1. Relax & Communicate — When you decide to getaway, choose a log cabin rental with amenities that will enable you to relax, make conversation, and allow for some romance.  These amenities might include a fireplace, jacuzzi for bubble baths, and outdoor hot tubs.
  2. Enjoy the sight-seeing — The Smoky Mountains are extremely beautiful.  You can take in the mountain peaks, waterfalls, & wild flowers throughout the National Park.
  3. Fine Dining — Try the Peddler on the River, Cherokee Grill, or The Lodge at Buckberry Creek.  These restaurants are fantastic and will help create the romantic mood for the entire evening.
  4. Find adventure — Go hiking, river rafting, or zip-lining here in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg.  The excitement will help you get your mind off anything holding back the relationship or causing stress in your life back home.  Allow this escape to refresh you & your relationship.
  5. Let her go shopping — Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, & Gatlinburg have great shopping.  The Arts & Crafts Community and The Village Shops in Gatlinburg, as well as outlet stores in Pigeon Forge and Sevierville have great inventory & discounts for everyone.
  6. Enjoy a Good Breakfast together — Sometimes people don’t have a chance to start the day together with a good meal, so take the time during your vacation to go to Pancake Pantry or the Old Mill for breakfast.
  7. Have a Picnic — Cabin rentals usually have an outdoor grill.  Use this to your advantage & take in the outdoors for a BBQ.  You’ll enjoy it!
  8. Take a walk together — whether you are on a trail or private road near your log cabin rental, on the Parkway, or hiking on a Smoky Mountain trail, you should enjoy the peacefulness together.  There’s nothing better than Spring or Fall in the Smoky Mountains. Enjoy the Scenery.
  9. Go to a Show — The local Music Theaters are entertaining.  The music, dancing, & comedy at some of the local Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge theaters are amazing!  Pick one or two out on your vacation & go check them out!
  10. Get a Massage — There are in-cabin massages available.  You can schedule them directly or consult with your rental company to get a massage scheduled.  This will help you relax and get the vacation started off right!

10 Quick Activities to Recommend for Kids (Gatlinburg, TN)

  1. Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  2. Horseback Riding with the Family
  3. Water Rides at Splash Country
  4. Breakfast or Brunch at the Apple Barn
  5. River Rafting in Hartford, TN
  6. Mountain Cabin Rentals with the Family
  7. Tubing or Snowboarding at Ober Ski Resort
  8. Check out the Titanic Museum
  9. See Tennessee Shindig or Black Bear Jamboree Theaters
  10. See Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

The History of Gatlinburg, Tennessee (Great Smoky Mountains)

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Nestled in the valley of the Little Pigeon River’s West Fork and surrounded on three sides by the majestic National Park, Gatlinburg has evolved from a rural hamlet to a thriving gateway community.
Settled in the early 1800s, it was first named White Oak Flats for the abundant native white oak trees covering the landscape. It is believed a middle-aged widow, Martha Jane Huskey Ogle, was the first official settler here. She came with her family to start a new life in what her late-husband described as a “Land of Paradise” in East Tennessee.

In 1854, Radford C. Gatlin arrived in White Oak Flats and opened the village’s second general store. Controversy soon surrounded him and was eventually banished from the community. However, the city still bears his name.

As a self-sustaining community, Gatlinburg changed little in the first one hundred years. When the Civil War erupted, some locals joined the Union, others the Confederacy. But, in general, the mountain people tried to remain neutral. Although only one Civil War skirmish was fought in Gatlinburg, countless raids were made by both sides to gather vital resources needed to sustain the war effort. As with much of the South, deprivation and hardship persisted long after the war.

Great Smoky Mountains History

With the formation of the Smoky Mountain national park, tourism boosted the area’s economy. Many of the displaced mountain families moved into town, either developing new enterprises or taking jobs in new hotels, restaurants and service facilities to meet the needs of the burgeoning tourist industry. Progress slowed considerably during World War II. But, by war’s end, tourists returned with a vengeance and the sleepy little village of Gatlinburg expanded to meet the demands. Incorporated in 1945, it has since developed into a four-season resort and convention Mecca.

The Radford Gatlin Story

Originally called White Oak Flats, there are many stories as to how Gatlinburg got its name, all involving a controversial figure who settled here in 1854. Radford C. Gatlin opened the town’s second general store and when the post office was established in his store, in 1856, the town name changed to Gatlinburg. He was flamboyant and, as a preacher, established his own “Gatlinite” Baptist Church. He was a democrat in a republican community, and was eventually banished from the area.

Winter Quotes from Gatlinburg, Tennessee (The Great Smoky Mountains)

 When you imagine the raw tenacity & endurance that 19th Century settlers had while surviving some harsh winters in the mountains, you give credit to their human spirit.  There is amazing beauty to winter storms, and their aftermath.  While driving through Cades Cove, you can see the cabins of a time long ago before rollercoasters, unwelcome billboards, timeshare peddlers, and golden arched burger joints have laid stake to our East Tennessee community.  This was a time when family bonded for warmth and distraction, fires endured for food preparation and pre-bedtime stories, and families prayed for a short winter.  Short winters meant the food rations would last and pneumonia would stave off.  Sometimes, its the new batch of log cabins that cluster these Smoky Mountains that can bring families together and let the experience the beauty of winter.  Its these experiences and memories that allow folks to respect Winter, while anticipating Spring.

Quotes that depict Winter & all that it bring us each year:

Winter is nature’s way of saying, “Up yours.”  ~Robert Byrne

There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.  ~Ruth Stout

“When the bold branches
Bid farewell to rainbow leaves –
Welcome wool sweaters.
~B. Cybrill

Every winter,
When the great sun has turned his face away,
The earth goes down into a vale of grief,
And fasts, and weeps, and shrouds herself in sables,
Leaving her wedding-garlands to decay –
Then leaps in spring to his returning kisses.
~Charles Kingsley

Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again.
~Bill Morgan, Jr.

Spring, summer, and fall fill us with hope; winter alone reminds us of the human condition.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966

The color of springtime is in the flowers, the color of winter is in the imagination.  ~Terri Guillemets

Brew me a cup for a winter’s night.
For the wind howls loud and the furies fight;
Spice it with love and stir it with care,
And I’ll toast our bright eyes,
my sweetheart fair.
~Minna Thomas Antrim

Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.  ~From the movie An Affair to Remember

Of winter’s lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer’s secret
Deep down within its heart.
~Charles G. Stater

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home.  ~Edith Sitwell

The Apple Barn in Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Cabin Rental Guests in our area tend to enjoy a few local favorites for their holiday dining or family reunion meals.  One of these special restaurants would be the Apple Barn in Sevierville, Tennessee.  The Apple Barn really is a barn, it was built back in 1910 and was part of the farm bought in 1972. The owners tell their story:  “We planted our first trees in 1976 and we plant more every year. Our orchard now numbers over 4,000 trees. We began renovating the old cattle barn in 1980, scrubbing it clean as a whistle, one board at a time. Structurally, we left it pretty much as it was, merely putting a clear sealer on the black walnut and wormy chestnut wood, and retaining the stables and feeding rack. The sturdy old barn began a new era as The Apple Barn in 1981.
Soon, we added a Cider Room where you can actually watch the variety of juicy sweet and tart apples being pressed into delicious cider in the fall. Folks say our cider is the best they’ve ever tasted! Requests for a glass on the spot led to opening the inviting Cider Bar, where folks can sample our sippin’ cider hot or cold, while admiring the beautiful cherry and onyx back bar. Well, with all those apples we just naturally had to include the Apple Pie Kitchen, where we bake delicious treats like fried apple pies, apple doughnuts, and apple dumplins for eating there or taking home.
Over the past 20 years, with the support of an apple loving public, we have grown “like Topsy”. With a lot of planning and thought, we have been able to present our unique applewood smoked hams and bacon; introduce our own very special apple butter from an old time mountain recipe; add the Candy Factory which produces original sweets, including old-timey favorites, handmade on century-old equipment; and develop recipes for making our own ice cream for “The Creamery” ice cream parlor, starring apple specialties.
Our expansion included the renowned original Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant. It soon became apparent that if we wanted to serve everyone who wanted to dine with us, another restaurant was necessary. The Applewood Farmhouse Grill opened in 1995, along with the Apple Barn Winery, specializing in delightful apple and fruit wines.
Return to the Apple Barn, where it all started, and browse among the most enticing and unique array of gift items in the area, many of them themed to the mighty apple! The barn’s General Store features a wide variety of handmade mountain crafts, food items, fit to grace a gourmet’s table, home decorations and collectables. And of course, apples and cider, from which it all began.”

The next time you book a mountain cabin, mountain chalet, or mountain villa in the Smokies, I recommend you try the Apple Barn Restaurant.  I love the Apple Julip and Apple Jam.  You can bring it back to the Gatlinburg cabin & enjoy it the next morning, waking up to the mountains!  

Hiking in the Smoky Mountains: Come to Gatlinburg, Tennessee!

Complete Gatlinburg and The Great Smoky Mountain National Park Hiking Guide

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be a fun and rewarding experience as in other national parks. It is a great way to both see and experience the park.

More than 850 miles of hiking trails traverse the Great Smoky Mountains. They range from easy to difficult and provide half hour walks to week-long backpacking trips. The Appalachian Trail runs for 70 miles along the park’s top ridge. Pets are not allowed on any trails except for the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail. Backcountry camping requires a permit.

With so many options, the Smokies offer a tremendous number of hiking opportunities. Mentioned below are a few of the most popular and/or exciting destinations. All trails are described in round trip miles.

Regular Hikes

•Alum Cave – 4.4 miles (Moderate Difficulty)

It includes Arch Rock, a natural arch, Inspiration Point, and the Alum Cave Bluff. Inspiration Point offers a spectacular view of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River’s upper basin. The bluff resulted from Confederate mining of saltpeter during the Civil War. This trail continues to Mt. LeConte, and its beautiful viewpoints. Round trip distance from the parking area to LeConte is 10 miles.

•Andrews Bald – 4.4 miles (Moderate Difficulty)

This hike heads downslope to a bald. Excellent views open to the south, toward Fontana Lake, and in spring the azalea explode with color. This trail head is not accessible by car from December 1 to April 1.

•Charlie’s Bunion – 8.0 miles (Moderate Difficulty)

Following the Appalachian Trail, this hike goes out to rocky crags along the State-line ridge. It has excellent views.

•Chimney Tops – 4.0 miles (Strenuous in Difficulty)

It is a steep climb to two rock spires 4,755 ft in elevation. From the top they provide a spectacular 360-degree view.