Mountains, moonshine, and miles of attractions and scenic views — it doesn’t take much to sell me on a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
After making the six-hour drive from Evansville to Gatlinburg last December, we arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, right off Gatlinburg’s strip and walking distance to all the main attractions. We took advantage of this each day of our long weekend by walking along the parkway and stopping at sites like the Gatlinburg Sky Lift, the Guinness World of Records Museum, the Gatlinburg Space Needle, and the many Ripley’s sites like the aquarium, Believe It or Not!, and Marvelous
“Gatlinburg is the perfect blend of mountain town, filled with Appalachian culture and history and world-class destinations,” says Mark Adams, president and CEO of the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Factor in Gatlinburg’s diverse food scene and scenic beauty and you have a unique destination that inspires the visitor in everyone.”
We made several food stops, beginning at the Pancake Pantry, 628 Parkway, and ending at Howard’s Steakhouse, 976 Parkway, with some moonshine tastings at Sugarlands Distilling Company, 805 Parkway, in between. Our second day in Gatlinburg, we decided it was time to get off the strip and headed to Anakeesta, 576 Parkway.
After taking a lift from the center of the city, we reached the theme park where we enjoyed lunch with the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains. Then, we headed to the Tree Canopy Walk that hangs 60 feet above the forest floor and was one of the best ways to experience the mountains and trees.
After the 2016 mountain fire that started in the Chimney Tops, much of the land around Gatlinburg was severely damaged. While the physical effects of the fire still were visible, the resiliency of the city and its people was even more apparent. As all the natives were quick to tell us, the Smokies are strong.
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Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau