Christmas Cookie Recipe

Heysmokies Christmas cookie recipe. Photo credit - Black Star

Heysmokies Christmas cookie recipe. Photo credit – Black Star

Christmas Cookie Recipe. When the holidays arrive in the Great Smoky Mountains there are many HeySmokies sweet treat favorites but the traditional Christmas cookie is a must. We make a double batch to share with friends and neighbors. If there are any left over, and there never are, we freeze them until our next cookie craving! We hope you enjoy this time honored recipe and have a delicious holiday.

Christmas Cookie Recipe:

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flower

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup softened butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups refined sugar

Icing Recipe:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

4 teaspoons light corn syrup

4 teaspoons whole milk


Continue reading… Raises Money To Rescue Orphaned Black Bears raises money to rescue orphaned black bears.

Appalachian Bear Rescues’ Lisa Phillippen and HeySmokies’ Brad Knight are excited to announce the donation box program benefitting orphaned black bears. raises money to rescue orphaned black bears., a travel blog showcasing events in the Smoky Mountain region, and Appalachian Bear Rescue announce their “HeySmokies Sticker Donation Box” partnership to raise much needed funds for the local non-profit organization.

HeySmokies began its donation box program in the summer of 2015 and raised more than $11,000.00 for Pets Without Parents, a local no-kill animal rehab clinic. After the demise of Pets Without Parents in 2018 the search began for a new beneficiary. Appalachian Bear Rescue, which has worked tirelessly for decades to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned black bears, proved a perfect fit for the HeySmokies fund raising program.

“We are thrilled to partner with for their donation box program,” said Dana Dodd Appalachian Bear Rescue executive director. “The funds we receive will give cubs a second chance at life in the wild!”

The donation boxes are distributed to local businesses in Smoky Mountain communities, and provides its colorful, round logo decals free in each box to encourage contributions. To date, more than 100,000 HeySmokies stickers have been shared with generous fans and visitors.

“We were sad to learn Pets Without Parents was closing their doors earlier this year but were proud that we were able to help many great pets find loving homes.,” said HeySmokies owner Brad Knight. “The response from business owners and the public has been overwhelmingly positive allowing further expansion of the program. We are excited to continue the program and thrilled to partner with ABR’s work rehabilitating orphaned black bears. The black bear is an iconic symbol of the Smoky Mountains and catching a glimpse of one in the wild is always magical.”

If your business would like to display a donation box contact

Great Smoky Mountains Rainbow Falls Trail Reopens

Rainbow Falls trail is one of our favorite routes to the summit of Mount LeConte with a beautiful waterfall as a bonus!

Rainbow Falls trail is one of our favorite routes to the summit of Mount LeConte with a beautiful waterfall as a bonus!

Great Smoky Mountains Rainbow Falls Trail Reopens. After two diligent work seasons, the Rainbow Falls Trail has reopened!  From May through November in 2017 and 2018, the 6-mile trail that accesses popular Rainbow Falls and the summit of Mt. LeConte has been closed Monday through Thursday to accomplish much-needed rehabilitation. Great Smoky Mountains National Park hosted a ribbon-cutting event to thank the work crew, volunteers, park partners, and donors for their support of the project. The event recognized the National Park Service Trails Crew, the American Conservation Experience Youth Crew, Friends of the Smokies, and the Aslan Foundation.

We are pleased to announce the completion of renovations to the popular Rainbow Falls trail,” said GSMNP Deputy Superintendent Clay Jordan. “The improvements will be enjoyed today, tomorrow and next year by the park visitors, their children and grandchildren.”

In 2012, Friends of the Smokies established the Trails Forever endowment thanks to a matching gift from the Aslan Foundation in Knoxville. The $5 million endowment funds a full-time trail crew in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to reconstruct and rehabilitate some of the park’s most impacted trails.

The Trails Forever program provides the opportunity for highly skilled trail crews to focus reconstruction efforts on high use and high priority trails in the park including Rainbow Falls Trail and the recently restored Alum Cave, Chimney Tops, and Forney Ridge Trails along with other projects across the park. The program also provides a mechanism for volunteers to work alongside the trail crew on these complex trail projects to assist in making lasting improvements to preserve the trails for future generations.

Continue reading…

Cades Cove Stargazing Event

Cades Cove Stargazing Event

Cades Cove Stargazing Event

Cades Cove Stargazing Event Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in cooperation with the Smoky Mountain Astronomical Society, offers this unique opportunity to the public to explore the universe.  Experienced astronomers and many telescopes will be available to assist attendees in the discovery of the fall sky’s position of stars, galaxies, and constellations, including the Milky Way. In case of rain or cloud cover where night skies are not visible, the program will be cancelled.

National Park areas often offer a wonderful opportunity to stargaze,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Parks across the country monitor and manage for natural night sky conditions in much the same way as we do to protect our air and water. Visitors are often amazed at the number of stars that can be seen simply by entering into the natural darkness of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Participants are asked to park at the orientation shelter at the entrance to the Cades Cove Loop Road. A park ranger will walk with the group one-third of a mile to a nearby field to the viewing location. The Cades Cove Loop Road is closed at sunset to motor vehicles and participants are not allowed to drive to the viewing site or to park within the Loop Road.

Attendees should wear comfortable walking shoes, dress warmly, and bring a flashlight. Everyone is encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket for relaxing. Binoculars  can be used for stargazing too. To preserve the integrity of the telescope lenses, smoking is not allowed near them. Carpooling is strongly encouraged because parking is limited.

In the event of rain or cloud cover the event may be postponed. If the weather is questionable, call the day of the event to confirm that the program will take place at 865-448-4104 or follow the park’s Facebook page at Facebook.

Ornaments of Joy Event

These adorable ornaments by Deede Edele will be available at the event.

These adorable ornaments by Deede Edele will be available at the event.

Ornaments of Joy event set to benefit Appalachian Bear Rescue. The event will be held Saturday, November 17, 2018. Ornaments of Joy is sponsored by Vienna Coffee House and Maryville artist, Deede Edele. Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR) Curators, and community leaders have hand painted a wide variety of tree ornaments for this event and 100% of all proceeds will help ABR bears! There will also be a silent auction at Vienna from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and an online sale of Curator and special artist ornaments beginning Wednesday November 14, 2018 and ends the 17th at 2 p.m. Event attendees will enjoy live music all day and plenty of delicious Vienna Coffee.

The idea for ABR began to percolate after a severe black bear food shortage in 1989 forced bears to forage in highly populated areas. Leaving the shelter of the mountains the bears had many unfortunate conflicts with humans which resulted in a large number of orphaned cubs. A concerned group of volunteers banded together with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agencyand Great Smoky Mountains National Park obtaining a corporate charter in early 1991 to make a difference in the lives of orphaned bears.

Since it’s founding ABR has received bears from numerous

Appalachian Bear Rescue's Clementine Bear

Clementine Bear gains confidence at ABR.

national parks, states and the wild lands surrounding the Smokies. Orphaned bears lucky enough to make it to ABR receive a second chance at life in the wild. To date ABR has taken in 269 cubs and yearlings. Current residents include Clementine Bear and Viola Bear. Volunteers work diligently improving the facility to provide the best possible care for each bear needing a new lease on life.

Recent improvements include constructing two new Wild Enclosures and a Cub house for transitioning cubs from the nursery to the outdoor areas. Each Wild Enclosure can support up to ten cubs or yearlings. The oldest building on the property is known as the Red Roof Recovery Center and has recently been upgraded from storage space to a recovery center for injured cubs that are unable to climb.

ABR’s mission is to educate the public on living safely with bears and how to keep them wild. School programs and the Townsend Education Center are vital tools used in accomplishing this mission. ABR offers regular classes and a detailed schedule is available at

ABR is grateful to all of it’s generous supporters without whom this important work would not be possible. Be sure and join us November 17, 2018 for this fun event!

A holiday hound dog is a must for a Volunteer holiday.

A holiday hound dog is a must for a Volunteer holiday.