It’s no secret that the fall is one of the best times of year to come and visit the Smoky Mountains. Throughout the fall, visitors to the area are able to witness the stunning transition of the trees from the lush greens of summer to the vibrant red, orange, and yellow hues of fall. If you’re planning to come visit during this amazing time of year, you might be wondering where the best spots are to see the fall colors in the Smoky Mountains. That’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide of some of the best places in the Smoky Mountains to see the fall foliage: (more…)

Many school districts around the country are starting the school year entirely, or at least partially, virtually.  While this presents new challenges for educators and families, it also opens the door to greater opportunities for family travel since children and teens can conduct their online classes from practically anywhere.  That includes one of our spacious cabins in Wears Valley.  To help families with school-aged kids navigate their first Virtual Learning Vacation, we asked Mr. N, an international educator originally from East Tennessee, to give us some suggestions.  Here are Mr. N’s top 5 tips for a Virtual Learning Vacation.

Virtual Learning Vacation Tips

1. Reading app (12 and under) – Epic!

Research shows that the single most important factor in a student’s educational success is pleasure reading.  When kids are allowed to read for fun, they discover new information while building reading fluency.  Parents can get Epic! free for the first 30 days and $7.99 afterwards.  Your child’s teacher most likely has a class subscription that can be used during school hours for free, as well.  This app empowers student reading development at home; books can even be searched by your child’s reading level (you can find this information out from their teacher).  Quizzes and videos for e-books are available, but the most important thing is that they are enjoying reading.

2. Non-fiction reading (12 and older) – Newsela

With the general adoption of Common Core State Standards in 2010, the main focus of middle and high school English classes shifted from novels and short stories to non-fiction texts.  To support student comprehension and vocabulary acquisition, Newsela provides student-appropriate news articles that can be adjusted to meet your child’s reading level.  These are great for building your learner’s reading stamina and non-fiction reading comprehension.  They follow Lexile leveling which you can convert to F&P and DRA here. Do you know what the best part is?  Parents and guardians can sign up for free.

3. Guided discovery

Educational researchers have found over the last several decades that the most effective learning strategies have nothing to do with massive textbooks or boring lectures.  Rather, guided discovery (or inquiry-based learning) centers on encouraging students to choose an aspect of a topic to research and present about.  In this case, the topic could be the Great Smoky Mountains, tourism, or even Dolly Parton. Your child would then choose an aspect of that topic to research in depth.  For example, if you decided to look at the Great Smoky Mountains, they could identify an animal, plant, or natural resource to research in depth.  Since you are in the area, you could visit the mountains, take photos of the chosen research topic, and conduct further research on the internet at your cabin.  They could present a short speech, write one (or several) paragraphs, or make a poster about their findings.

4. Map reading

One key skill that many of today’s students lack is the ability to successfully utilize a map and compass.  You can pick up an affordable compass from the dollar store and a map of the Smokies from one of the national park’s visitor centers (click here for hours and locations) .  All you need to do is head off on a hiking trail at your child’s fitness level.  As you and your family are hiking, your children can practice following the path of the trail on the map. They can also mark rest points and measure distances using the map scale and a ruler.  While definitely from the ‘old school’, it is a valuable life skill that could benefit your kids in the future.

Click here for a PDF of the map.

5. Mindfulness

My final tip is not educational per se, but it is nevertheless extremely important for children’s mental health and emotional development.  During your virtual learning vacation in the Smokies, make time to rest, breathe, and reflect on both the beauty and the pain of the past months.  Your kids, both young and old, need to process the massive changes our society has gone through.  While none of us have the solution to our current situation, intentionally being together as family definitely will not hurt. Who knows, it may even be the start of our healing.  Examples of appropriate mindfulness activities for your children might include drawing pictures of the mountains or clouds, sitting quietly by a creek with your toes in the water, and doing a simple exercise before bed like “Highs, Lows, and Glows” (instructions are found below). 

Virtual Learning Vacation
Practice mindfulness with a view.

Friendly Reminder

We here at Accommodations by Great Cabins in the Smokies hope that you have found this interview with Mr. N helpful.  While this school year may not be normal by any stretch of the imagination, it does provide new possibilities for students and families to learn in non-traditional formats.  We are committed to the health and safety of our guests and staff.  We conduct solely remote check-ins, have instituted enhanced sanitizing routines at all of our properties, and mandate mask usage within our office at all times.  When we all work together, we can achieve great things.

Below you will find Mr. N’s guide to the mindfulness exercise, “Highs, Lows, and Glows”

Before bed, sit down as a family and turn off all electronics and other distractions.  Each member of the family will retell their top “high, low, and glow” moments from the day, beginning with their “high”, or happiest, moment.  Afterwards, they say their “low”, or saddest, moment from the day.  Finally, for the “glow”, they tell one thing they learned today, whether that be something specific like a fact, or whether it be more general in nature, for example, that telling the truth is important.  After the family member has finished, the next person repeats the process with their “highs, lows, and glows” until everyone has spoken.

Christmas is a magical time of the year. If you’re adding romance to the magic, we know just the place to celebrate! Winter weddings are the trend this season. If you’re looking for the perfect place to spend Christmas AND your honeymoon, check out our cabins in the Smokies! We know what a special time of your life this is, you need to celebrate accordingly! Here’s how you can plan your Christmas honeymoon in the Smokies with one of our Wears Valley cabins:

Seclusion, Privacy and Views!

When you think of a romantic honeymoon in the mountains, what do you see? We envision breathtaking views, cozy cabins in the Smokies and privacy you can’t get anywhere else! Trade in that hotel room or shared resort suite for a luxurious Wears Valley cabin!

Romantic Amenities for Two

It’s winter time, and you might be wondering how you can enjoy the mountains with romance as the focal point. If you stay in our cabins in the Smokies, you’re in luck! Our cabins come with some of the most romantic amenities, ever! From our outdoor hot tubs with views to our indoor jacuzzi tubs and cozy bedrooms, you will feel the love in the air!

No Need To Leave

Our cabins are the best places to spend a honeymoon! Not only are they just like home, but they come with amenities that don’t require you to leave. Our Wears Valley cabins come with well-equipped kitchens, televisions, cozy living rooms, spacious bedrooms, bathrooms and more.

Stay in with your sweetheart and enjoy the alone time! Our cabins in the Smokies encourage it.

Now that Christmas is right around the corner, it’s time to plan your honeymoon in the Smokies! The good news? It’s not too late! Book your cabin with us and celebrate two amazing occasions in the Smoky Mountains this winter season!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially in Wears Valley! Christmas is one of the best times to visit the Smoky Mountains! There are activities, celebrations and winter festivities at every turn. If you are visiting the area, you may be wondering where you can properly celebrate Christmas this year.

Wears Valley, known as the quiet side of the Smokies, offers an ambiance unlike any other. The peaceful environment and seclusion make this side of the Smoky Mountains a hidden treasure. If you wish to visit Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge as well, no need to fear. Our Wears Valley cabins are only a short drive from some of the area’s most popular attractions.

If you wish to spend your time in Wears Valley at our cabins in the Smokies, we have searched for some of the best Christmas celebrations to enjoy in the area. Mark your calendars and plan ahead! Here’s what you have to look forward to this holiday season!

Wears Valley Christmas Tree

Needing a joyous reminder that it is finally Christmas time? While you may have missed the lighting of the Wears Valley Christmas tree, it isn’t too late to visit the beautifully lit, holiday spectacle! Grab the kids, your camera and of course, a warm cup of hot cocoa and enjoy! One of Wears Valley’s favorite Christmas traditions, the Christmas tree stands tall and bright as a friendly reminder that Christmas has arrived at the Smoky Mountains! Enjoy the festive lights and holiday-themed decorations this season!

Gatlinburg Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights

Are you ready to be dazzled? This Gatlinburg Christmas tradition will quickly become one of your favorites! For only $5, you can watch the area come to life with thousands of lights and decorations throughout the Gatlinburg parkway! Sit tight and buckle up, this will be a ride you’ll never forget. This ride features one-of-a-kind LED light displays that resemble snowmen, forests, trees and other Christmas inspired decor. For 23 years, this Gatlinburg tradition has been a favorite! Hop on the trolley and enjoy the Christmas season, here in the Smoky Mountains!

Book your stay in one of our Wears Valley cabins and experience some of the best Christmas celebrations in the country! Couples, families and friends will all enjoy the festivities! Learn more, today!

Christmas is almost here, can you feel it? Just hear those sleigh bells jingling! Now that we are prepared for the best time of the year to arrive in the Smokies, it’s time for you to start planning! Whether you are curled up in one of our Wears Valley cabins or hiking the trails this Christmas season, it is certainly the best time to visit the Smoky Mountains! Now, let’s get to planning!

Check Your List (And Check it, Twice!)

Make a list and check it twice, we can’t stress this enough! The holidays can be stressful, and you are likely to be overwhelmed with the shopping, coordinating and packing. Make life easier on yourself this year by making a list! Write down everything you will be taking to our cabins in the Smokies, including decorations and gifts; that way, you won’t forget a single thing! And remember, check it twice!

Wears Valley Cabins

Next, where will you stay? Wears Valley cabins are the best place to stay when you visit the Smoky Mountains. Wears Valley, known as the quiet side of the Smokies, is perfect for a holiday vacation. What could be better than our peaceful, secluded cabins in the Smokies with views? Explore all of our Wears Valley cabins and choose the right one for you and your family this holiday season!

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells!

You’re waking up, the mountains are covered in snow, the kids are running down the steps of the cabin and the Christmas tree is magically lit. Christmas has finally arrived in the Smokies! This is the best part of the planning process. What will you do on your Christmas vacation?

In Gatlinburg, you will have lots of holiday festivities to choose from! From the Christmas lights to the shopping, holiday treats and more, you will have more than enough holiday cheer to go around!

Book your stay at one of our cabins in the Smokies and enjoy a snow covered Christmas with us!

The Smoky Mountains are one of the most beautiful places to be during autumn. Fall foliage is at every turn, and the temperatures are perfect for hiking and exploration. Where can you find the best photos? We have a secret for you: some of the best photos can be taken from the porch of our Wears Valley cabins!

The view from our cabins in the Smokies is the perfect backdrop for your autumn photos! Wears Valley is a little-known Smoky Mountain secret. Our Wears Valley cabins are truly special because they are located near the National Park, however, secluded from the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge traffic. Wears Valley is a picturesque side of the Smokies with stunning views and cozy cabins. Here’s where you can find the perfect autumn photos.

Cinnamon Sky

Welcome to this spacious cabin with a large, scenic porch. Bring your camera and take lots of photos of the fall foliage! If you’re lucky, you will experience the cinnamon sky as the sunsets on the colorful mountain tops!

Wilderness Lodge

Big enough for the family and then some! This luxurious cabin is perfect for every season. However, we highly recommend this Wears Valley cabin during the autumn! Admire the canopy of fall colors from the comfort of your bedroom, living room or porch at this cabin rental. You won’t believe the sights you will see!

Breathless View

Need we say more? Sitting atop the mountainside, this unbelievable view can be found from the porch of our “Breathless View” cabin rental! Enjoy one of two porches and all the natural light you could ask for. It’s time to relax and snap some unbelievable photos. Don’t forget to use local hashtags when you post! #SmokyMountains #GSMNP #FallInTheSmokies

Other great autumn photos can be found on the Wears Valley side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The best part? Fewer people! Enjoy the quieter side of the Smokies this fall and take in those vibrant fall colors!

Book your stay in one of our best autumn view Wears Valley cabins!

Wears Valley is one of the best-hidden gems of the Smoky Mountains. Known as the “quiet side of the Smokies,” Wears Valley offers local charm unmatched by Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Enjoy the local flavor and places to shop in Wears Valley on your next trip to the Smoky Mountains. Our cabins in the Smokies are near some of the best places to shop in Wears Valley. View all of our Wears Valley cabins and choose the perfect one for your next trip to the Smokies. Here are some of the best shops to visit when you’re in the area.

Moonshine Ridge Country Store

Who doesn’t love an old-fashioned country store? Grab your favorite items or simply browse, but you won’t be disappointed. Homemade crafts, souvenirs, keepsakes and more; this store has it all! Be sure to cut out some time for browsing as this store will peak any visitors interest.

Friendly Falls Food & Stuff

This unique shop is truly intriguing. If you’re looking for a shop with different “stuff,” look no further. Their inventory changes every other week! That’s what makes this store so unique! From vintage movie posters to used books, handmade crafts/jewelry, photos, postcards and gems, this store has a little bit of everything. The store isn’t the only attraction, either! Enjoy the restaurant and waterfalls when you pay this special place a visit.

Wears Valley Antique Gallery

Do you love antiques? If so, this gallery is the place for you. Explore several local, unique antiques that you won’t find anywhere else! This shop can keep you occupied for hours! Collectibles, furniture and artwork are just a few of the gems you will encounter at this gallery. Check it out when you are staying at one of our Wears Valley cabins.

Book your stay today in one of our cabins in the Smokies. Be sure to stop by one of the local places to shop in Wears Valley on your next trip.

It’s November, so that means there is still a month left until it’s finally Christmas. Christmas is a magical time of year no matter where you are. However, if you are spending Christmastime in the Smoky Mountains, consider yourself lucky. People from all over the country come to the Smoky Mountains to experience the food, the lights, snow-covered mountains, cabins in the Smokies and more! Here’s how you can start planning for a Christmas in the Smokies!

Step One: Book Your Wears Valley Cabin

We recommend booking a Wears Valley cabin for your Christmas vacation. Why? It’s considered the “quiet” side of the Smokies with minimal noise and traffic. It’s perfect for you and the family! We have lots of cabins in the Smokies to choose from, ones that are even big enough for the WHOLE family! Bring your favorite food, the Christmas presents and your loved ones this year. We promise, there’s no place in the world like the Smoky Mountains during Christmas!

Step Two: Plan Your Activities

Are you an active family? Do you enjoy snowboarding, skiing or tubing? If so, it’s the perfect time to visit Ober in Gatlinburg. This ski resort is one of the best in the southeast! Pack some warm clothes and plan ahead! There’s something for everybody at this resort, even ice skating!

If you aren’t a winter sports lover, that’s perfectly okay! Take a drive through the festive, lit up downtown Gatlinburg! Or perhaps visit one of the many dinner shows, comedy productions or other local attractions. You will be truly amazed how the area transforms for the season! Check for the happenings during the month of December and consult with the family prior to your arrival.

Step Three: Make a List (And Check it Twice)

Christmas is an important holiday! We want you to feel right at home in our Wears Valley cabins. Make a list of the Christmas essentials and check it twice prior to your arrival. We want to be sure that your trip will be everything you wanted and more! Don’t forget the family Christmas traditions, decorations or recipes this year. Our cabins in the Smokies are home to many families during the Christmas season. It might even become your family’s tradition for years to come!

Book your stay with us for Christmas this year! Cabins book up fast so don’t wait. We look forward to seeing you and Merry Christmas!

Planning a vacation in the Smokies is a wonderful experience. If you’re like us, planning a vacation can seem like a long, exhausting process. However, our Tennessee cabins in combination with the alluring Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge attractions make the planning process a very enjoyable one! Where do you start the planning? Well, that’s where we come to the rescue! Let’s get to planning an unforgettable fall vacation in the Smokies with us.


Tip #1

Address the Non-Negotiables


What do we mean by non-negotiables? Well, everybody has their must-sees, location preferences and attractions in mind ahead of time. If you’re visiting the Smokies, do you have a trail you’ve been dying to hike? Make sure you have the opportunity! So often when we take vacations, we find ourselves sacrificing activities and time for things we didn’t prioritize. Trust us on this, write down your list of non-negotiables and do NOT waiver! If you are set on staying in a cabin in Tennessee with a view, do just that! Our Tennessee cabins have great views, privacy and amenities the whole family will love!


Tip #2

Do Your Research!


We can’t stress this point enough. Many times travelers will not do their research prior to their vacation. Don’t set yourself up for last minute planning! Research the area, local hikes/trails, attractions, dining, lodging and more. If you want to truly enjoy the Great Smoky Mountains the right way, do a little bit of research prior to your arrival. You’ll be glad you did! Map out the best places to eat based on reviews, plan attractions based on less busy visiting times and find trails near your lodging accommodations.


Tip #3

Bring Comfortable Shoes, a Book and Groceries!


Okay, that’s not ALL you should bring, but it’s a good start! We recommend these three items for a reason. Let’s find out why! Comfortable shoes are a MUST here in the mountains. If you plan on hiking, walking or even exploring downtown, comfortable shoes will be your best friend, thank us later! Why might you need a book on vacation? Staying in a cabin leaves you with some morning and evening downtime. Some much-needed downtime, we might add. Bring a book to read on your porch or while taking a dip in the hot tub. The peacefulness of the mountains will be the perfect background for you to finish that book you’ve been meaning to for months now. Lastly, swing by the grocery store when you arrive. Our Tennessee cabins come with well-equipped kitchens for your convenience. Save money this vacation and supply your cabinets with snacks, breakfast foods and maybe a few dinner/lunch options. You will feel right at home without needing to leave for a little midnight snack!
These are only a few of our tips for planning a fall vacation to the Smokies this year! As a reminder, the air can be quite chilly up here in the mountains. Pack jackets and thick socks so you are sure to stay warm on your outdoor excursions! Book your stay today and experience the fall colors with us here in the Smoky Mountains!

October is a magical time of the year on the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies.” There are lots of festivals and things to do during the fall season. Luckily, our cabins in Townsend, TN are nearby and the best place to spend a fall weekend. If you are planning to stay or already booked a stay in one of our Townsend cabin rentals, we have the October line-up for you to plan your vacation around! Let’s start with the happenings in Townsend this fall season!


Smoky Mountain Wood Carving Festival

When October 1st-2nd

Where: 123 Cromwell Dr. Townsend, TN

Woodcarving competition, lessons, prizes and more! Don’t miss the annual wood carving contest this year! It’s a great way to spend time with the local community and learn about a unique trade! This fall festival is open to the public, and everybody is welcome!


Townsend 10k

When: October 8th

Lace up your running shoes, grab a light jacket and on your mark, get set, GO! What better way to get the family together than a fall 10k? Fall is the perfect time for a run. The air is crisp; the leaves are turning colors, and the pavement is calling your name! Enjoy the views, the bonding time and scenery as your run through the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies.”


Little River Trading Company Hikes: Fall Color Hike

When: October 15th

Where: 2408 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy Maryville, TN 37804

The National Park service is 100 years old this year! This event is designed for people to appreciate the Great Smoky Mountains and all their beauty! By celebrating 100 years in the Smokies, they will be hiking 100 miles throughout the Smokies! There will be various hikes offered for this event, ranging from family friendly to beginner to expert. During your hike, you will learn about the Smokies history, waterfalls and different hikes. This event is free of cost, and everybody is welcome!
These are only a few of the wonderful events taking place in Townsend this month! For more information, visit the calendar of events website! Book your stay at one of our Townsend cabin rentals and enjoy the beautiful fall season, right here on the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies”!