by Chip Bennett
Is the beginning of hot summer with no relief in sight already putting you in the dog days of summer? How does cool mountain streams and rivers and activities like tubing, fishing, kayaking, white water rafting, hiking, camping or just a nice picnic in a mountain meadow sound. Not a fan of the outdoors? How about outlet shopping of high line retailers,dining, excellent dinner shows, even a Harrah’s Casino on the North Carolina side and an excellent theme park with water park. Expensive, right?
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina is within a one day drive from the majority of the East Coast and the Midwest. This eliminates the travel cost associated with most current vacations.
Excellent lodging abounds from inexpensive motels to 5 star resorts and private cabins. The lodging bargain for our family on a recent vacation was a 2 bedroom cabin with satellite TV, hot tub, DVD player, game area with air hockey/ pool table, PlayStation 2 system and a complete kitchen with any utensil you care to cook with for $ 99 Sun through Thursday night. The area was very private but within a 1 hour drive of almost anything the park had to offer
We drove up from Florida on Sunday and departed on Friday. We spent a great deal of our vacation in the park with the low admission price of FREE. There are very easy hikes for those with children that offer some amazing views and some free museum/exhibit areas. The can’t miss areas include Cade’s Cove, Clingman’s Dome (the highest point in the park) and Newfound Gap.
I saw many enjoying the great outdoors in the park, bicycling, horseback riding, camping, fishing, kayaking, white water rafting and hiking. The evening brought several excellent dinners in the quaint town of Gatlinburg at the north Entrance of the park. Another 15 minute hop and we took the kids to a great dinner show (I highly recommend the Black Bear Jamboree if you have children)
Overall the best value I have found with so much to offer within a one day drive.
This may be the last footage shot of the Wonderland Hotel in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee before the Park Service salvaged parts of it and then demolished the rest, the artifacts were shipped to Oak Ridge Tennessee fall of 2006. The Wonderland was located in the (Ghost Town) community of Elkmont Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Also we include some vintage 1936 National Archives footage on the Park. video.google.com Check out briangrishamstudios.com for some awesome Artistic prints of the Wonderland and more. T Edwards. Dan McCoig, Janet Lockerby, Nick Ulmer
Video Rating: 4 / 5