Posts Tagged With: TN

Pet Friendly Accommodations Make a Gatlinburg Vacation Extra Special

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Stay in an awesome cabin like this with your pet!

You look forward for months to your vacation and there’s so much to do to get ready. If you are a pet owner, one of the tasks that may need to be taken care of before you leave is deciding who will take care of your pet. Some people have friends or relatives stop by to feed the animal, and others take their dog, cat, bird or other pet to a boarding facility. In either case someone other than the pet owner cares for the pet and this can cause stress for both the owner and the animal. Changing routine is something that not only animals worry over; it also causes anxiety for people. Instead of worrying about how your pet is doing when you are away, why not take Fido or Kitty or Tweety with you? In the last few years more travelers have taken vacations with their pets, and many people wouldn’t dream of leaving their beloved companions behind.

A range of accommodations from hotels, cabins to luxury chalets allows you to choose the most comfortable and convenient lodgings for you and your pets. Many of the pet friendly lodgings offer 5 star amenities to keep you and your entire party comfortable. You can even stay in cabins and hotels that offer all the comforts of home; including flat screen TVs and wireless Internet, fully equipped kitchens, satellite TV, stereo systems and Jacuzzi tubs.

Imagine these perfect vacation scenes: Losing yourself in the beauty of the Smokies as you luxuriate in a hot tub overlooking breathtaking mountain scenery. Walking your dog on a nature trail and feeling yourself relaxing in the clean country air. Playing with your cat inside your hotel room as he or she explores all the new nooks and crannies that are perfect for a game of pounce!

It’s important to make a few inquiries of some of the local cabins and hotels before you decide on accommodations for your trip. Here are a few questions you can ask to help plan for your pet’s stay with you:

  • Some hotels and cabins have limited availability – Ask about it and book well in advance.
  • Ask what kind of pets the hotel allows and if there are size limitations.
  • See what amenities are included (such as dog crates).
  • Ask about fees that need to be paid to accommodate your pets.

Thankfully there are many pet friendly cabins and hotels in the Gatlinburg area. Some of the cabins in Gatlinburg offer expansive living areas with two and even three levels, including wrap around porches at some of the larger cabins. Evenings sitting on the porch with your dog or cat at your side would certainly be preferable to worrying if they are adjusting to you being away.

Download your free Gatlinburg vacation guide now.

Let us know if you brought your pet with you to Gatlinburg! Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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Ride the Free Trolley to See the Best of Gatlinburg

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Ride the free trolley to dozens of attractions!

We mentioned in a previous post that the great trolley system Gatlinburg provides makes residents’ and visitors’ travel so pleasant around the city. Starting June 14 a Free Trolley will be available to make travelling around the city even more fun.

Who doesn’t like anything free? In this case a free trolley ride can be the gateway to so many Gatlinburg sightseeing, shopping, dining and outdoor activities. It’s easy to remember when the Free Trolley runs using this simple formula:

Summer Fun=Free Trolley

June 14, 2013 – August 18, 2013

People can ride the length of the Parkway on the Free Trolley. The trolley will offer 40 stops along this route and run from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily. The shuttle service will extend from traffic light #1 at the north end of town to light #10 at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

In addition to the Free Trolley visitors are encouraged to try the other trolley routes. Using the trolley system is one of the easiest ways to get around town. From the Arts & Crafts Community to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visitors can enjoy a quick ride to dozens of activities while sitting back and letting our friendly trolley drivers take care of the driving. So park the car and hop aboard a trolley to make your day more fun and stress-free. Here is the trolley map and GPS locator so you’ll always know where the trolleys are:

Trolley Map and Rates:

Trolley GPS Locator:

Download your free Gatlinburg vacation guide now.

Have you ridden trolleys in Gatlinburg? Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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See the Famous Synchronous Fireflies in Gatlinburg

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Dusk in Gatlinburg in early June: Time to view fireflies!

One of the most unique natural displays that visitors to Gatlinburg can see at the first part of June is the famous spectacle of the synchronous fireflies. While they range from Tennessee up to Pennsylvania, the population here is the largest in the Western Hemisphere and the forests in this area offer a particularly suitable place for them to perform their mating ritual. The males light up with the stronger flashes and fly above the females who sit on the ground and signal back with weaker flashes. The result is an awe inspiring site that leaves people with a peaceful feeling as they witness one of nature’s wonders.

Visitors can see these amazing fireflies in one of two ways; be a registered camper at Elkmont or take the Tan trolley up to the Great Smoky Mountains National park and view the firefly display. The fireflies can be seen at approximately 9:30 pm from around June 6 to June 13. Since so many people want to come and see these unusual creatures cars driving in and out from Elkmont are not allowed after 5 p.m. Visitors need to park their cars at the Sugarland Visitors Center then take the trolley to Elkmont. The last trolley returns to the Visitors Center from Elkmont at 11 p.m.

Visitors are required to buy a Sugarland Visitors Center parking pass in advance due to the fact that the Visitors Center parking lot has limited capacity. People interested in seeing the fireflies can get information on purchasing Day Before Parking Passes here.

Fireflies live an interesting life as it takes them up to two years to reach adulthood. They then live only about 3 weeks during which time the famous lighting mating ritual occurs. It’s not possible to determine exactly when each year the fireflies will display their synchronous mating ritual, but it has varied from mid-May to mid-June. The display advances each night until peak synchronicity is reached, then it gradually dwindles until the mating season is completed. When viewing the fireflies it can take a few moments for them to sync up, then viewers will notice waves of flashes back and forth, lasting around 6 seconds, then 6 second periods of darkness after the synchronization.

People are encouraged to get their parking passes and come out to see the fireflies. About 1,000 people per night come out to see the display. While people are welcome to come, pets are not allowed at the firefly site. There are volunteers and park rangers who can answer questions about the event at the park and there are firefly viewing information stations.

Download your free Gatlinburg vacation guide now.

Have you seen the fireflies in Gatlinburg? Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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Sightseeing the Smokies in the Spring

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Sightseeing in the Smokies — fun for the whole family!

Never let it be said that visitors were at a loss for things to see in Gatlinburg. In fact, that could be the reason people come back year after year to our city; there’s so much to see one visit is not enough.

If you need a quick guide to some of the ‘must see’ places in the area, take a look at this checklist we’ve put together. While we’ll let you discover the shops and attractions, we’ll focus on a few of the natural wonders. Start your sightseeing trip with this list and you’ll get a great cross-section of the natural wonders in the Gatlinburg area:

1) Cades Cove Historic Homesteads: Driving, biking or walking through Cades Cove puts you in touch with the past. The history here reaches back before recorded time. It begins over 200 million years ago, when the North American and African tectonic plates crashed together and their force created the mountains.

The Cades Cove Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can see dozens of buildings erected by some of the first settlers in the area. Several of them, like the Cades Cove Cable Mill, let you imagine what life must have been like in the 1800s. In the mid-1800s nearly 700 settlers lived and worked in Cades Cove. As you traverse this 6800 acre natural wonder, watch for cabins, granaries and smokehouses. See quaint churches, barns and forges.

While you admire the old settlements you’ll be surrounded by wildlife. Cades Cove is the nesting place for hundreds of bird species. From butterflies to 9 point bucks, visitors to the area always find unique creatures to watch and photograph. Bears, ducks, bald eagles and many more creatures populate the thousands of acres within the valley. The diversity of wildlife never ceases to amaze. More than two million visitors a year visit Cades Cove, it’s *the* ‘must see’ for your trip.

2) Newfound Gap Road

See the Smokies on the most popular drive in the area.

Driving the Newfound Gap Road is magical any time of day. Many visitors like to visit this area in the early morning to view the mists as they float and hover over the valley. There are numerous places to park and get out and hike. Talk about being one with nature — That phrase must have originated with visitors traversing the Newfound Gap Road. Picnickers, newlyweds and people who just want a place to admire spring wildflowers and evergreen woodlands away from the hustle and bustle are all frequent visitors on the Newfound Gap Road.

The views on this scenic drive are spectacular in every season. The crest of the road reaches 5,000 feet. The road is known for its vibrant fall foliage, waterfall views and for bear and elk sightings. Some people have enjoyed taking their motorcycles on this beautiful drive.

3) Mt. LeConte

While many of the most enjoyable sightseeing roads are perfect for a drive, hikers will appreciate the sunrises and sunsets at Mt. LeConte. Make a day trip here and be rewarded with incredible views all the way to the top at 6,600 feet. Four main trails can lead you to the summit. The Trillium Gap Trail comes from the north, from the south you can traverse the Alum Cave Bluff trail, coming from the east you can take the Boulevard trail and from the west you can hike the Bull Head Trail.

There are a number of fun stopping points along the way. See Alum Cave, Arch Rock and a wild turkey or two! Many hikers report that the climb can be somewhat strenuous, taking anywhere from 3-5 hours. People are encouraged to take their time, hike at their own pace, and bring along water and food.

There are cabin rentals in the Mt. LeConte area that are a great reward for hikers who have spent the day on the trails and want to luxuriate in a hot tub at night as they view the lights below in Gatlinburg. It’s recommended that you make reservations if you would like to stay in one of these cabins as they do fill up fast.
4) Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Make a trip to Roaring Fork your new family tradition.

Find a haven of mountain streams only a mile from Gatlinburg. This is one of the natural wonders that brings visitors back to Gatlinburg every year. Either sit along a stream or enjoy a pleasant hike to a waterfall; you decide how you want to enjoy this popular setting that is not only easy to get to, but offers so many beautiful experiences — visitors of all ages rave about it.

This pleasant 8 mile loop offers an easy one way course through some of the most beautiful country in our area. See gorgeous mountain views and enough wildlife to keep you snapping pictures! Kids love this area as there are many opportunities to view wildlife. Bears and wild turkeys are frequently seen here.

Get out and walk the many trails and immerse yourself in the forests, gaze at the waterfalls and show children historic buildings so they can see how life used to be. Any time of year is a great time to visit Roaring Fork. Many visitors return later in the year to enjoy the fall foliage. While there is no charge to visit this area there are some donation boxes along the way for those who wish to leave a donation.

Download your free Gatlinburg vacation guide now.

Tell us about your nature hike adventures in Gatlinburg! Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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Consult Our Pinterest Boards to Plan Your Gatlinburg Trip

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Visit our Pinterest boards to see more great photos!

If it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words then our new Pinterest account should transport you in spirit to Gatlinburg. We began creating our 43 boards in September and we add to them regularly. The reason we created them was to give you more ways to discover Gatlinburg beyond what we provide on our website. So many of you have been so kind to follow the boards. As of this writing we have over 3200 followers. The diversity that Gatlinburg offers provides us with many opportunities to visually highlight the area on Pinterest. While Pinterest provides a variety of ways to display the photos we’ve collected, we’ll continue to brainstorm new board ideas. Our goal is to make these Pinterest boards useful for you; new and returning travelers to Gatlinburg.

Join us now for a short tour of our Pinterest boards. Perhaps you’ll find something inspiring to pin to your own boards.

We’ll start with our ‘Gatlinburg Travel Information’ board. This board provides a great pictorial summary of some of the top info you’ll want to know for planning your trip. We have a picture of the Aerial Tram set against amazing fall foliage. There’s info on convention and meeting space if you’re planning a corporate trip. We even include a link to our downloadable vacation guide.

You’ll want to see our Things to Do’ board. Here we feature shots of the Aerial Tram and the scenic chairlift at Ober Gatlinburg. Take a look at our photo of the Gatlinburg Zipline Family Adventure. With 27 different activities this attraction may require several repeat visits. Fishermen will be right at home in Gatlinburg as our area offers some of the best fishing in this part of the country. Be sure to see our fishing photos on our ‘Things to Do’ board.

A big part of your trip will likely be spent visiting all the attractions in Gatlinburg. Try our Attraction Information board for tips. You’ll see photos of penguins from Ripley’s Aquarium, info on the Dukes of Hazzard Store and Museum, pics of Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium, photos of Arcadia’s 145 interactive games and so much more. This is one of our biggest boards full of the color and excitement you’ll find in Gatlinburg.

Next we invite you to check out our ‘Scenic Gatlinburg’ board. Here you’ll see everything from mountain beauty to stunning cloud formations to gorgeous rivers and streams. The photos range from overlooking the city of Gatlinburg to some of the most beautiful scenery in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We even have a ‘Gatlinburg at Midnight’ photo.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of our Pinterest boards. There are many more boards for you to explore on our Pinterest page. Have fun repinning the photos to your own boards. You can collect them to build anticipation for your trip to Gatlinburg!

Do you love Pinterest? Which is your favorite photo on our boards? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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Gatlinburg Wedding Chapels: How to Plan a Perfect Valentine’s Wedding

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Gatlinburg is one of the most popular destinations for weddings and honeymoons

Gatlinburg is one of the most popular destinations for weddings and honeymoons, and it’s no wonder, as the city’s natural beauty and serenity make it a perfect spot for couples to take their vows. If you are coming from out of town as most of Gatlinburg’s couples do, it’s important to do some research and find a chapel and wedding coordinator you feel comfortable with. Long distance wedding planning might seem a bit daunting at first. While you can start by viewing some of the available Gatlinburg wedding chapels and their packages here, interviewing several chapels and their staff can help you learn about what types of packages are available. There are over 20 wedding chapels in Gatlinburg. While at first glance many of them may appear to offer similar wedding packages, it’s important to take some time to compare them so you can find a chapel that offers the type of wedding you want.

Let Gatlinburg Wedding Planners Make Your Day Special

Pre-wedding jitters are common with most couples. Fortunately the friendly staff at the Gatlinburg area chapels take the worry out of wedding planning, to ensure that your special day is memorable and that it goes off without a hitch. Your chapel’s wedding coordinators can remove the stress of planning a wedding and replace it with a professional and personal touch that helps your dreams for your special day come true. Their goal is to put you at ease so you can focus on enjoying your wedding day.

Everything you could want from a ceremony can be arranged, right down to flowers, music, photography and a cake, at prices to fit most any budget. You can enjoy any type of wedding ceremony you can imagine, from an intimate candlelit ceremony, to an outdoor gazebo wedding, bridge wedding, a wedding with a waterfall backdrop — You can even get married on horseback!

Select the Gatlinburg Wedding Package That’s Right for You

One of the first things you’ll want to work out when researching wedding packages is the difference between a basic package, an all-inclusive package, and the available add-ons and upgrades. Typically each chapel offers several ceremonies and packages that vary according to the number of guests, type and quality of wedding photography, cake size and the honeymoon cabin or room stay included with the package (if applicable). Upgrades are often available to accommodate greater numbers of guests, provide better quality photography and video services, limo service, honeymoon stay upgrades and more. Depending on your budget, you can work with the chapel’s wedding coordinator to create a ceremony and honeymoon that’s right for you.

Package upgrades can really add up, but also take into account that they can help make your day memorable, too. Ask about whether the photography and DVD production services are included in the wedding packages. These vary from package to package and you’ll want to choose one that’s right for you, or ask for upgrades so the photos and DVDs of your special day are perfect. Some packages let you select from a variety of photography services, including traditional wedding portraits, photo books and more. The pricing depends on many factors, and one of them will be the type of photography you select; i.e. number and size of portraits selected.

Plan a Romantic Honeymoon in Gatlinburg

Many wedding packages include a honeymoon cabin, but each package is different, so ask if the package that you are considering includes honeymoon accommodations. Some people like to buy all-inclusive packages that take care of everything; from ceremony to honeymoon. Others like to purchase a wedding and reception package and plan their own honeymoon getaway. Gatlinburg offers many options for honeymooners, as the area is home to some of the finest cabins, chalets and luxury hotels in the Smokies. For those people who would rather plan their own honeymoon in Gatlinburg, you can get started by viewing your lodging options here. Staying in town may be a preferred option if you would like to be closer to shopping, dining and attractions, but most out of town accommodations are located within just a few minutes of downtown Gatlinburg.

Here’s an example of how you could plan out your wedding package selection:

  • Package at Chapel A offers: Ceremony for 10 guests, bridal bouquet and groom boutonniere, music, DVD and photos, two tier wedding cake. Honeymoon cabin for two nights.
  • Then to upgrade this standard package, a couple could elect to move up to a ceremony that would accommodate 25 guests, request additional photo portraits, a three tier cake, and a honeymoon cabin upgrade to three nights.

The idea is to figure out if you would like to upgrade an existing standard package or move up to one of the next tier packages. Each chapel will have its own selections and policies, so it’s a good idea to make up a list of ‘must haves’ for your wedding before you interview the chapels. Then you can make a true ‘apples to apples’ comparison.

Whew! After digesting all of this information, you might ask, ‘If a person had to pick the very best place for a Gatlinburg wedding, what would it be?’ That question is hard to answer, as there are dozens of beautiful settings in this area, but one place just might be as close to perfect as there is…A ceremony with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as a backdrop!

Check back soon as our next post will discuss romantic places to take your sweetheart, and we’ll go in depth about the National Park and you can judge for yourself if that is one of the most romantic places in Gatlinburg.

It’s easy to plan your trip. Download your free Gatlinburg vacation guide now.

Where would you have your dream wedding in Gatlinburg? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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