Posh Mountainside Cabins in Gatlinburg’s Historical Arts-and-Crafts Community
In 1937, a small group of artisans started welcoming tourists into their modest log homes in the Great Smoky Mountains so the out-of-towners could watch them hand-carve wood, spin yarn, and practice other traditional handicrafts. The tiny community grew quickly, and as more artists began working there, more people came to watch them work. Eventually, Gatlinburg’s artists’ loop became an 8-mile-long arts-and-crafts haven for weavers, whittlers, and glass blowers. Elk Springs Resort sits in the midst of this creative hub. It’s a private 68-acre estate dotted with luxury log cabins, which offer both rustic decor and contemporary amenities. It’s also a picturesque home base for visitors here to explore Great Smoky Mountain National Park or to go skiing at one of the nearby ski resorts.
The one-, two-, three-, four-, and five-bedroom cabins each sleep at least four guests. Choose a five-bedroom cabin for the most space, with room for up to 14 guests. Furnishings nod to the resort’s native cedars and hemlocks with woodsy accents such as hardwood floors and bed frames made from finished tree branches. In the two-bedroom Snuggled Inn cabin, a 28-foot wall of windows offers expansive views of the forest and a hot tub adds a dash of romance. The four-bedroom Creeksong cabin has a screened-in porch and sits at the front of a large trout stream that winds through the Great Smoky Mountains.
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.