent of the areas affected by the fires of November, 2016, are recovering very rapidly. Hundreds of brand-new Table Mountain Pine trees have already shot up to around 2 feet in height. Within a couple more years, says Klein,  it will be difficult to see that these areas were even burned. In fact, entire areas will become transformed into new forests over the next decade.

This is all good news, and it’s quite astonishing to see the images of before and after in various parts of the national park.


Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains

There is literally so much to do and see in the area in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park that you simply can’t fit it all in. You’ll need a guide to the best ways to spend your time if you visit the area. This guide to the Smokies gives you a broad outline of the options, so you can drill down through the million-and-one things to find the type of activity that best suits your trip to the Smoky Mountains.

There are four major fields of activity in this part of the Smoky Mountains. You can visit the national park, you can play in the gateway towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, you can venture further out to some of the roads less traveled, or you can relax in your cabin in the mountains and watch it all from a hot tub on the deck.


Easter 2018 in the Smokies

Easter weekend in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area as always offers fun for the kids, with the Easter Bunny hiding eggs all over, and several events to note for celebration and worship. Easter comes quite early in 2018, starting Friday, March 30 through Sunday, April 1.


Shelly’s Ultimate Cabin Vacation

We’re always glad to hear about other people’s great experiences staying in one of our Smoky Mountains luxury cabins. Here’s what Southern-lifestyle specialist Shelly had to say about her family’s Gatlinburg getaway.

Shelly reports that her family had an amazing stay in Cypress Lodge, a newly finished 4-bedroom cabin with richly detailed decor. The amenities were plentiful, with king beds in each of the four bedrooms along with two queen pull-out sleepers and 1 bunk bed set. There was no standing in line for the shower as the cabin had four full bathrooms and two half-baths, and a hot tub on one of the decks for good measure. And, there was no need to worry about finding a laundry or packing extra clothes because the cabin had its own washer and dryer. These things make a big difference for a mom and her family on vacation.


Valentine’s Day 2018 in the Smoky Mountains

What could be more romantic than cuddling with a loved one in the crisp mountain air? Winter is lingering in the Smoky Mountains, bringing with it flickering candlelight, crackling fireplaces, and gorgeous sunsets. Whether you want to explore the city and the mountains or spend a quiet weekend curled up together by the fire, our cabins are the perfect fit for a romantic holiday getaway.

Make Valentine’s Day Memories in the Mountains (more…)

Pamper Yourself in the Smoky Mountains

Stressed? Tired? Overworked?

Studies show many Americans are, and it’s doing absolutely no favors for their health or relationships. In fact, stress has been directly linked to issues such as high blood pressure, a greater likelihood of contracting colds or the flu, and fights in relationships.

Who needs any of that?

If you’re stressed, the best remedy is to take a break and indulge in a bit of pampering. And what better place to pamper yourself than in the Smoky Mountains?