“The mountains are calling and I must go” – John Muir
Pretty much sums up how I (and surely everyone who ends up on a trip to the mountains) felt in the weeks leading up to this trip. The stress of being a new homeowner and the monotony of
work, chores, errands, general daily life takes a toll on anyone so when my parents suggested a family trip to our old favorite spot I was like “on my way!” Four nights in the Smokies was a wonderful way to unplug, spend quality time with family I don’t see nearly enough, and enjoy nature.
We stayed in the cutest little cabin outside of Gatlinburg found via VRBO and spent our days hiking, wine tasting, eating, and general adventuring.. [Can’t hate waking up and enjoying a cup of coffee with this view].
Speaking of hiking, if you’re into beautiful scenic vistas at the end of a truly special moderate-difficult hike you have to check out Andrew’s Bald. When we’d gone in the past, Chimney Tops was always the go to hike but since the fires burned the area, the best part of that at the top was still closed. Andrew’s Bald is a 3.6 mile round-trip hike that starts at the base of the Clingman’s Dome trail in the parking lot so v. accessible. This was def one of my favorite parts from the trip – check out these views! You can see the haze literally rolling in on the top right one. So glad we made it to the top in time to see the vista.
While I wish I could say after this we relaxed with several wine tastings, that’s not the case. Wine (and moonshine!) tastings were the following day. A moonshine tasting is a MUST when in Tennessee. In Gatlinburg there are several little store fronts offering free wine tastings to passerby’s which was my favorite. My sister-in-law and I hopped in to one of those while the rest of the fam wandered around shops. We all enjoyed a tasting at Sugarland Cellars first though. The wine was yummy but keep in mind – in TN they like their wine SWEET.
Not a wine fan? NBD – moonshine tastings are everywhere too. I had never really had moonshine before so this was something fun. The flavored ones were delicious – I even bought an Arnold Palmer flavored one – but the straight 140 proof moonshine did me in. Such a great TN experience – gotta check out Ole Smoky Moonshine!
Other must do’s in the Great Smoky Mountains include!
- Picnic at the Chimney Tops picnic area
- Alpine slides (it’s basically a roller-coaster in the mountain and SO much fun)
- Explore Pigeon Forge off of the main road
- The main road is pretty touristy in a not classy way but could be fun for families with little ones
- Great restaurants and shopping off the main road like The Old Mill Restaurant
- Zipline! We didn’t get around to this but will make sure to next time
- Sit back and enjoy Mother Nature and time with the folks you’re with
Any favorite Smokies adventures we missed? Would love to know for next time!
- I am not affiliated with any of the places I recommend. Simply want to share with others.
- All photos are my own. Please contact me if you’d like to use them.