Smoky Mountain Camp Stew Recipe

Smoky Mountain Southern Camp Stew is a delicious dish any time of year! photo credit : Susan Vickery

Smoky Mountain Camp Stew Recipe. Camp stew is a Southern favorite any time of year but especially in the cold winter months. This dish is easy to make, delicious and a real crowd pleaser during the big game on Super Sunday.

All you need are a few simple ingredients and about thirty minutes of prep time. This dish goes great with a pan of buttermilk cornbread. We love to “sop up” the stew liquid with a big piece of cornbread while others like to crumble their pone into the stew. We call them crumblers. Either way it is a tasty addition to the stew.

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The Tenth Annual Rose Glen Literary Festival

The Rose Glen Literary Festival has the "write stuff!"

The Rose Glen Literary Festival 2019 has the “write stuff!”

The Tenth Annual Rose Glen Literary Festival presents the “write” stuff scheduled Saturday, February 23, 2019 from 9 am – 4 pm. This Smoky Mountain event is a must for all literature lovers. The Rose Glen Literary Festival, celebrating a decade of the “write” stuff, welcomes back the event’s first keynote speaker Stephen Lyn Bales who will discuss highlights of past festivals. Bale, a contributor to both the Smithsonian Magazine and Tennessee Conservation Magazine, is a regular speaker at Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge. His published works also include Natural Histories and Ghost Birds: Jim Tanner and the Quest for the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, 1935-1941.

Robert Beatty, author of the Serafina series, will be this years Rose Glenn keynote speaker.

Robert Beatty, author of the Serafina series, will be this years Rose Glenn keynote speaker. Photo credit: New Yorker

This year’s festival lineup features a variety of successful and entertaining writers that includes luncheon keynote speaker Robert Beatty, author of the New York Times best-selling Serafina series, an eerie thriller that features a strange young woman who is a secret resident in the basement of the fabulous Biltmore House. Serafina and the Black Cloak spent more than 60 weeks on the Time’s best seller list and was also the recipient of the 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. His second book in the series, which has proved popular with both young readers and adults, Serafina and the Twisted Staff, hit number one on the Times’ best seller list the week of its launch and earned a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

His latest work, Willa of the Wood, introduces a young girl who possesses magical powers and lives in the forests of the Great Smoky Mountains. Now a full-time writer Beatty, who lives in Asheville, was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, and co-founder of Beatty Robotics and chairman/CEO of Narrative Magazine.

Terry Roberts’s debut novel, A Short Time to Stay Here, won the Willie Morris Award for Southern fiction, and his second novel, That Bright Land, won the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award and the James Till Award for writing about the Appalachian South. Roberts will discuss his latest novel, The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival.

Bill Carey is a columnist for Tennessee Magazine and founder of Tennessee History for Kids, a non-profit organization that assists educators who teach social studies and Tennessee history in improving their core curriculum. Carey’s book, Fortunes, Fiddles and Fried Chicken: A Nashville Business History is ranked among the best Nashville history books of all time. His latest book, Runaways, Coffles and Fancy Girls, a History of Slavery in Tennessee, explores the humanitarian tragedy of slavery. Carey grew up in Huntsville, Alabama, spent five years in the Navy and has resided in Nashville since 1962.

Caitlin Hamilton Summie, a veteran Book publicist and marketing director, will walk writers through the basics of book publicity. A former marketing director of MacMurray & Beck and of Blue Hen Books/Penguin Putnam, Summie, during the course of her career, has help launch numerous authors, and published both short stories and poems. Her short story collection, To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts, earned excellent reviews nationwide and took Silver in the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year.

Marilyn Kallet is the author of 18 books, including The Love That Moves Me and Packing Light: New and Selected Poems. She is Professor Emerita at the University of Tennessee, where she taught for 37 years. Kallet is the Poet Laureate of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Humorist Sam Venable will tickle your funny bone!

Humorist Sam Venable will tickle your funny bone! Photo credit: Crossville Chronicle

Smoky Mountain hikes, mountain lore, disaster and mayhem are on the agenda during the GSMA Panel Discussions emceed by Sam Venable. Venable, a semi-retired humor columnist for the Knoxville News-Sentimental and winner of numerous writing awards, is the author of ten books. His newest collection is Someday I May find Honest Work, a newspaper Humorist’s Life. Venable’s lively commentary will offer entertaining and uncommon perspectives to common experiences. Panelists include Ben Anderson, author of Smokies Chronicle: A Year of Hiking in Smokey Mountains National Park. Anderson, life-long devotee of the Smokies, is a former media relations director at Warren Wilson College and an assistant professor of Mass Communications at Florida Southern College, and has also worked on the staffs of The Asheville Times, the Atlanta Journal and other newspapers. A backcountry volunteer for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for more than 20 years, Anderson currently provides marketing and public relations work for the Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation in Asheville.

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Smoky Mountain Valentine’s Day Events

Mountain Valentine Events will make your love light shine bright!

Smoky Mountain Valentine’s Events will make your love light shine bright!

Smoky Mountain Valentine’s Day Events. Valentine’s Day is always a special event in the Smokies and this year’s romantic day falls on Thursday, February 14, 2019 (hint, hint guys and ladies), allowing time for a memorable three day weekend in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. Here are a couple of great ideas for you and your special someone.

Appalachian Bear Rescue Valentine’s Dinner

Saturday, February 9, 2019. In addition to a great meal, this evening also provides an opportunity to support the Smokies iconic Black Bear rescue facility. The fun begins at 7:00 p.m. at The Abbey In Townsend, TN. The Abbey is a new, unique, and delicious venue in Townsend, TN. Reservations, which cost $30.00 per person, includes non-alcoholic drinks, a salad, a pasta entree, and dessert. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the $30.00 cost but will be available for purchase at The Abbey. For reservations or more information call Lisa at 865-227-8543 or email

Help Appalachian Bear Rescue and HeySmokies save a cub!

Help Appalachian Bear Rescue and HeySmokies save a cub!

The event benefits Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR) whose mission is to rescue orphaned black bear cubs and return them to the wild.  ABR was founded in 1989 by a concerned group of volunteers, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in early 1991 to make a difference in the lives of orphaned bears.

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. Volunteers work diligently improving the facility to provide the best possible care for each bear needing a new lease on life.



Valentine’s Hike at Seven Islands State Birding Park

February 14, 2019 

5:45 pm – 7:15 pm

Seven Islands is for lovers this Valentine’s Day with a sunset hike up the Hickory Ridge Trail.
Lace up your boots, grab your significant other and enjoy the romance of one of Mother Nature’s most precious gifts with this rare event.

This hike will be moderately strenuous, gaining almost 300 feet in elevation in .6 miles. Hikers are urged to bring cameras as the trail offers opportunities for amazing photos. Seven Islands, which closes at sunset, is offering visitors a rare chance to visit after hours. A beautiful Valentine’s Day sunset at Seven Islands is a must share with your special someone.

Closed toe shoes and weather appropriate attire are recommended. This out-and-back hike begins at the park entrance Bluebird Barn and is approximately 1.2 miles in length.

Pre-registration is required and costs $5.00. To register visit Seven Islands.

Seven Islands State Birding Park is located at 2809 Kelly Lane
Kodak, TN 37764. For more information or questions call (865) 407-8335.




Smoky Mountain Visitors Centers Open MLK Weekend

Smoky Mountain visitors centers open for MLK holiday weekend

Smoky Mountain visitors centers open for MLK holiday weekend

Smoky Mountain Visitors Centers Open MLK Weekend. Friends of the Smokies will temporarily fund the reopening of Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, Tenn., and Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, N.C., Friday through Monday, Jan. 18-21, 2019.

Visitation to the park usually increases during these dates due to the Martin Luther King, Jr.  holiday. Both visitor centers will be open Friday 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Following the closure Monday evening, the two visitor centers will again close until federal funding is restored and the park fully reopens.

We are proud to commit funding for the visitor centers and restrooms to reopen during the holiday weekend in order for rangers to provide a safe and enjoyable visitor experience,” Friends of the Smokies Executive Director Tim Chandler said. “Any opportunity to work with our partners to preserve and protect America’s most-visited national park is a welcome one, and Friends of the Smokies stands at the ready to provide further support.

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Ober Gatlinburg Winter Events Take The Chill Off

Ober Gatlinburg winter fun! Photo credit - Knox News Sentinel

Ober Gatlinburg winter fun! Photo credit – Knox News Sentinel

Ober Gatlinburg Winter Events Take The Chill Off. Get geared up for four great winter events at everyone’s favorite Gatlinburg ski destination. There is fun for the entire family this winter in the Smoky Mountains.

Ober Rocks

Ober Rocks throwback event presented by 103.5 WIMZ! Friday, January 25th, 2019 Ober Gatlinburg hosts the Ober Rocks Ski Session from 8pm-Midnight! Live Music will be played in the Lounge with DJ Slopeside laying down the beat and Pepper Palace will spice things up with a HOT WING EATING contest! Event sponsor Sierra Nevada will  cool your buds with traditional ales and lagers.

This rocking night is affordable for all!

$10.35 Ski Area Lift Ticket (8pm-MIDNIGHT!)
$10.35 Lesson
$10.35 Rentals
9pm Snow Tubing Session (tubing session will only be available if conditions are favorable.  Tickets will be sold on-site only $25/per person).

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