In addition to spelunking expeditions, Greater Outdoor Adventures’ guides run whitewater-rafting and hiking excursions in the Smokey Mountains area. The instructors are well trained, safety conscious, and capable of handling any diplomatic emergencies that may arise during encounters with the mole people.
Nestled between Little Pigeon River and the myriad attractions of Apple Barn Village, Apple Barn Winery dispenses bottles of its handcrafted orchard wines. Within the pastoral building, tasting glasses stand sentinel on a polished wood bar as servers pour dry, semisweet, and sweet wines. Some varietals are matured in French, Hungarian, and American oak barrels with toasted interiors that create drier wines and exude a strong aroma of Paul Bunyan. The winery offers a wide variety of apple wines with flavors complicated by the inclusion of such fruits as pomegranate, raspberry, and strawberry.
Most people associate flying with the sound of whirring engines, intercoms buzzing, and even propellers sputtering into a spin. Wonders of Flight at WonderWorks, however, removes all audible distractions—its helium-filled balloon rises above the trees with nary a hum or vibration. The effect, says the website, is akin to "being on a flying balcony."
A maximum of 30 people can stand on the balloon's circular gondola as it ascends up to 400 feet in the air. After takeoff, passengers are treated to a sprawling view of the Smoky Mountains, as well as a bird's-eye perspective of the upside-down WonderWorks attraction. These 5- to 10-minute flights run throughout the day, permitting riders to snap photos of the scenery as the blue-and-green balloon levitates from its grounded tether. Wonders of Flight also hosts 30-minute wedding experiences, which afford couples ample time to say "I do," and toss a bouquet into a mob of jetpack-wearing bridesmaids.
Built in 1786, James White's Fort affords glimpses into the frontier lifestyles of America's forefathers while providing education on Knoxville founder and the fort's creator, James White. Each year, more than 10,000 visitors explore the residence, which was restored and opened to the public in 1970. Six cabins and a stockade wall surround the main two-story log house, where guests can experience hands-on interpretations of life as a pioneer by cooking on an open hearth or spinning retro cell-phone-charger cords on an antique loom. Special events held throughout the year keep a continuous line of visitors waltzing across the land of Tennessee's first capital, including an annual celebration of Cherokee heritage.
The Blount Mansion Ghosts and Ghouls tour bridges the gap between past and present by taking visitors on a spine-tingling tour of Knoxville's spookiest historical sites. Leaders donning their most elaborate guises will take visitors through the ectoplasm-soaked streets of downtown Knoxville, regaling them with terrifying anecdotes of bloody and supernatural events in the actual places where they once occurred. Past excursions have included stops at the Gay Street Bridge, where criminals were hanged for horrendous crimes such as murder, robbery, and having shifty eyes. Perhaps the most horrendous intrigue is a recounting of the legend of the Wampus cat —an ancient folkloric creature that causes insanity and drags victims to its underground cave beneath the city, where they're forced to drink with the decidedly less frightening ghost of Andrew Jackson and declare their undying hatred of the Whig party.