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|Dates Visited: November 6-11, 2010.|
|Check current rates and availability: Great Cabins in the Smokies (866) 409-7066|
|*NOTE: We paid $646.06 for the Alone Time cabin (included tax, MiFi, travel insurance & $75 administrative fee) for up to 4 people for 5 nights.|
Last autumn, Jeff and I took what had previously been a long-time dream vacation for both of us — a trip to the Smokey Mountains and Appalachia. Next to our Banff honeymoon (because it was, after all, our honeymoon), this trip has to rank as my very favorite vacation. I have been fascinated with Appalachia since first studying about it as a child, and I remain drawn to its topography, history, people, music and way of life. This romantic trip out to the Smokies exceeded both of our expectations, and didn’t break the bank for us. We both agree that if there weren’t a million other places we would still like to visit, we would gladly return to the Smokies — and this particular cabin — every year.
After a good friend of ours, who had recently moved to Nashville, talked us into flying out to stay with her for a few days, I immediately started researching lodging options near Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the eastern side of Tennessee. Jeff and I both had our hearts set on finding a peaceful private romantic cozy cabin set in the heart of Appalachia.
We struck gold when I repeatedly came across internet listings for Great Cabins in the Smokies (excellent SEO on their part!). I instantly fell in love with all of their 1 bedroom listings, and poured through their customer reviews, so I took advantage of their handy dandy online chat service to “talk” with a reservation specialist to help me pick the right cabin. The helpful agent (Jamie) assured me that Alone Time would be the ideal cabin for our stay — it is located in slower more peaceful Wears Valley, is their closest property to the national park, and offers the most privacy. And when I mentioned that other nearby rental companies were listing Fall/November specials (Great Cabins wasn’t yet, in early September), Jamie gave me one night free. We could not believe such a great deal for 5 nights during Fall foliage season!
The Alone Time Cabin, as well as the rental offices for Great Cabins in the Smokies, is located in picturesque unincorporated Wears Valley. Since we were driving in from Nashville, we spent the day exploring scenic Highway 40 (saving the southern route through Chattannooga for our return trip). We arrived in Wears Valley, and the rental office to check-in, just in time to see the reflection of the setting sun turn the entire Appalachian foothills bright orange.
Our cabin is accessible from “downtown” Wears Valley (which shuts down by 5pm) via a short drive south along Lyon Springs Road. Tucked up in the forested foothills, we had total privacy (you had to really “try” to see the closest neighbors from the back porch). And we were surrounded by gorgeous changing leaves and visiting wildlife, including a bear.
The cabin’s proximity to the national park, the scenic byway, the Appalachian Trail, and to both Gatlinburg and Chattanooga make it an excellent base camp for exploring the Smokies — including the fabulous local cuisine (you can read our culinary write-ups on our food blog).
Warm Cozy Interior
The cabin itself was something out of a dream — the perfect layout and decor for both of us. The furniture and atmosphere were just so unbelievably cozy. And the cabin was positively spotless. The full kitchen helped us keep meal costs down, although we certainly ate our fair share of local southern cuisine, too. And the hottub and fireplace were the perfect ways to wind down after busy busy days of hiking, driving and exploring the region.
As I mentioned before, if Jeff and I didn’t already have a long wish list of places to visit, we would vacation back here in a heartbeat every year. There is just so much to explore within a day’s drive — including beautiful changing seasons. And having recently received a 20% off coupon from Great Cabins on the anniversary of our vacation, a return trip became all the more tempting again this autumn. Our only regret this trip was not planning enough extra days to simply sit at home in the cabin, on that terrific wraparound porch, and just soak in the peaceful quiet.
We highly highly recommend Smokey Mountains National Park and Great Cabins in the Smokies as an option for your next family vacation, or your next romantic escape! And we particularly recommend the immaculate Alone Time cabin for couples, or couples with small children (we would need to rent a full 2-bedroom unit if we were traveling with our teenagers).
You can see a few of our other posts of activities/hikes in the area at this link here…
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