Weddings in the Great Smoky Mountains

The Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee are a top destination in the country for weddings due to the gorgeous scenery of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Peaks and valleys provide breathtaking views that mirror the promise of lifelong wedded bliss. Every year, over 10,000 brides plan Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg weddings in and around … Continue reading Weddings in the Great Smoky Mountains


Where to view Elk in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Military Travel Mom and dad

Estes Park Sept 2006 149

There are a little over 100 North American Manitoban Elk in the park.  They live in a very small area of the park, unlike the deer that can be viewed throughout.  The released Elk are wearing tracking collars so they can collect data.

We found last year the best place to view them was on the North Carolina side in the Cataloochee section right next to Maggie Valley.  You will see them in large fields and around building in the area.  Take exit 20 off of I-40 and go .2 miles and turn right onto Cove Creek Road.  It is about 11 miles to Cataloochee Valley.  It is marked so no fear of missing it.  You will need to drive about 5 miles on a very narrow gravel road, no room to turn around.  Remember if there is a lot of snow this road isn’t plowed.  You can also see…

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Ober Gatlinburg

From downtown Gatlinburg, hop onto the largest aerial tramway in the U.S. for a ride to this ski resort with a 600-foot vertical drop, eight beautiful trails and an amusement park complete with indoor ice skating, miniature golf and water rides.  Ober Gatlinburg is a popular attraction for skiing and snowboarding.  It also has a 400 foot … Continue reading Ober Gatlinburg

The Lost Cove of Cataloochee


Tucked in the remote southeastern corner of the Smokies is is a place of rare and special beauty, what some call the lost cove of Cataloochee.cataloochee

I think of it as the almost forgotten side of the Smokies.  Forgotten may not be entirely true but for sure it is less traveled and less well known than many other areas of the Great Smoky Mt National Park (which means less crowded too!)  It is a bit harder to get to but well worth the effort.  Located approximately 65 miles from Gatlinburg and 39 miles from Pigeon Forge, the easiest and most scenic route is I-40 to Exit 20 (US 276). then look for Cove Creek Rd about .2 of a mile on the right.  The road is paved for 4 miles, gravel for 3 then back to pavement.  The gravel section is narrow with some sharp curves and  can be rough at times.

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October in the Smokies

A Dash of the Unexpected

Of the things I inherited when I married into Jon’s family, one of my favorites is the tradition of regular trips to Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. The Geary/Sharp clan has the outing to a science, finely-honed over more than 30 years. Truthfully, Gatlinburg falls into the… quirky category of vacation spots. Much of what you find there would kindly be labeled kitsch. But there’s no doubt it has character, and this family has found the gems. These mountain vacations have come to mean as much to me as they always have to Jon. So much of what we love about the area is wrapped up in years of family tradition and memory. Now we find great satisfaction in passing all of that along to our own kids.

This year’s trip found Corin enthralled with every aspect of the vacation, from the cabin to the mountain trail to the…

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