Hotel at a Glance: Sidney James Mountain Lodge
Like its peak-lined surroundings, the Sidney James Mountain Lodge has something for every season. Warm-weather days can be spent at the two outdoor pools—and their poolside cafe—or within the adjacent Great Smoky Mountains National Park. When it starts to get chilly, a trolley takes guests to local ski resorts.
- Accommodations: Creekside double rooms are the property’s most recent units, and feature flat-screen TVs.
- Take a dip in the heated indoor pool, or choose a Jacuzzi Suite to get a room with a hot tub.
- Break a sweat at the lodge’s exercise room and traditional sauna
- Log on to the complimentary WiFi, available in certain areas of the resort
- Mountaintop activities such as wildlife encounters and aerial tram rides await at the Ober Gatlinburg ski area and amusement park
- Touch a stingray at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, whose campus also encompasses a shark lagoon and penguin playhouse
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.