Dollywood TN BBQ & Bluegrass Festival

Dollywood TN

May 26 – June 4, 2017

Southern Barbecue Recipes & Bluegrass Music Concerts

It’s the unofficial start of summer when Dollywood rolls out the annual Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival! Both are southern traditions, and a big ‘ol festival combining the two is definitely a tradition at Dollywood. For 10 days beginning May 26, you can enjoy both to the fullest right in Pigeon Forge from * 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. each day, and until * 9 p.m. on Saturdays.

If you love bluegrass music, you’re going to be in seventh heaven with the concert schedule covering all 10 days from open to close. Performers include top industry names such as Rhonda Vincent and The Rage, Dailey and Vincent, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Blue Highway, Hot Rize and many, many more. View the anticipated Bluegrass Concert Schedule for performance dates and locations as artists schedules vary.

Now… for that southern flavor of hot, sweet, spicy barbecue! Throughout the park, Dollywood is preparing – literally – TONS of pork, chicken, ribs and sausages. There will be lots to sample and lots to take home too. You’ll find tasty barbecue at Front Porch Cafe, Miss Lilian’s BBQ Corner, Market Square Skillets and at other locations throughout the park. Chef secret recipe sauces will be on sale too.

Hundreds of concerts and more food than you can stomach not enough for ya? Arrive early and stay late so that you and your entire family can browse the specialty shops, watch craftsmen at work, conquer all the rollercoasters, be entertained with singing and dancing, and be amazed by American Eagles.

NEW at Dollywood 2017
Dolly likes to surprise her guests and this year she is doing it many times over with new a new ride at Splash Country and both new rides and an event at Dollywood Theme Park.

Whistle Punk Chaser: A junior rollercoaster with plenty of twists and turns just for the younger crowd. Dollywood, Timber Canyon

Drop Line: A free-fall ride taking brave souls nearly 20 stories high above Timber Canyon. Dollywood, Timber Canyon

TailSpin Racer: A unique spiraling slide with high-speed AquaTubes for a race to the finish like no other! Dolly’s Splash Country

Great Pumpkin LumiNights: A fabulous ‘pumpkin illumination’ will be joining the fall Harvest Celebration along with operating hours of 10 a.m.-9 p.m. every day! Dollywood, Timber Canyon

* Verify daily and weekend hours as these may change without notice.

Parades in Pigeon Forge

Dolly’s Homecoming Parade & Shriner’s FunFest Parade

Pigeon Forge Parade - Dollys Parade - Dolly's Homecoming Parade

Dollywood Homecoming Parade | May 5, 2017
Shriner’s FunFest Parade | May 13, 2017

Who doesn’t love a parade?? Pigeon Forge TN is well aware of such family fun, and for that reason, parades are regularly scheduled! In fact, two are coming up on back-to-back weekends in May.

The mother of all parades in Pigeon Forge is Dolly’s Homecoming Parade, Friday, May 5. Yes, there will be floats, horses, baton twirlers, marching bands and all the hoopla. This year spectators can even expect to local entertainers and military veterans! But the Grand Marshall is what makes this parade special for the over 50,000 people that traditionally line the Pigeon Forge Parkway… Miss Dolly Parton herself! What extravagant costume will she be wearing this year?

The Dolly Homecoming Parade will begin at 6 p.m. on River Road near traffic light #7 and will travel north along the Parkway to traffic light #3. It’s a given that you’ll want to arrive early and bring a lawn chair to be sure you reserve your best seat in the house.

Pigeon Forge Parade - Shriners FunFest Parade

Saturday, May 13

You’ll want to bring your lawn chair right back to the Parkway by 9 a.m. the following Saturday, May 13 for the Shriner’s Pigeon Forge FunFest Parade! In case you are not aware, the Shriner’s are a group of men who raise money to pay hospital bills for children all over the United States.

The FunFest Parade sports motorcycles, go-karts, and mini 18-wheeler and Corvette replicas performing intricate and daredevil antics right on the Parkway! And what’s a parade without some antique tractors, a salute to America, and bagpipe music thrown in? The parade is just FUN and entertaining for both young and old as they watch these BIG kid Shriners acting silly for nearly a full hour.

Parades are big fun for locals too, so you can be sure the roads will be busy leading up to parade time. Since it will be necessary to redirect traffic on the Parkway to accommodate the parade route, plan ahead! Arrive early and park your car at Patriot Park or on Teaster Lane at The Island. From either location, you’ll then be able to walk to the Parkway and find a great spot.

Future Parade Dates:
July 3: 4th of July Midnight Parade, Gatlinburg
August 19: Veterans Homecoming Parade, Pigeon Forge
November 12-January 1: Parade of Many Colors, Dollywood
December 1: Fantasy of Light Christmas Parade, Gatlinburg
December 2: 55th Annual Christmas Parade, Sevierville
December 3: Annual Christmas Parade, Townsend
December 9: 24th Annual Christmas Parade, Seymour

Tennessee Smokies Baseball

It’s 2017 Baseball Season!

TN Smokies Baseball Schedule

2017 Smokies Baseball

As spring draws near, days become longer, flowers begin to bloom, and another phenomenon happens: shouts of “Hey batter, batter!” fill the air. That can mean only one thing; baseball season is here! America’s national pastime is back and there’s no better way to kick off the spring season than attending a game at the magnificent Smokies Park and watching the Tennessee Smokies play baseball.  The Tennessee Smokies have been named “Organization of the Year” by the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues in 2011 and again in 2014, beating out over 160 other teams based not only on the team itself, but also its contributions to the community. With such an amazing organization, the Tennessee Smokies are sure to provide an experience and put on a show that is unmatched anywhere else, as well as provide fun for the entire family. There are many family-friendly promotions for all ages and interest levels in order to provide a great experience for everyone which include: the Smokies Kids Cub Club, Silver Smokies Club, Season Ticket Packages as well as other multi-game ticket packages.

Smokies Baseball Kids Club

2017 Kids Cub Club

Do you have a budding baseball enthusiast in your home? Well the Smokies Kids Club may be just the thing for all Smokies fans who are twelve and under. For only $30 kids get 6 tickets for admission to any home game, a Cub Club daypack and a baseball cap. Joining the Smokies Kids Club is no doubt an amazing deal and would make any youngster’s Tennessee Smokies experience one to remember.

Maybe you’re an experienced Smokies fan and are interested in the Silver Smokies Club? For $35 membership, fans 55 and older receive: admittance to six selected home games, Silver Smokies t-shirt and hat, and other game day promotions. Visit online for additional information and membership registration.

The Tennessee Smokies have many other different ticket promotions as well, including full season passes and 6, 12 or 30-ticket plans. There are even promotions for group events such as birthday parties where your child has the chance to throw out the first pitch or the Field of Dreams experience where your child can has the opportunity to take the field with the players during the National Anthem!

No matter what your age or baseball knowledge, there is always fun to be had for everyone at a Tennessee Smokies baseball game. Let the Smokies make your baseball experience a home run. We hope to see you all attend the Tennessee Smokies home opener on Wednesday, April 12 against the Mississippi Braves!

Romantic Things to Do

Romantic Gatlinburg

Romantic Valentines Day Ideas for Gatlinburg TN

Valentine’s Day Romance in Gatlinburg

With Valentine’s Day taking center stage in the middle of the month, February is the time for romance. At any given time of year, but especially around February 14th, visitors to the Smokies might be looking for a spot to spend a little together time with their sweeties, and plenty of places come to mind. If you’re looking for a romantic location or a charming activity when you’re visiting the area, try taking your valentine to one of these couples-friendly spots.

Ice skating is always a good option. Holding hands as you glide along the ice. Cuddling together to keep warm. Sharing some hot chocolate afterward. It’s the quintessential couples activity. The skating rink at Ober Gatlinburg stays open year-round, so you don’t need to wait until February to take a twirl around the ice!

If skating is a little too intense, and you’d rather go in for a more low-key option, you’ll still want to get high above Gatlinburg. Instead of heading to Ober Gatlinburg, though, just ride the elevator up to the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle. From over 400 feet above the city below, you’ll be able to see for miles.

Another spot in the sky that might be a little more private is the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel at The Island in Pigeon Forge. From a gondola at the top of the 200’ wheel, you and your sweetheart will be able to see all of Pigeon Forge.

Gatlinburg Massage and Spa

Quiet Reflections Spa

For perhaps a more sophisticated experience, you could do a wine tasting at on of the several fine wineries in the area. In Pigeon Forge you can sample the vintages at Mountain Valley Vineyards, The Winery at the Old Mill, Apple Barn Winery, or Hillside Winery. Gatlinburg offers tastings at Smoky Mountain Winery, Tennessee Homemade Wines, and Sugarland Cellars. You can make a tour of all of them, then choose your favorites to take back home.

What could be more romantic than a couples massage? You’re coming to the Smokies to relax with the one you love, right? Enjoy a massage together so that you’ll be tension-free for the rest of your stay. Several spas offer couples massages: Quiet Reflections, About You Salon and Day Spa and just up the road from Carr’sFox Place Salon and Spa.

While we hope you’ll try one of our suggestions for a wonderfully, romantic day, we know you’ll have to include a tried & true couples dinner too. Visit the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce for the latest listing of restaurants and dining hot spots.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas

Christmas Celebration and Chapel Services

Dollywood 2016 Christmas Festival

November 5, 2016 – January 1, 2017 Smoky Mountain Christmas

There are amazing memories to be made at Dollywood, which becomes an enchanted place during the holiday season. Book your Carr’s Cottages accommodations now and ensure your family tucks treasured times within their hearts after seeing and being a part of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas. Both will quickly become a family tradition!

This winter festival brings a stunning array of shows guaranteed to get even the most determined bah-humbugger into the Christmas spirit. Add the new Parade of Many Colors that begins at 8 p.m. each evening with gorgeous, colorful floats and characters interacting with the crowd, and you’ve got even more reason to celebrate Christmas in the Smokies.

For the very first time, Dollywood will present the enduring holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Showstreet. Relax and become immersed in Tennessee culture as the gentle sounds of acoustic Christmas music wash over you at the “Applachian Christmas” show at the Back Porch Theater. “Christmas in the Smokies” will be back at Dolly Parton’s celebrity theater. This show features live music, singing and dancing, and includes both pop culture Christmas favorites in character and song as well as the sacred theme of the season, the birth of Christ. “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” at Dollywood’s Pines Theater, takes visitors along on a heart-warming family adventure involving a guest the children in the audience are sure to recognize!

2016 Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas

There’s no place like Dollywood for Christmas!

“Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs” also at the Pines Theater, is a southern gospel show par excellence, in keeping with all of the other top-notch activities at Dollywood during the Smoky Mountain Christmas! Another show sure to be a hit with visitors especially attuned to the sacred nature of the holiday, “O’ Holy Night” in the Valley Theater will not disappoint!

The Robert F. Thomas Chapel at Dollywood holds services at 5:30 p.m. each Sunday night throughout Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas. A charming, somewhat rustic and old-fashioned chapel, this venue is beautifully decorated for the holidays and the perfect place to pause and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

Finally, get ready to take some amazing photographs because, after all, it wouldn’t be Christmas at Dollywood without meticulous attention to detail in the heartwarming, over-the-top-stunning décor at every turn. One highlight is the Timber Canyon stage where, every night of the festival, thousands of twinkling lights are set to glorious music, perfectly synchronized to make you stop and appreciate, for just a moment, that you are in a very special place for the happiest holiday of the year!

Reserve Your Carr’s Gatlinburg Cabin, Cottage or Creekside Motel Room for the Holidays
and Purchase Your Discount Dollywood Tickets

Gatlinburg Winterfest Celebrations

Celebrate Winterfest in the Smokies

If it isn’t enough that the temperatures will be perfect for any and all outdoor fun in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (or for Christmas shopping until you drop), maybe some of these interesting activities will lure you back to Gatlinburg and your favorite Carr’s Cottages accommodation in November 2016.

Smoky Mountain Winterfest

Winterfest Kickoff Celebrations

Beginning November 9th, the City of Gatlinburg will be aglow with three million Christmas lights. That very day, dignitaries will “flip the switch” to set the city awash in holiday glory! However, during the fun of that evening’s (5 p.m. – 8 p.m.) “Winter Magic Kickoff,” (which opens Gatlinburg’s celebration of Smoky Mountain Winterfest also celebrated in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge) you can enjoy tasting some seriously amazing chili during the annual Gatlinburg Chili Cookoff. Participants will be out in force, locking horns for the “People’s Choice Award,” “Best Booth Presentation,” and “Best Apron”! Tasting tickets are $10, and will be worth every single penny, if chili’s your thing!  And whose “thing” isn’t it?  At 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m., you can jump on the Trolley Ride of Lights and see the beautiful light displays throughout the city. Children under three ride free in the enclosed, heated trolleys, if they are in an adult’s lap. There are happy snowmen, a rocking horse and brightly lit children and animals along the route, to name a few sights.

Gatlinburg Christmas Craft Show

Gatlinburg Convention Center

Our country’s veterans will be honored November 11, 2016 at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg. The “Gatlinburg Veteran’s Day Celebration” will begin at 11 a.m. and will be open to the public. Come and honor those who have honored you by protecting your freedoms, and enjoy the stunning aquarium afterwards!

Love arts and crafts? Hit the Gatlinburg Convention Center November 22nd through the 27th and enjoy an assortment of handcrafted items offered for sale by members of the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. From the “folksy” to the useful, to the truly elegant and divine, the wares sold at this show will wow you. The craft show will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Great Smoky Christmas Arts and Crafts Show will take place at the same location from November 28-December 4.

Christmas Tunes and Tales

Winter Magic Tunes and Tales

If you’re in Gatlinburg from November 25th through December 17th, chances are you’ll encounter Winter Magic Tunes and Tales carolers and performers singing while strolling or gathered on the sidewalks. They’ll fill the air with every musical style appropriate to the season from bluegrass to country and more! Enjoy sacred tunes of the season as well as the folksy, fun songs we’ve all come to know and love. There will be characters from favorite Christmas stories strolling about as this entertainment-on-the-go really connects with the Gatlinburg holiday crowds! Performances run from 5 to 9 p.m. and will take place on November 25th-26th, December 2nd -3rd, 9th – 10th, and 16th – 17th.

Gatlinburg Trick or Treat

2016 Gatlinburg Halloween Activities

October means Halloween fun all month long in Gatlinburg. And, around here, Halloween’s not just for kids. Plan to get the entire family ready to jump into the fun just around the corner from Carr’s!

Gatlinburg Shocktober

Shocktober “Wicked Things” Show

The Impossibilities magic show at the Iris Theater in Gatlinburg will reel you in for some chill bump-inducing make-believe as they whisk their visitors back in time to 1899 to “tour” the “Weiss Manor” and investigate some strange goings-on. This Shocktober show incorporates their own brand of magic fun into the mix of “Wicked Things” for a month of wacky good times with a side order of fright for good measure! Limited show dates from October 6-31. Reserve your seat with advance ticket purchase.

During the same time frame, you can swing by Ripley’s Haunted Adventure! This attraction is back with its annual Fright Nights.  The theme is “Monster Movie Madness,” and will give visitors a scary good time racing back through the annals of movie monster history, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout October as well as on Halloween night. Fright Nights is 6 p.m. to close and only for folks aged 6 and up, and those aged 6-11 must have a grown-up with them!

Gatlinburg Trick or Treat and Halloween Carnival

Halloween Carnival & Trick or Treat Flyer

Round out your Gatlinburg Halloween activities with the Trick-or-Treat Kickoff Karnival at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Kids of all ages will love spending Halloween afternoon at this family-friendly carnival featuring games and tons of fun from 1-5 p.m.! Wear your costume! There will be characters in full costume milling about and plenty of candy to get you stoked for a night of raking in a trick-or-treating haul!  Click to view or download Halloween flyer.

Be sure to listen up when the Gatlinburg Police Department lets everyone at the carnival know how to stay safe on this fun-filled night, and the Gatlinburg Fire Department tells us all how to stay fire-safe. The best part about this special Halloween carnival? Proceeds from some of the activities will go to the United Way of Sevier County, an organization dedicated to helping area citizens in need.

Dollywood Harvest Celebration & Gospel Music Festival

Christian Music Performances and Traditional Crafts

It’s that time of year again when Dollywood ushers in the fall season with their annual Gospel music and craft festival. You’ll get to enjoy four full weeks of live entertainment, arts & crafts and Dollywood’s spectacular fall-themed decor September 30-October 29, 2016.

This harvest celebration brings top names in Christian music to perform free concerts throughout the park. These concerts are included with your regular Dollywood admission ticket, which you can purchase at a discount when you book your stay at Carr’s Northside. There are multiple concerts each day: be sure to pick up a printed performance schedule when you enter the turnstiles at Dollywood so you’ll know where to be and when to catch your favorite artists and bands.

Christian Music Concerts Performance Schedule

Christian Music Concert Schedule

Christian Gospel performers include:

  • Guy Penrod
  • Karen Peck & New River
  • Booth Brothers
  • Southern Raised
  • The Perrys
  • Greater Vision
  • Three Parts Grace
  • Mountain Joy
  • The Kingdom Heirs
  • … More!

In addition to filling the air with the uplifting sounds of Gospel’s best, Dollywood invites unique artisans from across the country to come to Pigeon Forge and share their talents with the thousands of visitors celebrating abundance in the Smokies. Enjoy the opportunity to see so many artists in one location and purchase their handicrafts. Many craftsmen will offer demonstrations too. The Craftsman’s Valley area of the park is where you’ll find 40 crafters and wonderful gifts to take home.

Dollywood TN Harvest Festival Craftsmen

Craftsman’s Valley Artisans

Craftsman’s Valley booths include:

  • Banjo Making
  • Dulcimers
  • Sorghum Demonstration
  • Pottery
  • Wood Working
  • Natural Stone Jewelry
  • Stained Glass
  • Chainsaw Carvings
  • Handmade Games
  • … More!

Dollywood’s National Southern Gospel Harvest Celebration only takes place from September 30-October 29, 2016. Give us a call at (865) 436-4836 and ask for our off-season rates for all our accommodations including rental cabins, cottages and creekside motel rooms. We’ll be happy welcome you to autumn in the Smokies!

Cades Cove TN Things to Do – Hiking Abrams Falls

Abrams Falls Trailhead and Waterfall Hike

Cades Cove TN Things to Do - Abrams Falls Trailhead

Cades Cove TN Abrams Falls Trailhead

When looking for Cades Cove TN things to do, an Abrams Falls hike is top of the list.  The Abrams Falls trail is an enduring family favorite. At peak times, you may be greeted by a park ranger at the trailhead. Chances are he or she will ask if you’ve got water with you! The five-mile round trip trail is rocky and a little steep in places, and some hikers choose to use hiking poles for stability. Hikers of all ages do enjoy this trail, but be prepared to stop often for a little rest and water.  You’ll find the signed turnoff for the trailhead just past stop #10 on the Cades Cove Loop Road.

Abrams Falls Waterfall at Cades Cove TN

Powerful Abrams Falls Waterfall

Though bears have been spotted in the area, this trail is rather safe due to the high volume of hikers in good weather. The beauty of the forest, glimpses of the world below from some higher parts of the trail, and a peaceful flow of water near the falls are some of the features that make this lovely walk so memorable. The trail ends at the beautiful Abrams Falls waterfall with a pool beneath. Another fantastic Great Smoky Mountains photo opportunity! This trail is an “out-and-back,” meaning you’ll exit along the same path you followed into the waterfall area.

Hiking in Cades Cove offers many benefits aside from experiencing Abrams Falls firsthand. You’ll probably take some of the most beautiful photos of your trip to the Smokies, as the Cove itself is expansive, with many distance views of the layered mountains. You may see a bear or two, some deer or wild turkeys. If you’re into birding at all, you’ll hear the call of more than one mountain favorite. At certain times of the year, you’ll be able to spot beautiful native wildflowers on your walk. You can walk near the paved one-way scenic loop and enjoy the same sights motor vehicle traffic enjoys and stop occasionally to tour one of the historic churches or cabins along the way. Or, you can take one of the several Cades Cove area marked hiking trails into the surrounding forest.

Happy trails!

Smoky Mountains Guided Tours

Guided Excursions in the National Park

Once you’re settled into your Gatlinburg cabin or motel room at Carr’s Northside, that home-away-from-home you choose for your Smoky Mountain getaway, it will be time to turn to the local experts for ways to maximize fun in these hills! Thousands of people take guided tours through the National Park every year because it’s the best way to experience the joys of this one-of-a-kind place.

Cades Cove TN Guided Tours

Tour Cades Cove and the GSM Heritage Center

Cades Cove Heritage Tours
A visitor making a very casual drive through Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will understand immediately that the place is teeming with reminders of its rich cultural history. From old-fashioned churches and decades-old graveyards to log cabin home sites, the Cove is a trip back in time. If you’d like to get the full flavor of the extensive and very interesting history of the area, which served as a hunting ground for the Cherokee and was settled in the early 1800s, as well as information about the abundant wildlife and other natural wonders in Cades Cove, it might be a good idea to sign on for a tour guided by Cades Cove Heritage Tours. Tours depart from the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, located on Cromwell Drive, just off of East Lamar Alexander Parkway (the main thoroughfare in Townsend, Tennessee, a popular entrance to the GSMNP). You can buy tickets there or online at cadescoveheritagetours.org for $15 just the Cades Cove Tour or $18 for the Cades Cove Tour + Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Museum. There is no charge for children ages five and under. Call (865) 448-8838 for more information. Find out what all of the fuss is about surrounding the beautiful mountain valley known as Cades Cove TN. Be sure to bring your camera and a good set of binoculars if you can, though wildlife is often spotted very close to the eleven-mile scenic loop road. Bears, deer and wild turkey are abundant.

Rocky Top Tours of the GSMNP

Guides Tours by Local Experts

Rocky Top Tours
If you’d like to see some of the best views in the park, get some great photos and make new friends all while learning the history and ecology of the area, take the approximately four-hour tour by Rocky Top Tours known as the “Smoky Mountain Special Tour.” Ditch the anxiety of driving unfamiliar mountain roads and let Rocky Top do the heavy lifting while you relax and soak in the sights. This tour features the Sugarlands Visitor Center — where you can browse an interesting gift shop, walk a short hike to see abundant wildflowers in certain seasons, or watch a short film about the GSMNP — plenty of stops at mountain overlooks featuring sweeping vistas, and stops at Newfound Gap and Clingman’s Dome. Newfound Gap is where the park was dedicated by President Roosevelt and Clingman’s Dome is the highest point in the park! On this tour, you’ll feel like you’ve fully experienced this beautiful place! Tickets are $30/adults, $13/children ages 7-15. Children 6 and under are free. Visit rockytoptours.com or call (865) 429-8687 or toll free at 877-315-8687 to learn more about this and other wonderful, comprehensive and educational tours they have to offer.

Smoky Mountains Moonshine Tours

Moonshine and Mountain Tours

Smoky Mountain Guides
Moonshine is synonymous with mountain life, it seems, at least in the lore surrounding these hills. Make your trip to the Smokies complete with your own set of tales to take home after a three-hour “Mountains and Moonshine” guided tour by Smoky Mountain Guides ($45/person). Leave the driving to them and learn all you can about the moonshine culture of the Smokies back in the days of prohibition while enjoying the beauty and serenity of the mountains that cloaked the stills so many decades ago. The tour is capped by a stop at Sugarlands Distilling Company, where you’ll get a taste of the firewater that sparked many a chase through the hills of Tennessee and points beyond! Go to smokymountainguides.com where you may book online or call (865) 654-4545 for more information about this unique opportunity and other comprehensive guided tours by Smoky Mountain Guides.