By Darryl Payne
For the next few weeks, we’ll give you a brief overview of each of the three main cities that make up Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains. Today, we’ll focus on Gatlinburg, which is adjacent to the northern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Wedged into a narrow mountain valley, Gatlinburg existed as a remote mountain community until the formation of the park in the 1930s.
Since then, the national park and the city’s burgeoning crafts industry have gradually drawn more and more tourists to its scenic mountain location. Today, millions of visitors travel to Gatlinburg each year, many accessing the park and the nearby Sugarlands Visitors’ Center, while others go specifically to enjoy what this compact community has to offer.
There are family-friendly attractions by the score, whether you’re traveling up and down the Parkway, heading out east on U.S. Highway 321 or headed up Mountain Harrison, often commonly referred to as Ski Mountain. Gatlinburg is home to Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort as well as Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and the longest running music theater show in the Smokies.
Speaking of the aforementioned crafts, Gatlinburg’s north side is home to the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, an eight-mile auto loop featuring dozens of artists’ and crafters’ studios. And you’ll find the Arrowmont School of Art in downtown along with rows and rows of shops featuring even more arts and crafts and tourist-targeted gifts.
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.