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Shopping In Pigeon Forge

Shopping in Pigeon Forge is an activity many guests partake in. There are stores and shops everywhere that will cater to pretty much every need you have and most offer great deals, which everyone likes to hear! Let’s Start with one of the most popular shopping destinations in Pigeon Forge.

Shopping At Tanger Outlets

TangerTanger Outlets is a wonderfully designed outdoor outlet that offers nearly any name brand store you can think of. From clothing, to jewelry, to cutlery, you can find it all here. They even offer free wifi to customers all across the outlet’s property! The store hours are Mon.-Sat. 9am – 9pm and Sunday 9am – 7pm. If you’re looking for a one stop shop for all of your name brand needs, make a stop in at one of the best locations in Pigeon Forge…Tanger Outlets

 

Shopping At Three Bears General Store

Three-Bears-General-Store-1Next on our list of stores for shopping in Pigeon Forge is a step in the other direction. Three Bears General Store. Three Bears General Store is an incredible store located in down town Pigeon Forge immediately off of the Parkway. There is no other store like it in the area and the products they offer range in a vast number of categories. These include specialty food items, Pigeon Forge souvenirs, home décor, moonshine, puppets, toys, Christmas decorations, jewelry, etc… Also sold in the store is delicious homemade ice cream and fudge, which are both to die for! All of these items are wonderful on their own but there is something that makes Three Bears General Store one of the best shopping destinations in Pigeon Forge. Bring the kids along and make it a priority to stop in and see the live BEARS!! They are kept in a lovely habitat behind the store and for a very affordable price you can view them at your leisure. Kids love to feed the bears and the bears love it too!

Shopping At The Island In Pigeon Forge

IslandThird on our list of shopping destinations is The Island In Pigeon Forge. When I think about the shopping at The Island, I think of specialty shops. These are shops that you can find only here or at very few other locations in the U.S. They have about 60 specialty stores including but not limited to Ole Smoky Moonshine, Margaritaville Store, The Paula Deen Store, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Beef Jerky Outlet, Pepper Palace, etc… There are also several great restaurants to dine in while shopping Dick’s Last Resort, Paula Deens Family Kitchen and Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville.

 

This is by no means a full list of all shopping destinations in Pigeon Forge but they are the three most visited by tourists and are sure to keep you busy for an entire day or two. There are a few other outlets and clearance stores such as the Pigeon Forge Factory Outlets and the Nike Clearance Store. Please comment below to let other visitors know your favorite shopping locations in Pigeon Forge!

Best Hikes In The Smokies

The Smokies attract visitors from around the world, many venturing into the National Park looking for the best hikes. Finding the best hiking trails can be a difficult task as there are hundreds of miles of trails ranging from easy to strenuous.   Our favorite hikes when visiting the Smokies are those with a payoff at the end, such as a waterfall, breathtaking views, or even beautiful plant life that you can only see after venturing through the trails. Let’s get to it!

Best Hikes #6….Gatlinburg Trail 

Gatlinburg Trail

Gatlinburg Trail

Gatlinburg trail is on this list because it is one of the only trails to allow bike riding and pets. It is a lovely trail that is relatively flat and makes for an easy hike. Many travelers like to take hikes with their pets and that is what makes this trail great. The entire trail runs along the Little Pigeon River, which has small rapids and crystal clear water. The trailhead begins at the Sugarland Visitor center and ends 1.9 miles away on the outskirts of Gatlinburg. If you have pets, are looking for a bike trail or a leisurely walk along the river, this is the trail for you.

Best Hikes #5…Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls

Next on the list is Laurel Falls. This trail is extremely popular as it is the only paved trail in the Smokies and the end offers you the sight of stunning Laurel Falls. Being paved, it allows for the use of strollers, which is great for families with small children.   Hikes taken on this trail can be expected to last around 2 hours as the round-trip distance to the falls and back is 2.6 miles.  Laurel Falls trail has several rises and falls in elevation and should be considered easy to moderate in difficulty. Be sure to get to there early as parking can be an issue due to the popularity of the trail. The falls at the end really make the hike worthwhile and this is why it has made the list of our best hikes in the Smokies.

Best Hikes #4…Grotto Falls

Grotto Falls

Grotto Falls

Hikes on Grotto Falls Trail are popular because once you reach the falls, you can walk behind them and enjoy to true beauty of nature at work. Hearing and seeing the sound of the water roaring past you while you stand in the cavernous area behind the falls is truly a sight to see! Most of the trail follows the river and parts even traverses through old forest growth and areas full of wildflowers. This trail is easy to moderate in difficulty as it has a slight gain in elevation. Being able to walk behind the falls gives you a once in a lifetime opportunity and this is why this trail makes our list of best hikes in the Smokies.

Best Hikes #3…Abrams Falls

Abrams Falls

Abrams Falls

Hikes taken on Abrams Falls Trail are sure to stun those who venture to the end. The trail ends with the sights of roaring Abrams Falls which is the most powerful waterfall in the Smokies. What it lacks in height it makes up for in sheer power. Once you reach the falls you can sit on the edge of the huge pool and take in the beauty of the roaring falls. As inviting as the pool appears, be warned that swimming here is extremely dangerous. The falls are so powerful that even the most capable of swimmers can be swept under the extreme current. While hiking the trail you will follow the beautiful stream and can even venture out into the stream and sit on the large rocks. There are also several footbridges you will cross which will bring out the adventurous side of yourself. Abrams Falls Trail is considered moderate in difficulty as it is very rocky, is 5 miles round-trip, and has about 1700’ rise in elevation. Due to the sheer strength and flow of the falls, this is a must see on our list of best hikes in the Smokies

Best Hikes #2…Gregory’s Bald

Best Hikes In The Smokies Gregory's Bald

Gregory’s Bald

Hikes taken on this trail are by far the toughest on our list and should be considered strenuous in difficulty. At 11 miles in round-trip length and with a 3000’ rise in elevation, be aware that you are in for a trek! The payoff of this trail is not a waterfall but instead is a meadow full of beautiful azaleas. The colors are something that can only be describes as overwhelmingly stunning! It is a very difficult place to hike to but again, the payoff of seeing the azaleas in full bloom (observed in mid to late June) is well worth it!

Best Hikes #1…Ramsey Cascades

Best Hikes In The Smokies Ramsey Cascades

Ramsey Cascades

I’m going to finish this list with the best of the best. Hikes on Ramsey Cascades are not for those looking for a leisure stroll through the park. This trail is moderate to strenuous in difficulty, especially the last mile or so but the payoff at the end is well worth it. Ramsey Cascades is a very tall waterfall at about 100’ and it does have a small pool at the bottom that hikers can wade in. It is not recommended to climb on the falls as many hikers die each year doing so, but wading through the pool to the bottom of the falls does allow you to stand in the falls and cool down with the ice-cold water. While traversing the trail, hikers will come across old forest growth and a few footbridges. These footbridges may be overwhelming to those who are scared of heights but trust me, it is well worth it to make it to the end of the trail and see the falls. After hiking this difficult 8-mile round-trip trail, you will have a feeling of accomplishment and you can know that you have seen something that very few have seen. The falls are well worth the hike and the 2500’ rise in elevation is sure to be a great workout!

 

The trails included in this list are certainly not an all inclusive list of the best trails, but these are the trails we most often fund ourselves hiking. Comment below and let us know which hikes make you list of the Best Hikes In The Smokies.  For a full list of hiking, visit the Smoky Mountain National Park Website at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/hiking.htm

Best Dinner Shows In Pigeon Forge

Dinner shows have been a long time attraction in Pigeon Forge and for great reason! Being able to enjoy a delicious meal while watching live performers entertain you is an absolute blast! Whether you’re looking to laugh, listen to live music, see stunning pyrotechnics, or just be entertained by overall talented performers, Pigeon Forge has it all. Dinner shows come in a wide variety nd if you continue reading, we’ll breakdown the best in the area for you!

DIXIE STAMPEDE

dixie stampedeFirst and most popular is the Dixie Stampede. Opened up by Dolly Parton in both Branson, MO and Pigeon Forge, TN the Dixie Stampede has become a popular attraction in both cities. Being extremely family friendly, it offers a variety of entertainment that is suited for all ages. This entertainment includes music, comedy, horse riding stunts, special effects, and pyrotechnics. In addition to a fantastic show, guests can indulge in a delicious full course meal that is sure to leave you satisfied!

 

DOLLY PARTON’S LUMBERJACK ADVENTURE

LumberjackSecond on our list of dinner shows is a new and upcoming attraction also created by Dolly Parton. It is set to open in May of 2016 and is called Dolly Parton’s Lumberjack Adventure. This live dinner show features grand sets equipped with state of the art lighting, sound, and special effects! The Lumberjack Adventure also features high flying acrobatics that are sure to impress! Combine all of these with a delicious meal and you’ve got a wonderful evening the entire family can enjoy!

 

HATFIELD & MCCOY’S

hatfield-mccoy-dinnerNext on our list of dinner shows in Pigeon Forge is Hatfield & McCoy’s Dinner Show. This is a favorite to many travelers in the area. Featuring an all you can eat southern style meal, ensure you bring your appetite! You can choose from tasty fried chicken or delicious pulled pork with sides of mashed potatoes, creamy cole slaw, buttery corn, hearty soup, homemade bread, and a sweet desert. Did we mention the show? The show features knee slapping comedy that is sure to leave you breathless along with acrobatics, singing and dancing. Hatfield & McCoy’s Dinner Show is great for the family so make this a must see on your trip to Pigeon Forge!

Last on our list of great dinner shows In Pigeon Forge is The Grand Majestic Dinner Theater. The wonderful thing about The Grand Majestic Dinner Theater is its offering of not one, not two, but five separate dinner shows to choose from! These dinner shows include:

SOUL OF MOTOWN

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This dinner show is a tribute to the artists and Legends of Motown. It features songs from the famous Sam Cooke, The Drifters, Smokey Robinson, Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, and many more. This is a high energy show that will have you dancing and singing along!

 

 

AMERICAS HIT PARADE

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For those who enjoy hit music from all generations, you’ll enjoy this stroll through the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and on! This dinner show features costumes from the era along with a special tribute to the wonderful men & women of our Armed Forces.

 

HAZARD COUNTY HOE DOWN

Hazard hoedown

 

If you’re a Dukes Of Hazard fan then this is the dinner show for you! You’ll recognize all of the Dukes along with some surprise guests who meet up at the famous Bears Nest for a good ol’ fashioned hoedown.

 

 

There you have it!  If you’re visiting Pigeon Forge and are looking for a great night on the town look give one of these fantastic dinner shows a shot.  You won’t be dissapointed!

Best Burger In Pigeon Forge

Best burger in Pigeon Forge

Best burger in Pigeon Forge

Where can we get the best burger in town?

This is a question that is often asked by many tourists when traveling to any destination. It seems every area has one or two spots that make a burger which is to die for, and I’m here to tell you about Pigeon Forge’s.

J.T Hannah’s is, in my opinion, the restaurant with the BEST burger in Pigeon Forge, hands down. Don’t get me wrong, there are other places that serve excellent burgers, but the variety, quality, and overall dining atmosphere make J.T Hannah’s rise above the rest!

Let’s start with variety. With nearly 10 burgers to pick from on the menu ranging from ½ pound of angus beef all the way to a heaping 1 pound of angus beef, you’ll be sure to leave full. The huge variety of burgers can please any palate. Whether you feel like a classic cheeseburger, a chili burger, or mexican burger, J.T Hannah’s has it all. The best burger on the menu and the one that has tourists coming back time and time again is the one pound burger. It even has it’s own name: You’re Killin Me!

Many will agree that there is a difference between a normal burger and a quality burger. When you order a burger and the waiter/waitress asks “how would you like that prepared”, you know that you’re in for a treat! While dining at J.T. Hannah’s you can expect to have quality food served by a friendly staff that make you feel right at home, which brings me to the overall dining atmosphere.

J.T Hannah’s is a restaurant with a lot of history behind it. J.T Hannah was a business man who operated a large freight warehouse and stockyards which distributed anything from alcohol to livestock to seafood around Eastern Tennessee. With a large business came a large labor force. It was common during this era to build bunk houses for workers and in addition to these bunkhouses came the addition of a kitchen and the best cook in the area to run it. Word spread far and wide of the great food coming from this excellent kitchen and it soon opened its doors to the public full time around 1930. All of this history can be found throughout the restaurant and it makes for a great atmosphere.

If you’re visiting Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg make J.T Hannah’s a MUST SEE stop for the best burger in town!  Read more about J.T Hannah’s here!

Avoiding Parkway Traffic In Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg

Avoid traffic jams by avoiding the Parkway

Getting around on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, as many know, can be an absolute chore. Unless traveling to the area during the slow tourist times, which are few and far between, traffic can be a huge burden on planning. The purpose of this guide is to help travelers get around like the locals.

Below, we will be discussing routes to the entrances of the Smoky Mountain National Park in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, along with various back roads in Pigeon Forge that the locals use to avoid traffic. Lets start with a few of the lesser known entrances to the National Park.  This is essential and allows easier access to the Park and its trails and visitor centers.

Lyon’s Spring Rd entrance into Smoky Mountain National Park:  

This entrance is located near Wears Valley which is SW of Pigeon Forge on Route 321.  To get to Wears Valley, take Route 321 SW from Pigeon Forge at stoplight #3.  Once in Wears Valley, follow Lyon Springs Rd South directly into the National Park.

lion springs rd entrance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Townsend entrance into Smoky Mountain National Park:

The Townsend entrance to the Park is the quickest route to take when traveling to Cade’s Cove.  It is located in the small town of Townsend.  Follow Wears Valley Rd (Route 321) SW through Wears Valley and past until you reach Townsend.  Once in Townsend, take a LEFT on Route 73 and follow it into the National Park.

Townsend Entrance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greenbrier entrance into the Smoky Mountain National Park:

The Greenbrier Entrance into the Park is located just to the East of Gatlinburg on Greenbrier Rd.  This is an easy entrance to find but it is just as easy to miss as well as it is not well advertised.  It is immediately across the road from Hungry Bear BBQ.  This entrance is only used to access a few trails such as Ramsey Cascades and much of it is gravel.

Greenbrier EntranceMust-know back roads to get around the Parkway:

Now that we have covered the lesser known entrances into the Park, lets talk about must-know back roads that really allow you to get around like a local.  I first want to mention the Parkway which stretches from Sevierville to Gatlinburg and is where all major traffic occurs in the area.  Getting a few miles up the road can be daunting when using this as you main route of travel so the number one objective here is to avoid this as much as possible.  Please note that it is not completely avoidable but follow these tips and you will find traversing through the area is much easier than once thought!

Teaster Ln:

Teaster Ln runs parallel to the Parkway in Pigeon Forge and offers many tie-ins to the Parkway.  As seen below, it only runs along the Parkway for about 3 miles but has minimal traffic comparatively.  If coming into Pigeon Forge from Wears Valley Rd (Route 321), instead of taking a right or left onto the Parkway, continue straight to get to Teaster Ln.

Avoid Parkway Teaster LnVeterans Blvd:

Veterans Blvd also runs nearly parallel to the Parkway but stretches about 6 miles north into Sevierville.  This is the quickest route to get from Pigeon Forge to Sevierville.  The only downside to this route is that there is only 1 major tie-in to the Parkway which is Collier Dr.  The convenience of Collier Dr is that it leads directly to Wal-Mart which is a popular destination for groceries.

Veterans Blvd avoid Parkway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South New Era Rd:

S New Era Rd is a great route to use when trying to get from Wears Valley Rd to the area of the Parkway where Wal-Mart is located.  The distance is actually a bit further than using the Parkway but has no traffic lights and only a few stop signs.  This is a must-know during peak traffic times and will cut down on travel time drastically.

S New Era Rd avoid Parkway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have it!  These are just a few quick tips on how to get around like a local in the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area.  Hopefully everyone will find these tips useful to save on time and add to fun during their vacation to the Smoky Mountains!

The Ultimate All-In-One Guide To Cheap Attractions In Pigeon Forge

pigeon forge

Pigeon Forge has many attractions and activities to see and do, many at a cost and many at no cost at all. The purpose of this guide to to help those looking for a fun and eventful experience, find it at a very affordable price! The price point we will target is $15 or less.  Here are a few worth mentioning.

Rocky Top Wine Trail 

Many may not know but the entire smoky mountain area with the exception of Gatlinburg is actually considered a dry county. This means that wines and liquors can not be sold within the county limits unless it is from an authorized distillery or winery or at certain licensed restaurants. With that said, there are 5 lovely wineries starting in Sevierville, stretching through Pigeon Forge, and ending in Gatlinburg. The wineries include:

Eagle Springs Winery
Hillside Winery
Apple Barn Winery
Mountain Valley Winery
Sugarland Cellars

It is an exceptional wine trail with enough choices to leave you welcomingly overwhelmed. From dry to extremely sweet, all 5 wineries offer a variety for all wine lovers. What’s the best part? All wine is produced locally, and did I mention that to partake in the tasting, it is free? Simply choose the winery that you’d like to start at and ask for the wine tour punch card. You can complete the tour in any order and on your own time. You can visit all in a single day or span the tour to last your entire vacation. Once you finish you will have a handful of souvenirs ranging from wine bottle openers, to wine glasses, to t-shirts. If you decide you absolutely love a particular bottle of wine, feel free to purchase it. They can even go as far as shipping as many bottles as you’d like to your home address so you can enjoy them year round!

Visit the Rocky Top Wine Trail Home Page

Three Bears General Store

When traveling through downtown Pigeon Forge on the Parkway, good shopping and treats can be had at nearly any location. Souvenirs, t-shirts, ice cream, etc…. One particular location to mention is a lovely all-in-one that has it all…including bears! Three Bears General Store is a multi-level store offering everything imaginable that most vacationers love to see and bring home as a souvenir from their Smoky Mountain vacation. They also offer some great tasting home made ice cream that is sure to hit the spot on a hot summer day. To top it all off, they offer an excellent bear exhibit in which you pay a very small fee to go and observe the Bears. Throughout the day they offer shows of the Bears being fed and vacationers can even participate in feeding them! Observing and feeding can all be had at a cost of less than $5.00!  Stop by this must see attraction for your chance to feed these amazing creatures!

Visit the Three Bears General Store Home Page

Alpine Coaster

Looking for a cheap thrill? Look no further as the Alpine Coaster of Pigeon Forge is the answer! With more than 1 mile of track and reaching speeds of nearly 30 mph, The coaster offers tons of fun at an affordable price with an adult ticket price costing just $15 (kids is less). It winds down the Smoky Mountain hillside through the woods offering a unique experience that most roller coasters don’t have. Be sure to stop by this must see attraction and have a blast of family fun!

Visit the Alpine Coaster Home Page

Xtreme Racing

Pigeon Forge offers a number of attractions including those for the competitive at heart . Bring the family and stop in at Xtreme racing to have a thrill packed experience in these extremely fast go-karts. Offering a variety of tracks at many different pricing levels, getting in on the action costs as little as $13. Fun can be had at all ages as your whip through the hairpin turns on elevated tracks that are over 1/4 mile in length. Stop by Xtreme racing to earn the bragging rights that will last the entire vacation!

Visit the Xtreme Racing Home Page

Smoky Mountain National Park (Cade’s Cove)

Everyone that visits  the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area should make it an absolute priority to enter the Smoky Mountain National Park. This well-known attraction truly is a thing of beauty offering stunning views, wildlife close-ups, crystal clear white water streams and endless trails. There is absolutely no cost whatsoever to enter the park and explore it’s many wonders of untouched natural beauty. There is even a paved trail that leads to a waterfall and is also stroller friendly (Laurel Falls). Bear, deer, trout, coyote, turkeys, raccoons, etc… can all be seen within the park. A highly recommended attraction within the park is Cades Cove. Located within a valley and offering a beautiful prairie setting with a mountain backdrop, Cades Cove has it all. Biking, Hiking, camping, or you can just drive the wonderful 11 mile loop. It was settled by Europeans in the 1800’s and several of the original structures still stand. It is s very historic place and also has some of the best wildlife viewing in the National Park.  Make this a priority during your vacation and you won’t be sorry!

Visit the Smoky Mountain National Park Home Page

Clingman’s Dome

Clingman’s Dome is a definite must see attraction that is free of charge.  Once atop this mountain peak you can feel like you on top of the world knowing that you are in fact sitting at the highest point in the Appalachian Mountain range.  Be sure to climb the observation tower that offers the best panoramic views in the entire southeast.  It is here that you can snap some of the best photos you could ever capture of the beautiful Smoky Mountains.  Bring them home to remember your vacation for a lifetime!  Clingman’s Dome is actually located at such a high elevation that it is mostly pine forest, as compared to the deciduous forest at the elevations below.

Learn More About Clingman’s Dome

 

Why Travel Insurance Is A Must When Traveling To The Smokies

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Let’s face it. Life presents us with unpredictable circumstances all the time. It doesn’t matter who, what, when, where, or why. With that said, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about travel insurance and why it is so important to you as a traveler.

When booking a vacation, often times it is booked several months in advance. In those months, you just never know what curveballs life will throw at you. Upon booking the trip, especially at a vacation rental property, many travelers will review the cancellation policy and notice that it is not very flexible in terms of refunds upon cancellation (unless cancelled months in advance).

To combat this, trip insurance can be a traveler’s best friend. When those unforeseen circumstances occur you will be glad that you have it. Whether it is due to an illness/death in the family or severe weather conditions, trip insurance will have you covered.

It is especially recommended when travel takes place during the winter season in the Smokies. Traveling on mountainous roads can be a difficult task in and of itself. Add some snow and/or ice and you’ve go yourself a situation that puts safe travel at near impossible odds. If you are currently staying in a cabin and find that you can’t leave due to hazardous conditions presented by inclement weather, or you are due for check-in and find you can’t make it to the cabin due to the same reason, unexpected expenses can arise. If you don’t have insurance, you are liable for all expenses.

In the event that a family member is ill or that an emergency occurs back home while you are on vacation, you will be covered as well. Unexpected expenses can accumulate rather quickly when changing vacation plans last minute, especially when flights are involved.

With all of this said and as travelers ourselves, we ask you to please protect yourself. www.insuremytrip.com is a great place to start and will find and compare plans from a variety of different insurance companies. We hope the need never arises that the insurance is needed, but if it does, you will be thanking yourself for buying it!

Welcome to Our New Website

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We’re so glad you found your way to Closer to Heaven Cabins. By subscribing to our blog, you will receive tips on local attractions and special deals related to your vacation in Sevierville, Tennessee.

On the Blog Page, you’ll see that we posted some pictures and information about Eagle’s View cabin. Take your time looking at pictures of the mountain views. It never gets old. Just wait until you see it in person. We can’t wait for you to come visit.

Book your vacation at Eagle’s View cabin now!