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Gatlinburg News, Opinion, and Wonder

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September 2015

Gatlinburg Cabins to be Moved

A couple of weeks ago I posted a news story courtesy of WATE6 in Knoxville that mentioned a new development named the Anakeesta project that included hotels, retail, and activities. Standing in the way of this project were historical buildings, and one such building is the Martha Jane Huskey Ogle cabin, and the other was used as a health clinic.

The Ogle cabin was home to the first person who settled in Gatlinburg, Martha, and also housed her five sons, two daughters, her brother, and her husband William; he died in 1803 before he could return home after collecting his family in South Carolina.

The developers that are spearheading this new project wanted to be able to save the old buildings and have spent the past few months planning on a way to keep them intact. They made an agreement with the Sevier County School District by donating the clinic building to them and agreeing to move it to Pittman Center, which is about ten miles east of Gatlinburg. The Ogle cabin will also be saved and will be moved further down the Parkway. The first building will be moved in mid-October and the $15,000 price tag will be paid by the developers.

This is fantastic news due to the sheer sensitivity these buildings have to the community and the willingness of these developers to foot the bill and work with the area in perserving a major part of history. There will be more news of this development, and you will find the lastest news right here.

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Breakfast at Atrium Pancakes

Staying on the theme of breakfast, another option located conveniently on the Parkway is Atrium Pancakes and they serve, you guessed it, pancakes.

However, they don’t just serve pancakes, even though they have about 25 different varieties of pancakes. Their lunch is filled with options for those watching their waistlines; the grilled chicken breast is one such option that is regularly featured as a lunch special. They also have a cucumber, tomato, and onion salad on the menu marinated in their homemade Italian dressing. Now I haven’t tried their lunch menu to be completely honest, but the breakfast I have, and it features the most popular item maybe in the entire town.

The Baked Apple Pancake is a glorious monstrosity of a pancake. It’s not even fair to call it a pancake, because it’s size is more reminiscent of a cake. It is baked in a large 8 inch pan, and the inside is filled with sliced apples, and topped with a huge dollop of whipped butter. A normal person with an average stomach cannot possibly eat the whole thing in one sitting, so I would recommend sharing this. It is scratch-made in the kitchen, so it will take a little longer for it to make it out to your table, but it is well worth the extra 5-10 minutes.

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We have been here three times on our six total times on vacation in Gatlinburg, and I have to say on a final note that the service has been excellent every time, and the prices are better than reasonable. There is also plenty of free parking next door at the Crossroads motel if you are not on foot. Don’t be fooled by the exterior, this is a solid place to eat in town. We will certainly be back for trip number four soon.

Gatlinburg Brings Home Seven Awards from IFEA

ABC19 has reported that Gatlinburg has taken home seven different awards from the International Festivals and Events Association at the 20th Annual Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards in Tucson, Arizona on Monday. The Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau won for the following events: The Gatlinburg Beans and Cornbread Festival featured on Great American Country, the 39th Fantasy of Lights Parade, Gatlinburg “Nose” Christmas, and the Summer 2015 E-Newsletter. The Gatlinburg “Nose” Christmas was the most successful event for Gatlinburg, winning in three different categories.

The IFEA recognizes the best promotional campaigns and events in the world. Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, they are a sourcebook for ideas, resources, information, and education for festival professionals worldwide. Their awards ceremony featured 68 different categories, with the highest award being the Grand Pinnacle.

Once again, another organization I had never heard of has recognized Gatlinburg for what they do best; throwing a great event that entertains and draws plenty of tourist traffic. Stay tuned for more .

The Donut Friar: Real. Good. Doughnuts.

Sure there are plenty of places to eat breakfast in town, but if you don’t want a big breakfast, a perfect alternative is The Donut Friar located in The Village.

The Donut Friar opens early. Real early. Try 5 in the morning when most shop employees and tourists are still in bed. They have provided tourists and locals with fresh doughnuts here since 1969 and are showing no signs of slowing down. It is a small bakery tucked away in The Village by the fountain, but they manage to have a few tables inside with some seating upstairs as well. They also have mugs which I could not resist buying one on our first trip in 2011.

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Of course, you need to try their doughnuts. In my opinion, they stand as the second best doughnuts I have ever eaten, and I’ve had my fair share over the years. They offer the standard glazed, along with several different cake doughnuts, cinnamon twists, and powdered sugar with cream and fruit fillings. The Donut Friar also bakes cookies that are quite tasty as well. My absolute favorite is the cinnamon cake donut that is not only a party in my mouth, but easy on the wallet. Most of the pastries cost just pennies over a dollar. The most expensive I believe is The Friar’s Special which is a chocolate-iced doughnut with vanilla cream filling on the inside, and a vanilla cream smiley face on top. They also make cinnamon bread, which is my wife’s favorite. Sometimes they run out, since availability is limited due to its popularity.

One final note about The Donut Friar is that they are a cash only establishment. This is never a problem for us since we always take cash with us when we are out and about in town, but for those who aren’t aware of this fact, it can be an inconvenience; especially in the 21st century. They do have an ATM inside for those who don’t have cash, and yes, there is a small fee.

Overall, this one of the places you must visit in Gatlinburg. Most visitors do agree with me that these doughnuts are probably the best you’ll find in the Smoky Mountains, so get up early and stop in for a tasty treat.

Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival Starts Next Week

As my neighborhood Fall Festival gets underway, I am reminded that there is another Festival in Gatlinburg that ushers in the Fall season.

The Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival kicks off its 6th year on September 25th and runs through November 2nd. It features Bavarian-style food, indoor and outdoor bier gartens, music and live entertainment with multiple shows performed daily. The Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram is a fan-favorite at any time during the year, but with the spectacular fall colors, it becomes an even greater draw.

Another highlight of the season is the Gatlinburg Craftmen’s Fair, and it kicks off on October 8th and ends on October 25th. This is being held downtown at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, and features more than 200 booths of homemade arts and crafts made from top artisans from throughout the United States. As a visitor, you can shop, talk to the working craftsmen, and enjoy live bluegrass and country music.

The 17th Annual Ripley’s Haunted Adventure has Fright Nights each weekend through October. The Ripley’s Aquarium on Halloween night features games, inflatables, candy, and costumed characters during the Trick or Treat Kickoff Carnival on the Aquarium Plaza.

These events are just a few of the many reasons why visitors should and will flock to the Smoky Mountains every year. Downtown Gatlinburg will be adorned with lavish Fall decorations during this time period, and when you combine it with great food, music, and the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains, vacationers are sure to have memories that will last a lifetime.

I simply cannot wait to take my turn in joining the large crowds to see these fantastic sights, sounds, and smells of the Autumn in the Smokies. We are crossing our fingers for a trip next year if a spontaneous trip is not in the cards this year. Not too spontaneous for the obvious reasons of booking a hotel when most fill up pretty quick.

All the credit for this post goes to The Gatlinburg Daily Post online news magazine

Get Your Shine On At Sugarlands

Whether you like it or not, moonshine distilleries aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Legal moonshine is a thing now being sold in stores nationwide, and it is big business now with major players right here in Gatlinburg. One of these players is Sugarlands Distilling Co., and despite them being a relative newcomer to the scene, word is quickly spreading about the quality of shine they are producing.

First, let me talk about my experience at Sugarlands. The aroma of the distillation process hits you before you walk in the building. Upon entering, one will find hundreds of moonshine jars of the nine flavors of moonshine they offer, in addition to the many pieces of merchandise for sale, including T-shirts, koozies, hats caps, and posters among other items. They also feature live music several days a week on their “back porch”, which features mostly bluegrass artists, but at times, invites artists with various styles ranging from blues to folk pop.

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The best part of the experience is of course the free tastings, and who doesn’t like free stuff, especially when it loosens up the inhibitions a bit. There are three roundtables set up inside, and each one is normally tended by a “tastemaker”, who will check your ID, and wait for a group of people to arrive before serving free samples. These “tastemakers” are hired because they love the product, and know how to entertain and talk to groups of people. Jason was our guy when had our samples, and not only was he funny, he also gave some advice on making mixes and cocktails with a particular type of moonshine.

Despite opening their Gatlinburg location in 2014, Sugarlands has teamed up with the fellas from the TV show “Moonshiners” to help sell their product. The cool part is these guys aren’t just a face for the company. They regularly show up for signing events sponsored by Sugarlands, and they even come to Gatlinburg occasionally to assist the distillers with their recipe, as their faces are on several of the labels.

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We have tried the other moonshine shops in town, but Sugarlands has developed a winning formula that has us only buying their brand over the competition. We bought 3 jars on our last trip, and if you want more insight on their fabulous product, visit their website. It features everything you want to know about them, in addition to an online store.

One final note: our favorite is Butterscotch Gold even though we didn’t buy it this year. But there is always next year, or sooner if they start selling it in our home state.

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