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.

Pull up a chair and soak in the views from the decks of these amazing cabins of the Smoky Mountains!  These breathtaking cabins in Wears Valley offer superb outdoor spaces to take in the fresh mountain air.  Each cabin offers a full scope of amenities for your comfort and entertainment.  Check out these beautiful cabins and reserve your own mountain getaway today.

Peek-A-View: Fun and Relaxation

Peek-a-View Mountain Getaway

Peek-A-View is an affordable, luxury cabin with an inviting atmosphere for your stay.  Floor to ceiling windows provide stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains.  There is a wrap-around deck you can access from the main level.  Peek-A-View is the perfect base for your upcoming mountain getaway in the Smokies.

Hitchin’ Post:  Spectacular Mountain Views

Hitchin Post Mountain Getaway

When you arrive at Hitchin’ Post, the first thing you will notice is the the overwhelming beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains . With upper and lower level decks, this cabin offers the ultimate escape. Enjoy the Smoky Mountains from the outdoor covered deck and gather around the cozy outdoor gas fireplace year-round. There is nothing better than relaxing and enjoying time well-spent with loved ones.

Breathless View:  Cabin for the Whole Family

Breathless View Mountain Getaway

With 3 bedrooms, Breathless View is a great choice for big families, retreats, and wedding guests.  With two decks, this cabin offers gorgeous mountain vistas that are sure to give your vacation in the Smokies a special touch.  In addition to providing plenty of space for your group, you can easily access the cabin by car since all the main roads to the cabin are paved.  From the hot tub to the pool table, the cabin’s amenities will provide your group with an exciting mountain getaway.

About Our Cabins

We here at Great Cabins in the Smokies understand our guests are looking for a home-away-from-home for their mountain getaway. Because of our commitment to guest satisfaction, all of our cabins include fully-equipped kitchens, linens, and towels. The only things you need to bring with you are food, your hiking boots, and a couple bottles of wine from Cades Cove Cellars to enjoy at sunset.

Your Smoky Mountain family memories start here! Breathless View provides the perfect setting for family reunions in the Great Smoky Mountains. Breathless View is a beautiful three level log home in Wears Valley, Tennessee. Whether your next special occasion is a family reunion or a girls’ weekend, Breathless View is the cabin for you.

Awe inspiring views from this Wears Valley cabin

You will love the gorgeous views of Wears Valley at Breathless View thanks to a stunning wall of windows in the living room. Take in the views and enjoy some quality time on the spacious wrap-around deck.  Afterwards, you can play a game of pool with the kids downstairs. To wrap up the evening, relax away the day in the cabin’s hot tub as the sun sets in the distance.

Room to spread out & relax

The cabin’s spacious bedrooms feature plush furnishings that offer a comfortable, home-like atmosphere.  Additionally, the large kitchen provides plenty of cooking and dining space to make meal preparation a breeze. If you are hosting a family reunion, your guests will have plenty of space to spread out and make themselves feel at home.

Location, location, location

Nestled between historic Townsend and Wears Valley, this convenient location provides access to a variety of scenic adventures. During your stay, be sure to get out and explore the wide array of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  You can also go shopping in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge for a bottle of local moonshine or wine.

Make your reservation today!

Call today to make this Wears Valley cabin yours for your next family getaway or friends’ weekend. No matter the occasion, this luxurious cabin in the Smokies offers everything you need for a memorable mountain vacation. You can book Breathless View on our website or via phone at (866) 409-7066.

That’s the Spot! is a secluded, one bedroom cabin in Wears Valley that was designed with love birds in mind.  The cabin exudes romance and is perfect for honeymooners or honeymooners-at-heart!  Great Cabins in the Smokies is excited to introduce you to this exceptionally romantic cabin.

The space

The main level of this romantic cabin includes a big log bed, seasonal gas fireplace, fully-equipped kitchen, bathroom, and a big ole’ heart-shaped tub.  Downstairs, the game room provides entertainment for rainy days.  The best part is that you can enjoy stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains from the comfort of your bed.  At That’s the Spot! you can literally have a ‘room with a view’.


Located near the top of Bluff Mountain, That’s the Spot! will stun you with its sweeping mountain vistas.  Even better, you can enjoy the views *year round*.  Down the mountain you have easy access to restaurants and shopping in Wears Valley, Pigeon Forge, and Townsend.  You can even take in a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway during your stay.

To sum everything up

Basically, this cabin has it all- views, location, privacy, and plenty of opportunities for romancing that special someone in your life.  Give us a call at our office (866) 409-7066 or check out our website for more information on this cabin.

If you’re coming up on an important anniversary, what better way to celebrate than with a vows renewal ceremony? Private and intimate, the renewal of your vows is just between the two of you, a reminder of the time you met and all the years you have left together. It’s also a celebration of the years in between – years of building a family, building careers, and building lifelong memories. No wonder so many people choose a vows renewal ceremony as a way to celebrate a milestone anniversary!

A Special Ceremony Needs a Special Setting

If you’re planning a vows renewal ceremony and are looking for locations, why not consider Wears Valley, TN? Beautifully situated at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains, Wears Valley offers pastoral beauty surrounded by incredible mountain views. There are many Wears Valley cabins that are perfect for an intimate retreat such as yours. And Great Cabins in the Smokies has some of the best cabins of the Smoky Mountains. Take a look at Always and Forever, and you’ll find that it’s the perfect haven for your vows renewal ceremony.

Forever Yours

Always and Forever is a 1 BR, 1 BA studio cabin in Wears Valley. Located in between Pigeon Forge and Townsend, TN, it’s conveniently situated near all the places you may want to visit while you’re in the area, while still being private enough to provide a sanctuary for the two of you to celebrate your lives together. Warmly appointed, the wood interior creates a cozy space for two, just right for nestling in for a special respite. The king-sized log bed is comfortable and inviting. The gas fireplace in the corner adds to the ambiance.

You’ll notice a hot tub on the screened porch. What a perfect way to heat things up! Open a bottle of wine and relax as you remind each other of why you got married in the first place. Vows are sacred, and renewing them at special times during your relationship is what keeps love alive. Take full advantage of your time in this Wears Valley cabin.

Modern Amenities

In addition to the romance of this cozy cabin of the Smoky Mountains, it also offers modern-day amenities like a fully equipped kitchen, cable TV, Internet access, and shared swimming pool use (in season). This cabin overlooks a nearby pond. Sit on the deck and enjoy the views of the pond and the Wears Valley floor beyond as you plan your day’s activities. Of course, you may decide you’re happy where you are, and choose to not leave the cabin at all!

Reserve and Renew

Call or visit the Great Cabins in the Smokies website today to reserve Always and Forever for your vows renewal celebration vacation. Or take a look at some of the other cabins of the Smoky Mountains we offer for rent. We’re always ready to help make your next vacation in the Smokies one to remember for years to come. Just like your special relationship!

Fall is a fantastic time for a trip to the Smoky Mountains region. The mountain air has a snap in it, and if you’re lucky, you can still catch some of the fall foliage at the lower elevations. If you’re thinking of using one of the long weekends this month to escape for a short vacation, your time would be well spent here in the Smokies.

A Perfect Lodging Option

You think there’s no such thing, but if you choose to stay at Saddle Ridge, one of the most beautiful cabins in the Smoky Mountains, you’ll see that there is, indeed, such a thing as the perfect lodging option. Offered for rent through Great Cabins in the Smokies, Saddle Ridge is a 1 BR, 2 BA log cabin located on a quiet private road. No neighbors or traffic noise here to interrupt your peaceful solitude.

A large, open living space with high ceilings and exposed rafters instantly provides a bit of rustic charm; you’ll notice it the moment you open the door. This Wears Valley cabin is a perfect choice for honeymooning couples, or anyone hoping to get away from all of life’s everyday challenges.

Modern Comfort and Amenities Make Your Stay Memorable

When you stay at Saddle Ridge, you won’t miss out on the comforts and conveniences of home. This Wears Valley cabin has everything you need for a comfortable vacation: fully equipped kitchen, comfortable furniture, a king-sized bed, and satellite TV with DVD and VCR players. But you’ll notice it also has some extras like a large stone fireplace in the corner of the living room. Bring in some logs and get a fire going for a little added warmth.

The king-sized bed ensures a good night’s rest, and the pool table gives you another entertainment option for times when you’re not out exploring the many attractions in the area.

There’s also a private outdoor hot tub. Slip into it and let the warmth relax your tired muscles after a day of hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In the mornings, enjoy your coffee out on the porch. Sit in the rockers or the porch swing as you enjoy the beautiful wooded setting. This cabin has great mountain views, too. It’s the best of both worlds!

Get It While You Can

Great Cabins in the Smokies offers many cabins in the Smoky Mountains for rent, and Saddle Ridge is definitely at the top of the list as one of the best cabins in the area. Call today to make reservations, or go online to look at other Wears Valley cabin options for your fall vacation today. You don’t want to miss out on a perfect vacation!

One of the most special moments of any wedding actually happens at the reception – that special moment when the bride and groom have their first dance as a married couple. As they approach the dance floor, the guests fall silent as they observe the beautiful moment.

Honeymooners can continue the dance by reserving Dancing with the Bears, one of the many Wears Valley cabin rentals offered by Great Cabins in the Smokies. This charming little log cabin is the perfect choice for couples looking for a quiet romantic honeymoon experience.

Rustic Charm

Dancing with the Bears is a 1 BR, 1.5 BA Wears Valley cabin that oozes coziness from every corner. An open living area invites you to come in and stay awhile. Comfortable leather couches and tasteful furnishings are an integral part of this honeymoon hideaway. You’ll find yourself burrowing in as soon as you arrive.

The bedroom of this darling den features a king-sized bed and private bath, including a jetted whirlpool tub. Step in and massage away any stress that might be left over from wedding preparations and new in-laws. Or soak your cares away in the outdoor hot tub on the screened in back porch.

In the morning, brew up a pot of coffee in the fully equipped kitchen and carry it out to the rockers on the porch. Absorb the beautiful view and fill your lungs with fresh air as you plan your day’s activities in nearby Pigeon Forge or Townsend, TN.

Explore Your Surroundings

Located at the foot of Hatcher Mountain, Dancing with the Bears is one of the Wears Valley cabin rentals that’s easy to get to. Since it’s at the base of the mountain you won’t be traveling up windy mountain roads to access it. You can save the winding roads for a day drive through the Smokies. You’ll see some of the most amazing panoramic vistas during the drive, and will come to realize why the Great Smoky Mountains are so named.

You may also want to take a trip to Townsend, TN. Explore the town, have lunch at one of the charming restaurants, and then head for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With waterfalls, wildlife and winding roads, you’ll love exploring this amazing park. Watch out for black bears while you’re here; there are over 1,500 of them in the park. Regardless of the name of the cabin, we don’t advise dancing with them. Keep the dancing to yourselves while you’re here!

Dance the Night Away

We know you’ll love Dancing with the Bears while you’re honeymooning in Wears Valley this fall. Give us a call today to reserve this charming Wears Valley cabin!

Imagine taking a vacation with your honey and visiting a place that’s drop dead gorgeous. Imagine that you have so many exciting entertainment, attraction and adventure options that you’re never bored. And imagine holing up in the perfect little rustic cabin, just the two of you. You can do all that at Shady’s Barn.

Shady’s Barn is a charming 1 BR, 1 BA Wears Valley cabin rental from Great Cabins in the Smokies. It’s tucked away into a secluded, woodsy clearing that’s almost like a fairytale. You’ll be enchanted with it from the moment you set eyes on it. A warm wood interior greets you as you enter this cozy cabin. Settle in and get comfortable here because you’ll want to stay awhile!

Romantic Ambiance

You’ll love the fact that this charming cabin has a covered outdoor hot tub. Private and secluded, it’s perfect for unwinding after your day of traveling or sightseeing. Open a bottle of wine or brew a cup of hot tea to sip as you relax, unwind, and reconnect with each other. Watch for wildlife or just enjoy the beauty of the natural setting. Life doesn’t get much better than this.

Modern Comforts

You’ll find the spacious bedroom just right for your special getaway. Enjoy satellite TV or a movie on the flat-screen TV as you snuggle in for the night. A fully equipped kitchen gives you the option of cooking for two if you’d like. Whip up breakfast in bed. Or grill up some steaks on the charcoal grill and have dinner at the picnic table. This Wears Valley cabin setting is so enchanting; you’ll feel like you’re in a world of your own. And after all, isn’t that why you came?

Location is Everything

This rustic Wears Valley cabin is perfectly situated in the woods, close enough to Pigeon Forge to see the sights, but far enough away that you can easily forget they exist if you’d rather. Dollywood, the Titanic Museum, and  WonderWorks are all waiting for you. Visit the unique shops and restaurants on Pigeon Forge Parkway or explore The Island, a unique shopping and entertainment complex. The options are nearly endless.

You’re also located just a stone’s throw from Townsend, TN, where the locals go to enter Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This “secret entrance” is much less used by tourists than the entrance in Gatlinburg, and you’ll appreciate the convenience of entering the park at your own pace. Hopefully you’ve packed hiking boots, because there are over 850 miles of maintained hiking trails in this national treasure. Visit waterfalls or try your hand at fishing in one of the many mountain streams and creeks in the park. Or pack a picnic lunch and enjoy dining al fresco with river rocks as your seating area, and the sound of burbling water creating a delightful musical backdrop for your meal.

Realize the Dream

If this all sounds like your idea of a dream vacation for two, call Great Cabins in the Smokies today to make reservations for Shady’s Barn. Or visit our website to take a look at our other Wears Valley cabin rentals. Sweet dreams!

The views from a luxury Wears Valley cabin will truly take your breath away! Experience ultimate luxury in this impressive, newly remodeled three bedroom and two and half bath log home. Great Cabins in the Smokies offers a variety of Great Smoky Mountain cabins in which to escape your hectic day-to-day schedules, but not many compare to Breathless View.

On the main level you will be greeted by the spacious living area with an open floor plan that is perfect for entertaining and spending quality time together. The gas fireplace creates a warm and cozy atmosphere for your stay and is a lovely centerpiece for the living area of this majestic log home. You will also find one bedroom and one and half baths on this level. The kitchen is fully furnished and ready for a great meal to be shared with friends and loved ones. The master bedroom offers a plush king sized bed, dresser, flat screen TV and a private bathroom with a relaxing non jetted garden tub/shower combination.

The lower level features two bedrooms and one bath; the downstairs game room with pool table; a set of Queen bunk beds for additional sleeping accommodations; two leather sofas and a flat screen TV. Also located on the lower level you will find the washer and dryer for your convenience. One bedroom has a King bed, closet, dresser and flat screen TV and the other bedroom has a Queen bed, dresser and flat screen TV as well. The two bedrooms feature a shared bathroom in the hall. This fun-filled level offers everything for your comfort!

Enjoy outdoor areas for entertaining on the spacious decks, where you will find the hot tub located on the main level deck. It’s perfect for resting and relaxing your cares away. A gas grill and outdoor patio furniture are located on the upper level. The outdoor decks and entertaining areas are perfect for those cool evenings after a day of exploring!

Reserve your stay in our luxurious Wears Valley cabin, Breathless View, from our website or call our helpful staff and allow them to guide you through your vacation planning process with ease.

Of all the enticing reasons to visit the Smoky Mountains this fall, the spectacular views on display are the number one reason! Endless View is one of our most beautiful cabins of the Smoky Mountains that showcases these views like no other! This beautiful three level log home, located right between historic Townsend and Wears Valley boasts a wall of windows to help take in the gorgeous views of Wears Valley from inside the comfort of your cabin!

Endless View’s double, wrap around decks also offer a great space to soak in the impressive surroundings. Take a dip in the hot tub or relax in a cozy rocking chair and enjoy the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. Its large game room downstairs offers plenty of activities for the kids to do while the adults relax and take in the views with some peace and quiet.  

The spacious kitchen and dining room help tie the memories together over a nice meal and good conversation while looking out at the mountains. With the bathrooms and bedrooms on the two upper levels,  the downstairs area can be enjoyed by the night owls, or alternatively, the early risers of the group, without disturbing the others.  The cabin is filled with plush furnishings that allow you to settle in and make yourself at home! You will also admire the decorations that fill the home – no details were spared in its design!

Our seasonal specials help make a fall family vacation even more achievable! With our Fall Foliage Special you receive one free night when you stay four or more nights in a Great Cabins Wears Valley, TN cabin such as Endless View.  The rich colors of fall will cover the mountains and provide a breathtaking scene for your getaway!

Fall is arguably the best time to visit this area so plan your stay today in one of our cabins of the Smoky Mountains. Our friendly staff is available to guide you through your cabin selection and vacation planning process. Your Wears Valley, TN cabin is just a click away and as soon as you settle in and hear the laughter fill the room of your log home, you will know you’ve made the right decision in selecting one of Great Cabins in the Smokies affordable cabin rentals. The memories made during your visit  will be as endless as the views on display!