My family is no stranger to Tennessee and the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. We have been visiting for years. We’ve enjoyed making many memories at the Crowther family cabin (owned by my husband’s grandparents). We spent our honeymoon there, brought our children there at many stages of their childhood (even when I was pregnant with my youngest), my husband even remembers very fond memories from when he was a boy on family vacations to the cabin. We are very grateful for all the years we have been able to make memories there (if you’re reading, we love and appreciate you, Nana Crowther! You and Papa have helped make some beautiful family memories that we all will cherish forever! Xoxo). Anyway, enough going down memory lane, I’m getting all teary-eyed…let’s talk about exploring Tennessee!
The cabin is located in Sevierville, but is very close to the Pigeon Forge city line. Gatlinburg is also very close. We have done our fair share of “touristy” things and visited attractions like Wonder Works, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, and even DollyWood (which is lovely by the way). If you’re interested, just click on the attraction to go directly to their site. On this trip, we wanted to explore nature a bit more and take it easy. The first day, we explored Clingman’s Dome (the highest point in the Tennessee Smokies). It has absolutely breathtaking views and is definitely worth a visit! Go! Just trust me. You can even reach the Appalachian Trail from there, just a half mile hike away.
Travel Tip 1~ When planning a visit to Clingmans Dome, check the weather forecast! Try visiting on the clearest day possible (for obvious reasons).
We also drove to Cade’s Cove to explore some of the cabins built by the first settlers to Tennessee. The highlight was definitely seeing all of the wildlife that roam the area. We saw a fox, two deer, a buck, a wild turkey, and even a mama black bear and her two cubs! I really like that you don’t even have to get out of your car to see most things. We did venture out some here and there. I also enjoyed exploring the working corn mill (John Cable Mill) and beautiful surroundings. So picturesque, in fact, that many artists were there painting the lovely scenic views.
Travel Tip 2~ To avoid large crowds, visit Cade’s Cove during a weekday and don’t go on a holiday, if possible. I hear early mornings are great for spotting multiple deer and you can view some pretty epic sunsets in the evening (I’ve seen some breathtaking photos!).
On our way back to the cabin, we stopped to view a waterfall and jumped from rock to rock over one of the many fresh water streams the Smokies has to offer. It was an adventurous day, a memorable day…a day well spent!
Oh, that reminds me and I failed to mention, there was also this crazy lady there trying to film them. She was literally only five feet away! Why?! My oldest said, and I quote…”They’ll have some great pictures to show at her funeral!” Haha! We left before things got too exciting;-) Back away from the bears, people!!
Travel Tip 3~ I’ve read that, while hiking, talk or sing to make yourself known to any black bears that might be close. Some people clap or even attach a bell to their backpacks. Bear spray, for too close for comfort circumstances, is also another option.
In my next post, I’ll be sharing more of our adventures in the Smokies and my favorite restaurant in the area (it’s become a family tradition, yum!).
What about you? Have you explored the Smokies…any tips or advice?