Smoky Mountain Communities Honor and Celebrate America’s Veterans

Smoky Mountain Communities Honor and Celebrate America’s Veterans. And it’s not only on Veterans Day either; our patriotic communities roll out the red carpet just about all year long for our nation’s heroes. Even though the City of Pigeon Forge just finished their month-long “Celebrate Freedom” event in August, many businesses continue to offer military discounts, veterans discounts, and first-responder discounts throughout the year.


Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, Great Smoky Mountains. Photo credit: Romantic Asheville, NC

Be sure to ask when you’re booking your hotel, condo, or cabin because chances are that they will offer a military discount. The same goes for area attractions and even restaurants too. When we said our communities roll out the red carpet, we weren’t kidding! Below are some special activities planned for Veterans Day in November, but first…

Check out our video of the Welcome Home Veterans Parade in Pigeon Forge. It’s a bit long at 4 minutes we know; however, trust us when we say it took that long to pack in all the wonderful hometown patriotism of which The City of Pigeon Forge so proudly displays!

Veterans Day Activities in the Smoky Mountains: Honoring America’s Heroes on November 11, 2015

Gatlinburg Veterans Day Celebration
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.
The Veterans Day National Committee and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recognize this ceremony as an official Regional Site for the Observance of Veterans Day. This remarkable event is full of touching tributes and patriotic music. The public is encouraged to attend this free event.

Sevier County Veterans Day Program
Sevier County Courthouse
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.
In beautiful downtown Sevierville, join local and state government dignitaries for a patriotic salute for America’s heroes.

Gatlinburg Winter Magic Kickoff & Chili Cookoff
Downtown Gatlinburg Parkway
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
For 26 years, visitors and locals have grabbed their spoons and headed to the Parkway for the City of Gatlinburg’s annual Chili Cookoff.  Eat your way through bowls of homemade chili in a variety of creative recipes and vote for your favorites! Then as the sky darkens, Gatlinburg’s 3 million lights turn it into a winter wonderland for the holidays. Tickets will be on sale at the event.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad FREE Ride for Veterans
Bryson City, North Carolina
Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7, 2015
A special offer for all veterans and active military to ride for free onboard Great Smoky Mountain Railroad’s Tuckasegee Excursion in any class of service! This special offer is for phone reservations only, so call 800-872-4681 and mention the promo code: veterans. For more information, visit

Dollywood and Dolly’s Splash Country offer a 30% discount on one-day admission tickets for retired or U.S. active military, disabled veterans, military reservists, spouses and dependents. Visit Dollywood Military Discount for details.
Thank you to all veterans for your bravery, service and sacrifice.  We appreciate you every day in the Smokies!

Rocky Top Wine Trail To Release “Pink” at STOMP OUT Breast Cancer Event on October 17 at Hillside Winery


Rocky Top Wine Trail To Release “Pink” at the 7th Annual STOMP OUT Breast Cancer Event on Saturday, October 17, 2015 at Hillside Winery in Sevierville.

In support of American Cancer Society’s Sevier County Relay for Life each of the 5 wineries of the Rocky Top Wine Trail are unveiling a limited supply of “Pink” with $5 from the purchase of each bottle going to help fund cancer research.

And to kick (or should we say stomp) it all off is the 7th Annual STOMP OUT Breast Cancer Walk. All the fun beginstomp-out-cancer-logo-hillside-winery-heysmokiess at 9:00 a.m. at Hillside Winery, then you’ll head over to Apple Barn Winery and Mountain Valley Winery, and finally back to Hillside Winery to wraps things up around 3:00 p.m. Each stop on walking trail offers loads of fun activities including a good ol’ Lucy and Ethel-style grape stomp at Mountain Valley Winery! A one-of-a-kind photo opp for sure!

Tickets for the event are $25 per person and include lunch and a water bottle, a goody-filled backpack, and your own Rocky Top Wine Trail commemorative wine glass. Tickets can be purchased at Hillside Winery by calling 865-389-9490 or emailing

This year’s goal is $25,000 making Rocky Top Wine Trail’s total donations for the past 7 years of hosting this event a whopping $100,000! Be sure to check out STOMP OUT Breast Cancer on Facebook!


Artist Pinkie Mistry sharing a laugh with her son Nathan.

This year’s “Pink” wine labels were specially created and designed by local artist Pinkie Mistry. “Just like every woman, every wine has its own character ranging from playful to complex,” says the Sevierville artist and graphic designer.

Pinkie’s beautiful muses celebrate and pay homage to all women reminding them to love, to hope and to live with passion and purpose.

Celebrate Oktoberfest at Ober Gatlinburg September 25th through November 1st!

oktoberfest-at-ober-heysmokiesCelebrate Oktoberfest at Ober Gatlinburg from September 25th through November 1st, 2015!

It’s all things Bavarian at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and Amusement Park during their Annual Oktoberfest bash as they honor the heritage and traditions that began in Munich, Germany long ago.

Enjoy a scenic ride to the top of Ski Mountain via Ober’s Aerial Tramway for all the daily Oktoberfest fun and outdoor games. You can drive up to the top; however, we highly recommend boarding the iconic, green gondolas for one-of-a-kind views of the Smoky Mountains and the town of Gatlinburg.

Every day during the festival, the whole family can enjoy a great meal of authentic German sausages, schnitzels, strudels and more! And there will be live entertainment by the Bavarian Fun Makers Oompah Band. Showtimes are at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Sing and dance along and give us your best yodel! Seating is 30 minutes prior to showtime.

Raise a mug and toast friends and family, who are 21 years and older, at the Outdoor Bier Garten Thursday through Sunday during Oktoberfest! Ober Gatlinburg is offering a special selection of Oktoberfest ales and German wines during the celebration.

Grab your lederhosen and have some fun Bavarian-style at Ober Gatlinburg this season! Be sure to check out their brand-new Ski Mountain Coaster and Wildlife Encounter exhibit. And be sure to make time to enjoy Ober’s tried-and-true favorites like the Alpine Slide, indoor Ice Skating Rink, and Scenic Chairlift.

For more information on Oktoberfest, visit Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort & Amusement Park or call 800-251-9202.

The Mississippi McGirlies Got HeySmokies Spirit!

The Mississippi McGirlies got HeySmokies Spirit! Yes they do! Check out this adorable video from some young fans from Mississippi who love the Great Smoky Mountains!


The Mississippi McGirlies are well-traveled kids and want to offer some recommendations for your next trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. Highly recommended are all the roller coasters at Dollywood, the ropes course at The Island in Pigeon Forge, and a fun family dinner at Dick’s Last Resort. The McGirlies also recommend a stay at RiverStone Resort & Spa; they’ve got that awesome lazy river. So, there you go. Now what fun things are you going to do on your next trip to the Great Smoky Mountains?

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Smoky Mountain Field School Celebrates 38 Years of Educational Adventures!


Smoky Mountain Field School staff and students at LeConte Lodge on June 20, 2015.

The Smoky Mountain Field School Celebrates 38 Years of Educational Adventures in 2015! Which exciting adventure are you going to claim as your own this year? Here’s just a few of the many popular programs along with some brand-new workshops and activities that you’ll want to check out!

The University of Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park came together in 1977 to form the highly successful Smoky Mountain Field School. High-quality weekend workshops, hikes and other adventures are taught by UT professors, naturalists, and other experts at many locations in and around the National Park. Courses are considered non-credit personal development.

Saturday, August 15, 2015 @ 9:30 amsmoky-mountain-field-school-logo-heysmokies
The Calderwood History Tour with Bill Landry
Join the host of the Emmy award-winning Heartland Series, Bill Landry as he takes you on the “Dragon Tour” of scenic Highway 129 visiting Chilhowee, Abrahms Creek, Tallassee, and Calderwood. Not a lot hiking on this tour, but you can bet there’ll be a whole lot of gabbing! Bring a sack lunch and enjoy the day exploring the ways and sayings of southern Appalachia with the Smokies’ favorite storyteller. (Cost $79)

Saturday, August 29, 2015 @ 10:00 am
Care and Release of Orphaned and Injured Bear Cubs with Coy Blair
Coy Blair, biologist with Appalachian Bear Rescue, shares the rehabilitation process for orphaned and injured black bears. Blair shares the mission of the organization, safety and veterinary care, work-up techniques, and stories of successful releases into the wilderness. (Cost $79)

Saturday, September 12, 2015
Understanding the Black Bear with Joel Zachry
Zachry is a biologist and author of Bears We’ve Met – Short Stories of Close Encounters. Additionally, he’s spent time guiding hikes in Alaska’s black and brown bear country. This course offers you the opportunity to learn about black bear habitat and life in the Smoky Mountains. Class includes an easy-to-moderate hike to explore den sites, foods and other interesting facts about the elusive black bear. (Cost $79)

Saturday, September 15, 2015 @ 9:30 am
Cades Cove History Tour with Bill Landry
Spend another delightful day with Bill Landry, the popular author of Appalachian Tales & Heartland Adventures, in beautiful Cades Cove. Landry will spin tales of the original settlers, bringing them to life in the telling of their early adventures in the mountains. Pack a lunch and get ready for a little walking and talking with a historian and master storyteller. (Cost $79)


Saturday, October 17, 2015 @ 10:00 am
Bears of Our Smokies with Joey Holt
It’s seems that everyone this year has gone “bear crazy” so the Smoky Mountain Field School is meeting our need for all things bears with another informative course taught by expert outdoorsman Joey Holt. As a board member of Appalachian Bear Rescue, Holt has a unique knowledge of bears in the Great Smoky Mountains. Join him for a beautiful autumn hike to learn how to identify bear tracks and trails, and other often overlooked signs. (Cost $79)

Saturday, October 31, 2015 @ 9:00 am
Mt. LeConte Hike and Overnight in the Lodge with Arthur “Butch” McDade & Brad Knight
Historic LeConte Lodge is the only lodging available in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and has been a popular destination for hikers and backpackers since the 1920’s. At 6,000 feet in elevation the five-mile hike is strenuous, but you’ll enjoy the rustic accommodations and hearty meals at the Lodge. Instuctor “Butch” McDade is a 30 year veteran of the National Park Service and author of two books, The Natural Arches of the Big South Fork and Old Smoky Mountain Days. Brad Knight is an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, naturalist, and founder of Join them for an unforgettable experience on the mountain. (Cost $195)

For a complete list of available 2015 Courses, visit Smoky Mountain Field School. For more information on the Smoky Mountain Field School, email or call 865-974-0150.

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