Gatlinburg NOW

Gatlinburg News, Opinion, and Wonder


August 2015

Money Saving Tips In Town

Millions of people visit Gatlinburg and the neighboring Great Smoky Mountains every year, so it only seems sensible to throw in some ideas on how to save money on your next trip without sacrificing your enjoyment. Here are a few tips on saving that hard earned vacation money specifically in Gatlinburg.

Ask a Volunteer

Not a real Volunteer so to speak (they have long since passed), but a volunteer at the Gatlinburg Visitors Center on the spur just before you enter the city limits. You may have your own ideas on how to save money but I guarantee you, they know the best places to eat, stay, shop, and hike, and they will be able to answer any questions you have about the area. If you’re interested they will probably give you a history lesson in the process. Yes, it’s free.

Coupons! Coupons Everywhere!

Once you set out for your walk in Gatlinburg, I don’t believe you can walk more than a hundred feet without finding a stand with books of coupons inside for activities, eateries, and shopping. I would advise you not to make eye contact with timeshare people who like to pop out of hidden spots or hollers on the Parkway with their own books of coupons. I would even bet money that you will find a welcome share at the hotel you’re staying at in town.

Skip a Lunch, Sample the Fudge

Ok, so it doesn’t quite rhyme, sue me. But really, after a hearty breakfast, you may not feel like lunch. That’s quite alright, because there are shops and stands in town where you can sample the many varieties of eats on the Parkway. There are a handful of fudge shops, for example, that can serve as a nice stop-gap until your next meal. Come to think of it, I think I may have an idea for my next blog post. Stay tuned.



Spotlight: Fannie Farkle’s

We had been to Gatlinburg five times before walking into Fannie Farkle’s located right on the Parkway. This year was our first time in this little arcade place, but we are planning on a return trip next year.

The smells almost brought us in countless times before with their sausages and footlong corndogs grilled right at the front, which begs you to try their food, even if you’re filled up from the many samples available in different shops on the Parkway, or you’re stuffed from the many fantastic breakfast/pancake restaurants nearby.

I went to Arcadia, located underneath the space needle, with my son last year, but I figured we would try out some games in the much smaller Fannie Farkle’s arcade. Most of the games at Arcadia are worth just one token, and they count tickets which go toward prizes located by the counter. Fannie Farkle’s have more games that take either 2 or 4 tokens to play, but each ticket won counts as 5 points toward a prize. The games worth 4 tokens offer more tickets/points to win.

The games are simply addicting, and my wife and I were trying our best to win something big  for our son. I don’t know how much we spent but I am sure it was more than what we budgeted. After a lot of discussions we finally got him a nice 7 in 1 tabletop sports game.

The crowning glory was their footlong corndogs which are very good, and I am not a corndog fan. My son probably could have ate it all, but i had to steal a few bites, because you can’t eat just one (bite that is). It was well worth the 5 dollars and change it cost. Next year I will definitely try their sausage subs which come loaded with peppers and onions. Yum!

Fannie Farkle’s has been a staple in Gatlinburg since 1981 and like I said, it is impossible to miss them. They open at 8 a.m. and stay open well into the evening hours. Visit them at and take a virtual tour.

New Development in the Works

This story came courtesy of WATE-TV in Knoxville last week and it features a large project in the works across from The Ripley’s Aquarium.

It’s called the Anakeesta Development project, and it is a 57 acre project with 2 acres right on the Parkway. It will include lodging and retail space with family activites featured on 55 acres on the mountain behind the location on the Parkway. What you can expect to be completed around the spring of 2017 includes a 105 room hotel and 39,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Up the mountain will include an aerial tram taking the guests to an adventure park with zip lines, canopy walks and an observation tower.

The Historic Ogle Cabin will not be a casualty, however it will be moved to another location on the Parkway.

This project is sure to be a hot button topic with the locals, but they have been seeing this for some time now, and while change is not always welcome, it is a sign that tourism is still buzzing and should take nothing away from the beauty of the area.

Spotlight: Best Breakfast in Town

Its official. There’s is a new king of breakfast in town, and they were crowned after our most recent visit this year.

Congrats to Crockett’s Breakfast Camp. In June we made our second trip here and we are all convinced that this is the real deal in an area with seemingly limitless pancake places.

First let me say that prices are very reasonable for the amount of food that is served. Last year I ordered the Black Bear skillet which comes in a large 12 inch skillet filled with bacon hash browns, sausage, 2 farm fresh eggs, a large cathead biscuit, Aretha’s one inch thick pancake, and a bowl of fresh fruit all for just $13.95. Believe me, do not try this on your own. I knew this going in so I shared it with my son, and I still don’t believe we finished it.

This year I tried the Waffle of Insane Greatness with blueberries. Oh my, is the waffle big but the biggest surprise are the blueberries. They come not in a syrupy goo on the waffles, but fresh in a separate bowl that you can put on them. So, so good and just $6.49.

The menu is varied with standard omelettes and french toast, but they also feature mexican influenced scramblers and eggs benedict.

They are currently the second ranked restaurant in Gatlinburg on Trip Advisor. I am not the only one that thinks very highly of this relatively new kid in town. Go to to see all that they have.

Best Pizza in Town

I am somewhat of an aficionado when it comes to pizza and the Best Italian in Elks plaza takes the top spot in all honesty. To start we always order the garlic rolls, which are covered in olive oil, garlic and parmesan. We were told some customers use the remnants of the oil at the bottom of the basket on their pizza, but the pizza doesn’t need anything else. It’s a New York style with just the right amount of seasoning in the sauce and on the cheese. You know a pizza is good when no one ingredient stands out and everything blends together perfectly like this one does. I can’t speak for the calzones, which I have heard are also top notch, nor the rest of the standard Italian dishes, but there is no question where you should stop when the pizza cravings hit.

Go to their website at They also have another location on the parkway that’s easier to spot, but we recommend the original location here.



It was the summer of 2010. My wife and I were starving for a new vacation experience and walked into our local AAA office to get some ideas. I glanced over at the brochures and found one that featured the iconic Dolly Parton on the cover promoting her hometown Sevierville, Tennessee. Needless to say, we walked out of the office that day confident that we were going to plan on going to the Great Smoky Mountains in 2011.

Fast forward to June 2011. We made our very first visit to the east Tennessee mountains, thus beginning our love affair with the town of Gatlinburg, a picturesque town nestled in the mountains. Our plan was to only stay 3 nights, but we wanted to squeeze as many activities in as we could, since we weren’t fully convinced we would be back next year. So another night was booked and we made the most of our trip. By the time we made it back home, we were already planning for next year’s trip. In the four years since we made the first six and a half hour trip down south, we have been here six times and feel like now we can give solid, credible advice on things to see, places to eat, stores to shop, and hikes to take in the Smoky Mountains.

This site will be designed to bring the latest news, opinions, and information on the Smoky Mountains as they relate to Gatlinburg only. That’s not to say that I dislike Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. I feel like there is more than enough info on Gatlinburg alone that will keep me busy enough with the site, so I will focus my attention exclusively with the place we stay every year. I will hopefully be able to provide daily updates but that may not be possible. I want to make this site the best I can make it. I know that the passion and the enjoyment is there and I hope you the visitor enjoy it as much as I do.

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