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Archive for the ‘Outdoor’ Category

Enjoy Free Music, Find Unique Gifts at the 7th Annual Fine Arts Festival – May 14-15

Gatlinburg Fine Arts Festival

The Gatlinburg Fine Arts Festival (GFAF) is a free outdoor family event that features quality artists from around the country along with Appalachian music from the area. Volunteers from the community produce the festival to benefit the Sevier County Arts Council, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and the Gatlinburg Boys & Girls Club.

2011 will be the seventh year of the festival and large crowds are expected. Gatlinburg is a thriving tourist destination and a gateway city to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with over 9 million visitors annually.

The festival is being held in the center of the city at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts Campus adjacent to Arrowcraft Shop at Light # 5.

For more fun things to do in Gatlinburg, TN, visit GatlinburgConcierge.com.

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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is often referred to as the Wildflower National Park because of the great diversity of flowers found in the park. A group of flowers known as spring ephemerals appear above ground only in late winter and early spring.

Included in this group are flowers such as lady slipper orchids, showy orchids, crested dwarf iris, fire pink, columbine, bleeding heart, phacelia, jack-in-the-pulpit, little brown jugs, and violets.

The Deep Creek Trail, Gregory Ridge Trail, and Oconaluftee River Trail are great trails for viewing spring wildflowers. For more information on these walks, visit http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/wildflower-walks.htm.

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Gatlinburg Winter Magic Lights FestivalThere’s still time to experience the holiday magic in Gatlinburg, TN. The annual Gatlinburg Winter Magic event is going on now through February, 28. The lights are on every evening during the wintertime in Gatlinburg, and now every display is environmentally friendly, using LED lights.

Over the past 22 years, visitors have enjoyed dazzling displays featuring animals indigenous to Great Smoky Mountains National Park such as deer, foxes, squirrels and rabbits as well as branches and scrolls that light up the entire length of the Parkway. Most recently, fanciful snowmen, dancing fountains, a group of international children and a shiny rocking horse joined the lineup.

Come and experience the Magic of Winter Lights in Gatlinburg, TN through February 28th. This annual event will be the start of a new holiday tradition for you and your family.

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Ober Gatlinburg is a ski resort and an amusement park that guarantees a good time for the whole family. Great winter activities at Ober Gatlinburg include skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating and tubing. There are many attractions designed just for kids such as the wildlife encounter, carousel, mini golf and an arcade.

For the times when it is just too cold to be outside, visit a museum or one of the many haunted houses in Gatlinburg. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has educational presentations, exciting dive shows, and hands on stations where kids can pet a stingray or hold a horseshoe crab. Not to mention the 12-foot sharks and thousands of exotic sea creatures.


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This week is Wilderness Wildlife Week, a weeklong celebration of the wildlife here in the Smokies. This is just one of many events held during WinterFest. Wilderness Wildlife Week features 9 days of nature seminars, interactive exhibits, guided hikes, and music by legendary performers. All events during Wilderness Wildlife Week are free of charge and open to the public. This year, the Music Road Hotel Convention Center will serve as headquarters. For more information, please visit mypigeonforge.com/wildlife.

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Contrary to popular belief, black bears living in the Smoky Mountains do not truly hibernate. They enter long periods of sleep but occasionally leave the den for short periods if they are disturbed.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of just a few locations in the eastern part of the United States where black bears can live in wild, natural surroundings.

During winter, bears find shelter in hollow stumps, tree cavities, and other safe places. Bears in the Smoky Mountains are unlike bears in other regions in that they often den high above the ground.

Check out this site for more information: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/black-bears.htm.

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Some people may not see hiking in the winter as a fun activity because of the cold weather, but every season has something new to offer and something new to reveal. During the winter, you will see stone walls, chimneys, foundations, and other bits and pieces of the early settlers that are normally covered during the warmer months. There may not be anymore colorful leaves filling the tops of the trees, but this time of the year nothing is covering up the remainders of the past. You can still choose the trail you wish to hike depending on what you want to see. Even if the waterfalls are frozen, they are still beautiful! The backcountry roads off of Cades Cove are closed, but there are many other beautiful places to visit.

The Caldwell Fork Trail is recommended for winter hiking. It is a moderate trail by a mountain river, and it goes through an old poplar forest.

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