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9 Jan 2023
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Gatlinburg is known for its quirky approach to tourism and long history of southern hospitality. It only makes sense that there is a long list of interesting (and fun) reasons our beloved city is simply irresistible. Enjoy a few of these little tidbits, and remember, it's always a good time to visit the magical city that is Gatlinburg.

1. HISTORY: It's a goldmine of fascinating stories.

"Gatlinburg. It really should be Ogleburg. Or Oglesville. Maybe Oglestown. I mean, at the least, White Oak Flats. The name “Gatlinburg” shouldn’t have even made the top five. The town that became Gatlinburg was first settled by a South Carolinian named William Ogle in 1802. Ogle found his “Land of Paradise”, started a homestead and went back to South Carolina to collect his wife and seven children. He died before the family could move, but his wife, Martha Jane, her brother Peter Huskey and the Ogle children came to the mountains and fulfilled his vision..." (Continue reading this article from TheSmokies.com.)

2. LOVE: It's a perfect place for your big day.

"Take your love higher in the mountains of East Tennessee. More couples tie the knot in Gatlinburg than in any other destination in the South. You’ll find everything you need here to start planning picture-perfect Smoky Mountain wedding packages, from stunning Gatlinburg wedding chapels and cabins to florists, caterers and much more." (Continue reading this article from Gatlinburg.com and find planning tips, venues, and vendor options.)

3. SPORTS: You can snow ski in the South.

"Ober Mountain is Tennessee’s only ski area and a favorite year-round, family friendly destination. Shopping, dining and amusements are just an Aerial Tram ride away from Downtown Gatlinburg. Upon arrival, visitors can take a ride on the Ski Mountain Coaster, spin around the rink on the Ice Bumper Cars, or listen to bluegrass music atop Mount Harrison via the Scenic Chairlift. Seasonal activities include skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing in the winter; Alpine Slide, Guided Hiking Tours, Rock Climbing Wall, Chair Swings, Maze, and Mini Golf in spring, summer and fall, and the Ski Mountain Coaster, Scenic Chairlift, Wildlife Encounter, and indoor Ice Skating year-round." (Continue reading Ski Southeast's piece.)

4. SPIRITS: You can taste and buy moonshine with a clear conscience.

"You don't have to venture into a remote corner of the mountains to visit Ole Smoky's moonshine distillery. Tourists in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, can peer through windows and look at the large copper stills, the vats of sweet and boozy bubbling corn mash, and the stream of crystalline moonshine, pouring from a pipe into an overflowing mason jar. It's a far cry from the days when moonshiners hid their illegal stills in the woods." (Continue reading Cnet's account of how distilling moonshine became a legal and thriving industry.)

5. AMPHIBIANS: If you've ever wanted to observe a salamander, you stand the best chance of doing so in the Great Smoky Mountains. 

"The Great Smoky Mountains are known as the "Salamander Capital of the World!' Salamanders are an especially abundant and diverse group in the Great Smokies. In fact, the great majority of vertebrate (backboned) animals, including human visitors, in the park on any given day are salamanders." (Learn more about these mountain-loving amphibians in this article from the National Park Service.)

6. SIGHTS: You can visit the #1 aquarium in the country and follow it up with a trip to the world's only Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum.

"This huge 80,000+ square foot aquarium has over 10,000 sea creatures from 350 species and is widely considered to be the best aquarium in the entire country. To put this number into perspective, there are more fish in our aquarium than people living in the entire town of Gatlinburg!" (Continue reading about Ripley's Aquarium in this article from SmokyMountains.com.) When you're finished there, "stop by and see over 20,000 sets of Salt and Pepper Shakers from around the world, and a huge Pepper Mill collection!" (Continue reading to find the answer to your burning question: why a salt and pepper shaker museum?) 

Does all this reading have you itching for a visit? Book a stay today and come check out the history, heritage, and heart of Gatlinburg. Once you visit, the city will call you back again and again. Full of fun, whimsy, and fascinating stories, it's a destination like no other. Check out our wide variety of chalets and condos and get a trip on the books for 2023. We'll see you soon!