Hotel at a Glance: The Inn at Christmas Place
The holidays may be over, but guests can get into the festive spirit all year round at this Bavarian-style bed and breakfast. The elegant, half-timbered inn is tucked into the pine-fringed foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The interior is trimmed with twinkling lights, faux evergreen trees, and Santa Claus figurines, giving the place a warm glow no matter the season.
- Notable nods: Featured in Time magazine; received TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Award in 2013
- Hand-carved glockenspiel: Mounted above the lobby mantel, it chimes and puts on a whimsical music show every hour.
- Indoor pool and hot tub: open year-round
- Free homestyle breakfast: Belgian waffles, biscuits and gravy, Krispy Kreme donuts, and fresh fruit are served each morning.
- Comfy guest rooms are outfitted with the inn's signature bedding and decked out in warm colors; some have a private whirlpool and fireplace to warm you up on chilly nights.
- Stay connected with free WiFi throughout the property.
- Fitness room with treadmill, stationary bike, and elliptical
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee: Family-Friendly Attractions and Outdoor Activities in the Great Smoky Mountains
On US Route 441 in eastern Tennessee, there’s an old wooden sign at the entrance to the town of Pigeon Forge that touts the city as a "family vacation hub." Though it’s secluded in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge is home to some quirky destinations, including Dollywood, a Titanic museum that looks just like the famed ocean liner from the outside, and WonderWorks—an interactive children’s museum housed in an upside-down three-story building.
In Pigeon Forge’s historical town center, a cluster of old-fashioned specialty shops and restaurants forms the Old Mill Square along the Little Pigeon River. Inside the mill, a pair of 4,600-pound granite stones has been grinding grain since the early 1800s. Another nearby attraction is Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, located a few miles down the road in Gatlinburg. Here, exotic stingrays and four-eyed anableps swim with other sea creatures beneath a backlit waterfall. At the shark lagoon, you can stand inside an enclosed glass tunnel to get an up-close view of green eels, sand tiger sharks, and sea turtles.
If you have the time, it’s worth it to spend a least a day exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most visited national park, located roughly 10 miles south of Pigeon Forge. Here, you can hike more than 800 miles of trails that wend past waterfalls and pioneer-era log cabins tucked deep within the densely forested mountains. Or, take a bicycle ride on the 11-mile loop through Cades Cove, a broad valley known for its ample wildlife-viewing opportunities; deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and vacationing college mascots are known to frequent the open meadows. One of the best places to catch a glowing sunset is Clingmans Dome, the park’s highest point of elevation at 6,600 feet.