If you are already looking southward as a means of escaping the winter weather, stop and reconsider. There are many places far north of the tropics that can offer you an unforgettably beautiful, relaxing and rejuvenating experience. The Smoky Mountains, for example, offer an array of towns, parks, events and such stunning natural beauty that you may book return visits for all of the other seasons! In fact, the area around Blount County is one of the most wonderful spots to visit during the winter months, as well as the rest of the year.
To prove just why you will want to experience all that the Peaceful Side of the Smokies has to offer this winter, consider these different options:
- Winterfest – Picture over five million twinkling lights reflecting from the snowy landscape and you have a good idea of why Winterfest is often viewed as one of the biggest reasons to visit the Smokies beginning in November and running into the New Year. Winterfest takes place on the other side of the Smokies – in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. But after taking in the sights and the lights, relax with a self-guided driving tour of the Peaceful Side. Spend days shopping at local businesses in quaint towns like Maryville, Townsend, and Friendsville, where boutique shopping is the focus and local artisans sell their handmade wares. Enjoy the restaurants, too. You’ll find some great Southern cooking on the Peaceful Side!
- Hike the Park – Think you cannot enjoy the trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park because it is winter? Think again! There are trails that remain open, and many ways to enjoy the scenery and the local wildlife that are not always possible in the warmer weather. Don’t forget to enjoy a slow and peaceful drive through such hot spots as Cades Cove, or look for the different waterfalls that freeze up during the winter and make for spectacular viewing.
- Hit the shops – With thinner crowds in the winter, you’ll enjoy holiday and post-holiday deals with great ease! In fact, you might wait until the holidays end and head to the different shopping areas to cash in on amazing deals and sales. Winter is a great time to visit studios and meet local artisans! Also, winter is the perfect time to hit the Parkway Antique Mall in Maryville or the Rivermill Antique Mall in Walland.
- Eating and drinking – If you hate waiting for a table at a restaurant, winter might be the perfect time to hit all of the amazing eateries in the region. Don’t forget that there are also lots of opportunities for whiskey or wine tastings over the winter season.
- Later winter – January is also when the Winter Heritage Festival occurs in Townsend. February is when the Sweetheart Market occurs at Cades Cove Cellars in Townsend, and mid-March is when the Pistol Ultra Run happens in Alcoa.
There are so many things to see and do in the winter season, and whether you take a lovely cabin in the woods or stay somewhere closer to town, you will find that you won’t have enough time to enjoy all of the wintry activities on the Peaceful Side of the Smokies.
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