By Darryl Payne
Posted on September 25, 2014
Summer is over and the chill of fall (along with another school year) is settling in before the impending holiday rush. You deserve a break prior to the hectic Christmas season and shopping in the Smokies is just the ticket.
No matter what kind of retail therapy you and your companions need, you'll find it in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
There's nothing like a meaningful souvenir to keep your memories of the Smoky Mountains fresh for years to come. The Appalachian region, of course, is renowned for its authentic regional crafts, and you can find plenty of examples in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge during your vacation in Tennessee.
The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community is in itself a unique gathering of more than 120 artists and craftsmen from the area – in fact, this 8-mile loop represents the largest group of independent artisans in the United States.
This thriving, year-round art community gives you a firsthand look at the kinds of objects typical of Appalachian folk art. Artisans display the skills handed down for generations as they whittle, carve, paint, sew and sculpt all manner of collectible items: hand-dipped candles, one-of-a-kind quilts, dolls, brooms, pottery, stained glass, clothing and much more.
The kids will be entranced by the authentic homemade candy on display, and the entire family can partake in refreshments at the community's soda fountains, cafes, restaurants and tearooms that each expresses the character of the Great Smoky Mountains.
The Gatlinburg Craftsmen's Fair combines art and folk music to entertain the entire family. Two specialty fairs – one in summer, one in fall – attract visitors and locals alike to enjoy the offerings of artists from around the U.S. The next fall fair, October 9-26, 2014, is open daily, with children under 12 admitted free. This year's fair features a host of country, gospel and bluegrass music shows along with the arts and crafts, so there's truly entertainment for everyone.
Sometimes it's relaxing just to get away from the outdoor life and take a stroll through a mall. Retail therapy in the Smoky Mountains includes a selection of retail and outlet malls around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, where a host of name-brand stores provides the ideal opportunity to pick up a real deal.
No matter what time of year you visit the Smoky Mountains, it's always a good time to check out the specialty Christmas stores. The holiday-themed shops of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge aim to put you in the spirit of an old-fashioned Appalachian Christmas with gifts to fill every stocking.
Pack Your (Shopping) Bags
Smoky Mountain shopping reflects the area's strong, proud history as well as a nod to today's consumer. Find what you're looking for ... or something you never expected ... during your trip to the Smokies.
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.