Smoky Mountain Blog
Hikes of the Smokies
Mark your calendars for the 2014 Classic Hikes of the Smokies series
Explore America’s most visited national park on guided hiking tours with Friends of the Smokies. See stunning vistas, tumbling waterfalls, and discover the hidden gems of Great Smoky Mountains National Park with the 2014 Classic Hikes of the Smokies.
Classic Hikes of the Smokies feature interpretation and leadership by celebrated outdoor author, blogger, and hiking expert, Danny Bernstein (Hiking North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Heritage).
“The monthly hikes have brought together a diverse group of people: new hikers and experienced hikers, people who are new to the area and people who have spent their whole lives in the Smokies,” says hike leader Danny Bernstein. “I'll point out a new flower or chimney and there's usually someone who can add personal story to what we find on the trail.”
This year’s hikes include Little Cataloochee, Ramsey Cascades, Kephart Prong, portions of the Appalachian Trail and Mountains-to-Sea Trail and a special overnight engagement in July. For the complete calendar of 2014 Classic Hikes of the Smokies, visit www.friendsofthesmokies.org/events.html.
Unique to this program, on each Classic Hike of the Smokies, will learn firsthand about a different park stewardship need that benefits from donations made to Friends of the Smokies including hemlock wooly adelgid treatment, historic structure preservation, the Parks as Classrooms program, and elk management. Hikes are offered on the second Tuesday of each month. Each hike is $10 for current Friends of the Smokies members and $35 for non-members, who will receive a complimentary membership. Members who bring a friend hike for free. Registration donations benefit improving trails in the Park through the Friends’ Smokies Trails Forever fund.
The first Classic Hike of 2014 is Tuesday, March 11th to Little Cataloochee. This hike is 6.1 miles round trip and easy in difficulty with a total elevation gain of 1,100 feet. Participants will visit historic log cabins in the park and Little Cataloochee Baptist Church.
Category: Smoky Mountain Events
Winter Concert Season at John C. Campbell Folk School
Join us for free Friday night concerts featuring some of the finest regional and national acts around. On most Fridays from 7-8 p.m., you'll enjoy old-time, bluegrass, folk, gospel, and Celtic music in the Keith House Community Room. We also offer occasional concerts on other evenings, so check this section often for our upcoming schedule.
Jan/Feb Concert Calendar:
Visit our Music Events page to read more about the artists.
John C. Campbell Folk School
Category: Smoky Mountain Music
Windover Inn 20% Off Pricing from January through March
Come enjoy a relaxing getaway with prices ranging from $96-$148 on weekdays and $104 to $156 on weekends! Discounted pricing is already reflected in our reservation system for your convenience.
The Windover Inn
Thanksgiving Family Festival At Fontana Village
Classic Thanksgiving Feast and Fun For The Entire Family
Fontana Village Resort has the table set for this Thanksgiving with a full plate of holiday favorites prepared by our Chef at the Mountview Restaurant and an even bigger plate of outdoor fun and activities for the entire family. The Mountview Restaurant’s holiday menu will be featuring all of the family favorites including Roasted Turkey with Homemade Cranberry Sauce, Smoked Honey-Glazed Ham, Herb Crusted Roast Beef with Gravy and Smoky Mountain Trout cakes. Our Chef has paired these delicious entrees with everyone’s favorite side dishes, fresh baked breads and desserts.
The resort has planned a wonderful holiday schedule of fun including live music, hayrides, square dancing in the events hall, kid’s crafts, tree-trimming parties, lake cruises, guided hikes in the forest, field games and marshmallow roasts around the campfire! There will be something for the entire family to enjoy. Make some special Thanksgiving memories at Fontana Village Resort this year!
For the full event schedule visit our website at www.fontanavillage.com
Dinner Reservations Are Required
Fontana Village Resort
Thanksgiving at Rabun Manor
Seating & Prices
Seating from 12-6 p.m.
National Park Service Announces Agreement to Reopen Smokies
The National Park Service announced that it has entered into an agreement with the State of Tennessee that will allow Great Smoky Mountains National Park to temporarily reopen on Wednesday, October 16, after being closed for 15 days due to the partial government shutdown. The park will begin opening facilities at 8:00 a.m.
The state of Tennessee, working in partnership with Blount and Sevier counties, is donating funds to the National Park Service for the sole purpose of enabling National Park Service employees to reopen and manage Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The agreement funds the park for a period of 5 days, running from October 16 through October 21 at the donated amount of $300,500.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has also been working with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to reopen the park which lies in both states. The state of North Carolina has expressed interest in providing financial support for the reopening.
“We are grateful that our Blount and Sevier county neighbors and the states of Tennessee and North Carolina have offered to support reopening the park,” said Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. “We are anxious to welcome the public back into the park to enjoy the changing fall colors.”
Due to the lack of appropriations from Congress, the Department of the Interior was forced to close all national parks across the country and furlough more than 20,000 National Park Service employees who ensure the safety of visitors and the security of the resources.
Responding to the economic impacts that the park closures are having on many communities and local businesses, Secretary of the Interior Jewell announced last week that she would consider agreements with Governors who indicate an interest and ability to fully fund National Park Service personnel to re-open national parks in their states.
“This is a practical and temporary solution that will lessen the pain for some businesses and communities in Tennessee during this shutdown,” said Secretary Sally Jewell. “We want to re-open all of our national parks as quickly possible for everyone to enjoy and call on Congress to pass a clean continuing resolution to open the government.”
The Blue Ridge Parkway Remains Open
Visitors and residents can still enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway, the most visited unit of the National Park Service, even with a federal government shutdown. But with visitor centers and other staffed facilities closed, careful planning is recommended for travelers driving along the 252 miles from the North Carolina High Country to the Great Smoky Mountains.
North Carolina state parks - Stone Mountain, Mount Jefferson, Mount Mitchell and Grandfather Mountain - also make ideal stopping points. Reports from rangers at state parks across North Carolina are posted at VisitNC.com/fall to keep leaf-watchers informed about the foliage and other conditions.
Staffed facilities at Great Smoky Mountains National Park are also unavailable with the shutdown. But the scenery along U.S. 441 will remain accessible, and area outfitters and attractions can immerse visitors in a spectacular fall experience.
Park Remains Closed During the Government Shutdown
Great Smoky Mountains National Park remains closed following the shutdown of the federal government. The Smokies, along with all 401 National Park Service units, closed visitor facilities on October 1, 2013. All visitor centers, picnic areas, campgrounds, trails, and roads are closed except for Newfound Gap Road (Hwy 441), the Spur, and the Gatlinburg Bypass.
A Small Town's Answer to the Federal Government Shutdown: "Shut Down? Shut Up!"
Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 October 2013 08:35 | Written by Karen Wilmot, Executive Director of the Swain County Chamber of Commerce | | Print | | E-mail
Bryson City, North Carolina is a small town bordering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Now that the Government shutdown threatens to jeopardize the fall tourist season, Bryson City's message is clear — 'Shut down? Shut Up! There's still plenty to see and do in the Great Smoky Mountains.'
Watch this 2-1/2 minute video to find out all the fun things to experience in and around Bryson City and Cherokee North Carolina …in spite of the federal government shutdown.
"We wanted to showcase the broad array of attractions and activities you can still enjoy in our corner of Western North Carolina", said Karen Wilmot, Executive Director of the Swain County Chamber of Commerce. "And to let the traveling public know that fall color is expected to be fabulous this year and we are open for business here in the Smoky Mountains."
Category: Smoky Mountain News