25th Annual Wilderness Wildlife Week

Looking for some educational fun for the family and something that won’t break the piggy bank? Winterfest is still going strong in Pigeon Forge and it is time for Wilderness Wildlife Week. This fun-filled nature event will run from January 24th -31st and the activities are free!!!

Each day of Wilderness Wildlife Week is packed with activities and events. You will find a wide array of activities for the entire family. There are workshops on topics like photography and nature writing. There are guided hikes and field trips, such as a hike where you learn to identify birds and a field trip showing you how to use a map and compass. There are musical presentations focusing on the Appalachian region and even dulcimer and banjo classes.

There are hands-on classes on loom weaving, making a dream catcher, and even painting your own watercolor notecards. Kid’s Track classes get the kids involved in things like designing their own Wilderness Wildlife Week bandana and making a vase using a two liter bottle to hold flower seeds. There are educational classes on topics like fly fishing, managing black bears within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and tips on successful backyard wildlife habitats. The list goes on, so needless to say, there is not a dull moment during Wilderness Wildlife Week.

What a great way to share and experience the wonderful aspects of nature in the Great Smoky Mountains as a family!! This momma loves that Pigeon Forge continues to offer so many activities that are family friendly, educational, and cost effective.

Details About All Inclusive Seaside Resorts

All-Inclusive Beach Side Resorts

All-inclusive seaside hotel getaways make it feasible for vacationers to acquire the most out of their travel bucks. Today there are over 400 resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico alone providing all-encompassing beach resort trip package deals for budget-savvy travelers. Complete coastline hotel getaways aren’t consistently as problem-free as they could appear. If you desire to find the finest deal, it’s ideal to initial identify just what you wish and also require in your extensive coastline hotel getaway. The best benefit to scheduling an all-encompassing beach hotel vacation is having everything you need for merely one cost.

When you’re vacation, you have some quite essential factors to consider. Order the garlic shrimp, or the fettuccine alfredo? Snorkel first, or scuba dive? Rise very early to enjoy the sunlight increase over the seaside, or never mind going to bed in any way? Of all the important things you need to bother with vacationing, the one point you should not consider is your budget.

Aside from the hotels themselves, getaway packages can differ in terms of the solutions they offer. Not every person’s understanding of “all inclusive” is the exact same. Some consist of plane tickets and also hotel. Others encompass airline tickets, hotels and resort, transfers, and also some dishes. There are resort holidays that are extensive, with the exception of airfare. Some beach resorts include all alcohols, as long as they’re not premium brands, or served just before 7 pm or after twelve o’clock at night. Contrast prices and deals, and you’ll locate ways to conserve cash. Consisting of airline tickets as part of an all-inclusive package can be less expensive than booking and paying for your own trip, and will save you additional steps in preparing your journey.

If you would like to find the most effective offer, it’s ideal to very first recognize what you want as well as require in your all-encompassing coastline resort vacation. As soon as you recognize the features and features you’re expecting, you can start to arrange through all the trip deals you’ll locate. Travel agencies and the Internet are terrific means to locate lots of hotels and also bundles to compare.

All-encompassing beach resort trips make it feasible for travelers to obtain one of the most from their trip bucks. Today there are over 400 hotels in the Caribbean and Mexico alone offering all-inclusive coastline hotel holiday package deals for budget-savvy visitors. Nonetheless, all-encompassing beach hotel trips aren’t always as problem-free as they may seem. You need to thoroughly contrast available resorts prior to choosing your vacation location.

Research as well as contrast all-inclusive coastline resorts, and you’ll locate that the bundles, holiday accommodations and also resorts themselves can considerably vary. Some hotels supply packages that are designed for couples only. Others are developed for singles, for gays or lesbians, or for households. Many coastline hotels are intended for grownups simply, so be extremely cautious if you’re planning a family vacation.

To ensure, spending plans are a fact of life. However should having an investing limit necessarily imply subduing each one of your wishes, merely considering that they’re not specified in your spending plan? Certainly not. When you’re on getaway, you are worthy of to be pampered. You’ve striven all year, and also you’ve earned the right to eat, drink and also go a little insane.

Most of us never get to live the life of the rich and famous, taking luxurious vacations and also investing endless amounts on the best of everything. As an alternative, we live the life of the rich as well as famous at all-encompassing coastline resorts.

The greatest advantage to booking an extensive beach hotel getaway is having every little thing you require for just one rate. Recognizing this, you can unwind and enjoy your holidays recognizing there will not be any vicious shocks waiting at your destination. Your budget will remain in one piece, and all you’ll need to stress over is whether to have the pina colada, or the marguerita.

Fall Color Report Update

The peak week is finally here! After a slow start, leaves all over the Smoky Mountains have turned and created spectacular views.

This weekend, almost anywhere you go in Great Smoky Mountains National Park you will see a full-fledged display of fall color. The mid-elevations of the Smokies have finally reached their peak color season and there’s no better time for viewing than right now.

Leaves begin changing color at the higher elevations first and the display gradually works its way down to lower elevations. Because of the unpredictable nature of the leaves it’s hard to say how long the current mid-elevation peak will last. It could be for another week or so or it might barely last through the weekend. Lower elevations are expected to enter their peak next week and on into the early parts of  November.

If you’re going to be visiting Pigeon Forge and the surrounding area this weekend or next week you definitely need to plan on taking a drive into the national park. A trip up Newfound Gap Road, Little River Road or the Cades Cove Loop Road should all provide breathtaking views.

It’s a Fun Fall in Pigeon Forge

The sights and smells of fall are popping out. Pumpkins and scarecrows are everywhere and the beauty of the season is beginning to make its presence. The leaves of the area are starting to turn their beautiful, rich colors and the air is beginning to feel cool and crisp. It is the perfect time for a visit to Pigeon Forge.

Fall activities are in full swing with The National Southern Gospel and Harvest Celebration going on at Dollywood. Dolly and her crew spare no expense in bringing in top notch talent for this event and you will love all of the fall/harvest decorations throughout the park. The daily shows along with all of the usual fun and excitement at Dollywood make it a great choice for a fall activity.

The Island also has many activities going on. From live music on the weekends to the 2nd annual Halloween at the Island later this month, there is never a dull moment. New shops are continuing to make their way onto the Island and the doors to Margaritaville Island Hotel have finally opened! You can get a great view of all the fall beauty from the top of the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel and the kids will have a blast riding the Flying Horse Carousel or the Happy Swing. There is so much fun to be had at the Island and much more to come.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the perfect place to take a drive to get the full effect of the leaves changing. This will definitely put you in the mood for fall. Have your cameras ready and be ready to make lots of stops for photo ops.

Old Mill Square is decorated for the season and a great place for a stroll. Look for pumpkin fudge in the Candy Kitchen and Pumpkin Spice pancake mix and Pumpkin Butter in the Old Mill General Store. You will definitely want to grab a bite to eat at the Old Mill Restaurant where you will probably be able to find a piece of pumpkin pie.

The 29th annual Pigeon Forge Rotary Club Craft Fair is going on through October 25 under the red and white tent at Patriot Park. It is a great showcase of talent and the perfect place to stock up on some holiday crafts for the season.

Fall is all around and there is no better time to have a little fun in Pigeon Forge!

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail to Close for Construction

One of the most popular places in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, is closing starting October 31, 2014 and is expected to be reopened April 30, 2015.

The motor nature trail closes each winter, but due to the scheduled replacement of eight bridges along the road the closure is coming earlier and will last longer this time. No access to the road will be permitted during the closure. Hikers wanting access to the Trillium Gap (Grotto Falls) or Baskins Creek trailheads will have to park at the Rainbow Falls trailhead on Cherokee Orchard Road and hike the connector trail to get there.

If you’ve never been on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail before, we encourage you to go and check it out either before the closure or after the reopening. The 5.5-mile trip is regarded as one of the best places to see wildlife native to the Smokies in addition to many historic cabins, cemeteries and old home sites.

Photo is courtesy of the GSMNP Public Affairs Office

Mountain Life Festival

Fall festivals are a big deal in the Smoky Mountains. Visitors coming to Pigeon Forge will have an abundance of these festivals to choose from in the coming weeks but one of the earliest of these starts this Saturday, September 20 just over the mountains at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Mountain Life Festival is an old-time celebration of the fall harvest. Park staff and volunteers will come together to demonstrate the old mountain methods of making apple cider, apple butter, sorghum molasses, woven chair bottoms, lye soap, blacksmithing and more. The festival will start at 10 a.m. and last until 4 p.m.

For traditional Appalachian music lovers there will be all sorts of musicians on hand to provide entertainment.

The Mountain Farm Museum next to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center is an incredible place to learn about the lives of the early inhabitants of the Smokies. During this celebration the museum and the surrounding areas will be full of fun and informative demonstrations. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate the beginning of fall in the Smoky Mountains.

The Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Mountain Farm Museum are located on Newfound Gap Rd. (U.S. Highway 441) two miles north of Cherokee, North Carolina.

Temporary Single Lane Closure On Newfound Gap Road

If you plan on heading to the tops of the Smokies sometime this month, be on the lookout for some construction work on Newfound Gap Road at the Morton Mountain Tunnel, 12 miles south of Sugarlands Visitor Center and Park Headquarters. This project is scheduled from Sept. 2 through Sept. 27.

The tunnel, situated between the Alum Cave trail parking area and Newfound Gap, is undergoing repairs after a leak caused significant damage.

The construction will require a full time single-lane closure for a 0.25-mile stretch. A temporary traffic signal will be used to control traffic flow. When the road is at its busiest (7:00 a.m. through 9:00 p.m. on weekends) flaggers will manually direct traffic.

During a particularly bad stretch of cold weather last winter, the leak in the tunnel led to the formation of large icicles and ice accumulation on the road. Over the course of the project drainage pipes will be installed in the walls and ceiling to prevent similar damage from occurring in the future.

It’s important to always be aware of road closures and conditions in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To check on these, visit http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm and follow official NPS road status updates on Twitter at http://twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps.

Deer in the Smokies

Have you ever seen a deer in Cades Cove? Chances are if you’ve ever been there you’ve likely spotted a white-tailed deer. The best time to look for deer is usually in autumn when bucks are out and about fighting for the right to mate, but seeing deer in summer might be just as fulfilling.

White-tailed deer change their appearance annually. In the late summer months most of them have shiny reddish coats. The males have antlers that are covered with “velvet”. The velvet is a type of skin which provides nutrients to the antlers to promote their growth. Eventually, bucks will shed the velvet to reveal the familiar-looking white antlers.

After the mating season is over, the antlers will break off at the base and a new (typically fuller) pair of antlers will grow.

In Cades Cove deer typically give birth in late June, meaning that most fawns are nearly two months of age at this point. Fawns are noted for the small white dots scattered on their coat. This camouflage serves as their only real defense against would-be predators. If you’re fortunate, you just might be able to catch a glimpse of a doe and fawn on your next visit!

Top 10 Group Activities in Pigeon Forge

We recently made a long, but entertaining road trip to Pigeon Forge with 4 youth softball teams from Texas for a little work, a little play, and a whole lot of memories. Our teams played in the SEAA World Series softball tournament that was held at Wear Farm City Park on July 20-27. Rainy weather played a little havoc on our softball play throughout the week but definitely not on our fun time!! Our families spread out across the town to have fun and made lots of great memories together.

The top ten group activities from our week were:

  1. Dollywood – There is definitely plenty to do here and plenty of space for a group to spread out for a days’ worth of fun. The thrill seekers enjoyed multiple rides on each of the roller coasters while others enjoyed partaking in the plethora of food items available and watching the award winning shows. Many took advantage of the “After 3 pm Next Day Free” deal that the park offers. The extended summer hours and end of day fireworks were both added bonuses too.
  2. Dollywood’s Splash Country – Those wanting to beat the heat on the days of no rain headed over here for a little water fun. This place is also great for groups…there are so many ways to enjoy the water.  Pools, slides, playgrounds, and a lazy river kept families entertained for the day.
  3. Old Time Photos – This was a special treat that one of the teams wanted to do. They enjoyed dressing up and posing for a group picture in an old time saloon scene. We had our photo taken with the great folks over at Three Bears General Store, but there are also several other old time photo studios in town. The best part was that each girl got to walk away with their own picture that day!!
  4. Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster – This was a huge hit amongst all of our teams and families!! How many times in your life do you get to ride a roller coaster down the side of a mountain? It was fun to see all the smiles on the girls’ faces as they raced down the hill. Many of the girls went back multiple days for another ride.
  5. The Island – There is never a dull moment here….from bungy jumping in the Thunderdome, to winding through the maze at Island Mirror Maze, or having a little gaming fun at the new 7D Dark Ride Adventure. For those that just wanted to relax, taking in the views of the area from a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel and hanging out in the rocking chairs listening to live music and the sounds and show of the Island Fountains hit the spot.
  6. Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show – You can’t beat sharing laughter and good Southern food with great friends!! This show was a good time for both the young and old.
  7. The Track and Kids Country – This was a great place for families with kids of different ages and interests. Since there is an area just for the small youngsters, the younger siblings got to feel like big kids and ride things on their own while their older sisters and brothers were off riding go karts and flying through the sky on the SkyFlyer.
  8. WonderWorks – This place is a great place to be a kid again. The mystery of whether the inside of the house was upside down or not made for some fun conversations while we were waiting in line to get our tickets. Adults and kids alike enjoyed the interactive activities and many took in the Wonders of Magic show.
  9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – This vast park covered the interests of all. With trails for all skills and various distances, families got to enjoy the beauty of the scenery and the grandness of the park at their own pace. I know many drove up to Cade’s Cove while others made the hike up to Cataract Falls. It is a smaller waterfall but perfect for those with restless kids because the hike is easy and short.
  10. Hollywood Wax Museum – This was a great indoor activity on one of the rainy days. All the kids enjoyed posing and taking selfies with the wax figures. It was fun to see the photos they shared with their friends back home through social media.

With such a wide array of activities in Pigeon Forge, any group is sure to have a great time just like our families did!!

Fire Strategies for The Smokies

Camping within the Smokies is really a favorite pastime for Gatlinburg timeshare vacation packages for families. The excitement of going through the backwoods and sitting alongside a fire is one thing many families cherish. Campfires are wonderful however they do pose some dangers. Probably the most apparent is beginning a wildfire, but an overlooked danger is the potential of moving dangerous bugs towards the Smokies by getting in your fire wood.

Bugs such as the Asian longhorned beetle and also the Emerald ash borer may be residing in fire wood that you’ve acquired near your house. These bugs are extremely harmful to the healthiness of many trees that grow in Great Smoky Mountain tops National Park. The Emerald ash borer is discovered within 2002, since that time it’s brought towards the destruction hundreds of countless ash trees in The United States.

Many areas (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and many of East Tennessee) have fire wood quarantines essentially to assist steer clear of the spread of those dangerous bugs. Getting fire wood from these areas in to the national park is prohibited. Notice a full listing of quarantined areas .

Another proposal (that could get into effect as soon as March 2015) would prohibit all fire wood not licensed through the USDA or condition agency. These efforts help safeguard the bio-diversity from the Smokies, where great amounts of chestnut, Fraser fir and hemlock happen to be destroyed by bugs.

The easiest method to get wood for any fire within the Smokies is to find wood in the campsites or stores in surrounding towns.