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Without a doubt, Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a beautiful destination to visit any time of year. Gatlinburg is nestled in the mountains of of East Tennessee. Undoubtedly, one of the favorite times among tourists (and locals) is when the leaves begin to change colors in the fall.
Stay in a Treehouse
Luckily for visitors, there is an array of accommodations. Whether you’re visiting for a long weekend or an extended vacation, there is a lodging style suitable for any length of stay. Consequently, Gatlinburg has motels, hotels, and cabins. There are also places to camp. Excitingly, CBS affiliate WLTX reports that there is a new treehouse resort near Gatlinburg.
According to WLTX, Treehouse Grove at Norton Creek opened in the Spring of 2020. Remarkably, each of the 8 tree houses was designed by Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters’ Pete Nelson. Overlooking the woods and a creek, each treehouse has two bedrooms, Wi-Fi, and a large deck.
The Gatlinburg Skybridge
While visiting Gatlinburg, spending time in nature may be high on anyone’s list. There are many places to zip-line and go white water rafting. However, if you’d like to be a part of history, take a trip to the Gatlinburg Skybridge.
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Remarkably, Only In Your State points out that the Gatlinburg Skybridge is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. The bridge is 680 feet across to the other side. The walk path is five-feet-wide. Some of the allure of the Skybridge is that there are glass panels throughout the middle of the bridge. At the midpoint, the bridge is 140 feet high.
Luckily for guests, tickets for the Gatlinburg Skybridge are available online and cost $25. Discounted tickets are available to seniors, locals, groups, military and veterans. Additionally, guests can get a $2 discount for booking online. The tickets give guests access to the SkyLift, SkyDeck, SkyCenter, and the SkyBridge. Tickets allow for all-day access.
Distilleries and Breweries
Believe it or not, Gatlinburg, Tennessee is home to several distilleries and breweries. Notably is Ole Smoky Moonshine. Located along the main drag in downtown Gatlinburg, Ole Smoky Moonshine “The Holler” location is “America’s most visited distillery,” according to the Ole Smoky website. The fun thing about Ole Smoky is that the distillers are happy to answer questions “about the history and lore of moonshining in East Tennessee.” Also, the website announces that all five locations are open for visitors amid coronavirus concerns.
The full experience starts from the storefront. From the side walk, the scents coming from the distillery definitely peak the interest of people walking by. Luckily, beginning at $5 guests can sample moonshine. Their moonshine menu is host to 22 moonshine products. A quick survey of friends determines that moonshine cherries, moonshine peaches, and apple pie moonshine are top of the list of things to try.
While moonshine may not be suitable for everyone’s palette, Ole Smoky also offers whiskey and canned cocktails. The whiskey comes in 11 different flavors. Some favorites include salty caramel whiskey, peach whiskey, and mountain apple. Additionally, canned cocktails come in blackberry lemonade moonshine, apple pie ginger, mountain mule, and mountain ‘rita flavors.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
According to Visit My Smokies, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is America’s #1 aquarium. Some exciting features of the aquarium are a 12-foot underwater tunnel where visitors can get up an up-close view of the sharks. Visitors are also able to play with penguins at Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse. There are also multiple opportunities to interact with the aquatic life with dive/feeding shows.
Consequently, given the unique times of the coronavirus pandemic, at this time, face coverings are mandated by Sevier County. However, the aquarium is open daily from 9 AM to 9 PM. Tickets are available on line. Also, a calendar of events is available on their website.
Where to eat
While scouring Trip Advisor for places to eat off the beaten path in Gatlinburg, two restaurants are attention catching. Crockett’s Breakfast Camp and Smoky Mountain Trout House.
Currently ranked #7 out of 108 restaurants in Gatlinburg, Crockett’s Breakfast Camp is open seven days a week from 7 AM – 1 PM. Serving breakfast and brunch, the menu hosts a variety of special diet accommodations. For example, there are vegetarian friendly, vegan, and gluten-free options for diners. Located along the main strip of Gatlinburg (Parkway), visitors advise to go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Reviews of the food rave about eggs Benedict and cinnamon rolls. One diner describes Crockett’s Camp Breakfast as, “old mining town themed with ROARING fireplace! The food was amazing!” Adding to the charm, the food is served in a cast iron skillet.
Boasting 849 reviews and an average of 4-stars among guests, Smoky Mountain Trout House serves American, Seafood, and Barbecue cuisine. Consequently, this restaurant is also 0.2 miles away from Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Unfortunately, the Smoky Mountain Trout House has limited hours of Thursday through Sunday 3 PM to 9 PM.
Undoubtedly, with a name like Smoky Mountain Trout House, the seafood must be rave worthy. Luckily, while combing through reviews, this appears to be the case. Diners routinely rave about the trout and clam chowder.
Whether you want to get in touch with nature, or spend time with family at the aquarium, Gatlinburg, Tennessee is host to plenty of things to stay busy on vacation. Check back later this month for first-hand reviews from a The Destination Seeker writer of some of the places mentioned above.