Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category

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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Hosting a party? Need a lot of hot chocolate? Look no further, here is a recipe that will serve a large crowd and keep everybody happy.


  • 5 cups baking cocoa
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 quarts water, divided
  • 10 quarts milk
  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream and additional baking cocoa


  • In each of two large stockpots, combine 2-1/2 cups cocoa, 1-1/2 cups sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Gradually stir 5 cups water into each pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Whisk in the milk, cream and remaining water; heat through. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Garnish with whipped cream and additional cocoa. Yield: 65 (1-cup) servings.

Visit http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Cocoa-for-a-Crowd-2 for more information.

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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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Visitors of all ages can marvel at the traditional mountain scenes, colorful winter displays which have been converted to LED. The north end of Gatlinburg received an injection of fresh exhibits and subtle enhancements, while most of the timeless displays visitors have grown accustomed to over the past 17 years were converted to LED.

Adjacent to the famous Parkway, River Road features a “magical” touch along the popular Riverwalk area, where the romantic arched walkway is enhanced by a pair of graceful 40-foot swans and several ornate floral representations to set the tone for romance in lovers of all ages.

The convergence of the Parkway and River Road forms the landmark downtown triangle that is transformed into a cluster of tall evergreens swirled in color, certain to become a popular photographic backdrop as visitors enter the above two sections on foot or via the Parkway. Smoky Mountain Romance touches are added in several display areas after the holidays, with wild animal scenes, winter forests and swirling trees accenting the season.

“With Gatlinburg Winter Magic, we will continue to glorify the winter landscape of Gatlinburg and the beauty of the mountains,” said Mr. Michael Anderson, co-owner of Jackson Mountain Homes. “You’ve not experienced winter until you see the lights of Gatlinburg again.” Gatlinburg Winter Magic has been named a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society.

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Merry Christmas! Christmas is the time of the year to spend with family, and be thankful for everyone you have near to you in your life. Spending time with your family in a rental cabin, tucked away in the Great Smoky Mountains, is cozy and affordable this holiday season. The Birdsong Chalet in Gatlinburg is an original cedar chalet, newly renovated. You will have amazing views, and can have Christmas dinner in front of the stone fireplace. The house sleeps 12, so there is plenty of room for everyone!

And at night, before cozying up beside the fireplace with some hot chocolate, take a drive through the Winterfest lights in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The animated lights are a fun way to end  Christmas vacation in the Smokies.

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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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