Category Archives: Vacation Ideas

Ideas for your Smoky Mountain Vacation

Upcoming Events in Townsend at GM Heritage Center

See what’s going on at the Great Smoky Mountain Visitor Center in Townsend throughout this month and next:

Now – August 16th
* Reba Rhyne and Robin Greenlee
Book signing, coasters and cutting boards.

August 24 – August 29
* Maxine Falls
Art and jewelry.

August 28, 2020
* Elizabeth Rose and Sam Venable
Tall Tales of Tennessee: An Evening of Storytelling

September 1, 2020
* Jeff Ross
“Informal and informative social coffee-talk on a variety of subjects of interest to those living in the area.”

September 04 – September 06
* Ken Justice
Woodcrafts by Ken Justice

September 07 – September 12
* Bonnie Mueller & Doug Bartlett
Abstract acrylic paintings, gourds, polymer clay jewelry and needle felting, wooden flags.

See these events and more information on the GSM Heritage Center at https://www.gsmheritagecenter.org/.

 

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Fudge Shops In The Smokies

Want to know what some of the most varied unsung heroes of Smoky Mountain tourism are? The fudge shoppes. From downtown Gatlinburg to midway through Sevierville, the main connected road has more than a few cocoa confectionery places with a variety of flavors to suit tastes, along with sugar-free fudge available at many of the stores. Most fudge that can be purchased come in candy stores that offer even more taste-tackular options for the sugar-craven.

Here are some fudge places to hop through listed here:

* Old Mill Candy Kitchen *
177 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
(877)-653-6455
https://old-mill.com/

From their website:
“Appalachia has long been a haven for homemade candies. The Old Mill Candy Kitchen proudly carries on this regional tradition, with fudges, brittles, divinity, caramels, taffy, hand-dipped chocolates, and hard candies to satisfy every sweet tooth. From bubbling copper kettles cooking up brittle to our vintage taffy-wrapping machine, The Old Mill Candy Kitchen is filled with old-time candy-making fun. And we add a fresh twist with seasonal favorites and our own innovations like our famous Bear Paws. Stop by or shop online today!”

* Country Candy Kitchen *
3341 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
865-453-6006
http://countrycandykitchen.com/

From their website:
“See taffy being made daily in our stores (times vary somewhat). Choose your favorite flavors or grab a handful of assorted. The copper kettle fudge is our original recipe, and really is handmade in copper kettles. Choose assorted or your favorite flavor, a handy knife is included (Peanut Butters are not included in assortments). Marble slab homemade fudge is a new recipe and comes in 8 oz. slabs all the way up to 6 pound slabs. Great for parties and family get-togethers! Our hand-dipped chocolate candies come in an assortment of nut clusters, caramels, pecan turtles and jellies. A wonderful choice for gift giving or sampling.”

* Farmhouse Sweets *
3220 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
(865) 366-1283
https://farmhouse-sweets.business.site/

* Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen *
744 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
865-436-4886
https://www.olesmokycandykitchen.com/

* Fudge Shoppe Of The Smokies *
716 Parkway #114, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
(865) 430-5052
https://www.fudgeshoppeofthesmokies.com/

From their website:
“Fresh delicious fudge. Seasonal and year around programs. Low minimum orders. We combine sugar, pure cream, butter, corn syrup and the base flavoring to make each batch. For example, we use real imported Dutched Chocolate for the chocolate bases and pure natural vanilla extract for the vanilla bases. All the base ingredients are combined in a big copper pot and cooked until they reach the correct temperature. The base is then poured onto a marble slab and allowed to cool. After about 10 minutes of creaming air into the fudge it begins to get thick and its much harder to toss. That’s when we swap out the paddle for a small spatula and continue the creaming process. The final step is for you to come and enjoy some for yourself!”

* Kilwin’s Chocolates *
645 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
(888) 454-5946
https://www.kilwins.com/

From their website:
“We at Kilwins always enjoy serving you the highest quality, best tasting products we possibly can. As we work through the recovery phase of the pandemic our caring store owners are doing their best to serve you. Each store is now open subject to that store’s specific needs, requirements and guidance from national, state, and local authorities. We continue our concern and support for those impacted by the pandemic with our number one concern being health and safety. Please call your local store or select the “Locations” link at the top of this page to find a Kilwins store near you for store hours or any questions you may have. Thank you very much for your patronage, which we really appreciate. We continue to do our very best.”

* Chocolate Monkey *
2631 Parkway #1, Pigeon Forge, TN 37862
(865) 366-3181
https://chocolate-monkey.business.site/

1001 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Located in Ober Gatlinburg
(865) 436-8244

* The Fudgery *
131 The Island Dr #3106, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
865-774-7800
http://www.fudgeryfudge.com/

* Big Rock Candy Kitchen *
131 The Island Dr, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
(865)-366-1701
https://islandinpigeonforge.com/poi/big-rocky-candy-kitchen/

From their website:
“Homemade sweets and treats made from scratch. Between salt water taffy, creamy fudge, crisp caramel apples, gourmet popcorn and gelato you are sure to find something to satisfy your sweet tooth. Come on down, meet our friendly staff and taste the best candies in the Smokies! Free samples anyone?”

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The Legend of Hallow Mountain at Anakeesta for Halloween

Have you seen this new Halloween event being offered for the Halloween season by Anakeesta?

“Enter a world of whimsy and scares at Anakeesta’s Legend of Hallow Mountain. From kid-friendly Halloween fun to pulse-pounding scare zones, everyone will find their level of fun….or FEAR….at Anakeesta.

For all ages throughout the day, Autumn at Anakeesta will offer family-friendly crafts, games, activities, not-so-spooky character visits, and fall-inspired treats for all.

As the nightlife awakes, the Treetop Skywalk with 16 sky bridges transforms into the NEW Firefly Forest, Anakeesta Gem Mining treasures begin to glow, Halloween movies air at the overlook and the mountain coaster and zipline rides turn into haunted adventures and the Vista Gardens transform into Hallow Mountain Graveyard where the undead rise to seek their way off Hallow Mountain…..enter if you DARE!

Autumn at Anakeesta and Hallow Mountain are included in the cost of general admission. Zombie Ziplining and the Haunted Rail Runner Mountain Coaster require an additional ticket purchase.”

See the original article and event at https://www.gatlinburg.com/event/the-legend-of-hallow-mountain/. See also https://www.anakeesta.com/HallowMountain/.

Where are the Most Popular Places in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park?

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is filled with wonderful locations your family can access to experience the Smokies. There are endless websites of information about many of the wonderful places to visit in the Smoky Mountains. We have selected these locations due to their proximity to Chalet Village and our area. When you stay with Chalet Village you will have close proximity to these most popular areas of the Smokies.

Chimney Tops
The chimneys top a sheer rise of almost 2,000 feet and were known to the Cherokee as “Dukiskwal-guni” (forked antlers). From the overlook on Newfound Gap Road, passersby can see the 30-foot deep “flue” in the right-hand peak which gives the outcropping its name. The Chimneys Picnic Area, located in a ravine on the mountain’s side, is an excellent place to stop for a leisurely lunch.

Mount LeConte
Mt. LeConte is the Park’s third highest peak at 6,593 feet. Despite runner-up ranking, LeConte serves as the focal point of the Park. The summit offers unforgettable views from two different overlooks, Myrtle Point and Cliff Top. Hikers can choose from five different trails to the top, ranging from 11 to 16 miles roundtrip.

Newfound Gap
In 1940 Franklin Delano Roosevelt officially dedicated the Park from this majestic site. The road, completed in 1932, straddles Tennessee and North Carolina here. Originally, Indian Gap, a point two miles west, was thought to be the lowest gap in the mountains, but Newfound Gap was discovered to be lower in elevation, thus the name.

Charlie’s Bunion
This 1,000-foot sheer drop-off can be found four miles east along the Appalachian Trail. The cliff is named after a bunion that prevented Charlie Conner, an Oconaluftee settler, from traveling through the Gap in 1928. Fellow travelers claimed the bare mountain resembled their friend’s bunion.

Clingman’s Dome
Clingman’s Dome is the Smokies’ highest peak and the third highest point east of the Mississippi. Named for a colorful Civil War general, Clingman’s Dome rears its head 6,642 feet. The observation tower , located 7 miles off Newfound Gap Road, looks out on an ever-changing view. Occasionally the peak is above cloud level, creating a surrealistic scene of mountaintops floating in an ocean of white.

Andrews Bald
A picture-perfect picnic spot, Andrews Bald offers glorious views of the towering mountain ranges of North Carolina and Georgia. It’s a 3.6 mile roundtrip hike from the Forney Ridge parking area at Clingmans Dome and is the most accessible bald in the Park.

Smokemont
This area was first a pioneer settlement called Bradleytown. During the 1920s logging boom, Smokemont became a busy village, sawmill and railroad terminal to haul lumber down from the forest. Today, it is a popular Park campground with a self-guiding nature trail through the reborn forest.

Select your vacation cabin at https://www.chaletvillage.com.

Guest Post: Driving Through Wears Valley

The following blog post was sent to us by a couple that recently visited Wears Valley for a rainy afternoon and took a drive through part of the new Foothills Parkway addition that connects Wears Valley to Townsend through the new extension. They wanted to tell us about their visit and showcase some pictures and video they took:

“Hello! We recently had the opportunity to take a little afternoon drive through Wears Valley as my husband and I hadn’t been through there in a while and wanted to find the Foothills Parkway entrance [from there].

We unfortunately chose a time of the day when the storm clouds were covering the sky and didn’t know if it was going to burst or not, so the pictures and video we took probably don’t look as great as pictures people take when it’s bright and sunny out, but oh well! My husband and I like storm clouds, anyway.

We couldn’t tour much of Wears Valley, so we decided on only a couple stops along before the Foothills Parkway. We didn’t eat yet and we really like donuts, so the first place we wanted to try to get some energy to start with. I had a glazed donut and a blueberry donut and they certainly woke me up! A nice treat that I plan to get the next time I come back through here. My husband had a chocolate iced and a maple frosted. He seemed to like the chocolate one more than the maple (he’s a chocohollic, so no surprise there) but he shared my sentiment of coming back to repeat the order. After that, we went next door to the Wears Valley Antique Gallery. I’ve been here a few times before, but it had been a few years since the last time and maybe a third of the store had been remodeled or was different than last time. They still had some really neat things that I wished I had room and money for, but couldn’t get. They had some moonshine and other locally made food items that I wanted to send back to family in Hawaii where I originally came from and I was happy to see they had sugar-free variations of those items for my mom and elder relatives (those aren’t too easy to find around here). Great sightseeing, and if I only had one stop I could make for fun in Wears Valley, it would be here.

After that, we were still hungry and ready for a proper lunch meal for the day. We debated between Hillbilly’s Restaurant and Geppetto’s Italian as we wanted to decide between a heavier food or an Italian kind of taste. We decided to go for a heavier food and went to Hillbilly’s. I thought the car on the sign was impressive enough, but I wasn’t expecting to see another one inside the restaurant! It wasn’t busy when we got in, so we got our food pretty quick. My husband had the Hillbilly Deluxe burger and I had the Little Granny’s (which was already 1/3 of a pound of hamburger and more than I could eat in one sitting, personally. If that’s the “Little” Granny, I wonder how big a “Big” Granny would be). The service was excellent and the sodas were crisp, which is a big thing for me and my husband, and after that it was time to take our trip to see the Foothills Parkway.

The video of that and the rest of the story are in the video link below. We did have a camera malfunction and some of our pictures didn’t come out right, but the video turned out well and other pictures that did come out right are attached. Thank you!”

– Ge’ne Kea

We got permission from Ge’ne Kea to post this blog here and on our other networks. Thank you Jeff and Ge’ne!

Gorgeous Roaring Fork in the Smokies

Just for some viewing pleasure, we had recently licensed a new set of nature and location photos at Roaring Fork in Gatlinburg. This, as you will see, is a really beautiful and popular location to see views of the National Park, historic cabins and some wildlife and they were shot and brought to life by local photographer extraordinaire John Saunders.

More on John Saunders can be found at https://www.pigeonforgechamber.com/listing/john-saunders-productions/.

Douglas Lake Vacations

Visit the Website and Make Reservations for Douglas Lake Vacations at http://www.douglaslakevacations.com.