The new year has only just begun, but it is the perfect time to start making your travel plans for the months ahead. If you are eager to kick off 2019 by paying a visit to someplace new — a spot you haven’t been to before — consider a visit to Blount County, TN. Known as the Peaceful Side of the Smokies, it is home to charming towns, all kinds of fun activities, great food, friendly people and more.
The towns “on the Peaceful Side” include Townsend, Maryville, Wears Valley, Alcoa, Friendsville and Walland, but you are also close to famous towns and cities just outside of the county, including Knoxville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
The Quiet Side Has It All
In fact, you may want to plan your visit to the larger cities using Blount County as a more peaceful, less crowded and just as appealing base. Here you find the same wide array of cabins and accommodations as you do in the more populated and touristy areas, but also you’ll find the emerging vineyard and distillery industry (including one of the best annual food and whiskey festivals in the region), and the many outdoor activities that range from hiking and horseback riding to canopy adventures and watersports.
And if you are looking for seasonal festivals and events, you may be astonished at the many cultural events that occur in this wonderful destination, too. For example, some of the items on the region’s annual calendar of events include winter and spring activities such as the:
- Winter Heritage Festival – January 25 and 26
- Sweetheart Market on February 15 and 16
- Tennessee Winter Beer Fest on February 17
- Foothills Quilters Exhibit at the Townsend Visitors Center and the Tennessee Artists Association Exhibition – March 1 to March 31
- The Pistol Ultra Run along the gorgeous Alcoa-Maryville Greenway on March 16-17
There are also substantially larger events like the exciting Scottish Festival and Games in May, as well as the Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival (also in May), the wonderful Hops in the Hills event in June, and more. You’ll find many seasonal events celebrating the arrival of autumn, and of the Christmas season, and even a Hot Air Balloon Festival that occurs at the height of summer in mid-August.
Winter in the Smokies
Yet, it is difficult to beat the pristine beauty and tranquility of the Smokies at the turn of the year. With the winter weather and the end of the Christmas season, a unique peace settles into the area. Tourism never ends, but the winter months see it decline. Yet, all of the great shops and restaurants remain open and many of the region’s attractions are still available.
With an abundance of cabins made available to travelers, it becomes the perfect winter destination for those eager to hike in the National Park or drive its wonderfully scenic roads, or for those who just want to sit in their living room and gaze out at the scenery. There is much to see and do in Blount County and you can get your year off to an amazing start by booking a visit soon.
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