Tax Free Weekend in Tennessee

Tax Free Weekend in Tennessee, begins at 12:01 AM on Friday, August 3rd and ends on Sunday August 5th at 11:59 PM. During this weekend, many back to school items, including school supplies, clothing and computers will all be tax free!

If you’re coming to Tennessee on a trip during this time, you might consider combining your shopping with sight-seeing in the Smoky Mountains! Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, both located in the Smokey Mountains, offer an array of shopping and tourist experiences. Continue reading

First Independence Day Parade in the Nation!

If you will be in the Smoky Mountains in early July, don’t miss the 36thAnnual First Independence Day Parade in the Nation!  In Gatlinburg, TNthere will be a huge July 4th parade at 12am.  There will be over 100,000 viewers at the parade, and many members of the US Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and the Coast Guard will participate this year.  There will be military vehicles and bands participating, including the 100th United States Army Band from Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Catherine Bach, better known as “Daisy Duke” of “Dukes of Hazzard” will appear in the Midnight Parade, as well as Rick Hurst, better known as “Cletus” from the same series.  There will be vehicles from Hazzard Countyincluding the “General Lee”.

The 100th US Army Band from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, will feature concerts on Sunday, July 3, with all performances at Ripley’s Aquarium of the SmokiesPlaza. The Sunday lineup will include the Dixieland Band at 10 a.m., the Brass Quintet at noon, the Jazz Ensemble at 2 and the Rock Band at 4. On Monday, July 4, the entire 100th Army Concert Band will perform on the Plaza beginning at 8:30 p.m. before the Independence Day fireworks finale at 10 p.m.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will be paying tribute to two deceased tribal veterans with their entry: Medal of Honor Recipient Charles George and Bronze Star Recipient Reuben Taylor. George threw himself on a hand grenade in the Korean War to save his fellow soldiers and Taylor fought in World War II battles including the “Battle of the Bulge” and the invasion of Holland known as “Operation Market Garden.”

Ripley’s Entertainment will have a new attraction, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” a modified Delta 88 with a psychedelic design honoring the Beatles Viewers can spot such manifestations from Beatles’ lyrics such as “Marmalade Skies,” “I am the walrus, I am the egg man,” and “Mother Superior jumping the gun.”  The car came from Ripley’s Believe It or Not inOrlando, Florida.

“This will be one of the most patriotic and colorful midnight parades that the City of Gatlinburg has ever produced,” said 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 two-day festival highlighting our armed services.”

Check out the parade route early to choose your viewing spot, because many of the spectators will start arriving with their chairs along the parade route as early as 7 a.m. on July 3.

Looking for more information about the 36th Annual 4th of July Midnight Parade? Please call 800-56-VISIT (568-4748) or visit www.gatlinburg.com.

Cades Cove Information

Cades Cove was once a remote place in the Great Smoky Mountains. Nature abounds here and the loop affords spectacular views of the mountains and fields.  Many deer call the Cove home, and many people have seen bear here as well.  One of the few ways through the Smokies and into the cove was along Indian trails. Some of those trails were improved into roads. One of those trails was called, appropriately enough, Cades Cove road. The name was later changed to Rich Mountain Road. By either name the road was one of the main routes through the Smokies between Tuckaleechee and Cades Cove.

Rich Mountain Road is about a third of the way around the Cove. It is a one way dirt road that is about 12 miles long that ends up back in Townsend.  There are a couple of nice views of the Cove along the drive and can be a good shortcut to get back to civilization.  There is another road to explore out of Cades Cove called Parsons Branch Road. This is a one way primitive road that cuts through pristine forest with opportunities to see wildlife and wildflowers as well.  There are areas where the creek cuts across the road and some nice waterfalls.  It comes out on 129 in the middle of The Dragon.

Though Cades Cove was generally a self sustaining community, pioneers bought things from Maryville such as medicine and remedies such as Camphorated oil, catnip tea, Castor oil, Epsom salts. As time went by, general stores sprang up in Cades Cove where medicine, seeds, sugar, kerosene, yard goods and hardware supplies. Products could be purchased with money or by trading products such as eggs. Still, the larger town of Maryville had a more appealing selection and so the trips from the Cades Cove continued. Many times families would sell chestnuts which grew everywhere in Cades Cove in the 1800’s.  Disease eventually killed the trees.

“Kate’s Cove” was the name of Cades Cove originally, after an Indian chief’s wife. The Cove drew the Cherokee Indians back to the area again and again because of its abundant wildlife and good hunting. Later, Cades Cove’s wildlife drew European descent frontiersmen to make it their home. They and their offspring cleared the fertile valley floor and built farms to sustain them. The pioneer’s families lived in Cades Cove for many generations before the cove became part of The Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Today, Cades Cove is still as full of wildlife as before but draws not hunters, but millions of Smokies visitors.

The Cove has been preserved by the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to look much the way it looked in the 1800’s. Once home to a small mountain community whose settlers came from mainly from Virginia, North Carolina and upper eastTennessee, Cades Cove is today the largest open air museum in the entire GreatSmoky Mountain National Park.

There are many primitive buildings to enjoy as you go around Cades Cove, including two churches, some beautiful homestead cabins, corn cribs, various mills, a smokehouse and barns. It has all been preserved the way it would have been back in the 1800’s.  Today, the Cove boasts a large campground, stables for riding horses, an amphitheater, a large gift shop and bike rentals.  The Cades Cove loop is 11 miles long and runs along a beautiful valley in a loop with mountains surrounding it.  It is a favorite for many families and people enjoy the hiking and biking and nature viewing opportunities.  It is a great way to take a peek at what life would have been like 200 years ago

Pigeon Forge Car Shows

Are you interested in antique cars or hot rods? Do you love chrome and engines and the smell of leather?  If so, you may want to come to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee this year for a car show!  Come and see some amazing vintage cars like Model T’s, Corvettes, Studebakers, Fords and Gold Wings. You’ll see many classics kept in pristine condition.  Here is a guide of various car shows in 2011.  See you in Pigeon Forge!

Pigeon Forge Car Show Line Up:

April 14 – 17, 2011: Grand Spring Pigeon Forge Rod Run- The Spring Grand Rod Run kicks off the car show season with classic Fords, Chevy/GMCs and Gold Wings. Thousands of classic car, truck and motorcycle enthusiasts make the pilgrimage to Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville, Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountainseach year for the first, big Pigeon Forge car show. Pigeon Forge is a popular host to rod runs and car shows. Participants love to take their classic car or hot rod group on a Smoky Mountain scenic drive.  The participants in these car shows are so eager to get the weekend started that the Parkway and hotel parking lots begin to fill with classic cars on Tuesday of that week. The events feature more than just rare and unique autos, though. Throughout the event weekend, visitors can enjoy interactive displays presented by vendors from all over the country.  Those who enjoy the mechanical aspects of the auto world will savor the opportunity to participate in workshops and get answers to technical questions. For more information, please contact the Grand Resort Hotel Convention Center at 1-800-251-4444.

May 12 – 13, 2011: 33rd Annual F-100 Supernationals & All Ford Show-                  2836 Teaster Lane
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, 37863
US
423.623.4644
charlie@autoshows.cc or http://www.f100supernationals.com

May 19 – 21, 2011: Chevy Classics Car Show at The Inn at Christmas Place. For more information call toll free 1-888-465-9644

June 3 – 4, 2011: Pontiacs in Pigeon Forge – Classic Car Show at Music Road Hotel & Convention Center. For more information call 865-379-9595.

June 16 – 18, 2011: All Chevy Supernationals For more information call 423-623-4644, 423-623-1871, 423-465-5855.

Sept 9 – 10, 2011: Shades of the Past Rod Run XXIX at Dollywood’s Splash Country. For more information call Dan Draper at 865-995-2009 or visit www.shadesofthepast.com.

Sept 15 – 19, 2011: Grand Fall Pigeon Forge Rod Run is at the Grand Hotel and Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, TN. 865-687-3976 or 1-800-251-4444.

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.