Downtown Gatlinburg’s Top After Dinner Outings

GatlinburgJust because Gatlinburg has a small town atmosphere doesn’t mean the area turns off at night. After the sun goes down, the region comes to life with twinkling city lights and fun activities for all ages. Whether you’re a night owl or just arriving in the evening, there are plenty of fun things to do in Gatlinburg after dark, so here are few of our favorite after dinner outings. Continue reading

Ober Gatlinburg Bear Exhibit

Visiting the Smoky Mountains always seems more enjoyable when staying in a rustic log cabin, located in the heart of these beautiful mountains. One of the most beautiful places to stay is probably Ober Gatlinburg, because of its picturesque location and numerous activities, including the bear exhibit. Staying at Timber Tops Cabin Rentals can give you the opportunity to experience it all while enjoying the luxury of a rustic log cabin.

Cabins in Pigeon Forge near Live Bear Habtiat

If you choose to stay in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge cabins, you will be in the midst of the fun, and you can still check out the nearby live bear habitat. A trip to the Smoky Mountains is not complete without seeing black bears in their native environment. The bear exhibit in Ober Gatlinburg is a nice replica of the bears’ natural habitat and really adds to the mountain vacation experience. Along with the black bear encounter, you will also get to see other nocturnal animals native to the Smoky Mountains, including some very playful river otters.

While in Gatlinburg you will want to ride the aerial tramway, making sure to watch down below, because of the spectacular view of the Smoky Mountains. Also, you will get to see directly above the live bear habitat, giving a unique viewpoint of the black bears. When you stay at Timber Tops Cabin Rentals, you will be close to the Ober Gatlinburg Bear Exhibit. It is a great place to take the entire family, and can be a wonderful educational experience. Plus, the rates are very low, especially compared to other activities in the Gatlinburg area.


So, when you bring your family to the Great Smoky Mountains, be sure to stay in a rustic log cabin and check out the live bear habitat. That way, you can have the complete Smoky Mountain experience. It will be a memorable and educational adventure for everyone.

Winter Fun in Gatlinburg 2010-2011

Are you ready for ice skating, snow skiing, tubing, louging, snow ball fights and hot cocoa by a roaring fire?  Gatlinburg TN has all of that and more in the Winter season!  Winterfest goes through the holiday season, with plenty of activities and millions of glowing lights!  If you are planning a Winter getaway to Gatlinburg TN, here are just a few activities you may want to check out;

Festival of Trees, November 23 – 27, 2010 Festival of Trees and weekend performances of a holiday classic presented in Gatlinburg. Location: W.L. Mills Conference Center Admission: Yes.  For more information go to

Winter Magic Kickoff & Chili Cookoff, November 10, 2010;The City of Gatlinburg kicks off Gatlinburg Winter Magic tm from 5 to 8 p.m. on the Downtown Parkway by turning on over three million lights. Location: Downtown Gatlinburg Admission: Yes. For more information go to

Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade, December 3, 2010; The City of Gatlinburg and Land O’ Lakes Half & Half invite you to bundle up and generate a spirited dose of holiday cheer and soak up Gatlinburg’s 35th annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 3 including marching bands and giant helium balloons taking to the streets. Location: Downtown Gatlinburg Admission:Free.

Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community Holiday Arts & Crafts Show, December 1-5th 2010; Unique handcrafted gifts made by members of Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community are offered as they host their annual holiday show at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Visit or call (800) 568-4748. Location: Gatlinburg.

Gatlinburg Winter Magic, November 10, 2010 – February 28, 2011; The City of Gatlinburg magically lights up the winter nights with millions of spectacular lights and lighted displays from November through February. Location: Throughout Gatlinburg

The Nutcracker “Sweet”, November 26 – 27, 2010; Presented by the Smoky Mountain Dance Theater Company, enjoy this holiday classic presented in Gatlinburg, with performances at 7 p.m. in the W.L. Mills Auditorium. (GSE) Call (865) 680-7369 for information and reservations. Location: Gatlinburg Contact Info: (865) 680-7369

Trolley Ride of Lights, November 10, 2010 – January 30, 2011; Enjoy a guided trolley ride of the spectacular Gatlinburg Winter Magic lighting displays. Location: Downtown Gatlinburg Contact Info: (865) 436-0535 Admission: $5.00

Tennessee Winter Special Olympics, January 30 – February 2, 2011 Watch and cheer as Special Olympics athletes compete for the gold in their annual Winter Olympics day.  You can ski, shop, skate and do many other activities in Ober Gatlinburg throughout the winter months!  Location: Ober Gatlinburg Ski ResortWebsite/Link:

Sunny Side Trail in East TN officially opens Today! May 13, 2010

I’m so proud to announce  Tennessee Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker will tomorrow officially open the Sunny Side Trail, a mapped driving route starting in Sevierville and covering 12 East Tennessee counties—including nearly 300 points of interest.

The trail unveiling ceremony will be held at the Robert A. Tino Gallery in Sevierville, where attendees can view the artist in action, hear country music group Mountain Ruckus play “Keep on the Sunny Side” (and more!) and enjoy good local eats  from Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant.  There’s so much excitement around the trail that  the mayor is even declaring May 13 Sunny Side Day!

Of course, yous truly—Sunny Pickens—will be there with the Sunny Side Trail Jeep to open the trail. I’ll be  driving through a starting ribbon and heading east to more  trail opening festivities in Greeneville at 10 am Friday, March 14 in the lobby of the General Morgan Inn and in Bristol at 3 pm the same day at Bristol Motor Speedway’s main entrance. I will be blogging, posting tweets and updating Facebook along my trail journey. Please follow along…or join us at one of the event locations for some exciting announcements, food and a tune or two!

Sunny Side Trail is the second of 15 regional trails launching over the next several months as part of a statewide tourist development initiative, “Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways.” The effort is the result of multiple agencies working together to showcase local gems such as wineries, historic main streets, quaint restaurants, and scenic spots for outdoor adventure.

The Tennessee Departments of Tourist Development and Transportation worked in partnership with Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association and tourism organizations in Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties to develop and launch Sunny Side Trail.