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COVID-19 and the Smokies

Hello Everyone- I’m Chuck Schmidt and I am the Outsider.  I wish I was talking about all the great things you can do in the Smokies Mountains area. In fact, I’m actually talking about the opposite this blog is about COVID-19 and the Smokies . Boy I wish I was talking about a happier topic. 

The facts are for all practical purposes the Smoky Mountains area is closed.  Most of the attractions are closed, the dinner shows are closed the restaurants are curbside pick up only for those that are sill open.  As for the national park most roads and trails are closed.  It’s amazing there were still 30,000 visitors a day coming into the park last week up until they closed.  Cades Cove and New Found Gap were overloaded. They had to close the park for the public’s well-being. Too many people are ignoring the warnings.

Local leaders in Sevier County have published messages for would-be visitors the area regarding COVID-19 and the Smokies : Stay away during the coronavirus pandemic.

A letter posted Friday afternoon to the city of Gatlinburg’s Facebook page. “Again, we know you love visiting Gatlinburg, but for now we’re asking that you put those plans on hold and stay home and keep you and your family safe,”

“Sevier County Mayor Larry Walters – we’re asking that you put your vacation plans on hold. We know you want to be in Sevier County and you know how much we enjoy having you here. But for the safety of your family and ours, please stay at home.

Pigeon Forge Mayor David Wear asks you to stay home.  “For now, it’s just not the time. When the time is right we’ll be here to welcome you with open arms.”

Most of the large events, the rod runs, corvette expo and others have been rescheduled. Dollywood has delayed their opening.  I’m honestly not sure all the activities you can do down here right now other than some driving tours and spending time relaxing in your cabin.

I’m a cabin owner and as much as it pains me to say this, please stay home.  Let’s keep you, your family and the Smokies healthy.  We’ll all be here in the future when the time is right.

Here are a helpful link as to the current situation involving COVID-19 and the Smokies:

I will start dropping episodes about all the new things to do in the Smokies in the not too distant future but for right now.  Please stay home. Stay Healthy, Stay Safe.

If this is your fist time coming to the Smokies and renting a cabin check out out blog post in what to look for when renting a log cabin.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to learn more about our cabin or other great things to see while visiting the Smoky Mountains please visit us at Dancing Bearfoot.com.

Podcast

Episode 014 – Gatlinburg Update for 2020

When I wrote my original podcast series, I was hoping they would have a bit of a shelf life, in podcast we call that being evergreen. It soon became apparent that this is impossible in the Smoky Mountains area.  There are simply too many restaurants and attractions both coming in and going out of business. Therefore update episodes are going to be needed.  The first update episode is the Gatlinburg Update for 2020.

There are a number of new dining establishments I’ll be covering in the Gatlinburg Update for 2020 including; Chesapeake’s,  Hot Diggity Dog, Gatlinburg Grind Café and Bakery, Joe and Pop’s Sub Shoppe, The Hofbrauhaus Restaurant, Split Rail Eats, Rampant Lion, The Greenbrier, Cliff Top Grill, Tennessee Jed’s and Ruby Sunshine.

Attractions are also included in the Gatlinburg Update for 2020 including; Amazing Gatlinburg Race, Appalachian Ghostwalks, Zip Gatlinburg, Westgate Wild Bear Falls Waterpark, Double Decker Bus Tours and Tennessee Cider Company.

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://dancingbearfoot.blog/2018/08/30/smoky-mountains-vacation-itinerary-day-1/

If this is your fist time coming to the Smokies and renting a cabin check out out blog post in what to look for when renting a log cabin.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to learn more about our cabin or other great things to see while visiting the Smoky Mountains please visit us at Dancing Bearfoot.com.

Like our Pizza Bear? Check out the other great artwork from Kenton Visser https://www.kentonvisser.com/

Podcast

Winterfest in the Smoky Mountains – Podcast Bonus Episode.

Winterfest in the Smoky Mountains is a magical time of year. Join Chuck Schmidt, travel host for a tour of the area’s best events, attractions and holiday shows.

Just think of it, 15-Million lights in just 25 miles, that’s what you’ll experience at Winterfest in the Smoky Mountains. Sevierville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge pull out all the stops in creating a winter wonderland everyone has to see in their lifetimes. Add the special experience of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas and thier 5 million lights on display and you’ll soon make this visit a family tradition.

Winterfest in the Smoky Mountains runs from November 22nd through February 15th. Winterfest in Pigeon Forge kicks off on Thanksgiving evening with fireworks at the Titanic Museum at 7pm . Another must-see is on November 23rd and it’s the lighting of the Christmas Trees at The Island in Pigeon Forge with nearly 40,000 ornaments, half a million lights and more than 5,000 feet of garland.

Gatlinburg’s winter calendar of events is packed with fun seasonal activities like Winterfest, Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show, Festival of Trees, Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales, the Great Smoky Christmas Arts & Crafts Show, the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade, and the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks show, just to name a few.

In Sevierville special Winterfest attractions, like Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at Smokies Stadium (November 15, 2019 – January 5, 2020), add to the excitement. This 1.5-mile drive through LED light and music experience features fun extra activities for the kids, including crafts and photos with Santa (beginning after Thanksgiving).

Winterfest lights in Pigeon Forge shine from November 22nd through February 17th. See more than 5 million shining Pigeon Forge holiday lights when you take the Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights!

Along your driving tour, you’ll see bear, deer, fox and other critters native to the Smoky Mountains “wandering” through Pigeon Forge. Sparkling lights, giant ornaments, and tall, tall trees are seen on Island Drive and throughout the Island in Pigeon Forge. Even the 200-foot-tall Great Smoky Mountain Wheel shows off the holiday spirit with red, green and white lights.

Download your Winterfest Driving Tour Map here

Another highlight of Winterfest in the Smoky Mountains are all the holiday shows at the dinner theaters. Including; Twas the fight before Christmas at the Hatfield & McCoy Christmas Disaster Dinner Feud™, Christmas at Dolly Parton’s Stampede! , Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry. That’s just a few, there are more Christmas shows at The Comedy Barn, Magic Beyond Belief, Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre, Country Tonite and more.

If you’re looking for a memory to last a lifetime than consider a ride on the THE POLAR EXPRESS™ . Over 90,000 guests rode THE POLAR EXPRESS™ with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in 2018 and anticipate the same in 2019! The 1¼ hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole.

Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS™, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot.

Those are just a few of the events, attractions and experiences you can expect at Winterfest in the Smoky Mountains. For more details list to the bonus episode of our podcast – An Outsiders Guide to the Smoky Mountains.

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://dancingbearfoot.blog/2018/08/30/smoky-mountains-vacation-itinerary-day-1/

If this is your fist time coming to the Smokies and renting a cabin check out out blog post in what to look for when renting a log cabin.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to learn more about our cabin or other great things to see while visiting the Smoky Mountains please visit us at Dancing Bearfoot.com.

Like our Pizza Bear? Check out the other great artwork from Kenton Visser https://www.kentonvisser.com/

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Episode 012 – Season One Finale – Favorite Fives

Here we are, Episode 12 the finale to season one. Join Chuck Schmidt, Travel Host and his list about our Favorite Fives in the Smokies List.  Most people coming to the Smokies nowadays only stay 3-4 days on average and then they are moving onto some other location: Nashville, Atlanta, Florida, who knows.  With the Smokies being so centrally located to millions of travelers it’s become a convenient stop over location of 3-4 days. 

That said, in closing out our first season we’re going to give you our Favorite Fives in the Smokies for dining, attractions, hiking, etc.  On our list #5 is no worse than #1 you can’t go wrong with any of these.  If you’re staying here for only 3 or 4 days, this is a safe list to work from.

Here is a sneak peak at some of our Favorite Fives in the Smokies to eat list:

Favorite Breakfast Places: Crocketts 1875 Breakfast Camp, Pancake Pantry, Log Cabin Pancake House, The Atrium, Sawyers Farm House.

Favorite Lunch Places: Doc’s 321 Cafe, Graze Burgers, Ole Red’s, Burger Master Drive In, Parton’s Deli

Favorite Dinner Restaurants: The Peddler, The Alamo, Crystelle Creek, Trailhead Steak and Trout House, The Bistro at the Everett Hotel

Favorite Smoky Mountains Donuts: Courthouse Donuts, Donut Friar, Mad Dogs, Doc’s Donuts, Crust and Crumb

Here is a sneak peak at some of our Favorite Fives in the Smokies attractions list:

Top Paid Attractions: Dollywood, Gatlinburg SkyBridge, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Anakeesta, Great Smoky Mountains Railway.

Top Free Attractions: Newfound Gap/Clingmans Dome, Bush Beans Museum, The Island, Roaring Forks Motor Trail, The Arts and Crafts Community.

There are many more Favorite Fives in the Smokies lists contained within the podcast. Join us on “An Outsiders Guide to the Smoky Mountains” to hear the rest.

Hopefully you’ll find Episode 012 Favorite Fives in the Smokies Podcast helpful in planning your next getaway!

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://dancingbearfoot.blog/2018/08/30/smoky-mountains-vacation-itinerary-day-1/

If this is your fist time coming to the Smokies and renting a cabin check out out blog post in what to look for when renting a log cabin.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to learn more about our cabin or other great things to see while visiting the Smoky Mountains please visit us at Dancing Bearfoot.com.

Like our Pizza Bear? Check out the other great artwork from Kenton Visser https://www.kentonvisser.com/

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Podcast

Episode 011 – Moonshine, Wine and Whiskey in the Smokies Podcast

Join Chuck Schmidt, travel host for a tour of the best moonshine wine and whiskey in the Smoky Mountains on this Podcast.  Learn about the flavorful selection of moonshines, whiskeys and wines as we explore Kodak, Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in search of our favorite spirits.

Tennessee is known the world over for their music and hospitality. And their whiskey. Tennessee has been a leader in distilling spirits throughout our nation’s history. That includes the time before, during, and after Prohibition. That pride in craftsmanship and their spirit of independence led Tennesseans to make some of the world’s finest whiskey and some of the nation’s most sought after moonshine.

Today Tennessee distillers are crafting distilled spirits as diverse as the music born in this State. From Blues to Bluegrass and from vodka to Tennessee Whiskey, In this episode we’re going to take a look at the various distilleries and wineries making moonshine, wine and whiskey in the immediate Smoky Mountains area of Kodak, Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

In this episode we’ll be taking a look at the following moonshine and whiskey distilleries: Old Tennessee Distilling Co. – Kodak, D&S Distilling Company – Sevierville, Tennessee Legend Distillery – Sevierville, Tennessee Shine Company – Pigeon Forge, Smith Creek Distillery – Pigeon Forge, Old Forge Distillery – Pigeon Forge, Doc Collier Moonshine – Gatlinburg, Sugarland’s Distilling Co. – Gatlinburg and Ole Smoky Distillery – Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge.

Continuing our episode on moonshine, wine and whiskey the wineries are: Apple Barn Winery – Sevierville, Mountain Valley Winery – Pigeon Forge, Mill Bridge Winery – Pigeon Forge, Hillside Winery – Sevierville, Sugarland Cellars – Gatlinburg, Gatlinburg Wine Cellar – Gatlinburg, Tennessee Homemade Wines – Gatlinburg, Smoky Mountains Winery – Gatlinburg, Goodwater Vineyards – Gatlinburg, Bootleggers Homemade Wine – Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge.

Some unique flavors of moonshine, wine and whiskey are: Bananashine, Orange Dreamsickle, Fiery Mango Margarita, Blue Houdini, Oatmeal Cookie, Kettle Corn moonshines. Unique wine flavors: 2018 Blackberry Molasses Cider and 2019 Jalapeño Apple. Our most unique flavored whiskey…Peanut Butter Cup Whiskey.

Hopefully you’ll find Episode 010 Fall in the Smokies Podcast helpful in planning your Fall getaway!

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://dancingbearfoot.blog/2018/08/30/smoky-mountains-vacation-itinerary-day-1/

If this is your fist time coming to the Smokies and renting a cabin check out out blog post in what to look for when renting a log cabin.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to learn more about our cabin or other great things to see while visiting the Smoky Mountains please visit us at Dancing Bearfoot.com.

Like our Pizza Bear? Check out the other great artwork from Kenton Visser https://www.kentonvisser.com/