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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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Episode 004 – Touring Sevierville

We’re moving on to Episode 004 – Touring Sevierville. When Touring Sevierville you’ll notice this is the largest and most established of the three town feeding into the Smoky Mountains from the north.

Join Travel Host Chuck Schmidt as we go Touring Sevierville and it’s rich history. Don’t miss the town square near Court Street and Bruce Street. Not only is this the center of the town and it’s history it’s also home to some pretty inventive dining establishments and of course the Dolly Parton Statue.

Take in some of the exciting attractions while Touring Sevierville such as Forbidden Caverns, Foxfire Mountain, and Sky High Air Tours. Or seek out some unique eateries; Graze Burgers, Courthouse Donuts or Crust and Crumb.

There’s plenty to do in Sevierville!

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://wordpress.com/post/dancingbearfoot.blog/53

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 Visserhttps://www.kentonvisser.com/

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Breakfast in the Smokies.

Recently while traveling I came across an internet radio show on travel and they were featuring an episode on the Smoky Mountains area.  I was amazed at just how much they got wrong such as Cades Coves was referred to as Cades Point, Kodak was constantly pronounced as Kodiak and they had no idea where New Found Gap Road was.  How can you miss the main thoroughfare through the middle of the park!  I won’t even go into the list of inaccuracies when it comes to Clingman’s Dome other than to say they kept thinking the observation tower was the dome, and since it doesn’t look like a dome so why is it called a dome?  Ugh.  Our own Podcast is coming very soon to the internet and it will be much more accurate.  Finally this group of “chuckleheads” committed blasphemy in my eyes by attacking all the great places to have breakfast in the Smokies! Sacrilege I tell you! Leave our pancakes alone!!!!

So I got to thinking I have not really written anything about my favorite meal and I love having breakfast in the Smokies.  Here are some of our favorite place and our favorite dishes (especially pancakes) we’ve had there. This week we feature Gatlinburg pancakes houses.

Crockett’s 1875 Breakfast Camp

Pretty much by general consensus Crockett’s 1875 Breakfast Camp has become the overall favorite breakfast in the Smokies place for many, just look at the lines to get in. When we go we try to be there before 8am just to beat the crowds.  As you walk in the door at Crockett’s you are overwhelmed by the magical scents of their cinnamon rolls. The interior is so detailed it’s amazing, from antiques, to animals, to the mason jars filled with water.  No detail is overlooked.  I might add, don’t miss the restrooms – very cool decor, trust me it’s worth the trip.

Back to the food, as you can see in picture above the “Griddle Cakes” are HUGE!  Oh my gosh they’re huge!  Couple that with a cinnamon roll that’s the size of a small car and you need to tie on the feed bag.  The skillets again are loaded with delicious eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, biscuits and gravy and this corn pone thing that’s really tasty.  It’s no wonder there’s a line to get in.

One last thing I like about Crockett’s is the menu, it’s printed on newsprint to look like a newspaper.  I urge you to take a moment and glance around the restaurant at all the people who look like they’re reading the paper.  Reminiscent of days gone by, it’s kind of neat!

Address: 1103 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

The Log Cabin Pancake House

If you’re looking for pancakes than look no further than my wife’s favorite breakfast in the Smokies…. The Log Cabin Pancake House. Family owned an operated since 1976, with it’s iconic covered wagon on the roof this place is a gem.  My wife doesn’t need a menu here…Blueberry pancakes and a side of sausage links.  I’m not sure just what they put in their signature blueberry syrup, my wife say’s it’s more like a blueberry compote but it’s outstanding. The Butterscotch Chip Pancakes are pancakes topped with butterscotch bits inside and out, topped with powdered sugar and whipped margarine. Or try the Pancake Royale, four golden pancakes topped with powdered sugar, banana wedges and cream cheese sauce.

Servings are plentiful, the atmosphere is vintage Gatlinburg. Where Crockett’s is built to look authentic the Log Cabin Pancake House IS authentic.  Waffles, omelets, crepes, The Log Cabin Pancake House has them all but most of all great pancakes!!

Address: 327 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

The Pancake Pantry

If Dame Judy Dench was a pancake house she’d be The Pancake Pantry.  How’s that for an opening!  The Pancake Pantry which opened in Gatlinburg in 1960 and has been satisfying their customers at the highest level ever since.  What makes them a tradition in Gatlinburg?  If you read their website it’s the real butter, the honest-to-goodness fresh whipped cream and everything made from scratch. And it’s also the warm atmosphere of century-old brick, rich oak and rustic copper. It has a certain rustic elegance to it.

As for the menu, I can personally vouch for the Swiss Chocolate Chip pancakes, they are delicious, filling and plentiful, I couldn’t finished them.  The Sweet Potato pancakes are iconic and the crepes are pretty much unequaled.  The Pancake Pantry is a don’t miss breakfast in the Smokies!

Address: 628 Parkway •, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Little House of Pancakes

A bit off the beaten path but know as the place that the locals go is the Little House of Pancakes.  Great food, excellent service and great prices.  Little House of Pancakes features a retro diner look and a humble exterior but the food is what you’re coming for.  One of the few restaurants offering all-you-can-eat pancakes.  Light fluffy and made from scratch is their trademark.  Whether your taste is plain, light, fluffy pancakes or smothered in fruit and chocolate this menu has you covered.  If your tastes sway more towards bacon, eggs and sausage the Little house of Pancakes delivers on that too,  This is one of the best kept secrets when it comes to Breakfast in the Smokies!

Address: 807 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Atrium Pancakes

Saving what many may say is the best…..Serving Gatlinburg Visitors for 20 years! Atrium is famous for the Baked Apple Pancake, featured in “Taste of Home” magazine and on the Food Network.  Just look at the golden disc of perfection!  If you’re looking for something a bit more sweet how does this sound..Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes….YUM!  Atrium pancakes features a robust menu for you and your family from the Happy Hiker Breakfast to a full selection of scramblers, waffles, and eggs benedicts. Atrium Pancakes is at the top of the list when heading out for breakfast in the Smokies. Plus this is the only breakfast establishment that comes with it’s own waterfall!

Address: 432 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Next time we’ll head a little father up the parkway into Pigeon forge to seek out the best breakfast in the Smokies up there.

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://wordpress.com/post/dancingbearfoot.blog/53

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.

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Mountain Coasters in the Smokies

It seems anywhere you look around Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge another new mountain roller coaster has popped up.  Yes, mountain coasters in the Smokies have become a very big business and for good reason, they’re fun!  Let’s look at some of the old ones and the new offerings.

Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster

I guess you could call Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster the Granddaddy of mountain coasters in the Smokies.  It was the first mountain coaster in the Smokies opening in 2003. The Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is the longest downhill ride in the United States, with over 1 mile of track! The vehicles are designed to carry two visitors in comfort but can be handled easily by one alone. The riders are in control of the velocity (up to about 30 mph) and this gives them a unique hands-on experience!

Rain, snow or sunshine no problem – the excellent braking effect is unchanged so you can ride year-round! Want a unique experience come back and ride the coaster at night.  Truly unforgettable!

SMAC1

General Admission price per rider:   

Adult- $15.00 (Same Day Re-Rides $8.00 – with original receipt)      
Children (7-12 years) – $12.00 (Same Day Re-Rides  $8.00- with original receipt) 
Children (3-6 years) – $5.00      

Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster

867 Wears Valley Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Call (865) 365-5000

 

Ski Mountain Coaster at Ober Gatlinburg

The Ski Mountain Coaster  begins with a 1000 ft tree-covered and relaxing ride to the top. At this point, the rider simply enjoys the view, as it is a comfortable tow to the top of mountainside. Once at the top, riders are now in control of their own speed for the next 2750 ft of turns, dips, zig-zags, corkscrews and G-force adventures. Although the mountain coaster can be exhilarating, it is the ultimate family experience any age can enjoy.              

smob4

General Admission price per rider:   

Riders- $15.00  Prices are Per Rider, Not Per Cart.   
Children (3&4 years) – Free with a paying Adult     

The Ski Mountain Coaster

 1310 Ski Mountain Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Call (865) 436-5423

 

The Coaster at Goats on the Roof

Measuring nearly a mile in length and reaching top speeds of nearly 30 miles per hour, The Coaster at Goats on the Roof offers thrills for all ages, and because you the passenger are in control of the brake, you can make the experience as tame or as hair-raising as you’re comfortable with.

Each cart is designed to carry one or two passengers, and once your sled is transported to the top of the mountain, gravity takes over for the winding, twisting 4,375-foot journey to the bottom. Along the way, you’ll enjoy gorgeous mountain views and one of the smoothest but wildest seven-minute rides in town.

coaster-goats-roof-4

General Admission price per rider:   

Adults (Ages 12+) – $15.00
Children (Ages 7-12) – $12.00
Small Children (Ages 3-6) – $5.00

The Coaster at Goats on the Roof

1341 Wears Valley Rd, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Call (865) 366-7337

 

Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster

One of the newer mountain coasters in the Smokies, The Rowdy Bear Coaster opened in 2017.  Again this is another day/night mountain coaster.  The Rowdy Bear Coaster is a gravity-propelled alpine mountain coaster that reaches speeds up to 35 mph while it winds through the woods of the Rowdy Bear Mountain. You control your speed! Rowdy Bear Mountain coaster carts have the latest Intelligent Distance Control System to ensure their guests have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Rowdy-Bear-3

Rates

Single Rider – $16.00
Double Rider – $27.00
Parent/Child Combo – $24.00
Groups of 15 or more – $10.00/person

386 Parkway, Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738

Call: (865) 409-5045

 

Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster

One of the more established mountain coasters in the Smokies and it’s conveniently located in downtown Gatlinburg! Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster is a unique, family-friendly thrill ride. It curves and winds through the woods and down the mountain. Control your own speed in single or double rider carts.

Gatlinburg-Mountain-Coaster-v.JPG

Rates

Single Rider – $16.00
Double Rider – $27.00
Parent/Child Combo – $24.00
Unlimited 1-Hour Pass – $30.00/person

All Day Pass – $50.00/person

Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster

306 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN (Traffic Light #2) 37738

Call: 865-430-5577

 

Rocky Top Mountain Coaster

The newest entry  into the mountain coasters in the Smokies arena is the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster.  Sitting on over 20+ acres of beautiful smoky mountain scenery the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster features plenty of tunnels, curves and hairpin turns.  With four uplifts and four drops, you’ll will have four times the fun at Rocky Top Mountain Coaster. Visit after nightfall, the magnificent lights will guide you through a thrill-packed excursion. An experience that will stay with you long after the ride is over. The Rocky Top Mountain Coaster is over nine minutes long, and guaranteed to give you the thrill of a lifetime!

Rocky-Top-Coaster-4

Rates

Adult Single Rider (13+) – $18.00 (second ride same day $9.00)
Youth (7-12) – $14.00 (second ride same day $9.00) 
Child (3-6)- $5.00
Groups 20 or more people – $12.00/person

Rocky Top Mountain Coaster

2940 Veterans Blvd. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Call: (865) 453-0033

So there you have it six different mountain coaster for you to play on.  We still need to mention the Rail Runner at Anakeesta and the Alpine Slide up at Ober Gatlinburg but those will be covered in a more unique things to do post at a later date.

While I’ll agree  mountain coasters may not appeal to all guests their popularity continues to grow. I’m sure this isn’t the end of the list!

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://wordpress.com/post/dancingbearfoot.blog/53

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.

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The Smoky Mountains are a great alternative to Disney.

The Smoky Mountains are a great alternative to Disney.

Let me start out by saying I’m not a Disney basher, quite the opposite I’m a Disney admirer.  I admire the attention to detail, the cleanliness, the escapism and how they pull it all together in a really nice package.  It’s brilliant, it’s well executed and it’s expensive.  This year’s new tax code has taken many Americans by surprise in how much smaller their tax returns have been.  Suddenly Disney is probably out of the question this year.  But let me offer up that the Smoky Mountains are a great alternative to Disney and here are the reasons why.

 

Easier to get to.

The Smoky Mountains are within a one day’s drive of half of the US population. Think about that, half of the country could travel to the Smokies for less than $100 in fuel. Plus, by driving yourself your car is with you, so you also save on a car rental. So, from a travel cost savings standpoint the Smoky Mountains are a great alternative to Disney.

 

The Lodging Experience

OK, being fair to both sides, Disney has a wide variety of lodging options as does the Smoky Mountains area.  But we’re a cabin company and Disney does have cabin rentals available in a wide variety of sizes and options.  This is a great place to go head to head and I don’t mean with those mobile homes Disney is trying to pass off as a cabin I’m talking about the new cabins at Copper Creek. This is where the Smoky Mountains are a great alternative to Disney.

Let’s say four of you are going on vacation and you’re looking for a two bedroom cabin.  The dates I picked are not peak season for either of us: November 4th thru November 8th.

Cabin at Copper Creek – 1 King Bed and 1 Queen Bed and 1 Queen-Size Sleeper Sofa and 1 Single Pull Down Bed and 1 Twin-Size Sleeper Chair (Sounds comfy?) – Sleeps up to 8 Adults.

Disneys-Wilderness-Lodge-Resort_Full_29773

And the price of this accommodation?  Without a park ticket or dining package this cabin will run you $9,522.00 for the 5 days  add the 1-park per day ticket and the price jumps to $11,472.20.

three-bedrrom-cabin

Add the deluxe dining package (3-meals plus snacks) and the price climbs again to $13,322.12.

Disney dining plan

Welcome to the Smokies!

Welcome to the Smokies!  Again the Smokies have a wide variety of lodging options from hotels to condos to cabins of varying levels.

Our cabin Dancing Bearfoot is considered a luxury level two bedroom cabin, 1 King Bed and 1 Queen Bed and 1 Queen-Size Sleeper Sofa and it sleeps 6 people. Admittedly we don’t have the sleeping chair or a pull down single bed. But unlike the cabin at Copper Creek, Dancing Bearfoot is an authentic log cabin.

Dancing-Bearfoot-Floorplan

And our price for the same number of days?

pricing

Just the price difference in accommodations of $8335.00 shows the Smoky Mountains are a great alternative to Disney.  So put that money back in the bank.  Just the price of going to one park at Disney will cost you $1950 or $390 per day.  Let’s see what we can do for that money over the same period of time at the Smokies.

Attractions

Dollywood Theme Park

Spanning 150 acres in the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood offers more than 40 world class rideshigh-energy entertainmentaward-winning dining and the friendliest park atmosphere in the world! They even received an award for being so friendly! A one day ticket to Dollywood will cost you $74.00 per person or $296 for the 4 of you!  You just saved another $94.  On the bright side you won’t hear “It’s a Small World” one single time!

Rafting in the Smokies

 

The upper section of the Pigeon River boasts 12 Class III and 3 Class IV thrilling whitewater rapids! Accompanied by one of Rafting in the Smokies friendly, professional river guides, you’ll be escorted down 5.5 miles of lively rapids with equally engaging nicknames such as Too Late, Vegamatic, Razor Blade, After Shave, and Lost Guide. No Experience Necessary!

The scenery surrounding the upper and lower sections of the Pigeon River is just as breathtaking as the rapids.  This scenery is God made not man made!  At only $42.00 per person for the raft trip you can add on their ziplines for another $39.00 bringing your days total for four people to $324.00, again saving you another $66.00 a day over Disney.

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Ready to save some real money?  The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is free.  It’s the only national park without a fee to enter.  Spectacular views,  fantastic waterfalls, historical buildings and incredible wildlife….and it’s real wildlife not anamatronic or a person in a suit!

They may have a mouse but the park service has a bear!

smoky-bear

A Walk in he Woods

If you’re a bit leery of heading out into the park on your own we’ve partnered with a great guide service called A Walk in the Woods.  Half days excursions are only about $216 for a party of four.  You’ll learn about the park at a whole new level, seeing things most people just walk by.

What to do next?

Right there above is three days of activities and you’ve only spent $836.00 you still have another $1100.00 to go just to equal the price of the Disney park ticket again showing the Smoky Mountains are a great alternative to Disney. So where next?  Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies?  The Titanic Museum? Ankeesta?

Maybe one of the many new mountain coasters or go-cart tracks or miniature golf courses.  The point is in the Smoky Mountains area you have plenty of options.

I’ve probably gone on too long and I haven’t even touched on how to spend that whopping $372.00 per day on food.  Hopefully you get the idea that you don’t need to spend over $13,000 on a family vacation that you’ll remember for a lifetime. The Smoky Mountains are a great alternative to Disney and at a fraction of the price.

Come on down and make some memories of your own!

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://wordpress.com/post/dancingbearfoot.blog/53

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.