Smoky Mountain Winter Experience

Smoky Mountain Winter Experience event will be fun for the entire family!

Smoky Mountain Winter Experience event will be fun for the entire family!

Smoky Mountain Winter Experience event is scheduled for January 27 -29, 2020 at the Ramsey Hotel in Pigeon Forge. This inaugural event will offer professionally guided hikes and educational sessions covering the culture and natural beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the surrounding area. The mission of the event is to connect nature lovers with the Smoky Mountains through the experience of learning with experts via practical field experience and indoor lectures and demonstrations.

Our family is so excited about this new event!” Myra Blevins said, “We love hiking and learning about the Smokies and plan to drive down from Chicago to attend.”

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5 Awesome Winter Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains

5 awesome winter things to do in the Smoky Mountains

5 awesome winter things to do in the Smoky Mountains

5 Awesome Winter Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains! We love winter in the Smoky Mountains. The crowds thin out and the traffic slows down. Clear days are plentiful and the views of the mountains are often clear as a bell. Here are 5 of our favorite winter things to do in the Smoky Mountains.

Winter in the Smoky Mountains is a beautiful time to visit!

Winter in the Smoky Mountains is a beautiful time to visit!

Take a hike! Even the busiest trails slow down in winter time!  The Chimneys are a short drive from Sugarlands Visitor Center and offer fantastic views of Tennessee. This trail is quite steep but always a HeySmokies favorite! Do you enjoy a peaceful waterfall? Have you ever hiked to one that is frozen solid? You can do it in the Smoky Mountains! One of our favorites is Grotto Falls off of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in Gatlinburg.

Skiing at Ober Gatlinburg

Skiing at Ober Gatlinburg is always a thrill!

Ober Gatlinburg is the spot for all kinds of winter fun! The intermediate ranked slopes of ski mountain are perfect for skiing and snowboarding. If you need practice the “bunny” slope is the perfect spot for beginners. A more extreme experience awaits the adventurous on the freestyle terrain area. Jumping and flipping are all part of the fun for the daring. Tubing and ice skating round out the day with something for everyone.

Gatlinburg Arts And Crafts Community

Gatlinburg Arts And Crafts Community

Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community offers craftsmanship like you have never seen before! Over 120 artisans and master craftsmen create art daily through various mediums. No matter what your taste you can find it here! Various sculpters, photographers, woodworkers, quilters, potters and more produce masterpieces each day!

Pigeon Forge Winterfest is fun for the entire family!

Pigeon Forge Winterfest is fun for the entire family!

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Remember When, Lost Smoky Mountain Attractions – Hunter Hills Theater

Chucky Jack trackless train would shuttle folks from Gatlinburg to the nearby Hunter Hills theater.

Chucky Jack trackless train would shuttle folks from Gatlinburg to the nearby Hunter Hills theater.

Remember When, Lost Smoky Mountain Attractions – Hunter Hills Theater. Gatlinburg is widely known as a national vacation destination offering something for every taste. Surrounded by the America’s most visited national park, Great Smoky Mountains. This was the home of Hunter Hills theater for decades.

We hope you enjoyed reading Lost Attractions of the Smokies: Porpoise Islanda fascinating blend of Polynesian culture in the mountains of east Tennessee. For this article, we’ll be introducing you to Hunter Hills Theater – an amphitheater just down the road from Pigeon Forge in Gatlinburg. If you have been coming to the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area for many years between 1956 – 1977, you may be familiar with the former location of the theater. Highway 321/East Parkway was called highway 73 “back in the day” and about 3.5-4 miles out the highway is Gatlinburg-Pittman High School, Anna Porter Public Library, The Gatlinburg Community Center, Boys & Girls Club and Rocky Top Sports World. The theater was located to the right of all of these facilities and predated the high school by more than decade.

Chucky Jack play bill from Hunter Hills theater.

Chucky Jack play bill from Hunter Hills theater.

The idea for a theater was first envisioned by Mr. R.L. Maples and his wife Wilma, owners of the Gatlinburg Inn still in existence on the parkway in Gatlinburg. The location was decided on in summer of 1955 and work began by clearing trees and cutting a road in. Work was suspended during the fall and winter of 1955 and picked back up in February 1956. Construction went at a fast pace and by June 1956 rehearsals were being held. Mr. Maples wanted the theater to be a cultural attraction for locals as well as visitors to the area – a very forward thinking man!

Hunter Hills theater cast in Gatlinburg.

Hunter Hills theater cast in Gatlinburg.

The theater was named for Dr. Kermit Hunter who was the writer of what would become the theater’s first show as well as the very popular, nationally known and critically acclaimed Unto These Hills outdoor drama about the Cherokee Indians performed even today in Cherokee, NC. Dr. Hunter decided to make this play – the theater’s first – about Tennessee’s history from 1780-1800 when it was till the State of Franklin (prior to statehood). But as he went along, his focus changed and began to center on the life of Governor John Sevier specifically (Tennessee’s first governor, Indian fighter and proponent for statehood as well as lender of his name to our county and county seat Sevierville – pronounced “severe”) whose Cherokee nickname was “Nolichucky Jack.” He shortened the name to Chucky Jack and it became the first play to debut in the new amphitheater the summer of 1956.

Here are some interesting stats about the theater:

  • 1956 payroll included 125 people – 85 of which were cast members

  • There were 45,000 theater attendees just in 1956

  • There were 2501 seats in the theater

Technically the theater was pretty advanced.

  • There was a revolving stage that allowed for 9 scenes to be prepped and set for fast and quiet changes

  • There were individual mirrors for 100 people in the dressing rooms.

  • Seven banks of floodlights were installed requiring 11 miles of wiring

All told the investment in the theater was about $150,000 equaling about $1.4 million today.

Some students would stay with local families for the summer and later the theater even rented the Gatlinburg-Pittman High School as a dormitory. Later on during some renovations, the theater expanded the dressing rooms to include dorm rooms for students for the summer shows.

Aerial photo of Hunter Hills theater in Gatlinburg

Aerial photo of Hunter Hills theater in Gatlinburg

The play would run 6 days a week except Sundays from June 22-September 1. Tickets ranged from $1.00-3.00 per person and all seats were reserved. Auditions were held and several heads of drama and speech departments from local colleges and universities served as judges.

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New Year Beans And Greens Recipe

New Year beans and greens recipe.

New Year beans and greens recipe, a Southern tradition.

New Year Beans And Greens Recipe. What is behind the Southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Years day? Some folks say the people in the South were once so poor that is all they could afford but we know the truth. First and foremost this perfectly combined dish is delicious! Second, Southern superstition supersedes even flavor sometimes. Eating peas represents good luck in the new year. It is said that diners should eat one pea for every day of the year. That is 365 peas y’all. The greens represent money, and who does not want some of that in 2019? Eating greens ensures that your coffers will be full throughout the year. There is only one thing this dynamic duo of flavor need to accompany them in our opinion – cornbread!

HeySmokies culinary factoid: Are peas beans? They are officially both legumes so tell us your decision on the HeySmokies Facebook page.

Cooking beans and greens is a simple task that everyone should try at least once. Here is our classic recipe.

Black-eyed peas recipe:

Ingredients:

One nice sized ham bone

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New Years Eve Bootlegger’s Ball

New Years Bootleggers' Ball  has it all for  2020.

New Years Bootleggers’ Ball has it all for 2020.

New Years Eve Bootlegger’s Ball will ring in 2020 Tuesday, December 31, 2019. This roaring good time will be held at Junction 35 Spirits in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. New year’s revelers are invited to join the fun. All flappers and dappers are encouraged to wear optional period clothing of the “Roaring 20s” Daddy-0!

A seventeen piece swing band, “The Streamliners,” will be setting the mood so bring your dancing shoes and be ready to bust a move! Partygoers will be treated to free “bubbly”, sometimes known as champagne, from the Champagne region of France.

Gamers will have their hands full with exciting casino games! If the champagne and dance floor don’t have your head spinning the roulette wheel will. All card sharks will have the chance to test their skills at the blackjack table and the craps table is sure to have plenty of action too! Cigar aficionado’s will love the cigar bar where they can sample some of the finest tobacco available. But don’t smoke too much, you will need all your lung and leg power out on the dance floor!

The party begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $125 with all proceeds going to Safe Harbor of the Smokies.

For more information about the event and tickets visit Bootleggers’ Ball.

The New Years eve Bootleggers' Ball will be a roaring good time!

The New Years eve Bootleggers’ Ball will be a roaring good time!

Safe Harbor works with law enforcement, Child Protective Services, mental health providers and the district attorney’s office to support children abuse victims.

Safe Harbor was established by a group of impassioned individuals to provide the coordination of necessary services in a child-focused and child-friendly home-like setting for the most vulnerable victimized citizens . . .  children.

Regretfully, in most cases, children have been abused by family members or people their family members knew and trusted. Working with law enforcement, Child Protective Services, specially trained medical and mental health providers and the District Attorney General’s Office, their goal is to make the process gentler and less traumatic for children who have suffered so much.