Expansive Lodge Surrounded by Great Smoky Mountains Woodlands
One of Tennessee’s most popular destinations, Gatlinburg is a quirky mountain town just a half mile from the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Gatlinburg Trolley runs throughout town and stops at all the major attractions, including Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, and an aerial cable-car tramway. The trolley also stops at Glenstone Lodge, located just outside of town amid rolling hills covered with ash and hickory trees.
Homey guest rooms feature flat-screen TVs and free high-speed WiFi. In the morning, head down to the Mountain Trail Cafe for breakfast.
The surrounding mountains and nearby attractions are the main draw, but there’s plenty to do at the lodge. You can hone your short game at the indoor putting green or swim a few laps in the outdoor pool. There’s also a two-level indoor pool fed by waterfalls tucked inside a tropical atrium.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee: Charming Artists’ Village amid Great Smoky Mountains
Gatlinburg rests near Tennessee’s eastern border, less than 3 miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Here, you can hike more than 100 trails that wind past waterfalls and pioneer-era log cabins tucked deep within densely forested mountains. Or, take a bicycle ride on the 11-mile loop through Cades Cove, a broad valley of open meadows where you can see deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and vacationing college mascots. Clingmans Dome, the park’s highest point of elevation at 6,643 feet, is a great place to catch the sunset.
Gatlinburg’s main attraction is probably the artists’ loop. It comprises more than 100 craft shops, studios, and cafés, and you can watch artisans as they hand weave baskets and whittle wooden figurines. Downtown Gatlinburg itself is a mountain village filled with old-fashioned ice-cream shops and boutiques selling housemade jams and decorative gewgaws.