It looks like we've been experiencing some true East Tennessee weather lately. Freezing temperatures and snow one week, and then highs in the 70s just a week later. And in the middle of winter, no less! We're hearing that these pleasant days aren't here to stay, unfortunately; another cold snap is on its way. But for this week at least, let's make the most of it and find some ways to have some fun – and adventure – in the great outdoors, especially if you might be visiting the Great Smoky Mountains this week.
A lot of people visiting our area recently have been wondering if they can still visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park in light of the government shutdown, which has been dragging on for over a month now.
Between the usual winter road closures and the government shutdown, some parts of Great Smoky Mountains National Park are inaccessible, and many services like restroom maintenance, trash collection, emergency services and visitor centers are closed until the National Park Service receives full funding again. So while you actually can still travel into the park, officials are telling visitors to exercise caution and to try to leave no trace behind them.
Are you looking for the most happening place to ring in the new year in the Great Smoky Mountains? Then you'll need to head to downtown Gatlinburg on December 31 (or earlier) for that city's annual New Year's Eve Ball Drop & Fireworks Show. It takes place every year at the Gatlinburg Space Needle attraction, located at the intersection of Parkway and Historic Nature Trail.
The holiday season is always a magical time of year, and that's especially true if you're visiting downtown Gatlinburg, TN. Our cozy little mountain village isn't a big town by any stretch of the imagination, but we sure do pack a lot of fun into a small area. So here are just a few suggestions for some cool ways to get into a real Christmas-y mood this year.
Do you hear that ticking? It's the sound of time passing, bringing Christmas Day closer and closer. That may not be not such good news, however, if you've hardly put a dent in your Christmas shopping. One great way to remedy that situation would be to attend the Great Smoky Christmas Arts & Crafts Show, which runs now through this Sunday at The Gatlinburg Convention Center.
Winter doesn't officially arrive until December 21, but as far as the folks in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville are concerned, that season might as well already be here. That's because these communities have already kicked off Winterfest in the Smokies, the annual festival that celebrates Christmas, the new year and everything that's great about winter in the mountains.
Downtown Gatlinburg has an awful lot going for it – attractions, shops, restaurants and cool special events, not to mention the awesomely spectacular backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Folks have been coming from all over the world to see the Great Smoky Mountains since the early decades of the 20th century. The formation of the national park made this area an even more popular destination. But did you know that besides the mountains themselves, arts and crafts became the foundation for what is pretty much the oldest tourism industry around here?
If you missed traveling to the Great Smoky Mountains this summer, there's still plenty of year left to take advantage of all the beauty and adventure that our area has to offer. And now that fall is just about officially here, there's even more going on around here thanks to Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival, which got under way on November 7.