Tag Archives: gatlinburg

I found a statue to avoid at Ripley’s Museum in Gatlinburg…

According to the marketers, 2,000 people claim to have gotten pregnant after touching either the fertility statue above, or another similar one now on display at Ripley’s Museum in Gatlinburg. 

If you need to get pregnant, I suppose it can’t hurt to touch them.  If you’re like me, and don’t need another child at this time, you’ll avoid it just in case. 



***Blog post brought to you by my personal favorite house to stay in when I’m in the Smokies… www.smokymountaintower.com.  Check it out!***

Landslide closes Hwy 441 down to 1 lane near NC/TN border

If it’s not a rockslide, it’s a landslide causing havoc for driving in and around the Smokies.  This time, it’s highway 441 in the park.  That’s the OTHER main route.  

This is the drive from Gatlinburg to Cherokee.  A landslide just past the NC/TN border has caused traffic to have to drive on just one lane.  Just to give you an idea of where this is, Newfound Gap is on the NC/TN border, so this is close to Newfound Gap. 

Find more info on this particular landslide at the link below.  



***This post brought to you by www.smokymountaintower.com. If a landslide keeps you from doing what you want in the mountains, just head back to The Smoky Mountain Tower.  There is so much to do there, you will not even be upset about the landslides:) Check it out for your next trip to the Smokies!***

Newfound Gap Road to get more extensive renovation at the end of 2010

Here’s another good story.  It might cause some traffic delays at the end of the year, and into upcoming years, but it sounds like it will be well worth it.  The Newfound Gap road will be renovated (it sounds like many of the areas beside/near/under the road mainly) beginning at the end of 2010.  They will wait until the end of the fall tourist season.  They plan to repair some of the barriers and other aspects of the road from Gatlinburg to Newfound Gap. 

While traffic isn’t a good thing, I’m glad to be able to report to you so many improvements in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park recently.  You can find a little more info at the story below. 



***This post brought to you by www.smokymountaintower.com.  When you are in the area, this is where you want to stay.  I was just talking to my next door neighbor last night.  He told me he and his wife have only stayed in hotels/motels in Gatlinburg.  I told him that’s a shame.  If he spent a weekend in the Smoky Mountain Tower, he might decide to never go back to the hotel/motel routine.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had fun there too, but we feel like we have a home in the Smokies now that we’ve stayed at the Tower. Check it out***

NOC Great Outpost opening in Gatlinburg April 1st.

We noticed this when we were in town earlier this month.  The old “Open Hearth” restaurant building has been fully renovated, and will be opening April 1st as the NOC Outpost.  I’ve rafted down the Nantahala river before, and that’s a blast.  Well, you’ll be able to sign up for rafting trips at this new business, but it will be so much more. 

It looks like the perfect match for the last business before you head into the park.  You’ll also be able to buy hiking/camping supplies.  I can tell you we’ll be stopping by there, and it we like it, it could become a regular stop for us on future visits.  I’m glad to see something other than restaurants in the building.  We ate there a few years ago, and while it was nice, it wasn’t anything special.  There are too many special places to eat in the area to spend time in places that are not. 

Check it out for your next trip!


Here’s an older article from back in October on the plans… http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/oct/10/adventure-store-open-old-gatlinburg-restaurant/


***This post brought to you by www.SmokyMountainTower.com. Stay at The Smoky Mountain Tower for your trip to the Smokies this Spring/Summer.  You’ll be glad you did. That’s where we stay.***

BREAKING: Rock Slide closes portion of Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge spur

BREAKING: Large rock slide has closed the spur road heading to Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge.  Traffic is now being routed to the Pigeon Forge bound lanes.  That road is now divided into a 2 lane road, one lane headed in each direction. 

The good news… this is not June.  I’d imagine it would be best to avoid the spur if you can.  There are back-roads if you know where they are.  If you’re not aware of those, stop by a visitor center and ask for direction.  Quite frankly, they can be very confusing.  I know where several of them are, and I STILL get confused pretty often.  If they were simple to understand, I’d post them here. 

Find out more about the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge rock slide over at the yoursmokies blog… http://yoursmokies.blogspot.com/2010/01/rock-slide-closes-portion-of-foothills.html


***Stand by for many more photos/videos/blog posts/new episode of the GoSmoky.com Internet Talk Show soon.  It’s the 2nd annual GoSmoky.com Ski Trip, this weekend.  We’ll be updating right here on the blog.  Trip brought to you by the Cataloochee Ski Area ( www.cataloochee.com) and A Holiday Motel (www.holidaymotel.net) ***

Rock slide on I-40 good AND bad for business… and increasing Smoky Mountain traffic

The Smoky Mountains are seeing a major impact ever since the huge rock slide closed portions of I-40 in North Carolina October 25th.  The traffic through the park (from Cherokee to Gatlinburg) as people take that route around the rock slide.  According to this story… http://www.tennessean.com/article/20091228/NEWS01/91228004/2066/NEWS03, officials are seeing about 1,000 cars per day more than what they usually see this time of year.  That’s a significant impact on a winding 2 lane road. 

While I haven’t been up there since the rock slide, my mom and grandmom went to Knoxville a couple of weeks ago, and they said HOURS were added to their detour (around the rock slide via interstate.)  If I were driving up there during the day, I’d take the road through the park.  If I’m going to spend an extra hour or two in the car, I just assume it’s driving through the park.

Business is also seeing a major impact.  I told you back in November…   https://gosmoky.wordpress.com/2009/11/23/rock-slide-work-continues-some-businesses-may-get-federal-assistance/… that some businesses that are seeing less business due to the slide may be getting Federal aid.  Well, it appears that the traffic moving through the park may be helping improve the bottom line for other businesses.  In this article, http://www.tennessean.com/article/20091228/NEWS01/91228005/I-40+shutdown+is+a+blessing++curse+for+businesses one business owner says they have seen a 20-30% increase in business since the rock slide. 

I’m hoping to get back up there myself in a month or so for a long weekend.  I’ll let you know how things go when I take that trip. 


***This post brought to you by www.smokymountaintower.com .  Check out Dave’s blog post about their 2010 deals.  You can now stay there (a full house) for less than $100/night when you stay for a week.  There are lots of other specials you can find at his site and blog.  Check them out!***

Snow is in the area, skiing is great on the slopes!

View From Purchase Knob, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
There’s a photo from the webcam at Purchase Knob in the National Park.  I love snow in the mountains.  You can see the live view by clicking on my live webcams link above, or just click here… https://gosmoky.wordpress.com/smokies-webcams/ . 
The snow means skiing is great right now on the slopes at Ober Gatlinburg in Gatlinburg and Cataloochee in Maggie Valley.  Both resorts are reporting close to 30+ incheas of snow.  Above is  a look at the ski mountain at Cataloochee this morning.  Looks like a blast on the slopes… www.cataloochee.com is the direct link to see a live look at this webcam.   Click the following link for a look at live webcams at a number of southeast ski resorts.. http://www.skisoutheast.com/webcams.htm
Then, you can see snow in Gatlinburg at the Gatlinburg live webcam above the Space Needle.   Check it out.. control it yourself:)  http://www.cabinfevervacations.com/gatlinburg-web-cam.html
This is a great time to visit the Smoky Mountains.  Not only is it beautiful, but there are fewer crowds, and places to stay are much cheaper. 
**You can also see some great snow photos from the website of our favorite place to stay in the smokies, the Smoky Mountain Tower… they have some great snow photos at the blog, http://smokiesrentdirect.blogspot.com/2009/12/greetings-from-snowy-gatlinburg.html **

Trip Report… Clingman’s Dome, Smith Family Theater and Dollywood

We arrived a little after midnight Wednesday night.  We settled into our home for the weekend and hit the sack. 

On Thursday morning, we decided to do something we RARELY get a chance to do… not set an alarm clock.  My wife woke up earlier in the morning, but I didn’t get up until around 11 or so.  It was awesome.  Then we went downtown for lunch.  (TIP: We almost always park behind Ripley’s Aquarium.  It’s $1.75 the first half hour, and $1 each additional hour, maximum $6. It’s also right in the middle of town) We ate TGIFriday’s for lunch, then walked back up to the Sky Lift.  Enjoyed both. Afterwards, the girls wanted to touch the huge 10,000 pound marble in front of the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.  They had a great time there as usual.  If you have a young child, they will love playing with that for a few minutes (plus, it’s free.) After that, we walked back toward the car, stopping at Mahalia’s Candy shop so my wife could get some sugar-free fudge which she loves.  I told her not to buy too much, since we’re planning on stopping at the Dillsboro Chocolate Factory on the way home.  We stopped there last trip, and it was a great little place, so we’re going to make that a regular feature of our trips home.  I like to find little stops on the way home, because it makes the trip home go by quicker.  When we got back to the car, we headed for Clingman’s Dome.  It was probably 3-3:30PM by this time.  On the way up the mountain, we noticed the front right tire was making a funny noise as it turned (we bought this used car on Monday… a Kia Sedona Minivan, but it is in good shape, and we were excited about taking it on vacation.)  Anyhow, we made it to Clingman’s Dome without the tire tearing up.  We hiked Clingman’s Dome and enjoyed that trip completely.  I always enjoy Clingman’s Dome.  OH… I wanted to mention this one… The last couple times we’ve hiked Clingman’s Dome, I’ve been wanting to see if I could hike the whole way up without stopping to rest.  I took small steps at a time, but this trip, I didn’t have to stop ONCE!  That was a little victory for me:)  Anyhow, when we got back to the van, my wife and I were riding with the windows down listening for the tapping noise the tire was making, and we could still hear it.  On the way back down the mountain, I decided to stop the car and just look at the tire again.  I looked at the tire and touched it with my hand.  When I touched plastic hub cover it made that tapping sound.  I went around to the other tires and none of them tapped.  The plastic cover was a little bit loose!  I took off the cover and we got back in the car, NO MORE NOISE, LOL.  We were so happy.  I had considered going somewhere in the mountains to get my van fixed, when it was all just the plastic hub  cover.  The van is fine now.  By now, it was getting close to 6, and we had tickets to the Smith Family Theater in Pigeon Forge…. I’ll post all about that soon…. stay tuned:)



***When you head for the Smokies, make sure you head to www.smokymountaintower.com when it’s time to relax and hit the sack.  It’s the perfect way to make your vacation all that it can be!***

New “Titanic” attraction in Pigeon Forge starting to take shape

 Shipshape Re-created Titanic rises above the landscape in Pigeon Forge


Take a look at how the “Titanic” attraction is coming along.  It really looks like the frame of the ship now.  Check out this photo and update from knoxnews.com’s site.  Note the comment in the comment section below…  It seems like if folks like that hate the area, why don’t they just quit visiting?  Maybe I’m the only one who feels that way.



****During your next visit, why not stay at Dave’s home, www.smokymountaintower.com ? It’s right between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.  You can get to either town in a few minutes (you’re right on the spur,) or you can avoid the towns alltogether and just take the Gatlinburg by-pass directly into the National Park.  All with great views!****

More visitors to the Smoky Mountains, but they aren’t spending as much in the area

There is about 7.6% more visitors so far this year to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The numbers for July are up 11%.  To put it in perspective, the current visitors during July is a high since 2000.  You might think that would mean more business in the area, but apparently not.  In Gatlinburg, lodging is down 9%, while shopping is down 13%. 

This really makes sense when you think about it.  I know when we have less money during trips to the Smokies, we tend to spend more time in the park.  If we have a little extra money, we might spend more time doing paid activities.  With the economy the way it is, it shouldn’t be surprising that more people are looking for less expensive ways to go on vacation. 

How about you… are you planning a trip to the Smokies soon?  Do you plan to spend more or less??


****If you ARE planning a trip, stay where we stay when in the Smoky Mountains… www.smokymountaintower.com … right between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, and you can hit the bypass and go right to the park.. OR, just sit out on the tower deck and enjoy great views of the mountains in the comfort of your “place in the smokies.”****