It seems like spring just arrived, and now here we are, already staring down the barrel of summer. Even though it won't officially arrive until June, Memorial Day is less than two weeks out, and that's always the unofficial start of the summer vacation season. So if you haven't already made any detailed plans about a trip the Smoky Mountains, read on to learn more about some of the neat things taking place in and around our city this year.
Believe it or not, Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge kicks off its 2023 season in just a few days. On March 10, season passholders will be able to enter the gates for the first time this year, while the general public will be able to pass through the turnstiles the following day. Here's what to keep an eye out for if you plan to visit the park any time this year:
One of the questions that Smokies visitors often ask is: How much is parking in downtown Gatlinburg? It's a question that comes up often, because for those not staying in hotel/motel properties in the downtown area, parking can be a challenging reality. There are dozens and dozens of attractions, restaurants, shops and more located up and down the Parkway, not to mention all the other businesses that lie outside downtown Gatlinburg. The issue is that most of these individual businesses have very limited parking availability. Many have none at all. It's rare to find a business in Gatlinburg that has a huge sprawling parking lot devoted exclusively to its patrons.
On a recent trip to Nashville, we spent some time in the downtown area, wandering the streets and listening to all the live music blasting from the city's overwhelming multitude of venues. Just in the span of a single downtown block, it's not unusual to pass one honkytonk after another, each with its front doors open so that passersby can hear the sounds of some up-and-coming country music artist.
Spring isn't far off, but if history is any predictor, we're probably not done with winter weather quite yet in the Great Smoky Mountains. In fact, some of the most powerful winter storms we've received in East Tennessee have occurred in March, so we're probably not out of the woods yet. With that in mind, we thought we'd pass along some ideas for making the most of whatever wintry weather that may happen to come our way in the next four weeks or so.
The groundhog says we're going to see six more weeks of winter-like weather, but it's not too early to be dreaming of and planning for a spring or summer vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains. And when you do make that trip to the Smokies this year, you'll have a few new destinations to consider when brainstorming your travel plans. From attractions to long-anticipated restaurants, there's something new to be discovered in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville in 2022. Here's a quick guided tour of what to expect.
Since we often talk about the Great Smoky Mountains and their native black bear population, it seemed fitting that we devote at least a little of our bimonthly coverage to the most famous national park bear of them all-at least as far as fictional bears are concerned-Smokey Bear.
Who cares that we're already a week into 2021? It's never too late to make positive changes in your life. Calendars are arbitrary. What's more important than making changes on a particular day is making small improvements in your life starting on THIS day. With that in mind, we'd like to use our parking in Gatlinburg blog to share some ideas and inspiration this week on things you can do starting right now to affect positive change in your life. The good news? They're not all related to dieting and working out…
Now that Tennessee's Safer At Home restrictions have been lifted, we're starting to see a fair number of visitors returning to the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Right now, though, things aren't quite back to normal. For one thing, most of the businesses that have reopened are hotels and motels (including Bearskin Lodge, Old Creek Lodge and The Lodge at Five Oaks), restaurants and shops. Only a small number of attractions have reopened; those aren't expected to be up and running again until the end of May.
When it comes to being a vacation destination, Gatlinburg sure has a whole lot going for it. But parking availability at individual businesses isn't one of those assets. Gatlinburg is a fairly small town, wedged into the crevices of a scenic mountain valley, so real estate is at a premium. There are dozens and dozens of attractions, shops and restaurants that simply have very few to zero on-site parking spaces.
Prior to the opening of the neighboring national park, Gatlinburg was just another tiny hamlet wedged among the folds of the Great Smoky Mountains. Once the park was created, however, visitors from all over the world began flocking to the mountains to enjoy their beauty and recreational opportunities. And in the process, Gatlinburg grew into one of the top tourism spots in the South.