Tag Archives: Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountain 4th of July Events Schedule

Every year on July 4th the cities of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg celebrate Independence Day in a big way. 2014 will be no exception; here is the current list of scheduled events:

  • July 3 Fireworks Display at Smokies Stadium in Sevierville following the TN. Smokies/Montgomery baseball game.
  • July 3rd/4th The First Independence Day Parade in the Nation– At the stroke of midnight the 39th annual Gatlinburg July 4th Midnight Parade will march down the parkway. This year’s parade will honor Women Veterans and other U.S. HeroesView last years Midnight Parade
  • July 4th Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta– The annual unmanned River Raft Regatta will be held at 12 noon, registration begins at 10 a.m.
  • July 4th Patriot FestivalPigeon Forge’s Patriot Park will again be home to this annual festival starting at 12 noon with fun and activities for kids. Onstage entertainment will begin at 1:30 p.m. with concerts featuring the Pigeon Forge Community Chorus, the Tim Kellar Band, bluegrass group Adkins & Loudermilk, the Jimmy Buffet tribute band Sons of Sailors and the event headliners Lonestar.
  • July 4th Mark Chesnutt– 8 p.m. at Country Tonite Theatre
  • July 4th Fireworks- Pigeon Forge’s fireworks display will be at Patriot Park starting somewhere between 9:30 till 10 p.m. depending on the conclusion of onstage entertainment. Gatlinburg’s fireworks will be centered downtown (recommended viewing around traffic light #3) to begin about 10 p.m. All fireworks subject to weather conditions.

The Great Smoky Mountains Quarter

In 2010 the US Mint launched the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. The mint began issuing quarters embossed with designs featuring national parks or national sites.
This past week the mint released the Great Smoky Mountains Quarter, the 21st coin in the program. The coin’s design features a historic log cabin found within the National Park (presumably the John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove) with a mountain backdrop and a hawk soaring above.

The Great Smoky Mountains Commemorative Quarter

The Great Smoky Mountains Commemorative Quarter

The Resort at Governor’s Crossing was fortunate to receive some of these quarters at their release. As a special thank you to our guests staying the nights of February 16th and/or 17th during the Presidents Day weekend, we will be handing out a “mint stateGreat Smoky Mountains Quarter in a protective plastic case.

Commemorative quarters are limited to one per guest unit. The quantity is very limited and not for sale.

2014 Wilderness Wildlife Week In Pigeon Forge

The 24th Annual Wilderness Wildlife Week will be held Jan. 25-Feb. 1st at the new LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge. The annual salute to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the great outdoors has been recognized by many organizations including the International Festivals & Events Assoc. and Southeast Tourism Society.

Among the many different activities offered is the new Smokies through the Lens! (Photography workshops), hiking, and crafting. Some of the many lectures will cover the Civil War in the Smokies and East Tennessee, fly fishing, wildlife, conservation, and much more. camerahiking

Downloadable Program Guide

Early 2014 Smoky Mountain Events

Visitors to The Resort at Governor’s Crossing and the Smoky Mountains look forward to attending certain area events year after year. Listed below are dates of some of the earlier events for 2014. Dates are subject to change.

·    Jan. 25- Feb. 1       24th Annual Wilderness Wildlife Week
LeConte Center Pigeon Forge

Jan. 31                   Titanic Dive and Dine Excursion 

·    Feb. 19-23             14th Annual Saddle Up Celebration
                                               TBA
·    Mar. 19-22            20th Annual A Mountain Quiltfest
                                            LeConte Center Pigeon Forge
·    Mar. 21-22            Corvette Expo
                                            Seviervville Events Center
·    Mar. 22                  Dollywood Opens
·    April 11-13            Spring Pigeon Forge Rod Run
·    May 2                     Dolly’s Homecoming Parade
                                            Pigeon Forge
·    May 16-17              Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass
                                            Sevierville

Great Smoky Mountains National Park 2013

Newfound Gap Road (US-441), the main route from Gatlinburg TN to Cherokee NC, has been closed since January due to a land slide on the NC side, near mile marker 22. Park officials have reported that road repairs are on schedule and should be completed by May 15, 2013. Newfound Gap Road is open from Gatlinburg to the Newfound Gap overlook and to Clingmans Dome Road weather permitting.  UPDATENewfound Gap Road repairs are completed and the road is now open from Gatlinburg TN to Cherokee NC as of 4/15/13.

The following roads are scheduled to open April 12:
Parsons Branch Road
The Roaring Fork Motor Natural Trail

Little Greenbrier

Due to federal budget cuts the following campgrounds and picnic areas will be closed in 2013:
Look Rock campground and picnic area
Abrams Creek campground
Balsam Mountain campground and picnic area (includes Heintooga Ridge and Balsam Mountain Roads)
Tow String horse camp (NC)

Current park road and facilities information click here.

Music of the Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host its 7th annual “Music of the Mountains”. The three day event will begin on April 8th at the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center in Townsend, TN. On Saturday the 9th the Sugarlands Visitor Center, just south of Gatlinburg, will host 6 free events through out the day. The final day’s event will be held Sunday afternoon in Cosby, TN at the Smoky Mountain Visitor Center.
There is a $5 per person admission charge at the concert in Townsend, which will begin at 7PM. The concert in Cosby costs $4 per person and will begin at 2PM.

Newfound Gap Road Construction Delays Starting in March

Travelers on Newfound Gap Road (U. S. 441) through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park will experience delays beginning March 1st. Repairs on the heavily traveled two lane mountain road will begin on the Tennessee side at the state line proceeding north. In addition to repaving and drainage work the stone retaining walls will require repairs including re-construction to support the roadbeds, forcing closure of one lane from March 1st through June 10th.

Just above the Morton Overlook the work on the retaining wall and roadbed will require flag crews to direct traffic from 8AM until 9PM. Overnight traffic will be open to both lanes. At a slightly lower location traffic lights will control traffic around the clock.

From June 11 through August 15 there will be no lane closures during daytime hours.  Overnight between 9PM and 8AM construction will again cause lane closures.

The expected completion time of this first phase of the road work project is scheduled for October 2012. An additional two phases are schedule to complete the repairs of the 15 mile stretch of road between Newfound Gap and the park entrance north of Gatlinburg with projected completion in 2016.

Smoky Mountain Cabins Versus Condos

Ah, to be in a mountain cabin during a winter storm with the beautiful snow covered scenery. Sounds nice, doesn’t it. Think twice.

Being one who lives in the mountains here in Sevier County, winter time can be an eventful season. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy where I live and would not want to be in town. I am also prepared for winter as I have four wheel drive with tire chains for all four wheels but many times that vehicle is parked down by the main road as I am hiking up the steep, winding mountain road to our home, due to too much snow and ice.

Is this how I want to spend my vacation, hiking up a snow covered road carry my possessions to find out when I get to the cabin the electric service is out because snow or ice covered trees have taken down the wires? Do I want to listen to my kids complain that they can not play their video games that I drug up the mountain? How are we going to cook with out electric for the stove? No TV?

This is in no way to belittle the fine cabin rental companies in this area. Most are very reputable and try to get you to your cabin. They attempt to get the roads clear and safe, but sometimes that is impossible. The sad thing is, there are few cabin companies that feel it is your problem not theirs; “We can’t control the weather”.

Think about a condo when making that winter getaway. The majority of the condominium complexes locally are in town with city road service and underground utilities. Basically a condo is a cabin in town. Many have indoor pools, game rooms and restaurants within walking distance. Enjoy the shopping, shows and attractions; don’t be stuck on that mountain the one time of the year you can get away with the family.

The Walker Sisters’ Home in Little Greenbrier

With planned closures of many popular areas in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park due to much need road repairs, alternate sightseeing destinations will be required. Visitors not minding some time spent hiking may like to visit the home of the Walker Sisters in Little Greenbrier.

The Walkers’ were the children of Civil War veteran John “Hairy John” Walker and Margaret Jane King who moved to Little Greenbrier in the late 1860s or early 1870s. They raised 11 children, four boys and seven girls. Six spinster girls, Margaret Jane, Mary Elizabeth (Polly), Martha Ann, Nancy Melinda, Louisa Susan, and Hettie Rebecca spent the majority of their lives living and farming in a primitive lifestyle at Little Greenbrier, thus the famed “Walker Sisters”.

The Walker house is a three room two-storied log house that was completed around 1859 and this primitive house, with neither plumbing nor electric, was lived in until 1964. The house and land were sold to the U.S. Government in 1941 for $4750 but the sisters were granted a lifetime lease until their deaths. The formation of the National Park and the sale of their property brought many visitors to the sisters, curious of their way of life. They were able to sell hand made items as souvenirs to supplement their incomes as they welcomed travelers onto their land. An article in the Saturday Evening Post in 1947 brought then national publicity. Louisa Susan was the last of the six spinster sisters to pass, as she died in 1964.

The 4.2 mile round trip hike to the cabin is considered an easy to moderate ranking by most hikers. Beginning at Metcalf Bottoms picnic area off the Little River Rd, take the Metcalf Bottoms Trail (approximately 7/10 of a mile) to the Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse. This one room schoolhouse still has blackboard and desks from when it was last used in the 1930s. On the hillside above the school house is a small local cemetery. One may also drive, conditions permitting, to the Little Greenbrier School via a one lane gravel road, cross the bridge at Metcalf Bottoms picnic area and the road will be about ½ mile on your right.

Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse

Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse

To continue to the Walker Sisters’ home take the Little Brier Gap Trail from the parking area at the Little Greenbrier School. This is considered a mile hike but is probably closer to a mile and a half.

Walker Sisters' Cabin

Walker Sisters' Cabin

Penguins Coming to the Smokies

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies announced Thursday an expansion that will include a habitat for about 20 African penguins. The new multimillion dollar exhibit is scheduled to open in mid-March and is located at the site of the former Veranda Restaurant.

The black footed African penguins average about 2 feet in height and weigh around 5 to 9 pounds. The African penguins, with shorter feathers than the Antarctic penguin, are from a warm climate that will allow for them to be displayed in an indoor-outdoor facility.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
, located in downtown Gatlinburg, was named the top aquarium in the nation last year by Trip Advisor, the online travel website.