A long weekend close to home
Story by: Emily Stevens
This season you have battled the holiday shoppers, visited with family, entertained out-of-town relatives, and now it’s time for you to take a long weekend and let all of the holiday stress melt away. Fortunately, you don’t have to go very far to find peace and solace in Sevier County. Within it lies Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This part of Tennessee is steeped in rich history, art, culture, and is home to the most widely visited park in our nation. Cityview has put together a weekend itinerary for those looking for the perfect close-to-home getaway.
On your way out of Knoxville, stop by Scrambled Jake’s on Northshore Drive for a hearty breakfast to get your day going.
When you reach the town of Sevierville, visit Robert Tino’s Gallery and take home a piece of Smoky Mountains artwork.
In the heart of downtown, visit Courthouse Donuts for a cup of coffee to warm you up and make-your-own donut. Stroll across the street for a photo op with the bronze statue of Dolly Parton in front of the courthouse.
To gear up for the second half of the day, fill your bellies at Holston’s Kitchen.
Head to Pigeon Forge to visit the Titanic Museum for a fun and fascinating adventure. Don’t forget to take a photograph of your best Jack and Rose impression!
After a fun-filled day of travel and touring, take a load off by checking in to your basecamp for the weekend. We recommend staying at DreamMore Resort in Pigeon Forge or Greystone Lodge in Gatlinburg.
To take in all that Pigeon Forge has to offer, catch a performance at the Smoky Mountain Opry and round it out with dinner at Local Goat, which specializes in craft drinks and foods that are sustainable and locally sourced.
If you visit Gatlinburg and don’t eat at one of the many pancake houses, did you really go to Gatlinburg? To get your fill of syrup and stacks, we recommend the Pancake Pantry or Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin.
For a high-flying view of Gatlinburg, visit Ober Gatlinburg to ride a scenic chairlift or aerial tramway. The activities vary seasonally but include riding a mountain coaster, snow tubing, ice skating, skiing/snowboarding, and much more.
Enjoy lunch with one of the best views of the Smokies at Seasons of Ober Restaurant, or a lighter bite and refreshment at The Loft Lounge at Ober.
A must-see in Sevier County is the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community. As the largest independent organization of artisans in the United States, you can visit the shops and galleries of painters, woodworkers, potters, weavers, and much more. The Glades, as the community is known, can be reached by taking the Yellow Trolley from downtown Gatlinburg, or you can drive the woodsy route yourself. A map of the community and destinations is available online at gatlinburgcrafts.com.
While in the Glades community, enjoy dinner at Red Oak Bistro. The small but personable restaurant features wonderful tapas and wine. The owners, Olga and Mike, take great care to make sure you receive the best dining experience.
Before you turn-in for the night, perch yourself at Yee-Haw Brewing Co. for a nightcap or visit Ole Smoky Moonshine next door for a quick tasting.
To make breakfast easy like Sunday morning, enjoy the meal at your lodging. Both DreamMore Resort and Greystone Lodge offer excellent in-house dining choices.
No visit to Sevier County is complete without a hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Before you hit the trail, pick up a boxed lunch from Parton’s Deli or Old Dad’s General Store. And for an extra mid-hike pick-me-up, grab a sweet treat from Kilwin’s Chocolates.
Head toward Cades Cove on Little River Gorge Road. Two of our favorite hikes include Spruce Flats Falls at Tremont, and if you’re looking for something a little more blood pumping, Abrams Falls in Cades Cove. Detailed information on all of these trails and more can be found at hikinginthesmokys.com.
After an adventurous day of hiking, you’ll have worked up quite the appetite. Luckily, one of the best dining experiences lies just down the road in Townsend, Tennessee. Dancing Bear’s Appalachian Bistro is a true farm-to-table experience, complete with a toasty fire to roast marshmallows. For our review and recommendations, check out the “Dining Out” feature on page 48.
Cityview knows that our readers have a variety of interests: some enjoy art and history, some are looking for more family fun, and some want to take in all that Mother Nature has to offer. In addition to this itinerary, here are a few of our other favorite Sevier Co. attractions:
- Tennessee Museum of Aviation (Sevierville)
- Forbidden Caverns (Sevierville)
- Scenic Helicopter Tours (Pigeon Forge)
- The Track (Pigeon Forge)
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not Aquarium (Gatlinburg)
- Anakeesta (Gatlinburg)