Brief History of the Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is a true American treasure. It is the most visited of all of the national parks, receiving more than 10 million visitors every year. Located on the border of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, the park was opened in 1940 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Its area is just over 800 square miles, and the nearest towns are Cherokee, North Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Before the arrival of Europeans, the Smoky Mountains were home to the Cherokee Indians. Their forced relocation on the Trail of Tears through the Indian Removal Act signed by President Andrew Jackson is one of the truly tragic chapters in American history. However, some of the Cherokees hid in what is now the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and there ancestors still populate the area today.

After the Cherokees were removed, the loggers came in and started clearcutting the Smoky Mountains like there was no tomorrow. This rapidly destroyed the natural beauty of the area, so cries began to ring out to preserve the area. In 1926 Congress authorized the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but it took eight years for the park to be established and another 6 for it to be opened.

The park is a wonderland of diversity. The climate changes as the elevation increases, and visitors to the top of the park will be in roughly the same climate as Canada. The park gets more than 55 inches of rain a year, qualifying it as a rainforest. 95 percent of the land in the park is forest, and more than a third of that is old growth forest. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has one of the highest concentrations of plant and animal diversity of anywhere in the world. There are over 10,000 different species catalogued in the park, with estimates of 90,000 more yet to be discovered.

There are many attractions that draw visitors to the Smoky Mountains. US Highway 441 runs through the center of the park, and there are many stops where people can get out and enjoy the spectacular views. Fall in particular is a popular time for people to drive through the park, as the fall foliage is breathtaking.

Hiking is one of the biggest attractions in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are more than 850 miles of hiking trails for visitors to explore. This total included seventy miles of the world-famous Appalachian Trail, which summits the 6,593 ft .high Mt. LeConte in the park. The LeConte Lodge provides cabins and rooms for rent to reward visitors who summit the mountain.

Another of the very popular activities in the Smoky Mountains is fishing. The fly fishing in the park is simply spectacular. There are brook trout in the streams that are native to the park, as well as rainbow and brown trout that have been introduced.

Other popular activities for visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park include horseback riding and water tubing along the many streams in the park.

Planning Affordable Vacations

Planning Affordable Vacations

After the recent economic recession, every family in the US has gone into cost-cutting mode. We have started cutting back on our personal expenses as much as possible. Expensive outings and dinners have gone out of the window. Family vacations and picnics are one of the first things to get the axe. However, such cost cutting efforts make our life boring. Everyone is subjected to severe financial pressure and this makes life highly difficult to manage. We need to have healthy outlets to let out our frustration and to unwind a bit so that we can meet the challenges of our life once again with the new found energy. Rather than totally cutting off our family vacations, we need to look at affordable options for our family vacations.

Some of the popular vacation spots that you can consider for your budget vacation include Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Smoky Mountains. Rather than visiting expensive cities, you can enjoy a peaceful vacation in the natural settings of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. You will be able to relax completely, forgetting about all the rush of stresses of life. There is no point in driving around to various places when you should be actually resting and relaxing during your vacation. We do all the running around all through the year, vacations should therefore be different from our daily routine. This is one of the reasons why many families prefer places like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Smoky Mountains, etc. You will not only be able to enjoy the beauty of nature in these places but you will also be able to have an affordable vacation. Furthermore, you can opt to stay in cozy cabins rather than multistoried hotels that cost you a lot of money. Gatlinburg cabins and Pigeon Forge cabins are ideal for budget vacations. You will be able to save a considerable amount of money using these cabins for your vacation accommodation. You will also be able to have a totally new experience when compared to any of your regular vacations. On the one hand, you will be able to have your family vacation within your budget and same money and on the other hand, you would have had your family vacation in one of the most beautiful spots in TN.

Rather than complaining that you cannot afford family vacation and make everyone feel miserable, considering affordable vacation options will make everyone in the family happy. However, you need to make sure that you do not blindly rent your cabins without comparing the prices. By spending some time searching for the cheapest deals, you will be able to increase your savings further. At the same time, you must also make sure that you rent comfortable cabins. Rent your cabins from reputed vacation rental cabins company. Make sure that your cabin rental company enjoys good reputation for their well maintained cabins.

Start planning your holidays now, enjoy affordable vacations with your family. You do not have to deprive your family anymore of those most needed vacations anymore.

New Year 2011 in Gatlinburg Space Needle – Ball Drop with Fireworks and more

Gatlinburg will welcome the arrival of 2011 in unique style with its 23rd annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show around the intersection of Parkway and Historic Nature Trail at the base of the Space Needle late Friday night, Dec. 31. The event is free and open to the public.

Leading up to midnight, popular musical entertainment will be headquartered on the balcony of the Gatlinburg Convention Center at the Historic Nature Trail/Airport Road entrance. A disc jockey will entertain the crowd prior to midnight, with party favors provided by Mr. Tablecloth available near the base of the Space Needle.

At the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1, the Space Needle area will shine with a red glow from the surrounding rooftops at the beginning of a music program followed by a choreographed fireworks show produced by Pyro-Shows of LaFollette, Tenn.

“It has become a tradition for families and friends from across America to come back to celebrate the New Year here in Gatlinburg,” said George Hawkins, special events manager. “We expect to have another big crowd to help us usher in 2011 with their loved ones and friends.”

The entire city of Gatlinburg celebrates New Year’s Eve in a big way with many restaurants and attractions offering special celebrations. Lodging companies are offering special packages and entertainment.

For information on other New Years Eve parties and activities as well as lodging and dining options, please call the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce at 800-568-4748, or visit http://www.gatlinburg.com.

 

Second Lunar Eclipse of 2010 and First lunar Eclipse Coincides with Winter Solstice for First Time Since 1638

Early Tuesday morning for the first time since the winter solstice of 1638, a lunar eclipse will coincide with the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year.

A total lunar eclipse comes about because the sun, Earth and moon are almost exactly in line, with the Earth in the centre. Also at around this time both sun and moon will be visible, this rarity is called a selenehelion. During this alignment the full moon will seem much dimmer than usual, and sunlight passing through our atmosphere will cast a ruddy glow on the lunar surface.
To an observer that was standing on the moon’s surface and looking towards Earth there would be a ring of reddish light encircling the Earth, this would be marking all of the sunrises and sunsets around our planet.

 

The eclipse will begin at 5.28am, as the moon passes through the outer part of Earth’s shadow, this is known as the penumbra. At this point the moon will take on a  yellowish colour. The moon will then pass into the darkest part of Earth’s shadow at 6.32am and by 7.40am it will be completely eclipsed.
In the UK the eclipse will be most easily visible in Northern Ireland and Scotland’s Western Isles. It will also be visible across North America.

Looking for indoor fun? Indoor Fun in the Smoky Mountains

Indoor Fun in the Smoky Mountains

There are some amazing things to do in the Smoky Mountains, even indoors!  Here are just a few:

Adventure Golf 2925 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 (865) 453-9233

Flyaway Indoor Sky Diving 3106 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 (865) 453-7777

Star Tracks 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 (865) 908-1097

Ultra Zone 3053 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 (865) 428-2444

Zorb Inc 203 Sugar Hollow Road, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 (865) 428-2422

Mountain Park Paintball 454 Lonesome Valley Road, Sevierville, TN 37862 (865) 453-8171

Del Gatlin Games 1339 Ski Mountain Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 (865) 430-7555

Earthquake The Ride 653 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 (865) 436-9765

Fannie Farkle’s Amusement Emporium 656 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37862 (865) 436-4057

Fort Fun 716 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 (865) 436-2326

Games Of The Smokies 115 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 (865) 430-8449

Space Needle 115 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 (865) 436-4629

Terror Ghost Shows 716 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 (865) 436-4636

Ripleys Attractions in Gatlinburg, TN  www.ripleys.com

Spin City Skate Center in Pigeon Forge, TN  http://www.spincityusa.com/