Hotel At a Glance: Highland Manor Inn
The Highland Manor Inn is a two-minute drive from a peaceful entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and it provides a comfy place to call home as you explore this natural wonder. Innkeepers Don and Sandy Headrick have operated the inn for 33 years and have given it several homey touches, from baking in-house muffins to loaning coffee pots if you’d like to make coffee in your room.
- Dig in to the free continental breakfast, which includes homemade muffins, bagels, cereals, pastries, juice, and coffee
- Stroll the grounds and admire the view of the Great Smoky Mountains from the gazebo
- Hang out on your private terrace or balcony and watch the sun come up
- Things to do: Head to the nearby river for kayaking and tubing, go horseback riding at Cades Cove Stables, or delve underground at Tuckaleechee Caverns.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park is 2 miles from the inn
- Distance to Gatlinburg: You’re just 22 miles from the Smokies’ popular tourist town.
Townsend, Tennessee: Peaceful Entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains
Townsend’s nickname is “The Peaceful Side of the Smokies.” This tiny town (population 244!) in eastern Tennessee has the least-busy entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with more than 500,000 acres of protected forests, hiking trails, and picturesque streams. Here, you’ll find none of the kitsch and tourist-geared trappings of Gatlinburg, another of the park’s main entrances. Instead, you’ll find a few local restaurants and stunning mountain views at every turn.
Head to the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend, a museum that documents the area’s history, to see a hand-built log cabin and Native American artifacts, as well as shows at the outdoor theater. For more of a local look, visit the Little River Railroad and Lumber Museum, where you can see the history of the area in action, and includes indoor and outdoor exhibits. If you’re in the mood to get out of town, Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s country theme park, is less than an hour’s drive away in Pigeon Forge.
Book a spring break trip for the chance to win a second trip!