“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.” – Andy Warhol
Here Goes The Spotlight Again
Some call it a mountain village, others are happier with the term small town; there are even those who refer to it as a full-on city. But, whatever one wants to call it, one thing cannot be denied: there is no other place in the world quite like it. And the most interesting part? It’s not even that well known, which is where we come in. This is the story, ladies and gentlemen, about a place nestled amid the splendor of the Smoky Mountains, where people come together to seek inspiration, fill their spirits and stand in awe of the glory of nature. That’s right, this is the story about Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Situated some 39 miles southeast of Knoxville, Gatlinburg is officially classified as a mountain resort city with a home in Sevier County. And one of the main reasons why the place is dubbed a popular vacation resort is the fact that it rests along U.S. Route 441, on the very border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Gatlinburg is connected to Cherokee, North Carolina through the park, and its population of just over 4,000 (according to the 2012 Census estimate) means that it’s right on HopAmerica.com’s crosshairs when it comes to beautiful places that deserve more attention and recognition.
“Familyville” Is Gatlinburg, Tennessee’s Middle Name
So, let’s get to the point: there’s absolutely no doubt that both country kids and city kids alike will find plenty to keep them occupied in Gatlinburg, regardless of whether we’re talking downtown or the mountains. If your children happen to be outdoor types who spend all their time exploring the world around them, this place will surely provide ample challenges courtesy of the aforementioned large natural playground – the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
On the other hand, all you parents out there will definitely enjoy relaxing like true adults, or letting loose like kids, including everything in between. One of Gatlinburg’s three city parks, including the Riverwalk, are always an option for new moms and dads, who can grab a little hand or simply load up the stroller and enjoy a slow-paced tour. The Smokies also offer plenty of recreational opportunities, but for those who prefer city asphalt, Gatlinburg boasts great eateries, shows, craft shops and quaint art galleries tucked away behind and around eye-popping attractions. More than 400 shops and 5 malls offer more than you can check out in a couple of days, wouldn’t you say?
An Interesting Place Even For Life’s Veterans
But, if your family is one of those whose seniors are constantly active, you’ll be happy to know that Gatlinburg more than welcomes grandparents and older adults. For example, the rich history of Appalachia is always worth hearing about, and designated stops in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Gatlinburg are included in the Tennessee Heritage Trail. Also, if the seniors of your family are particularly fond of more traditional acoustic, bluegrass and folk mountain music, the Gatlinburg stops on the Music Trail will take them right into the birthplaces of these long-lasting musical genres.
That being said, regardless of your age, there’s no way that you’ll be able to confine yourself to just shopping, eating and hanging around Gatlinburg’s charming streets (though at first you might feel like you could). But, if (when) you start wanting to get a bit more active, you can try some of the many recreational activities Gatlinburg has to offer. Some of them are horseback riding, bicycling, winter sports, ziplining, white water rafting, camping, fishing, hiking and many others. All of these will have you trekking through the interesting natural amenities of the area, which are as plentiful as they are breathtaking, and soon you’ll feel the irresistible urge to move to this charming place permanently.
If You Ask Us
In the end, a word of advice: If you’re a fan of the Dukes of Hazzard (and even if you’re not), and the road somehow carries you to Gatlinburg, TN – make sure you pop down to Cooter’s, which is a shrine to the hit series. This is THE place to be for every fan of the show as it offers such relics and holy grails as original costumes, scripts and, of course, the inevitable 1969 orange Dodge Charger, A.K.A. the General Lee.
Hint: Go-kart rides will set you back $8.95, whereas the Family Pack, which includes five go-kart rides, five rounds of 18 holes of golf and one family picture with General Lee, will cost you $45. Not a bad deal for a charming addition to an already charming small town, if you ask us.