Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Saving on Your Smoky Mountains Getaway


We recently returned from a trip to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area and saved big. Your primary expenses will be food, lodging and entertainment. There are plenty of places in a resort area competing for your dollar. A few will go the extra mile. We found such a place in Little Valley Mountain Resort in Sevierville/Pigeon Forge. It is a cabin rental business, which includes creatively named cabins nestled high in the mountains with breath-taking views.
 Each cabin is more than 100 meters from the next to insure optimal privacy and quiet.  Our cabin, The Dancing Bear, which was one of the smallest, had a long back porch overlooking the mountains with a swing, rockers, grill, and a hot tub. Inside in our bedroom loft was a Jacuzzi for two. Each unit includes a living room, dining area, and full bathroom. Many of the cabins are pet friendly too.

Besides being a real log cabin with an actual wood burning fireplace, these cabins are for modern families. Yes, there are land phones that you might want to use because cell service is terrible. Our cabin had two televisions with cable. We also had Wi-Fi Internet.  The cabins have anything a family or couple could need from dishes, a washer and dryer and board games.

The kitchen guarantees you’ll save money cooking at least two meals at the cabin. There is a Krogers grocery nearby where you can stock up on supplies or bring your own. We did both. There is plenty to do without even leaving the resort.
Little Valley features an outdoor pool, playground, four fishing ponds, basketball court and a sand volleyball area. There is a miniature golf course and three hole golf course. Each cabin has a DVD player and movies are available at the registration desk. The beauty of this is you can save money on entertainment and food. The place is huge so you can enjoy plenty of scenic vistas by just walking around the resort.

It also is the perfect place for a small wedding. They have a charming chapel on site and offer a wedding package for only $135. If you decide to leave the resort, head out to Smoky Mountain National Park.  It is free and there is plenty to see. Two cautions make sure you fill up on gas because the grades will eat into your mileage and have rain gear. The mountains are beautiful and misty. Pack a picnic lunch because you will be hungry and the park doesn’t have any fast food restaurants.

Want to eat with some down home charm, then, try Applewood Farmhouse Grill on Apple Valley Road at light one in Pigeon Forge. Each meal comes with apple fritters and apple butter, an apple julep, soup, entree and two sides for $15. This is the best deal you’ll get and it’s delicious. Mosey on down to the winery on the premises to sample local wines. The nearby Apple Barn allows the children to watch cider press in action and enjoy their own samples.
There are plenty of buffets and shows to entertain, but most are vastly overpriced. Coupons books are available almost everywhere will offer some price cuts. Many such as the Titanic exhibit offer better prices if you attend after six pm.

 There are opportunities to see Gatlinburg from air via the ski lift or Ober Gatlinburg, which is an enclosed aerial cable car. Plentiful candy kitchens offer a large variety of fudge and taffy. Shopping venues abound from Tangiers Outlet to locally owned shops.
Off-season will net you even better prices on accommodations, but you need to decide how off you want to be. Some outside attractions do close in winter months. We went in May and found this to be the perfect time because it wasn’t too crowded and everything was so green. If possible, go during the week I am glad we did.


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