Mountains of Memories to be Had!

By: Robbin Dean

By Robbin Dean

If you haven't had a chance to visit the Smoky Mountains yet this year, there is still time to make mountains of memories in 2007!

The benefits of visiting the Smoky Mountains late in the year are numerous beginning in mid-October with the spectacular show of autumn leaves splashing their vivid colors across the mountains. The Harvest Festival finds the town full of pumpkins, scarecrows, and cornstalks as local businesses compete in decorative display contests that set the scene for a feast for all of our senses. Locals and tourists alike delight in the goodies of the season! Who can resist such temptations as fried apple pies, homemade cider and donuts, or the many different barbecue festivals that flavor the air?

Fall is a great time to rake up the savings at the many outlet centers and specialty shops in the area. If shopping is at the top of your Pigeon Forge itinerary, make sure you visit the many craft fairs and festivals in the area. Some of the finest crafters make their way to the mountains at this time of year to help get a jumpstart on holiday gift giving.

Those looking for outdoor adventures can explore the glorious colors and sights that the National Park has to offer. The park can be enjoyed numerous ways. You can explore on foot or horseback, via car or even on a wagon full of hay in Cades Cove. Making the hike to Clingman's Dome (the highest peak in the Smoky Mountains) allows for some of the best views of the changing foliage.

Crowning the harvest celebration is Dollywood's Gospel and Harvest Festival. The park offers a host of special shows featuring various southern gospel and country entertainers. Dollywood also has many craft exhibits and some fascinating displays showcasing the life of pioneer settlers in our mountains. Of course, Dollywood serves up an enormous amount of ever-present excitement in the form of great food, thrilling rides, and oodles of fun for kids of all ages.

Speaking of kids... if you have a little trickster who could use some treats, they can enjoy traditional Halloween fare at the Pigeon Forge Community Center's Halloween celebration. Onboard at the Center are hayrides, games, bowling, and many spooky delights!

Early November marks the kickoff of the Smoky Mountain Winterfest. Over five million lights dazzle the Parkway from Sevierville to Gatlinburg. Several festivals, sales, and special events fill the calendar. The Pigeon Forge Community Center holds its annual "Tellabration" event. This is a chance to hear professional storytellers weave their magic. Thanksgiving brings lodging and shopping specials as Black Friday approaches. Shop-a-holics don't have to be told that this is the biggest shopping day of the year!

This is also the time when Dollywood presents its annual "Smoky Mountain Christmas" festival. The park is transformed into a holiday wonderland with thousands of decorations and delights. They offer several musical and theatrical productions as well as their famous "Carol Of The Trees." This show is a pyrotechnic and light show synchronized to holiday music. The folks at Dollywood could get even the grinchiest of grinches into the holiday spirit with all their yuletide cheer.

There are numerous other attractions that offer holiday excitement and specials. You may want to check out the Black Bear Jamboree's Christmas Show, the Smoky Mountain Palace Theater's "Celebration of Lights," and Dixie Stampede's Dixie Christmas featuring a live nativity scene.

Who could resist this invitation to make some of your biggest and brightest memories yet? So now it is time to pack your bags! Don't forget your camera to capture all of these bright moments. We'll see y'all soon!

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