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See the Smokies from the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway

ober gatlinburg aerial tramway

Located in the heart of Gatlinburg is a chance to rise to the top of the mountains and see the valley and surrounding peaks for miles around this gorgeous area. A trip up the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway offers visitors young and old, skiers or not, the chance to take in the breathtaking Smoky Mountain views, and summit the Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area.

This central Gatlinburg attraction is a large part of what makes visiting the Smoky Mountains such a treat all year round, whether the mountains are snow covered, or the leaves of fall are changing. Whether you’re the outdoorsy type or not, you’ll certainly find something amusing to do at the top of the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway.

About Ober Gatlinburg

The Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway is one of the main attractions at his great amusement park and ski area, which is open to the public year round. The ski area is usually open from mid December through early March from 9 AM to 10 PM seven days a week, depending on when the snow falls. If you love to get out on the slopes in the winter, there are few places as charming and fun to do it than at Ober Gatlinburg, with the option of either day passes or some rad night skiing. The ski area is fully equipped with a terrain park, equipment rentals, and lessons for every skill level.

When the ski mountain is closed for the season, it turns into a three season amusement park with an alpine slide, scenic chairlift rides, wildlife encounters, ice skating, a carousel, arcade and chair swing, and even a giant water slide and a mini golf course. Guests can pay per attraction, or buy tickets to enjoy multiple fun games!

Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway

This 2.1 mile ride up the mountain leaves daily from downtown Gatlinburg at the intersection of Parkway and LeConte Streets. It is one of America’s largest tramways carrying 120 passengers in its two counterbalanced cars from 9:30 AM to 6:40 PM daily and through 7:40 PM on Saturdays. Adult ticket prices are $12 with a $5 rebate when you purchase a ski ticket in the winter months. Children ages 5 to 11 cost $9.50, and those 4 and under are completely free!  

Before the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway was built in 1972 skiers had to drive the precarious road up the snow covered Mt Harrison to the ski area, which opened in 1962. The mountain finally announced their feat to build a safer way up the mountain that would also open its beauty up to more than just the daring skier. Now in just 20 minutes passengers can make the 11,088 feet climb to the peak – and millions have.

 

If you visit the Smoky Mountains frequently and have yet to ride the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway, we definitely recommend you move it to the top of your list, no matter what time of year it is. Whether you’re headed here to enjoy the beautiful month of October, or are looking for a place to appreciate some snow covered mountains for the holidays, the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway will only add to your experience of the area’s beauty.

Haunted Attractions in Tennessee Near Gatlinburg

haunted attractions in tennessee

Fall in the Smoky Mountains is about much more than simply a bountiful harvest and foliage, but many people flock here for the famous array of haunted attractions in Tennessee they love to visit around Halloween. If you’ve got a desire to be spooked this fall, be it in a haunted mansion or on a ghost tour, Gatlinburg is your place for haunted attractions in Tennessee.

Though the Smoky Mountain area is well known for its breathtaking landscape, it has also become more acclaimed in its entertainment experience, making it a fine choice for places to visit during any holiday season. Halloween is no exception, so come check out all the freaky friday fun they have to offer around Gatlinburg!

4 Haunted Attractions in Tennessee Near Gatlinburg

 

  1. Ghost Walk of Gatlinburg – This nighttime walking tour of Gatlinburg’s spookiest locations is about an hour long, with guests traversing around a mile through the city with a well versed teller of tales shedding light on the dark nature of local haunts. If you’re more into the storytelling experience, let these talented guides lead you through worlds of intrigue from the bygone days of the area. Through a combination of local legends, history, superstition and folk talks, get ready for masterful goosebump giving stories that will give you a heady fright without making you jump out of your skin.
  2. Gatlinburg’s Mysterious Mansion – This classic turn of the century haunted house is Gatlinburg’s oldest scary attraction. With secret passageways, twisting staircases, and dimly lit hallways in which anything could be lurking, waiting for you, this is one of the creepiest haunted attractions in Tennessee! If you have yet to visit a giant haunted mansion, the Smoky Mountains are the ideal place to explore this otherworldly experience.
  3. Ripley’s Haunted Adventure – The Ripley’s Odditorium is always a little strange, even if they aren’t deliberately trying to give you a fright, so when Halloween rolls around you better believe they step the weirdness up a notch for a truly haunted adventure. Though their famous haunted house is open 365 days a year, you definitely want to make it a priority when spook season is here! You won’t ever forget the Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, as they offer much more than a tour, but an entire entertainment experience!
  4. Haunted Historic Gatlinburg GhostWalk – This intriguing year-round ghost walk is based in actual historical and scientific evidence in afterlife research, making it among the most intriguing haunted attractions in Tennessee. Not only will you learn about the area’s wonderful history, but also why it has inspired so much lore and story over the years!

 

There are plenty of opportunities throughout this region of the Smoky Mountains to enjoy the Halloween season. If haunted attractions in Tennessee don’t interest all members of the group you’re traveling with, consider making it a time to celebrate the harvest season and visit a pumpkin patch or corn maze instead! Naturally, you’ll also get to take in the beautiful fall foliage season, which will undoubtedly calm your nerves after a night of fright.

You’ll Love These 8 Must-See Smoky Mountains Attractions

smoky mountains attractions

The Smoky Mountains have been a prized destination in the Southeastern United States for more than just their breathtaking beauty. The Appalachian landscape has long been the site of vacations and summer homes, as they are the ideal place to unwind from your hectic lives and remember who you are in the context of the humbling surroundings.

Aside from their beauty, Smoky Mountains attractions have been a large draw to the area for decades, inviting everyone from the romance seeking honeymooners, to the kid toting family vacations. No matter what stage of life you are in you will surely find entertainment among the myriad Smoky Mountains attractions waiting for you in the Gatlinburg, Tennessee area.

8 Must-See Smoky Mountains Attractions

 

  1. Chasten Creek Cascade Hiking Trail – Hiking is one of the main Smoky Mountains attractions, as there are probably thousands of miles of trails in the surrounding National parks and state forests. This 3.6 mile round trip trail is a fairly easy romp in the woods, and only 25 miles from Gatlinburg!
  2. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
    If you’re a sucker for the world under the sea, you’ll love this epic display of life in the sea. Walk through an aquarium tunnel, oggle the penguins, or catch one of the many entertaining and educational shows.
  3. Five Oaks Riding Stables – Another way to explore the vast wilderness that is the Smoky Mountains in on horseback. Whether you’ve been riding your whole life or this will be your first time, the friendly and experienced guides at Five Oaks Riding Stables will be happy to lead you out for a beautiful trail ride to enjoy some beautiful Smoky Mountains attractions.
  4. Lumberjack Feud – If a live show is your ideal when considering which Smoky Mountains attractions to enjoy while in the area, the Lumberjack Feud is a great option! Not only is it wildly entertaining, but the show will give you an idea for the area’s history and heritage, displaying many of the area’s age old traditions.
  5. Titanic Museum – The world’s largest Titanic Museum is right here in the Smokies. Centrally located in Pigeon Forge, TN, this is a convenient option among Smoky Mountains attractions that will not only share some of the ship’s most intriguing facts, but they also host wonderful events!
  6. Pigeon Forge Gem Mine – With its own flume area, visitors to the Pigeon Forge Gem Mine can actually dig up their own gems and have their booty cut, polished and mounted into jewelry!
  7. Brushy Mountain Hiking Trail – Another favorite trail among Smoky Mountains attractions, this is a longer hike for more ambitious foresters. Clocking in at 11.7 miles, this roundtrip trail gains about 3,000 feet in elevation, making for a strenuous hike.
  8. Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park – If ziplining throughout the Appalachian forests’ canopies has been a longtime dream, then Foxfire Mountain is your spot! If you’re feeling very daring, go for Goliath, the highest zipline in the Smokies!

 

 

All of these Smoky Mountains attractions are worth indulging on your trip, so make sure you give yourself enough time to thoroughly dig into all the great things to do here!

What is a Cigar Box Guitar?

cigar box guitar
Photo Credit: PhotoAtelier / Flickr

If you’ve ever been a fan of the blues, chances are you’ve heard a cigar box guitar. Their tinny and down home sound is largely associated with southern Appalachia and the musical styles emerging from the Louisiana delta blues. While they have a history dating back to at least the mid 1800s, the cigar box guitar has made a resurgence in recent years, especially among communities of talented and crafty musicians drawn to the history and roots of the genres they love. If you are similarly enticed to this world of odd, hand-made, and beautiful instruments, then the Smoky Mountains is the place to visit, both for the homegrown performances you’ll find there, and the many craftsmen selling their beautiful work just about everywhere.

History of the Cigar Box Guitar

Cigars have been packed in the boxes you would recognize today since around 1840, which is when evidence of the first cigar box instruments dates back to. Etchings and designs of cigar box fiddles and banjos have been discovered from this era, and in the 1890 publication of the American Boy’s Handy Book, one would find plans for “How to Build an Uncle Enos Banjo.” Needless to say, the design included a cigar box. While it might seem that these primitive first cigar box instruments might be crude and unplayable, recovered fiddles prove to be sophisticated and ultimately beautiful in their sound.

Cigar box instruments were crucial to the development of jug bands and blues, with most of their players being black performers whose poverty prohibited them from buying manufactured instruments. Cigar box guitars, fiddles, and banjos were played alongside the washtub bass, jigs, washboards and harmonica in these talented bands who played for social gatherings and special events.

In the 1930s cigar box instruments made a resurgence as much of the nation lived in the poverty of The Great Depression, spreading in popularity across the American south. While people struggled to find daily food, all they needed to sing their blues was an old cigar box, a piece of a broom handle and a few wires – all things you could potentially find in a trash can. Once distinct to the sounds of the delta blues, cigar box guitars started creeping into the bluegrass and country genres of Appalachia, where you’ll still find them today.

The Modern Cigar Box Guitar Revival

The contemporary culture around the cigar box guitar is largely fueled by an interest in the jug bands of old, as well as the DIY trend of the past decade. There are now events all over the country, like the Annual Cigar Box Guitar Festival in Huntsville, Alabama, celebrating these instruments and the many talented folks who both play and build them. A quick search on Google will lead you right to expansive online communities like Cigar Box Nation celebrating these handcrafted instruments.

When you’re heading to the Smoky Mountains next, keep your eyes peeled for local artisans who would love to sell you a handmade cigar box guitar. They are notorious for roadside stands and other nondistinct ways of selling their craft, and telling you their history. The culture around the cigar box guitar is half the fun of playing the thing!

3 Fun Things to Do in Gatlinburg TN in October

thinkgs to do in gatlinburg tn in octoberAutumn in the Great Smoky Mountains is an ideal time to visit for many reasons. Whether you’re a sucker for fall hikes in the woods followed by fireside evenings, or are looking for some of the best foliage trips in the Southeast, you’re bound to find the perfect excuse to get you to the area this fall.

There are numerous things to do in Gatlinburg TN in October that bring people back during this epic scenery season each year. If you’re just looking for a place to hole up for a weekend and enjoy the season’s first chills from a cozy cabin in the woods, or would rather enjoy some last outdoor adventures before hibernation sets in, you’ll love the varied things to do in Gatlinburg TN in October.

3 Fun Things to Do in Gatlinburg TN in October

 

  1. Oktoberfest at Ober
    One of the best things to do in Gatlinburg TN in October is the annual party known as Oktoberfest! Held at the area’s most popular ski resort, Ober, Oktoberfest in a fantastic festival featuring Bavarian food, drinks and music for a party in a beautiful setting that you won’t forget! This festival runs for a total of 38 days of fun, starting September 25th and going through November 2nd at the resort. This year the Bavarian Fun Makers Band will don authentic costumes and perform great numbers from the old world. Prepare for the show with a fresh pretzel and German wurst, schnitzel, strudel and, of course, a stein of beer.
  2. Fall Foliage in the Smokies
    Enjoying the changing colors of fall is among the favorite things to do in Gatlinburg TN in October. With so many varying species and elevations, the foliage in the Smokies is renowned for lasting up to 7 weeks during the fall months, ensuring that visitors to the area will catch a kaleidoscope of colors and layers. Reaching up to 4,000 feet in elevation, the colors can begin as early as mid-September, with lower elevations still changing into late October. It is truly an outstanding place to witness the transitions of fall.
  3. Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair
    This is the ideal destination for arts, crafts, and music lovers to witness the skilled creations of numerous artists. Taking place this year from October 8th through the 25th at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, visitors will find over 200 booths featuring unique handmade goods and art, as well as live country and bluegrass music at the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair. You’ll find everything from beautiful artwork to unique home furnishing pieces made from the local landscape.

 

 

This is just the beginning of things to do in Gatlinburg TN in October and makes no mention of the wonderful outdoor adventures to be found in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Make your autumn getaway a Smoky one, and you’ll be hooked on this as a fall destination, whether you’re bringing the whole family, or making it a quiet romantic trip. The combination of brisk weather and beautiful mountain landscapes is enough to keep many people coming back to enjoy all the things to do in Gatlinburg TN in October each year.

5 Great Places for Mountain Biking in Gatlinburg TN

mountain biking in gatlinburg

There are innumerable ways to enjoy the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in all their glory. Whether you’re an avid cyclist, a serious runner, a hobby hiker or perhaps even a more indoorsy type looking for a place of sincere serenity, you’ll find a way to enjoy this beautiful landscape.

Throughout the year one of the things that people flock to the area to enjoy is the mountain biking in Gatlinburg TN. With the national park and numerous national forests around, there are ample opportunities for all skill levels to enjoy mountain biking in Gatlinburg TN! Whether it’s one of your favorite outdoor activities or something you’ve always wanted to tackle, you’ll love the experience!

5 Places to go Mountain Biking in Gatlinburg TN

  1. Gatlinburg Trail Located in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the Gatlinburg Trail is a great option for beginners as it is a relatively flat trail that runs alongside the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River through the old growth forest. It is a 1.9 mile out-and-back trail starting at the Sugarlands Visitors Center, making it a convenient place to go Mountain Biking in Gatlinburg. Bikers will love this beautiful ride where you will see old chimneys and foundations from the homes of bygone settlers.
  2. Oconaluftee River Trail – Another riverside trail, this is a 1.5 mile out-and-back trail beginning at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Though it has a few small hills, the trail is mostly flat, making it another great option for beginners or intermediate riders. The trailhead is also the site of the Mountain Farm Museum, which is a great place to stop and learn about historic gardening and agriculture, something they still practice onsite.
  3. Cades Cove Loop Road – This is a popular bike trail as it is an 11-mile out-and-back road with three different offshoot roads that can make your ride longer, shorter, harder or easier. To shorten the ride take Sparks Lane to Hyatt Lane, whereas if you want something longer and steeper, head up the Forge Creek Road for an additional 5.4 miles of climbing.
  4. Greenbrier – Located just outside Gatlinburg, this is a great place to head mountain biking in the area. The first mile of the trail is paved, at which point riders will have the choice of riding either towards the Porters Creek Trailhead or the Ramsey Cascades Trail Head, or even both if you were looking for a big day!
  5. Climbworks Mountain Biking – This outdoor adventure center is known for its epic experience in both ziplining and mountain biking. With both dirt trails, as well as constructed wooden trails reminiscent of roller coasters through the trees, Climbworks offers a seriously rad experience of mountain biking in Gatlinburg. Whether you’re a beginner and just need the gumption and instruction to get out for your first time, or you’re in town and want to find the perfect place to rent and ride on their unique terrain, you’ll love Climbworks.

Mountain Biking in Gatlinburg is among the most popular outdoor activities among both locals and visitors, and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the entire country to do it. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in some strenuous climbs and exhilarating downhills when you visit the Smoky Mountains.

You and Your Kids Will Love the Aquarium of the Smokies

aquarium of the smokies
Photo Credit: Stacy Blackman / Flickr

Gatlinburg is full of great family attractions, including the weird and memorable Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Not only does this strange world of collections have the typical odditorium full of life’s oddities, but it is also connected to another great place to check out with the little ones – the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

Full of live shows, educational events, and beautiful exhibits to explore, the Aquarium of the Smokies is just waiting for a day of fun activities. Whether you’re trying to kill a rainy day, need a break from exploring the area’s great outdoors, or just love the amazing variety of of ocean life, don’t miss a chance to visit this underwater world!

Here are some of the things to check out when you visit the Aquarium of the Smokies.

  • Live Shows – Scheduled throughout each day are numerous live shows including underwater dives in one of their large tanks with their sharks, stingrays and coral reefs. Each class is designed to teach spectators about these specific species and habitats. The Mermaid Dive is always a fun one for the wee ones to imagine life under water, and the Penguin Feeding is similarly a crowd-pleaser. The Marine Science Class is the perfect way to learn about the oceans and their amazing inhabitants.
  • Penguin Encounter – Take the chance to meet a penguin up close and personal and learn from one of the aquarium’s professionals about these adorable creatures and even get the chance to pet one! You can check out the live penguin cam on the website too if you’re itching to get a preview of one of the most popular exhibits.
  • Splash With Stingrays – Come to Touch-A-Ray Bay where you can get in the water with the stingrays in a behind the scenes tour of these creatures and their environment. Be sure to have your bathing suit, though the aquarium will provide a towel.
  • Behind the Scenes – If you have a particular interest in marine biology and the life of aquarium animals, sign up for a behind the scenes tour to see the guts of this mystical world. Among the many control rooms you will have the chance to understand how everything is regulated and monitored to ensure that these animals and happy and healthy.
  • All-In-One Aquarium Experience Day – If you are looking for an all-inclusive day-long adventure here at the Aquarium of the Smokies, considering the All-In-One Aquarium Experience Day as the perfect way to see as much as possible while also saving money! All of the activities above can be included in this day of fun!

If you are planning your trip to the Smoky Mountains, be sure to have the Aquarium of the Smokies on your list of possible things to do while here. There will inevitably be some need for indoor time, whether to get out of bad weather, or simply to take a break from the sun, and the Aquarium is the perfect place to do both. Gatlinburg is the perfect place for a family vacation!

Fun Family Entertainment in Pigeon Forge TN

entertainment in pigeon forge tn

The Tennessee Appalachians are a wonderful destination for a family vacation year round. Just outside the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, an attraction all its own, there is a lot of entertainment in Pigeon Forge TN that will keep the whole family entertained on your stay here in the mountains. Once an isolated mountain hamlet without major roads, the town became a tourist destination at the beginning of the 20th century with the arrival of the railroad, but still holds much of its historic mountain community lore through different outlets. Don’t miss a chance to come explore this beautiful town with the family!

Entertainment in Pigeon Forge TN

  1. Smoky Mountain Opry
    Known as “America’s Ultimate Variety Show” this is a great place to see some of the area’s most talented singers, dancers, comedians, magicians, jugglers, and aerialists. It is a truly professional show featuring all genres from broadway, smoky mountain opry, and country to pop and comedy. You will never be bored at the Smokey Mountain Opry in Pigeon Forge.
  2. Biblical Times Dinner Theater
    Dinner and a show is a typical night of entertainment in Pigeon Forge TN, and the Biblical Times Dinner Theater is no exception. Come hear a story of faith and miracles and see the production of Moses Mountain of God as told by the Christian explorers Jim and Penny Caldwell. Enter into this rendition of the promised land, accompanied by an epic feast.
  3. The Old Mill
    The Old Mill was built in the 1836 to grind grains and flours for the area, and was a bustling economic center of the Great Smoky Mountains for nearly a century, providing crucial sustenance and commerce opportunities for the residents. It eventually powered the surrounding towns and housed troops during the Civil War as well as the first post office. Visiting the mill today is a trip through the area’s rich history and one of the best places for a delicious meal and to buy wonderful local goods.
  4. Titanic
    Pigeon Forge is home to the world’s largest Titanic museum, which celebrates the sunken ship’s passengers and crew. Come remember the most luxurious liner of its time with monthly events where guests can experience the extravagant culture of the aristocrats of the time, and check out the underwater webcam to learn about the famous dive to the ship’s sunken remains.
  5. Dollywood
    This Appalachian theme park not only celebrates the life of the beloved country singer, Dolly Parton, but it is also a wonderful way to experience the area’s culture through its many historically themed rides and shows, as well as its beautiful setting in the mountains. Dollywood is always a blast!

There is no lack of entertainment in Pigeon Forge TN, and these options are just the beginning of all the great things you’ll find when you come enjoy a stay at Mountain Rentals of Gatlinburg. If you’re looking for a rustic trip exploring the mountains with some good old country entertainment thrown in the mix, you can’t get any better than the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and its beautiful surrounding towns.

See One-of-a-Kind Crafts at the Gatlinburg Craftmen’s Fair

Gatlinburg Craftmen’s Fair

 

Craft fairs bring together so many talented artists and the Gatlinburg Craftmen’s Fair is no different. Held annually each summer and fall, this large craft fair attracts thousands to the Gatlinburg Convention Center to view and buy one-of-a-kind creations, as well as meet the artists, watch demonstrations, and enjoy food and live entertainment.

This event may be the perfect place to buy a special gift or souvenir. Items sold at craft fairs such as this one are handmade, unique treasures that reflect each artists’ vision, creativity and hard work. You’ll find that the Gatlinburg Craft Fair is fun for the entire family and even features a children’s area! As you walk around to view the artists and listen to the live music, the children in your group are sure to be just as amazed – and inspired – by the artists and musicians as you will!

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3 Things to Do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

While the Great Smoky Mountains National Park draws more than 9 million visitors per year, there are plenty of places to escape from the real world and awaken the nature lover within. Hike or bike one of the many trails to enjoy gorgeous views of majestic mountains and beautiful waterfalls. Go fly fishing in a cool mountain stream. Or, if a leisurely drive is more your speed, try one of the park’s scenic routes.

There are so many wonderful things to do and see, the following are just a few suggestions to get you started. No matter what activity you choose, a day in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one you’ll remember for years to come!

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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