The Smoky Mountains offer plenty of beautiful places in the park that are easy accessible and can accommodate anywhere from a large outdoor wedding to a small gathering. You’re sure to find just the perfect outdoor spot for your special day.
A natural clearing in the forest under tall hardwood trees makes a fabulous green canopy overhead during spring and summer, and breathtaking golds and reds and russets in autumn. There are wedding services that will perform weddings at an outdoor location of your choice, such as by a mountain stream or a natural waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
For the couple who likes to hike, just a small gathering by your favorite waterfall might be all you’re looking for.
Are you looking for something more intimate? Just the two of you? Ceremonies can be performed by a minister who travels to your hotel or cabin. Nowadays, a popular trend is to get married in your honeymoon cabin or chalet, which offers privacy and incomparable mountain settings.
Many wedding vendors in the Smoky Mountain region offer beautifully landscaped Garden Weddings which feature rustic gazebos and barns in natural settings for a custom, romantic outdoor experience.
The biggest advantage to an outdoor Smoky Mountain wedding is the absolutely gorgeous and scenic locations available in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Park Restrictions currently require special permits, there is a $50 permit for weddings in the park.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect place, there is still much more to be done. You will have to choose the perfect theme that represents the two of you. Stay tuned for next week’s post to help decide your style. Maybe a country wedding with horses and cowboy boots, or a romantic rustic wedding with pretty pinks covering a mountain top. If you’re a Fall person you could always have a pretty Fall harvest themed wedding. Whatever your taste, we’ll have some great options in next week’s Wedding Wednesday post.
The weather is beautiful, there are pumpkins everywhere and the leaves are changing, it is definitely fall here in the Smokies! According to Tom Harrington of the Great Smoky Mountain Association, the fall colors will be peaking in the next 10 days. If you’re a hiker, there are plenty of great hikes to view the beautiful colors, he suggests, Forney Ridge Trail to Andrews Bald, Mt. Sterling, Ramsey Cascades, Abrams Falls, Appalachian Trail to Charlies Bunion, Rich Mountain Loop, Clingmans Dome, and Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower, but there are plenty of other great places to hike in the Smokies! If you would rather drive through the fall foliage the Blue Ridge Parkway is perfect for beautiful scenic views from your car!
In the spirit of fall, I’ve put together a list of 20 things to do this fall in the Smokies.
1. Fall Foliage viewing
2. Chimney Tops Trail hike, Located about 7 miles past the Sugarlands Visitor Center onNewfound Gap Road, this 4 mile round trip hike is a very popular attraction in the Smokies. In 2 miles, hikers climb 1,650 feet! A spectacular 360-degree view awaits those who complete this climb!
3. Cades Cove Loop for a scenic drive, some wildlife viewing, hiking and fall foliage viewing.
4. Hayrides in Gatlinburg or Cades Cove
5. Zipline – the new way to view the fall foliage!
6. Downtown Gatlinburg for some saltwater taffy at the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen and some moonshine at the Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery
7. The Apple Barn Cider Mill & General Store for lunch at the resturant, a visit to the general store, candy factory, cider bar, creamery and winery.
8. Picnic in Cades Cove
9. Haunted Houses – the Ripley’s haunted houses are great, or maybe check out the“Ghostwalk of Gatlinburg”. Instead of the usual haunted houses this is a walking night tour of Gatlinburg’s historic and haunted places. The tour is lead by a local storyteller who tells stories of local legends, history, superstition, folk tales and fiction.
10. Horseback riding – There are about 550 miles of the park’s trails that are open to horses. If you own horses, take advantage of the park’s horse camps. If you wish to rent a horse, horseback riding by the hour is available at five different commercial stables located in the park.
11. Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, maybe not the whole 469 miles of the parkway, but just enough to stop at a couple of the stops to take in the beauty of fall in the Great Smoky Mountains.
12. Harvest Festival
13. Smoky Mountain Popcorn Shop in Walden’s Landing try cotton candy, jalapeno, cinnamon toast and root beer flavored popcorn.
14. Clingmans Dome – Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s highest point. It is the highest point in Tennessee, it is half in North Carolina and half in Tennessee. The peak is accessible after driving Clingmans Dome Road from Newfound Gap and then walking a steep half-mile trail. A paved trail leads to a 54-foot observation tower.
15. Historic Sites in the Smokies, there are plenty of great historic sites in the Smokies. I’ve always wanted to visit the Rockefeller Monument, there’s a first time for everything!
16. Hike part of the Appalachian Trail, part of the AT crosses Newfound Gap Road and continues down the North Carolina – Tennessee border, maybe knock numbers 16 & 17 out at the same time.
17. Drive Newfound Gap Road, with the 3,000 foot climb it is said that a trip over the gap is like going from Georgia to Maine in terms of foliage and and the variety of the forest ecosystems.
18. Camping in the Smokies. It’s about time to take the last camping trip of the year before it gets too cold.
19. Eat pancakes anytime of day. If you’ve ever been to Pigeon Forge you know there is an abundance of pancake houses. You can have any kind of pancakes you desire, all day, any day.
20. Drive through Pigeon Forge with my PigeonForge.com decal on the back of my car.
The Huffington Post recently wrote an article on the “10 Most Scenic Roads in the U.S.“ The Blue Ridge Parkway landed on the list at number 9. The Blue Ridge Parkway is the North Carolina side of the Smoky Moutnains and has some amazing views of the beautiful mountains.
The Blue Ridge Parkway winds through 469 miles of beautiful forest and mountain terrain between Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The scenery is outstanding and there are many recreational activities to do along the way; picnic area, hiking trails, camp grounds and visitor centers are just a few. There are also restaurants and lodging along Blue Ridge Parkway.
You can’t have a wedding without the proposal! If your significant other loves the outdoors and the Smoky Mountains hold a special place in your hearts, there are plenty of romantic and thoughtful spots in the Smokies for the perfect proposal!
For the couple who likes to hike, your favorite hiking trail would be a perfect spot to pop the question. Or if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, try a new hike, maybe a waterfall hike or one with a great view. There is nothing more romantic than finding a spot for just the two of you. There are 850 miles of hiking trails, you’re sure to find the perfect one!
If you’re not so much the adventurous, outdoorsy type but love the views of the mountains, you could take a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the nation’s first and longest rural parkway. There are 469 miles of beautiful forest and mountain terrain to take in along with plenty of scenic stops and picnic spots for just the perfect setting.
Another popular Smokies destination is Cades Cove, it is actually the most visited area of the national park. With wildlife and 19th Century home sites, this idyllic setting is a sampler of everything the park has to offer. You can hike, picnic, take a hayride, camp and learn the history of Cades Cove, even visit the Missionary Baptist Church.
There are plenty of other wonderful ways to pop the question in the Smokies. There is so much to do, see and experience here you’re guaranteed to find the perfect place and time for your special moment. Your significant other will be just as happy as you are to be spending this special time in the beauty of the Smoky Mountains.
Love popcorn? Well I’m sure you’ve never tried half the flavors of these popcorns. The new Smoky Mountain Popcorn shop in Walden’s Landing has a menu of over 100 different popcorn flavors. Yes, 100 different kinds of popcorn! Of course it starts out with regular popcorn, kettle corn, then you’ve got chocolate and vanilla flavors. Then it starts to get really exotic with flavors such as apple, cotton candy, jalapeno, blackberry, Cajun, salt and vinegar, cinnamon toast, grape, root beer, suntan lotion and 85 more. Pretty crazy huh? Also, everything is popped on site, and all ingredients are fresh, according to owner Chester Crowley.
You’re not going to want to miss this on your next visit!