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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
As I’m writing these notes it’s the last week in August but for many visitors booking your trip over Labor Day weekend is critical. The Smoky Mountains National Park area hosts the most visitors in the fall during the last three weeks of October, when the peak foliage is most likely to occur. If possible, plan your trip at least two to three months in advance, or even earlier. In Episode 010 – Fall in the Smokies Podcast, Join Chuck Schmidt, travel host for an overview in his Fall in the Smokies Podcast. Learn about the best places to see the brilliant colors of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well events and festivals in the surrounding communities. Learn about attractions, hiking trails, driving tours and more.
Not surprisingly, the most popular way to see
the foliage is driving. Be aware that Cades Cove and Newfound Gap Road (US 441)
in the Park become congested in mid-October. Consider taking a bike on Cades
Cove to beat the traffic. From early to mid-October, fall colors develop above
4,000 feet. To enjoy them, drive the Clingmans Dome Road, the Blue Ridge
Parkway, or the Foothills Parkway east or west.
Roaring Forks Motor Trail is beautiful also.
To get away from the crowds consider some of the driving tours in Sevierville; Boyd’s Creek Fall Foliage Tour, English Mountain Driving Tour, The Middle Prong Driving Tour
Hiking has become an increasingly popular
alternative, with the Appalachian Trail, Inspiration Point on the Alum Cave
Trail, Look Rock Tower, Oconaluftee River Trail and Sutton Ridge Overlook
within the park boundaries. Other hikes include; Andrews Bald, Gregory Bald, Mt
Cammerer and Mt LeConte via Alum Cave. Check out Episode 010 – Fall in the
Smokies Podcast for details about each of these hikes.
Other ways to travel include helicopter &
airplane tours, motorcycle rentals and Hot Air Balloon.
As for area events and festivals each town has
their own unique twist. Pigeon Forge has
Dollywood’s Harvest Festival, thousands
of carved and illuminated jack-o-lanterns immersing families in fabulous fall
fun. The largest addition ever made to Dollywood’s fall festival, Great Pumpkin
LumiNights features artistic sculptures, whimsical scenes and delightful,
family-friendly fun throughout Timber Canyon.
Gatlinburg has Ober Gatlinburg’s 10th Annual
OktOBERfest, Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival, Gatlinburg’s Taste of Autumn, Gatlinburg
Craftsmen’s Fair, Trick or Treat Kick Off Karnival, Chili Cookoff presented by
Bush’s Chili Beans and a stirring Veterans Day Obervance Ceremony. Check out Episode 010 – Fall in the Smokies
Podcast for details about each of these events.
Sevierville hosts; 12th Annual Kyker Farms Corn
Maze, The Trail and Zombie Blasterz at Kyker Farms, History & Haunts – Have
a howling good time in historic downtown Sevierville each Saturday evening in
October from 5pm until 9pm. Each event brings a new harvest of activities
everyone will enjoy, from guided historic walking tours and costume contests to
storytellers, live music and lawn games.
Wears Valley, Townsend
also have festivals and events sure to entertain you this fall season. Don’t miss a trip the Bryson City and the
Great Smoky Mountins Railway and their PEANUTS™ The Great Pumpkin Patch Express,
Carolina Shine Moonshine Experience and Uncorked! A Unique Rail Line and Wine
experience. Again Episode 010 – Fall in
the Smokies Podcast has details about each of these events.
Hopefully you’ll find Episode 010 Fall in the
Smokies Podcast helpful in planning your Fall getaway!