By Darryl Payne
Posted on August 18, 2010
In the Smoky Mountains, hayrides are as much a part of fall as pumpkins, arts and crafts, and the changing of the leaves. An autumn tradition for centuries, countless kids and adults look forward with great anticipation to the coming of fall so they can participate in this time-honored activity. Why? Because hayrides are more than just sitting atop dried grass while you're pulled along a dusty, dirt road. Like a country version of a New York City carriage ride through Central Park, hayrides offer a time to snuggle close, enjoy the outdoor scenery, chat and have some fun.
The peak time for hayrides is between September and December. While the history of how hayrides started is uncertain, it's easy to guess that it had something to do with harvesting the hay during fall. You might imagine a group of kids playing around on a hay-loaded wagon and begging their father, "Oh pleeeeease take us for a ride!" The requests have never stopped coming.
While some organized hayrides are first come first served, others require advanced reservations. Since they are usually inexpensive, and sure to be a hit with all ages, make a point to include a hayride when you visit the Smoky Mountains. Plan early so you don't miss out on all the fun!
Try a relaxing hayride by night, with or without Park Ranger narration, through Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains. One of the most popular spots to visit in the Smokies, Cades Cove has turkey, fox and an abundance of deer as well as historic buildings that date back to the late 19th century. Dress warmly and bring your flashlight because these hayrides are approximately two hours long.
A tractor-drawn hayride on a wooden wagon makes for a unique twist on this old custom. Several tractor-drawn hayrides in the area will take you along side beautiful creeks and through mountain valleys. What a stunning site!
Horse-drawn hayrides are the originals dating back far before the invention of tractors or trucks. The hooves of the horses clip-clop down the road as you feel a chill on the end of your nose. The event is like something from a Courier and Ives print! As your carriage driver pulls you along, you get the privilege of taking in the gorgeous scenery. The slower pace has a calming effect on most people as they soak in the tranquility of the surrounding mountains.
Extras and Add-Ons
You can often find little extras or add-ons to make the experience more memorable. If you've worked up an appetite, try one of the restaurants or tearooms along the way. Some hayrides offer delicious picnics in the countryside. Bonfires (available through some hayrides with advanced notice) are perfect for warming yourself and are a fabulous way to add to your experience.
Looking for a fun-filled family adventure? Searching for something unique to do for a reunion, church event or office party? What about a romantic afternoon with that special someone? Whether you need a novel idea for a birthday party or a memorable activity for your anniversary, this old southern tradition will be appreciated. With so many varieties, hayrides in the Smoky Mountains are great solutions for all these occasions. Make memories that won't soon be forgotten by planning your trip now.
About Darryl Payne
Darryl Payne is a native of East Tennessee in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. He is a web developer with a passion for building great websites. As a local, he can offer a unique perspective on where to stay and things to do while on vacation in the Smokies. To read his latest recommendations, please click the Google+ follow button.