Thursday, December 30, 2010

Great Smoky Mountain Railroad - Winter Excursions

Unless you have taken the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad December Polar Express trip, you might find a train ride an odd suggestion for the winter months. Yet the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad takes riders right into the Smoky Mountains for an up-close look at nature's beauty. Taking the train while the leaves are absent and the mountains deceptively dormant-seeming allows riders to appreciate the foundation of spring, summer and fall's loveliness.

And when the mountain is revealed without its cloak of many colors, we see the shape and texture of the land, the craggy rocks, the forest floor carpeted by years and layers of decaying leaves feeding the generations to come.

The January excursion is a four-hour trip from Bryson City to the Nantahala Gorge with a 30-minute layover. Only available on Saturdays, the trip has an 11 a.m. departure time. In March, the expanded schedule begins again. Also in March, the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad will start offering first-class seating, a new perk.
Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, Bryson City, (800) 872-4681.

From the Winston Journal

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Celebrate New Years At Gatlinburg Space Needle Ball Drop

Gatlinburg New Years Eve Ball Drop  12/31/10            

Don’t miss out on our New Year’s Eve street party. Come bring in the New Year with thousands at Gatlinburg’s New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Pyrotechnics Show!

Celebrate and mingle with partygoers while watching the New Years Eve countdown clock and lighted ball drop bring in the New Year.

This event continues to grow each year with a live band and an exciting pyrotechnic fireworks show planned right after the ball drop at midnight. Cost of admission to this event-FREE!

More info on the Gatlinburg Space Needle

Christmas Light Show-Smokies Stadium

Synchronized Christmas Light Display - Sevierville, TN I-40 Exit 407 at the Smokies Baseball Stadium. Light Shows -Nightly 6:00 - 10:00pm till January 2, 2010

Fully computerized LED lighted displays will light the route along with holiday tunes. The route is nearly a mile long and lasts approximately 20 minutes. Hours are 6p.m.-10p.m. or later daily.

FREE Local Discount Card with Admission! Valid all year! 1 Per Vehicle. Extra cards $10

Admission as follows for 2010:

Cars or Family Vans (Mon-Thurs)……………………………$13.67 + Tax = $15

Cars or Family Vans (Fri-Sun, Holidays, & Dec 20-23)….$18.23 + Tax = $20

Activity Van, Limo, and Mini/Half Bus……………………….$27.34 + Tax = $30

Tour/School Bus…………………………………………………$68.34 + Tax = $75

New this year! Santa’s Village with petting zoo, pony and camel rides, photos with Santa, a Christmas Tree lot, and festive refreshments including Hot Cocoa, Apple Cider, Funnel Cakes, Christmas Cookies, Pizza, Kettle Corn and so, so much more!!!

The Christmas Wonderland is an award-winning drive-through and light show that is the largest of its kind in the country. Featuring hundreds of thousands of LED lights dynamically synchronized and dancing to the music, this experience is sure to be something you and your family won't soon forget!

For additional information, please contact Shadrack at (423) 652-0120 or visit the company's Christmas Wonderland page here 

The Pigeon Forge Titanic- Christmas In A Winter Wonderland

Every Friday and Saturday Evening at 7pm.  

November 13, 2010-January 1, 2011
Free in Parking Lot - Bring your Cameras!

It will snow this holiday season in Pigeon Forge; Titanic Museum Attraction guarantees it. Starting Saturday, November 13, it will snow – yes, REAL snow – at the Titanic every Friday and Saturday evening at 7:00pm through January 1, 2011. The snow is part of the museum’s “Christmas in a Winter Wonderland,” which is dedicated to honoring and celebrating the lives of the 2,208 passengers and crew of the Titanic.

Titanic Museum Attraction co-owner Mary Kellogg-Joslyn is pulling out all the stops this Christmas and invested $150,000 in snow equipment (the same equipment used to make it snow at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom every Christmas) that will produce real, falling snow every weekend at the museum. An additional $100,000 will be spent on Christmas trees, lights and decorations that will decorate the interior and exterior of the Titanic Museum Attraction.

“Everything about our Christmas in a Winter Wonderland Celebration is aimed at giving our visitors and their families a unique, memorable holiday experience. A memory that will last forever – and isn’t that what Christmas is all about?”

For reservations call 800-381-7670 or visit the Titantic website

Monday, November 01, 2010

Pigeon Forge Winterfest Starts Nov 9th, 2010

Pigeon Forge Winterfest Starts Nov. 9th, 2010

Join us in Patriot Park, for the 21st Annual Winterfest Kickoff with Dollywood’s Appalachian Christmas!

Pigeon Forge’s Winterfest Kickoff is just the beginning of three and a half months of holiday music, lights and special events.

Beginning at 4 p.m., several performing groups from Pigeon Forge Middle School and High School will open the festivities. Pigeon Forge Community Chorus and Dollywood’s Appalachian Christmas will follow, while Jimbo Whaley and Greenbrier will wrap up the evening’s entertainment.

Comments from civic leaders will precede the ceremonial flipping of the switch to turn on the city’s five million Winterfest lights at around 7 p.m. Free Trolley Tour of Lights, which showcase Winterfest light displays throughout the community, will be offered after the lighting ceremony.

Also the Pigeon Forge Community Chorus’ concert of holiday music with a mountain flavor from Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas. Plus the best in bluegrass music from Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier!

We’ll have games for the kids, and food vendors to satisfy every hungry appetite. But, as always, we’ll save the best for last.

Since the light displays are located throughout town, the best way to see them all is on board the Winterfest Trolley Tour of Lights. Don’t miss the great opportunity to take a free tour, only available on the night of Kickoff!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Smoky Mountain Grocery Opens in Wears Valley !!

Smoky Mountain Grocery ANNOUNCES that from the time Smoky Mountain Grocery began, we have worked toward our goal of someday owning our own grocery store. Today this dream became a reality.

We currently shop other grocery stores in the area to fill our customers orders, but we have opened our first SMOKY MOUNTAIN GROCERY STORE in Wears Valley on the Wears Valley Rd near the Rocky Top Country Store !!!

Wears Valley Rd Sevierville TN


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pigeon Forge Car Shows Sept 10-11. Sept 16-19, 22-25, 2010

Pigeon Forge Rod Run season is almost here! The Shades of Past Rod Run is September 10 & 11 and is located at Dollywood Splash Country and The Inn at Christmas Place. Phone 865-429-0159.

The Grand Fall Rod Run is September 16 – 19 and is located at The Grand Resort Hotel and Convention Center; For more information call 1-800-251-4444.

One other car show this year is the Great Smoky Mountain Annual Auto Fest at Smokies Stadium on September 22 – 25 to get more info call 865-850-4806.

Come check out the unbelievable classic and antique cars, rods and much more..

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Smoky Mountain Wedding Via Facebook !

A Smoky Mountain Wedding Via Facebook !

You certainly hear lots of stories about Facebook these days... but this was a first for us. A wedding at our Glimpse of Heaven cabin..... all started with a mother finding our "Heavenly Cabins Near Pigeon Forge" page on Facebook.

Laurie, the mother of the groom had been searching online when she found us.. Here's an excerpt from one of her emails to us....

"Cheryl, I've already told you that God set me up with you. I know that for a fact. He saw this mother's desire to see her son married in a Christian wedding even though I couldn't be right there. I searched and searched for the right spot for them and when I saw your cabin and bio, I knew that was the right place.

After I booked a Glimpse of Heaven, I had such perfect peace. It has been so incredible. God is so faithful. Sam and Jaimi don't realize it yet, but God had tremendous plans for them."

The next email from Laurie described the blessed union of Sam & Jaimi~~~

Everything went so well. Sam and Jaimi loved the cabin. It was a gift from God. Sam talked on and on about how beautiful it was there. The weather report was for T-storms that day, but God was good and showed them His favor by giving them a nice sunny day.

They went for long rides through the mountains and sat with their feet in a mountain river. Thank you for the nice coorespondences we had and for letting your light so shine before men that the Father is Glorified (though you).Many Blessings, Laurie

We are so very grateful that the Lord allowed us to have a tiny part in this special day. May God continue to bless Sam, Jaimi and their families.. Thank you !!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Midnight Independence Day Parade-Gatlinburg July 3rd-4th, 2010

Midnight Independence Day Parade-Gatlinburg July 3rd-4th, 2010

Billed as the first parade to take place on July 4th - Independence Day, Gatlinburg TN starts the parade at 12 midnight, Saturday 7/3/10 into Sunday 7/4/10..

For the 35th consecutive year, Gatlinburg kicks off America’s Independence Day celebration with the nation’s first parade, which leads off in the opening moment of the holiday at 12 a.m. on Sunday, July 4, to the cheers of close to 100,000 spectators and features a special tribute to our military personnel among the many highlights of this one-of-a-kind patriotic event.

Stretching more than a mile in length, over 100 units will make their way through Gatlinburg, showcasing many elaborately decorated floats, helium balloons, marching bands, equestrian entries and a large contingent of our armed services men & women.

Among the military personnel being honored as Grand Marshall for the parade will be the 129th Army Band from Nashville, Tennessee, which will march in the event. Vintage military vehicles will also be part of the parade.
As soon as the street is closed late on July 3, the parade route comes alive with pre-parade entertainers that begin the excitement of what is to follow.

Marching bands, colorful floats and helium balloons will navigate the streets. Also appearing in the line-up will be a parade-scale replica of the famous starship U.S.S. Enterprise from Riverside, Iowa and the Boyertown Alumni Marching Unit from Boyertown, Pennsylvania.

Bands schedule to participate in the Midnight Parade include the 129th Army Marching Band, Boyertown (Penn.) Alumni Marching Unit, the Nashville Suzuki Strings and Knoxville Pipe & Drum.

“This will be one of the most patriotic and colorful midnight parades that the City of Gatlinburg has ever produced,” according to Special Events Manager George Hawkins, who organized the first Gatlinburg 4th of July parade in 1976 in celebration of America’s Bicentennial. "We are very excited about the entire weekend of events, which will include a four-day festival highlighting our armed services!”

Additional weekend activities in downtown will include free admission concerts by the 129th Army Band, the Boyertown Alumni Marching Unit, Nashville Suzuki Strings, Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta unmanned floatable race, and a spectacular fireworks display.

For more information about the 35th Annual 4th of July Midnight Parade, please call 800-56-VISIT (568-4748).

July 3 Activities
1 p.m. – Nite Fire of the 129th Army Band (Rock Group) at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza.
12 midnight – 35th annual Fourth of July Midnight Parade.

July 4 Schedule
10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. – River Raft Regatta
1 p.m. – Direct Hit of the 129th Army Band (R&B/Jazz Group) at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza
4 p.m. – Nashville Suzuki Strings at the Gatlinburg Inn
4 p.m. – Boyertown Alumni Marching Unit at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza
8 p.m. – Nashville Suzuki Strings at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza
8:30 p.m. – 129th Army Concert Band at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza
10 p.m. – Fireworks Finale in Downtown
Admission: Free

Fireworks! Patriot Festival July 3rd, 2010 - Pigeon Forge TN

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010 at Patriot Park - Come Froggin’ in the Forge
with WIVK radio 107.7 fm and the City of Pigeon Forge this holiday weekend.

Enjoy an outstanding lineup of entertainment, our free Kids’ Karnival area with inflatables and games, and taste many of the wonderful foods from our non-profit vending organizations.

The City of Pigeon Forge proudly presents the evening fireworks show as a thank you to our guests and citizens for supporting Pigeon Forge!

This event is free and open to the public. Bring blankets or chairs and join us at Patriot Park (please no umbrellas). Event parking is available in the city parking lot on Teaster Lane with a trolley shuttle available to Patriot Park.

Fireworks !!Fireworks will be broadcast live on WIVK 107.7Festivities will begin at 2:00 pm July 3rd. Please continue to return to this site for updated information.

For more information on this FREE event, visit or call the Pigeon Forge Office of Special Events at (865) 429-7350

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Dolly Parton Helps Nashville" - Fundraiser Pigeon Forge TN

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn.—East Tennessee native and longtime Nashville resident Dolly Parton announced plans today for Dolly Helps Nashville, a fund raising weekend set for May 22 and 23, 2010 with net admission proceeds from her Dollywood and Dixie Stampede properties in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. earmarked for Music City flood relief efforts.

Parton will make several special appearances at various theaters and locations throughout Dollywood and at Dixie Stampede to greet guests who visit for the weekend event.

“I grew up in the Smokies in East Tennessee, which was my first home. I moved to Nashville 46 years ago and that is my home now,” Parton said. “I have family and friends in both places, and when one place hurts; I think it is just right for the other to help.

On May 22 and 23, I’m having my Dollywood and Dixie Stampede companies help me host my Dolly Helps Nashville weekend. The net proceeds from the admission of the guests to Dollywood and my Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge will go to a special fund to assist Nashville flood victims. We’re especially going to concentrate on those folks who lost their homes and personal possessions in this terrible flood.”

Davidson and three surrounding counties were declared federal disaster areas after record-breaking rainfall on May 1 and 2 devastated the area and destroyed homes and businesses. With strong roots in the Nashville community, Parton felt the impact of the natural disaster and organized Dolly Helps Nashville to aid those displaced by the flood.

So many of the folks from Nashville come to the Smokies to vacation; over the last 25 years, they have helped Dollywood, Dixie Stampede and Dollywood’s Splash Country and this entire vacation area grow,” Parton added. “That’s why it’s our turn to help.”

Parton is calling on other East Tennessee businesses and attractions to show their support as well. “I am challenging other businesses in Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg to make this a destination-wide effort.”
Parton also issued a plea to her fans to help the fund raising effort reach its full potential.

“I want all of my fans worldwide to come to Dollywood the weekend of May 22 and 23,” Parton said. “If you can’t be there in person, then I hope you’ll donate to flood victims through the Dollywood Foundation online at”

For more information on the flood relief effort, please visit

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Dollywood's Splash Country Opens May 22, 2010

May 22 , 2010

One of the sure signs of summer is the opening of Dollywood’s Splash Country. The 2010 season begins Saturday, May 22.

Come see why Dollywood’s Splash Country was named “America’s Must-See Waterpark.” Remember, every Saturday season passholders and their guests (with valid admission) are admitted one-hour early to enjoy a select attraction that is open just for our season passholder family, beginning with the new Slick Rock Racer on May 22!

Plus, surprise giveaways are planned on random days throughout the season for season passholders. You qualify simply by scanning your season pass at the turnstiles.

Friday, April 16, 2010

25th Annual Dolly Parade - May 7th - Pigeon Forge TN

The 25th Annual Dolly Parade is the highlight of Springfest. This year’s parade is scheduled for May 7, 2010 at 6pm.

The Dolly Parton parade runs from River Road to Wears Valley Road in Pigeon Forge TN. Join the fun as festive floats, marching bands and other local celebrities make their way through parade procession.

More info about Dollywood

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Trail Trekkers On The Appalachian Trail

A hiker headed toward
Maine on the Appalachian
Trail appreciates chances
to rest at places such as
this at Woody Gap.
By Dan Cook

April Fool's Day traditionally signals
the start of backpackers heading north
from Springer Mountain in Georgia to
Maine on the Appalachian Trail.

The dream of such "thru hikers" is to go the entire 2,175 miles to Mount Katahdin before winter returns. But many this year left earlier than usual, according to outfitters who have witnessed their arrivals at points along the route.

A hiker headed toward Maine on the Appalachian Trail appreciates chances to rest at places such as this at Woody Gap.

One even hit the trail as early as New Year's Day, according to Pepper Schuette of SunDog Outfitter in Damascus, Va. "That was Tattoo Joe," Schuette said by telephone. "He's the current record speed holder on the Pacific Crest Trail."

Many thru-hikers select alternate names for trail identity; hence the nickname. The unusually cold, wet winter has hindered the backpackers, however -- particularly in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, through which the AT traverses.

"Joe said he had passed between 150 and 200 between here and Springer," Schuette said.

A little more than a decade ago, only a few hundred people a year attempted the full-trail challenge, but now as many as 1,500 annually set out with that goal. Only a few hundred actually make it, but that is considered remarkable in itself.

Last year, according to Laurie Potteiger of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, 686 northbound walkers who had started at Springer stopped at the ATC's trail visitor center at Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and gave Maine as their destination.
Amicalola Falls State Park near Dawsonville, Ga., is a popular starting point for the AT, since its offers modern camping, cabins and a lodge. It is several miles south of the AT southern terminus, which is accessible via an approach trail from Amicalola or, usually, by a dirt-road drive.

"But the winter affected the road this year," Amicalola manager Bill Tanner said, noting that 469 had checked in at the park as of Tuesday morning. Tanner reasoned that more had entered through the park this year than normal due to the dirt road's inaccessibility.

"Their minds are in the right spot, though sometimes they carry substantially more than what their bodies are wanting to produce," he said. For many hikers, that evaluation often becomes painful reality in the first 30 miles. A lot of gear is sent home from the Walasi-Yi Center, where the AT crosses a major highway just south of Blairsville, Ga.

Another main resting place is Uncle Johnny's Nolichucky Hostel and Outfitters near Erwin, Tenn. Like Walasi-Yi, it offers showers and other amenities. A source at Uncle Johnny's reported that 38 thru-hikers had been counted as of Tuesday. Included was "Trek," making an AT trip for the eighth consecutive year.

Some gear leaving post offices along the route is merely a result of preparation for the journey. Hikers use the mail to exchange heavier clothes for lighter attire, or vice versa, depending upon anticipated weather conditions. The five or six months needed for the full trip requires much logistical planning.

Trail Days in Damascus is an annual highlight the week after Mother's Day for those who have made it that far. SunDog's Schuette noted that while the town has only about 900 permanent residents, it is full of tents and 20,000 or more people the week of festivities. The events include a parade and good-natured water fights among current and previous hikers.

For serious hikers, the state of the economy generally is no big concern. Bad times may even be good for hiking, the Uncle Johnny's Nolichucky source said, because it's a "low-rent vacation."

Said Jeff Patrick, owner of Mount Rogers Outfitters in Damascus: "I don't know about the economy. I've never had a watch or a cell phone. I think it might be that a lot of people have figured out that costly vacations aren't what they used to be and that getting into the woods may offer something different

Info from Chattanooga Times Free Press

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cades Cove Loop Road To Open Early - April 24th 2010

Cades Cove Loop Road is to reopen on April 24th, which is a month earlier than expected. The road was projected to be closed three months, beginning March 1, for major work, including a repaving of the loop.

The $6.7 million redo of the popular 11-mile loop inside the Great Smoky Mountains National park was slated to be completed no later than May 21. Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson credited contractor APAC-Atlantic Inc. Harrison Division and the Federal Highway Administration for the quick completion of the large project.

To commemorate the reopening on Sunday morning, April 25, the park and the Friends of the Smokies are planning a one-time-only “Cades Cove Loop Lope,” which will offer pre-registered runners a choice of the full 11-mile loop or a 3.5 mile loop course. for more info check out this link. Cades Cove Loop Lope

The loop is usually limited to bicycles and pedestrians until 10 a.m. Saturday and Wednesday from May through September. The one-time closure on April 24 will be extended to noon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Smoky Mountain Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage-April 21 - 25, 2010

Attend the annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and you just might see a dazzling display of redbuds in bloom. Attendees also will be able to enjoy a presentation on Theodore Roosevelt by Joe Wiegand.

The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be held from April 21 to 25.

Now in its 60th year, it's the largest Wildflower Pilgrimage in the country. More than 1,000 attendees, called pilgrims, will descend on Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for wildflower and bird walks, lectures on composting and on attracting insect-eating birds and strenuous hikes.

This five-day program attracts visitors from the Midwestern and Southern states and as far away as Colorado and Alaska. Started by the Gatlinburg Garden Club, the University of Tennessee, and the City of Gatlinburg, it is now managed by the Great Smoky Mountains Association.

Ken McFarland, a biology professor at the University of Tennessee, chooses the trails and leaders for the outdoor programs.
"We have lots of wildflower walks on both sides of the park (North Carolina and Tennessee). People come for at least two days and most do a wildflower and bird walk," he said.

Mr. McFarland personally will lead a hike on mosses and liverworts; he's been with the program since 1976. Other subjects include salamanders, insects, bears, and hogs

The highlight for Mr. McFarland is "talking to visitors and getting them engaged. They ask interesting questions. I like to have public understand and be more aware of the environment they live in."

Mr. McFarland explains that his challenge is finding people who are willing to come and are qualified to lead. The outdoor leaders volunteer and pay their own travel expenses. The program provides them with housing and meals.

"Leaders give pilgrims a different perspective and encourage them to take a scientific look at the environment in more depth," explained Mr. McFarland. "Walks are casual and slow-paced. We have two or three leaders per event, so they can engage with the public. We go rain or shine, so people should come prepared."

Indoor programs are also popular. This year, the headliner is A Theodore Roosevelt Salute to the Great Smoky Mountains. Joe Wiegand, who calls himself a 'reprisor' and not an impersonator, is "TR", known as our best conservation president. He'll tell stories of the early conservation movement and the growth of our national parks. Mr. Wiegand has even performed at the White House.

"I portray TR because his life and his stories speak to Americans today in a worthwhile way," said Mr. Wiegand. "TR’s dedication to family and country, his values and ideals, and his policies for conservation, a 'Square Deal' and a 'Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick' foreign policy are very relevant to our current circumstances.

"I enjoy traveling this beautiful country and entertaining in the persona of TR, of whom his daughter Alice famously said: 'Father wanted to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral and the baby at every christening.'"

Great Smoky Mountains National Park was created in 1934, long after TR died in 1919. During his tenure in the White House from 1901 to 1909, he designated 150 national forests, the first 51 federal bird reservations, five national parks, the first 18 national monuments, the first four national game preserves, and the first 21 reclamation projects. Altogether, in the seven-and-one-half years he was in office, he provided federal protection for almost 230 million acres, a land area equivalent to that of all the East Coast states from Maine to Florida.

Closer to Smokies history, Robin Goddard will give a performance on Ann Davis, considered the mother of the Smokies. Ms. Davis was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly in 1925 where she introduced a bill authorizing the state to purchase the first large piece of land for the park. But let's not forget, it is the Wildflower Pilgrimage, after all. So what will the bloom be like on April 21?

"The last two years, we had spectacular wildflowers. In general, flowers are coming out a week earlier than they did 50 years ago," said Mr. McFarland, who studies the phenology of plants in the Smokies, the science dealing with the influence of climate on the recurrence of annual cycles such as flower blooms and bird migrations. "But this year, the cold winter will delay the bloom so they should be on schedule."
The details:
The Wildlife Pilgrimage runs from April 21 to April 25 (Wed to Sunday). Online registration is on now until April 11 at
this site. Since each session has a limit, you should register as soon as you can.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"The Titanic" Opens In Pigeon Forge - April 8, 2010

The World’s Largest Permanent Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, TN, is launching its Grand Opening April 8, 2010. Guest Appearance by Regis Philbin. The christening of the ship outside the bow will be at 10:00am - Thursday April 8th, 2010.

Join us as we take you on an incredible historical journey. Get ready to play a part in one of the greatest human dramas of all time. You will navigate through twenty rooms holding 400+ valuable museum artifacts and personal items, an exclusive photo collection and hands-on-activities, which include:
Walk an actual size replica of the Grand Staircase

View pictures that literally come to life

Touch the frozen surface of an “iceberg”

Send an SOS signal from the ship’s wireless communications room and receive communication from the coast guard

Listen to survivors’ stories as they sit in actual lifeboats

Feel the chill of that fateful "Starry Night"

Stand on the mighty ship's bridge and hear the Captain's commands

View life onboard, see a First Class Stateroom and a Third Class cabin

Explore world-class gallery rooms with rare historical artifacts

Control a simulated underwater Titanic exploration of your own

See more info at

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Check Out Dollywood's New "Adventure Mountain" Opening March 27,2010

Set the course for adventure at Dollywood’s new "Adventure Mountain". Explore and uncover an endless combination of high-energy
feats to engage and entice the
entire family!

This multi-level area covers approximately two acres and requires varying levels of skill and ability. Four courses invite adventurers to navigate more than 100 challenging obstacles, including swinging beams, suspension bridges, flying islands, a tire traverse and more including the base-level Camp Teachittoomee.

The excitement of the great outdoors is just waiting to be discovered by those who accept the challenge of Dollywood’s new Adventure Mountain.

Visit the
Adventure Mountain website for more information.
Photo & Info from

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dollywood's Opening Day-Saturday March 27,2010

Dollywood's Opening Day

Dollywood’s opening day is Saturday, March 27, 2010. Mark your calendars and get ready to celebrate our 25th anniversary season with us! Be one of the first to explore America’s largest challenge course—Dollywood's new Adventure Mountain:

Explore 100+ elements on 4 unique adventures. Navigate a rock cliff, swinging rope bridges, geysers, and much more
Choose your adventure trail, from easy to difficult, from a few inches to as high as 90 feet above the main walkway!

Plus, weather permitting, Dolly plans to make a few surprise appearances throughout the Park that day. So come and enjoy the rides, shows—and maybe even see Dolly—next Saturday, on opening day!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Cades Cove Closed 3/1 To 5/21/10 But Still Lots More To See In The Smoky Moutains!

Cades Cove is closed, but there are still plenty of adventures to experience on the Peaceful Side of the TN Smokies.

Cades Cove Road Closure – Alternative Adventures
The road in Cades Cove is scheduled to be closed March 1 - May 21, 2010 for major improvements. Weather may affect these dates.

The road will be closed to all public use, including hiking, bicycling, and auto touring during the closure period. Trailheads along the road will be closed, including Cooper Road Trail, Abrams Falls Trail, and Rabbit Creek Trail. Although trailhead access from along the Loop Road will be closed, these trails will remain open and hikers can access them via connecting trails in the area. Download a park trail map to view area trails.

Rich Mountain Road, Forge Creek Road and Parson Branch Road will not be accessible during the closure. This will affect trailhead access/parking for Indian Grave Gap Trail, Gregory Ridge Trail, Gregory Bald Trail, and Hannah Mountain Trail.

The Cades Cove Campground, picnic area, horseback riding stable and campground store will be operating as normal. Bicycle rentals will not be available from the campground store during the period when the Loop Road is closed.

While Cades Cove is temporarily closed, there are many alternative adventures to enjoy such as a self-guided tour of Tremont, Little Greenbrier School, The Walker Sister’s Cabin, Elkmont Summer Community, the Heritage Museum in Townsend, the Little River Railroad Museum and the scenic Foothills Parkway.

For a complete list of all adventures, visit “The Do” section of
Tammi Ford EVP Communications Blount Partnership

Please bookmark other informative websites:,,
Community Calendar, Blount Chamber Calendar

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

"Saddle Up" Cowboy Festival-Pigeon Forge Feb 25-28, 2010

Pigeon Forge ‘Sets Up Camp’ for Festival of Cowboy Poetry, Western Music, Chuckwagon Cooking

10th ‘Saddle Up!’ includes autograph session with James Drury of ‘The Virginian’

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (February 2010) – Cowboy poets, western singers and chuckwagon cooks are just over the horizon from Pigeon Forge, Tenn., preparing for the 10th celebration of Saddle Up!, a perhaps unexpected celebration of cowboy ways east of the Mississippi River.

Saddle Up!, Feb. 25-28, 2010, is the last major component of Pigeon Forge Winterfest, a four-month season of activities that started in November. The entire Winterfest celebration is on the American Bus Association’s list of the Top 100 Events in North America, and Saddle Up! is an American Cowboy Magazine “Best of the West” event, one of 101 recognized annually.

Like stars over a clear prairie sky, the entertainment lineup sparkles with Don Edwards, Waddie Mitchell, R.W. Hampton, Dave Stamey, Ray Doyle and Jeff Gore. Two western swing dances will get guests showing off their best two-stepping techniques.

The pop culture side of the cowboy life will be featured through appearances by James Drury and other stars of “The Virginian,” the 1962-1971 hit TV Western. “The Virginian,” the first 90-minute Western, told the story of the fictional Shiloh Ranch near Medicine Bow, Wyo.

Autograph sessions and question-and-answer opportunities are planned with Drury, Roberta Shore, Gary Clarke and Randy Boone. Drury appeared throughout the series.

A competitive chuckwagon cookoff is another Saddle Up! highlight. Teams of chuckwagon cooks will prepare an authentic trail hand lunch for guests’ enjoyment—and the critical evaluation of judges.

The closing event is Cowboy Church, a non-denominational service preceded by strong coffee and a chuckwagon breakfast.

Admission information: Concert day passes are $20 per day and $50 for the weekend (free through age 17). The chuckwagon cookoff lunch, chuckwagon breakfast and western swing dance are $5. Admission to “The Virginian” event is free.

The complete festival schedule is online at href=""> Information about all aspects of visiting Pigeon Forge is at or by calling toll-free 1-800-251-9100.

Saddle Up! event locations:
Thursday afternoon and evening concerts at the Smith Family Dinner Theater

Friday afternoon and evening concerts at the Grand Majestic Theater

Friday and Saturday Western swing dances at the Grand Resort Hotel

Saturday “Virginian” reunion at the Grand Resort Hotel

Saturday Chuckwagon cookoff at Clabough’s Campground
Sunday Cowboy Church at Stages West

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Winter Heritage Festival Townsend TN Feb 4-7,2010

Winter Heritage Festival February 4-7, 2010 - Townsend TN - The Great Smoky Mountains

A celebration of the history, people, and traditions of Townsend TN, Cades Cove, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Don't miss the Kick-Off on Thursday, Feb. 4 from 7--9pm, with Sparky and Rhonda Rucker at Tremont! Call 865-448-6709 for reservations.

The Winter Heritage Festival has received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History, and has been designated a "Top Twenty Event" by the Southeast Tourism Society.

See below for schedules of events for 2010! Most events are free, but there are charges for the Kick Off, the Barn Dance, Miss Lily's Banquet Hall lunch programs, and the Cades Cove Heritage Tours.

Advance Registration Required! Download the schedule and form:Winter Fest Schedule 2010 Winter Fest 2010 Registration And the full program booklet:Winter Heritage Booklet 2010Call for more information or if you'd like to be sent the schedule and registration form by mail or email: 865-448-6134. Complete the registration and send to Townsend Visitors Center 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy., Townsend, TN 37886. Highlights of Programs at the Townsend

Visitors Center:

A "Mountain Craft Showcase" on Saturday morning in the Exhibit Room with artisans demonstrating their skills.

"The Prehistory of Tuckaleechee Cove" with Dr. Boyce Driskell, University of Tennessee Archeologist.

Mountain Music and Mountain People program by Bob Fulcher, Cumberland Trail State Park and Tennessee folklorist.
Discover Life in America's biodiversity project in the Smokies, with Director Todd Witcher.

A presentation about the Park's natural history collections, by Curator Adriean Mayor.

Programs about key people in the formation of the Park: Horace Kephart, by Butch McDade and Ann Davis, by Robin Goddard.

A performance by TNT Dulcimer Trio.

Naturalist-led hikes to Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse and Walker Sisters Homestead with Butch McDade, Elkmont with Herb Handly, and other historic and scenic places.

Friday evening Volunteer Appreciation Open House with refreshments and music by the Woodpickers

Highlights of Programs at Other Locations:
Thursday, February 4: Kick Off evening program at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont: "Mountain Voices" with Sparky and Rhonda Rucker. Charge: $10 per person. Call Tremont for reservations, 865-448-6709.

Cades Cove Preservation Association presentations and exhibits at Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center.

Blount County Historical Museum open house in Maryville, TN.
Cades Cove Thompson-Brown House Museum exhibits.

Friday and Saturday lunch programs at Miss Lily's Banquet Hall with guest speakers Mary Fanslow (Friday) and Ila Hatter (Saturday). Charge: $12 per person. Call 865-448-1924.

Cades Cove Heritage Tours: guided trips around the Cove in a 19 passenger van with an expert leader. Call 865-448-8838.

Myers Lane Book-signing at Mary Tippitt Library.
Saturday, Februrary 6: BBQ Supper and Square Dance with "The Lost Hounds of Pumpkin Hollow" old time string band, at The Barn Event Center, Townsend, TN. Charge: $25 per person. Call The Barn for reservations, 865-448-3812.

Little River Railroad Museum talks and tours, Townsend, TN.
Ranger-led interpretive programs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Salamander foray and history walk at Tremont.

All programs require pre-registration. Most are free; events with food will have a charge, so call the host businesses to make reservations.

For more information, call the Townsend Visitors Center (865-448-6134 or 800-525-6834). Schedule is subject to change. Please call and check back on our website for updates.In addition to our sponsors, the Winter Heritage Festival is supported by these host businesses and organizations: Cades Cove Preservation Association, Blount County Chamber of Commerce, Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Little River Railroad Museum, Cades Cove Heritage Tours, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, The Barn Event Center, Valley View Lodge, Townsend IGA

2007 Smoky Mountain Convention & Visitors Bureau
7906 E. Lamar Alexander Pwy., Townsend, TN 37882
Photo from

Monday, January 04, 2010

Great Smoky Mountain Quilters Road Show - Townsend TN Jan 9, 2010

Quilters Road Show - Townsend TN Jan 9, 2010

Townsend, TN – Smoky Mountain Quilters is once again teaming with sponsor Thrivent Financial for Lutherans to present the fourth annual Quilters Road Show at Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center In Townsend TN on Saturday, January 9, 2009, from 10 AM – 5 PM.

The event provides quilters and quilt lovers the opportunity to see quilts in the making, to have quilts evaluated by quilt history professionals, to learn quilting techniques, to have their quilts photographed and to exchange stories and ideas with other quilters.

Returning for their fourth year are Merikay Waldvogel and Becky Harriss who will informally evaluate quilts on the Center’s auditorium stage. They will offer preservation tips and discuss quilt age and patterns.

New in 2010 is a scheduled bed turning at 3:00 PM in one of the Heritage Center’s historic cabins. A bed turning is a process where multiple quilts are put on a single bed, just as a single quilt would be placed on one’s bed at home. Beginning with the top quilt, Merikay Waldvogel will explain its design and its probable history. She will then “turn” the first quilt down, revealing a second quilt which she will comment on just as she did the first. Each quilt is then pulled back, or “turned,” one at a time until each quilt has been shown and described.

Waldvogel is a nationally known quilt authority, an author, curator and lecturer on quilts and the lives of women who make quilts. Her books include Quilts of Tennessee: Images of Domestic Life Prior to1930 with Bets Ramsey, based on their statewide quilt search; Soft Covers for Hard Times: Quiltmaking and the Great Depression; Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 Chicago World's Fair; and Southern Quilts: Surviving Relics of the Civil War.

Quilters of all levels are invited to participate in helping make quilts during the day for Quilts of Valor which will be presented to veterans and current armed services personnel. Kate Meyers, Sevier County, is area coordinator for the national Quilts of Valor program.

Quilting demonstrations, introduced at the 2009 event, will feature: “Hand Applique,” Jane Dunham; “Hand Piecing,” Cindy Blackberg; “Machine Quilting,” Debbie McMurray; “Penny Rug Making,” Nancy Jones; “Needle Punch Embroidery,” Darlene Bakos; and “Trapunto,” Linda Roy.

Visitors are also invited to view display quilts provided by the Foothills Quilters Guild of Blount County.

New in 2010: Knoxville resident Allan Glazer will take photographs of participants’ and visitors’ quilts during the day. A limited number of times are available, and appointments are encouraged. Call Glazer at 671-5775 to schedule a time on January 9. Walk-ins are also welcome as long as times remain available.

Knoxville MEDIC Blood Center’s mobile unit will be on-site all day to conduct a blood drive.

The Quilters Road Show is free, though regular admission rates will apply to the museum experience. For information, call 865-448-0044.

Info from Seymour Herald