Love Abounds in This Bustling Mountain City
At the door to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, TN, is well-known as a thriving vacation destination. Gatlinburg always ranks especially high as a family-favorite getaway. But when the kids are spending a few days with the grandparents, off at sleep-away camp or enjoying a sleepover with friends, Gatlinburg serves as a wonderful romantic retreat as well. Here are five ways to enjoy time alone for two.
Enjoy a Private Retreat
The mountains surrounding Gatlinburg overflow with cozy cabins and chalets where couples can take in the views of the Great Smoky Mountains, relax or just have a quiet, uninterrupted conversation by the fireplace. With the kids around, it can be challenging for mom and dad to find a quiet moment alone, so these mountain escapes are the perfect way to share some solitude. Plus, many are outfitted with full kitchens, billiards tables, hot tubs and more, making them hard to leave. Both Mountain Laurel Chalets (440 Ski Mountain Road, Gatlinburg, TN) and Parkside Cabin Rentals (122 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN) offer a variety of rentals to choose from for a romantic getaway. For a bed-and-breakfast option, consider the Buckhorn Inn (2140 Tudor Mountain Road, Gatlinburg, TN).
Renew Your Vows
Celebrate your relationship with an intimate renewal ceremony at one of Gatlinburg’s wedding chapels. Venues range from log cabins to traditional chapels to outdoor locations, each one dedicated to showcasing your love. For instance, there’s the Chapel at the Park (1844 E. Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Or choose a creek-side ceremony at the Chapel at Honeymoon Hills (754 Honeymoon Hill Road, Gatlinburg, TN). With so many choices, it's easy to customize the event to make it exactly what you want it to be.
Savor Time Together
Gatlinburg welcomes couples to relax and enjoy a glass of wine at one of its wineries in and around downtown. For example, head to Sugarland Cellars (1133 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN) for a winery tour and wine tasting, which are available seven days a week. Wine tastings also are available at Tennessee Homemade Wines (643 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN), which features a selection of fruit wines that feature blueberries, blackberries and even peaches. And at Smoky Mountain Winery (450 Cherry St., Suite 2, Gatlinburg, TN), the oldest winery in East Tennessee, visitors can sample more than 20 wines.
Get Back to Nature
One of the most romantic getaways in Gatlinburg is spending time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Linger over a picnic or take in the scenery on a waterfall hike. Go up to the observation tower at Clingmans Dome for the postcard-worthy views. Or drive the 11-mile loop around Cade’s Cove, and see if you can catch a glimpse of the local wildlife. These are just a few of the many activities available in the park. Stop by the Sugarlands Visitor Center (1420 Fighting Creek Gap Road, Gatlinburg, TN) for trail maps and driving directions to these and other points of interest.
Share an Intimate Dinner for Two
For parents, nothing is better than a meal that doesn’t involve kids' menus, crayons and coloring sheets. At The Peddler Steakhouse (820 River Road, Gatlinburg, TN), mom and dad can choose from a menu of steaks, fish and chicken as they dine by the Little Pigeon River. For a more casual night out, go to Loco Burro (735 Parkway, No. 1, Gatlinburg, TN), where you can dine on the rooftop patio as you enjoy fresh Tex-Mex cuisine. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy a relaxing evening as a couple.
The Time to Go Is Now
When planning a trip to Gatlinburg, there is no wrong time to go. As a year-round destination, Gatlinburg welcomes visitors no matter the season. Summer can be really busy since school is not in session, but the holidays also bring in crowds. Sitting in a hot tub as the cold air swirls in January is quite an experience, too. Accommodations usually have lower rates in January through March too.
Karon Warren has covered travel for nearly 20 years with numerous print and online publications. Her byline has appeared in USA Today, USA Today’s 10 Best, WorkingMother.com, FamilyVacationCritic.com. and many others. She is a member of both the Society of American Travel Writers and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. In addition to her freelance work for other clients, she also writes for her own travel site, ThisGirlTravels.com