Thank you Visit Gatlinburg for sponsoring this post. The mountains are calling! Plan your own Gatlinburg adventure today.
I’ve been trying more and more to plan EXPERIENCES this year. This means more travel, which I am not complaining about. I love traveling. Whether it’s a girls weekend away, a family vacation, or a quick night out with my husband- I love it all. Now that we are back in the Southeast, the driveable weekend destination options have really opened up. We are lucky to be within driving distance of the coastal beaches and the mountains. Living a little north of Atlanta, we are just a short drive from Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Gatlinburg is a quaint town at the heart of the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.
Since we rarely have time alone, Tyler and I decided to make the trip- just us- for a quick 24 hours away. Luckily, Tyler’s mom is nearby and was happy to keep the kiddos for the night! The drive from Atlanta was absolutely gorgeous, as it took us through the foothills up into the mountains of North Georgia and Tennessee. Rushing river rapids and small waterfalls were to our left and right as we drove the windy mountain roads. It was like something out of a movie!
We arrived in Gatlinburg at lunch time on a Saturday. The weather was foggy, rainy, and cold- so we ate some lunch and checked into our hotel. We stayed at a local hotel where we had a king room with our own fireplace and a balcony overlooking the river.
It was a great spot to relax and warm up. After resting a bit and freshening up, we checked out the main strip where we visited the Guinness Book of World Records experience, Earthquake The Ride, and enjoyed the surrounding shops.
Tip: downloading the Gatlinburg App made planning a lot easier!
That night, we enjoyed dinner at the historic Greenbrier Restaurant. The Greenbrier is actually a log cabin that was originally a lodge in the 1930s, nestled in the hills just outside town. We had local river trout and the prime rib. Both were delicious!
Even though it was raining, we decided to take advantage of the new Rowdy Bear Coaster, a gravity mountain coaster near our hotel. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have caught the Instagram Stories showing our “ride”! It was super fun and I highly recommend it (even at night in the rain).
The next morning we HAD to have breakfast at Pancake Pantry. Several people had recommended it to us and we had seen the long lines there the day before, which is a sure sign of greatness. It did not disappoint! We ordered several things off the menu and tried them all. Tyler’s favorite was the pigs in a blanket and mine was the peach crepes.
We grabbed some coffee and did a little more strolling downtown at The Village while we waited to head up the mountain.
Although the downtown area is cute, I was anxious to get up higher in the mountains to enjoy the crisp air and gorgeous views.
Gatlinburg has the perfect place for this very thing: Anakeesta. Anakeesta is just a year old and is a mountain village “theme park” that overlooks The Smokies and the town of Gatlinburg. To get to Anakeesta, you must ride the Chondola or chairlift. Because of the cold, we opted for the enclosed Chondola. The 10-minute Chondola ride was absolutely gorgeous. It had snowed overnight in the higher elevations of town, so we slowly climbed the side of the mountain to come upon hundreds of beautifully flocked trees.
At the top, is the most adorable little mountain village you have ever seen. Folk music is playing softly from the speakers on the grounds, a warm fire is lit and surrounded by rocking chairs, and the morning views were absolutely breathtaking. We had an appointment to zip line at 11:00, so we had about an hour to enjoy the views. (Guys, I took so many photos that I wasn’t sure how I would ever choose which ones to include here!)
Tyler had never zip lined before, so I was stoked to take him on his first adventure. We did the Dueling Zip Line Adventure. It was about an hour long and consisted of three lines. It was an adrenaline fueled, amazing time and we absolutely loved it. I highly recommend it.
After that, we walked around a little more before we headed back down the mountain to go home. I couldn’t believe how fast 24 hours flew in such a beautiful spot. There’s so much to do and see, from theme parks to arts & crafts galleries, to hiking, delicious restaurants and much more… we can’t wait to go back!
Here’s our little vlog from the trip:
Thanks for having us, Gatlinburg! See you soon.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.