Wilderness Wildlife Week for Kids in the Smokies

Wilderness Wildlife Week Programs Just for Kids

Kids Explore the Smokies in a New Way

Let Your Kids Explore the Smokies

From January 12-19, 2013, Pigeon Forge will be holding its 23rd Annual Wilderness Wildlife Week; an annual salute to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  There will be 150 experts on hand to discuss 250 programs on wildlife, photography, mountain history and more, but did you realize many of the programs are geared to children?  Best of all, they are all free!  What a great opportunity to introduce your youngsters to the great outdoors, the wonders of nature, and the many different experiences that includes while enjoying a family vacation getaway at Carr’s Cottages!

Does your child have an interest in animals?  Wilderness Wildlife Week will be offering informal talks and videos geared to children about many of the National Park’s local inhabitants and the Knoxville Zoomobile will be present for some hands-on and interactive discussion regarding the world of animals.  And your kids won’t want to miss out on the Owl Prowl! There is even a hiking class that encourages children from a young age to enjoy the great outdoors!

Maybe your child is interested in learning how to photograph wild animals and nature.  Jim Eastin will be leading a class designed just for them.  Or, if your child is interested in history combined with crafts, they will enjoy learning about the old-fashioned quill and pen that was used 100 years ago as well as learning how to make homemade ink.

Music is such a huge part of the mountain culture in East Tennessee and it has not been left off the list.  Your child can take advantage of several scheduled musical events like a concert by the Lost Mill String Band, a children’s sing-a-long, or participate in a “Let’s Make Music” workshop.

In case you think nature and music are the only topics of Wildlife Wilderness Week, let your child experience one of the many interactive classes such as *“The Life of a Soldier during the Civil War.”  They actually enlist for either the Union or Confederacy, are taught about the hard life of a soldier in those times, and experience camp life.  Or, sign them up to make a *Garbage Pizza?  Students follow the life of trash as it is thrown away and then create their own garbage pizza! And, if your child loves funny stories or is an aspiring artist, they will want to join the *Red-Headed Boggertown Bunch – Tall Tale of the Mountains.  After being entertained with this bewildering mountain lore story, they are encouraged to illustrate their own conclusions to this tall tale!

Check out the complete schedule for Wilderness Wildlife Week for Kids in Pigeon Forge so you and your children don’t miss out on fun and exciting experiences!

*These classes require advance registration and class size is limited.

Pigeon Forge Titanic Ice Carving Competition 2013

Ice Creations Come to Life in Pigeon Forge Tennessee

Ice Creations Annual Carving Competition at Titanic

January 13, 2013 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Icecarvings are those beautiful works of art that are often only seen at extravagant weddings or on fancy event buffets; so many of us never have an opportunity see one in person.  However, thanks to the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, if you head to Carr’s this coming weekend not only can you see them but you can watch them being made.  January 19, 2013 is the 3rd Annual National Ice Carving Competition at the Titanic’s outdoor entertainment center.

The free, one-day family event will allow you to watch celebrated world-class ice sculptors execute their fanciful designs in 250-pound blocks of ice.  The competitors’ ingenuity, talent, and clever use of huge carving tools will awe you and your children!  The National Ice Carving Association, a not-for-profit organization that continually works at promoting the art of ice carving, will be overseeing the competition.   There are both professional and amateur divisions competing for prize monies ranging from $100 – $2000.

Want a few nuggets of ice “know-how” you can use to impress your children?   How about that the clarity of ice is determined by how the ice is made.  The more time water spends circulating while it is freezing, the clearer the finished product.  Or, that there are actually three kinds of ice used for sculpting:  crystal clear ice blocks, naturally made ice, and canned ice with a white feather in the core.

Once completed, there is no way to stop these art pieces from melting, so get on over to Pigeon Forge Saturday, January 19 and watch for their arrival as the next day may be too late.

The ice carvings event takes place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and the Titanic will stay open late – until 8 p.m. – so that you’ll have time to check out the new “The Children of Titanic” gallery.  This gallery is the newest addition to the museum for 2013.

Titanic Pigeon Forge
2134 Parkway (Adjacent to the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Theater)
Call (800) 381-7670 for Additional Information

Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Parade Welcomes Pink Fire Trucks


Gatlinburg Christmas Parade 2012

December 7, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.

Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade in Gatlinburg

Carr’s Cottages is not only a great location for an affordable Christmas vacation, but also for watching the 2012 Fantasy of Lights Parade on December 7!  The parade begins just a hop and a skip across our footbridge at traffic light #1A on Hwy. 321.

Thousands of people gather each year for this spectacular parade that lasts nearly an hour and half.  You’ll think you’re in a big city instead of our little ski town when you see the number of inflated balloons floating high above the Parkway.  Each year there are more parade participants, more to see, and more to cheer!  There will be marching bands from five states, dancing elves, holiday singers and glorious floats, and many of your favorite Smoky Mountains characters.

A new addition to this year’s parade lineup will be the “Guardian of the Ribbon” pink fire trucks out of Radcliff, KY.  Chief Henderson and his crew will be guiding two pink fire trucks in the parade, celebrating cancer survivors and spreading awareness that Pink Heals.

If you do decide to walk downtown, you can also enjoy the live entertainment of Winter Magic Tunes & Tales strolling carolers beginning at 5 p.m.  Join in the singing with traditionally dressed Victorian carolers or watch for barbershop quartets and Zeno the Bear.  Though there won’t be a Trolley Ride of Lights on parade night, you can still marvel at the millions of lights along the Gatlinburg Parkway while shopping and dining.

We look forward to welcoming you to Gatlinburg for a winter getaway during the 37th Annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade!

Pigeon Forge Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival at Dollywood TN

Discount Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas Tickets

Now through December 30, 2012 ~ Come Home to Carr’s for the Holidays!

No One Does Christmas like Dolly Parton!  Year after year, guests come to Carr’s Cottages during the holidays not only for the comforts of home and southern hospitality, but for discount tickets to Dollywood’s annual Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival.  This is only one of four annual festivals held at the theme park, but certainly one of the best!

Attending Dolly’s 2012 Smoky Mountain Christmas is a gift in itself!  There’s traditional Christmas music, live entertainment, shopping, delicious meals, and rides all in one beautifully decorated wonderland.  All ages will find delight around every corner and on every stage throughout the park.

Stories come to life during performances of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and ‘O Holy Night, and music soothes the soul when Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs presents your favorite hymns and southern gospel songs.   Appalachian Christmas celebrates with acoustics at the Back Porch Theatre to remind you of the simpler days of Christmas’ past, while Christmas in the Smokies presents the joy of the season with traditional favorites everyone can sing along with.  And, Dollywood’s Christmas on Ice is an amazing show choreographed to sounds of the season and performed by the Ice Theater of New York cast.

In addition to the special shows, the entire park is illuminated with (literally) millions of Christmas lights from walking path to treetop, and from entrance to exit.  Dolly’s Parade of Lights travels throughout the park daily, too, with brightly decorated Christmas floats.   As if that isn’t enough, lights spring to life during the synchronized Carol of the Trees light show.  It’s a beautiful symphony of lights and music at Rivertown Lake every evening!

From open to close, Dollywood packages all the best of Christmas music, lights, and entertainment right here in Pigeon Forge.  Come vacation at Carr’s this holiday season and celebrate in a big, Great Smoky Mountains way!

A Holiday Home Coming in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Come Home to Carr’s for the Holidays

Great Smoky Mountains A Holiday Homecoming

December 15, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

There is a chill in the air and excitement too!  It’s that ‘Holiday Feeling’ that grips all of us this time of year!

There is a nostalgia connected with the holiday season:  thoughts of going home, getting back to a simpler way of life, singing the tunes you know that lift your spirit and your heart, and thoughts of how you celebrated the holidays as a child growing up.  And an overwhelming desire to reproduce those same feelings of wonder, joy, family, celebration, and good old family fun activities to our children.

Now it is possible!  The Oconaluftee Visitor Center near the TN/NC border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hosting “A Holiday Homecoming” on December 15, 2012 where you can partake in an old-fashioned Christmas celebration in the Smokies, including traditional holiday music.

From 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Park Rangers and volunteers will be engaging young and old in hands-on traditional gift making, giving you a wonderful souvenir to take home with you!  In the past, the craft activity has been making cornhusk dolls and cinnamon scented ornaments.  There will also be skilled artisans giving demonstrations on all kinds of traditional Smoky Mountain craft creation throughout the morning.

But, there’s still more holiday fun to be had!  From 1-3 p.m., gather round to hear two hours of traditional holiday music, though not always on traditional instruments!  You are not only encouraged to join in singing, but to also bring your own instrument and join in playing.  There will be up to 20 local musicians and groups, both professional as well as enthusiast, who will be performing for you in a wide variety of holiday tunes. Hot apple cider and holiday cookies will also be served!

The Holiday Homecoming event is free and wheelchair accessible.  Oconaluftee Visitor Center is on Highway 441, approximately a one-hour drive from Carr’s Cottages. Come on home!

Nurture Your Holiday Spirit in Gatlinburg Tennessee this November

Coming to Gatlinburg this month and anxious to get started celebrating your holiday spirit early?  Well, Gatlinburg is ready and able to assist you.  They have jump-started December’s season of joy, wonder, and wish fulfillment in November!  There are a wide variety of activities and events for your family to enjoy, along with great winter getaway deals at Carr’s including $49 motel rates and then a Stay 2 Nights, Receive a 3rd Night Free special later in the month.

November 2012 in Gatlinburg

Spirit of the Holidays!

How about a forest of gaily-decorated Christmas trees?  From November 20 – 24, 2012, there are dozens of decked out trees for you to view at the Gatlinburg W.L. Mills Conference Center.  The annual display is free, but donations are accepted for the Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministry.  This year’s theme for the Festival of Trees is “Winter Wonderland.”  Don’t be surprised if you see a few snowflakes for real!

Of course, there is nothing to lift the spirits and help out the gift list and wallet like a craft fair.  Hosted by the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, you will surely enjoy browsing the many talented, local artists’ booths at the Gatlinburg Convention Center while simultaneously picking up handmade, one-of-a-kind gifts for those special people on your list!  The Thanksgiving and Christmas Arts and Crafts Shows will be spread over a two-week time period with autumn and holiday items for sale November 21 –25, and Christmas items for sale from November 26 – December 2.

You will have but two nights to attend the Nutcracker “Sweet” held in the W. L. Mills Auditorium in Gatlinburg November 23 & 24, 2012.  The Great Smoky Mountain Dance Theater will perform this classic holiday presentation at 7 p.m. each night.  Tickets range from $10-$25 each.  Reservations must be made in advance at 865.680.7369.

And finally, if you are out and about on the Parkway in Gatlinburg on Friday or Saturday evenings between 5-9 p.m. starting November 23, and running weekends through December 22, you will be enchanted with Gatlinburg’s 4th Annual Winter Magic Tunes & Tales!  What is that you ask?  The city magically lights up the winter nights with dozens of spectacular light displays throughout the town, and fills the streets with storytellers and fanciful winter characters such as snowmen, toy soldiers, and even Zeno, the Gatlinburg Bear, who will great you on the streets.  And there is caroling, too.  Groups of holiday carolers dressed in traditional Victorian era costumes will be singing all of your favorite, seasonal songs.  Feel free to join in!

So come on up to Gatlinburg in November and nourish your soul and lift your spirits.  ‘Tis the season of joy, magic, and wonder in the Smokies!

Downtown Gatlinburg 2012 Trick or Treat Halloween Carnival

Celebrate Halloween in the Smokies

Celebrate Halloween in the Smokies

Carr’s Welcomes Creatures of All Kinds!

Click Here to Find Out About Halloween 2013!

In the Smokies, we celebrate Halloween in a very big way!  Events throughout the month of October lead to a grand finale carnival before witches, ghosts and creatures of all kinds swarm the streets to trick or treat with downtown businesses along the Gatlinburg strip.  Make your reservations and plan to have your most fun Halloween yet with us!

Prior to Halloween night, you can kind plenty of chills and thrills.  Put on your best costume and attend:

Ripley’s Fright Nights – Ripley’s Haunted Adventure presents its 14th “15 Nights of Halloween” with a special show each Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October featuring live actors and a 6:13 p.m. character parade.  “Voodoo Thirteen” will provide fun, frights and screams for all ages 7 and up who dare to enter!  View or Print Event Flyer.

Shocktober – The Gatlinburg Space Needle is hosting a special Halloween show by mind-blowing mentalist Bill Gladwell.  “Shrieks and Mind Freaks” will be presented each night October 17 through Halloween at the Arcadia Theater.  Choose one or both shows including “Hypnotized” and “Head Case” at the 2012 Shocktober!  View 2012 Show Flyer.

Pigeon Forge Safe Halloween Celebration – Be at the Pigeon Forge Community Center on Thursday, October 25 from 6-9 p.m. for a free night of fun and games.  Trick or Treat in the gym with local businesses, play games and win prizes, enjoy the entertainment and hayrides, and participate in the costume contest.  It’s a full night of fun!

Gatlinburg Halloween Carnival – Beginning at noon, the Halloween Carnival at Ripley’s Aquarium Plaza brings live entertainment, games, kid’s craft tables, a costume contest and tons of candy until 5 p.m.  This is the 5th annual Halloween event and it just keeps getting bigger and better each year.  Plan to spend the day at the plaza, have a nice dinner, and be ready for the best trick-or-treat night you’ve ever had along the downtown strip.  Gatlinburg businesses pull out all the stops to decorate, dress up and give out the best treats!  View Halloween Carnival Flyer.

We hope you have a spectacular Halloween in the Smokies!
Click Here to Find Out About Halloween 2013!
The Staff at Carr's Cottages

20th Annual Smoky Mountain Homecoming at Robert Tino Gallery

Come Home to the Smokies

Visitors and locals alike will be gathering this weekend at the annual Smoky Mountain Home Coming sponsored by Artist Robert Tino at the Robert Tino Gallery’s Sunset View Farm location just off Hwy. 66 in Sevierville.  This event has grown in both size and popularity to be a highlight of the fall season!

On Saturday and Sunday, October 6-7 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., you can travel back in time to the days when hard work, homemaking and farm skills were a necessity, and life was just well… simpler.  Children played outdoors and created games from items around the farmhouse, Father’s did woodworking and farmed the land, and Mother’s sewed, cooked, and helped to make whatever house they had a home.  This homecoming weekend unites regional craftsmen and women, dressed in period attire, to demonstrate their Appalachian skills that have been sustained and preserved over time.

October 2012 Smoky Mountain Homecoming

October 6-7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

This year’s activities and festival highlights include:

Robert Tinos Homecoming Kettle Corn

Ummm… Kettle Corn!

Gospel & Bluegrass Music:
Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier
The South of the River Boys
The Dulcimer Club

Demonstrations & Exhibits:
Quilting, Soap & Molassas Making
Bow & Arrow
Ole Smoky Moonshine
Robert Tino Artwork

Just for Kids:
Pumpkin Patch
Old Fashioned Kids Games
Face Painting, Petting Zoo
Pony & Wagon Rides
Instructional Art Classes

A new exhibit will be Tennessee’s Largest Antique Tractor and Engine Show, featuring over 100 tractor makes and models to look at.  You’ll also enjoy authentic Appalachian Mountain Arts & Crafts from the East Tennessee Historical Society and other local Mountain Folk, outdoor ironwork, great food including funnel cakes, kettle corn and Buddy’s BBQ.

You’ll want to visit both days, but arrive by 9:15 a.m. on Sunday for an old-fashioned Sunday service under the old oak trees followed by favorite gospel tunes of Jimbo Whaley and Greenbrier.

Admission and parking is free to all.  Children’s activities with small fees will support our local Boys & Girls club.  Food, artwork, souvenirs and crafts available for purchase all weekend.

Please visit Robert Tino’s official Smoky Mountain Homecoming web site for sponsors, a schedule of events, and directions.  We hope you have a barrel of fun!!

2012 Smoky Mountain Celebration Supports Minor Sports

We at Carr’s Cottages don’t normally blog about local fundraisers, but this is one we felt our readers would want to take part in.

Sevier County High School is striving to bridge the gap between the funds that are donated to the usual sports programs such as football and boy’s basketball, and those that are just as important and promote participation and physical well-being to a larger number of students such as girl’s volleyball, wrestling, soccer, golf, and other minor sports.

This phenomenal fundraiser is called Smoky Mountain Celebration and runs now through September 28, with celebration day being September 29.  Tickets are $100 each and ONLY 3,000 tickets will be sold.  Your chance of winning is far greater than any state lottery has ever been – odds are 1:87!  And better yet, winners need not be present to win.  To be eligible for the early bird drawings, purchase your ticket quick—by September 1!

Cash and Prize Awards


The celebration and drawings will be held on September 29 at Smokies Baseball Stadium in Kodak.  There will be free food, free beverages and free entertainment for all ticket holders.  Guests of ticket holders can enjoy the day of fun too with $25 admission.  (Guests will not be eligible for any early bird or prize drawings.)  Gates will open at 11 a.m., and drawings will begin at Noon and continue until 3 p.m.

Over $150,000 in cash and prizes will be given away including:

  • $1,000’s Cash
  • $2,500 Tanger Outlet Gift Card
  • Honda Ranger ATV
  • Viking Stainless Gas Grills
  • Luxury Camper
  • $1,000 Bass Pro Gift Certificate
  • Harley Davidson Softail Slim Motorcycle
  • Chevy 4×4 Truck
  • More!

If you’d like to have a chance at winning a great prize and furthering the sports programs important to so many kids, purchase your ticket or tickets securely online using Paypal or print the mail-in entry form.  Keep in mind, any entries received after 3,000 tickets are sold will be returned.  If you have any questions, please call (865) 453-4666.

We hope to have several winners from our readership!
From Amy's Desk 

2012 Dollywood Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration in Pigeon Forge

Uplifting Music, Timeless Traditions, and Great Southern Cookin’

Dollywood is doing it again this Fall – inspiring us all with a month’s worth of free gospel music at the biggest Southern Gospel Festival in the Smokies!  Included with the regular park admission price, Dollywood is offering hundreds of outstanding gospel concerts by the genre’s most popular artists, Quartets and bands.  Performances are scheduled daily throughout the park at the Celebrity Theater, Showstreet Theater, Singing News Stage, Robert F. Thomas Chapel, and the Stage at the Back Porch.  View or Download the Dollywood Gospel Concert Schedule.

2012 Dollywood Gospel Harvest Festival

October 3 – November 3

So, what exactly awaits your family’s vacation in Pigeon Forge during the most beautiful season of the year?  Well, while enjoying the park’s autumn décor and fall foliage and listening to the most uplifting gospel singers you will be privileged to hear, how about up-close demonstrations by visiting crafters?  Talented artisans will be making and selling their unique, handmade collectibles and treasures at craft exhibits you won’t find anywhere else.  Artisans from across the USA will be sharing their time-honored skills to introduce you to the arts of quilting, Sorghum and rope making, paper marbling, weaving and spinning, woodworking and glass blowing.  It’s an opportunity to watch, learn and purchase their heirloom quality creations!

And don’t forget, this is also called a Harvest Celebration.  The food at the Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration won’t disappoint you.  Special dishes all throughout the park, such as Dolly’s signature fried green tomatoes, will showcase the season’s finest ingredients and delightfully unique Southern tastes.  All for your enjoyment!

Make your plans to attend now and purchase your discount Dollywood tickets from our front desk.  You know you don’t want to miss out on Pigeon Forge’s fine fall weather this October, nor the food, fun, artisans, and gospel music experience waiting for you at Dollywood’s Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration!