Great Smoky Mountains, Parks, Wildlife

Coyotes in East Tennessee

The Coyote looks like a common house pet, but these animals can be the scourge of the forest. They will kill and eat almost anything they can.

Once found only in the western states, the coyote has moved east, north and south over the last few decades until it is found today in every state in the union except Hawaii.

They are a master predator that have few enemies and are willing to adapt to almost any place and almost any environment.

They are omnivores and will eat almost anything including fruits, berries, and bugs. Their main foods, however,  are small forest animals such as mice, squirrels, grouse, voles, moles, and rabbits.

According to TWRA spokesperson Matt Cameron, Mid-January to mid-March is coyote mating season, so homeowners are more apt to see them slinking around during thes months.

Coyotes reproduce each winter and can have up to 10 or 12 pups in each litter. Coyotes can live to be 10 years old in the wild.

They love to hang around neighborhoods, where they can easily find scraps and small animals.

“We are trashy people, we throw away a lot of food that brings in raccoons, opossums, mice, rats, all sorts of small mammals, which is what coyotes thrive on basically,” Cameron said.

When you see a coyote on your property, it is legal to shoot and kill it in the state of Tennessee. If you are shooting it somewhere else for game, you will need to have your small game hunting license, which is $34.

“State law offers very little protection for coyotes,” Cameron admitted. “There’s an open season, which is year round, and there’s no limit on the number that you can kill.”

Cameron suggested carrying pepper spray while you’re out, especially at night. It’s a good tactic to shoo the creatures away.

“Making yourself look larger, yelling at it, pick up a stick or rock something and throw it at that and we’ll let it know that you’re not afraid of it and generally they will leave you alone,” Cameron said.

Small dogs are most vulnerable to coyote attacks than other pets, so make sure your pet is on a leash or in a fence when going outside.

“When we let our animals out and you just turn them loose and let them go, you’re taking a risk on a coyote or another dog or something attacking and killing your pet,” Cameron said.

Cameron also suggests hiring a wild coyote trapper to help control the population on your land, but coyotes will continue to come back year after year.

Excerps taken from an article written by Katie Inman at channel 10 News TN

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Food, Gatlinburg, Great Smoky Mountains

Best hole in the wall restaurants in Sevier County

When we are in town, we always ask the people behind the counter where they eat. Or, where would they go if they want a good burger.

Some of the best restuarants we have found have very odd hours. So, call before you go.

Delauders BBQ (Gatlinburg)

Barbecue joints are meant to be holes in the wall. Sure, you’ve got a couple of high-enders like Calhoun’s which has built an empire on smoked meat, but by and large, the best barbecue you will ever have in your life comes from places that invest in smokers and meat, not decorations and seats.

Listen, you want an authentic Tennessee experience to go back and tell your friends at home? Go to Delauders, get the Holy Bologna Sandwich or the Sneaky Pig with sweet habanero sauce and thank me later

Bigfoot Cheese Steaks

There is a small gray cart between a winery and Tennessee Shine on Wears Valley Road. We got the best burger there. The owner Kevin tries to keep the meats authentic and buys only the best. You won’t be dissapointed. While we waited, we played some corn hole. There is also a fire pit.

Chubby’s Deli Restaurant (Sevierville)

This one is right outside of Pigeon Forge.

Chubby’s is located in a Citgo on Newport Highway in Sevierville. Meatloaf and two sides, taters and gravy and fried okra for $8 includes bread. This is the authentic art of simple Southern dining that has been swallowed up by the usurpers and the pretenders. Go to Chubby’s and go home happy.

Paw Paw’s Catfish Kitchen (Wears Valley)

You want authentic Cajun cuisine? Maybe some red beans and rice? Sure you might find it in some fancy place down in New Orleans or maybe some high-end joint in Atlanta.

But if you want real Cajun cooking, start looking for the places off the beaten map. The restaurant is on the right of Wears Valley Road as you go out of town. It looks like a little single wide trailer up a little hill.

They have a sample plate, two boudin balls, one crab cake, four fish nuggets and four gator bites and you’ll be talking like a Swamp People cast member in no time.

The holy trinity of gumbo, Jambalaya and etouffee are all accounted for but – as our No. 1 rule of dining states: If you’re in a place with a particular food in its name, you must eat that food. In other words, get you some good fish, son. And don’t forget the hush puppies.

Monster Mash Burgers (Sevierville)

Located in a strip mall next to a TJ Maxx, Monster Mash is a burger joint that works a dark alchemy in the pursuit of the best burgers.

Like a plain ordinary burger, maybe a pickle, a slice of cheese? This isn’t the place for you.

Leaning into the Monster Mash theme, these are unholy amalgamations that seem wrong on the menu and oh so right on the plate.

My recommendation? Try the 14-lb Frankenstein for $50. It feeds 4-6 people but if two of you can take it down, along with bacon, chili, sausages, etc. and a bowl of fries in an hour, that sucker is free.

It’s fun for the whole family and at least two of the seven deadly sins right there at the table.

Preacher’s Smokehouse (Sevierville)

Located in what can accurately be called a shack and some kind of building beside it, Preacher’s is owned and operated by a man named Sam Steele, a pastor who opened a restaurant with his wife, Kathy.

This small hole in the wall is the kind of place you remember for the rest of your life and tell wistful stories about. Pork, chicken, burnt ends, brisket, it’s all good.

I recommend the three meat combo dish but, I mean, close your eyes and point at the chalkboard menu. You’re gonna get something good. The stew is awesome.

Tennessee Jed’s (Gatlinburg)

You had me at craft sandwiches.

Located between God’s World Religious Goods Store and a Claire’s Boutique, Tennessee Jed’s is likely the best place you’ll ever eat that directly abuts a Dollar General Store. There’s just something about a perfectly made sandwich.

I love a Rueben, a ham and Swiss, my favorite is probably the Cubano but there are no bad choices. Tennessee Jed’s also does some serious breakfast sandwiches.

If you’re in Gatlinburg and the line at the Pancake Pantry is too long, walk across the street and grab a coffee and a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich from Jed’s. And go ahead and try the brown butter mini cake for dessert.

Lil Black Bear Café (Pigeon Forge)

If you’re looking for something small, out of the way and delicious, you can’t do better than the Lil’ Black Bear Café.

Open from 8 am to 2 pm, the café does breakfast and lunch only. They offer soups, salads and sandwiches, as well as the best coffee. All of which are made to order.

The menu isn’t complicated but it doesn’t have to be. The sausage, egg and cheese sandwich on the breakfast menu is the food of the gods. And you could do a lot worse than the patty melt for lunch.

Excerps taken from an editorial on Smokies.com By John Gullion  

Gatlinburg, Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge

17 top webcams to see live views of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg

1. Anakeesta

With its new AnaVista tower, Anakeesta now offers some of the tallest views in downtown Gatlinburg.

And now, you can take in the views of Anakeesta from anywhere in the world! You can also get a view of Firefly Village.

View Anakeesta’s webcam

2. Cabins USA

Cabins USA offers a live view of the Parkway in Pigeon Forge.

This view shows the area near the Titanic Museum along the main strip and is a great way of getting a glimpse of the traffic in Pigeon Forge.

View the Cabins USA webcam

3. Clingmans Dome (GSMNP)

Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, reaching an elevation of 6,643 feet.

With the Clingmans Dome webcam, you can view current conditions and compare the difference between a good visibility day compared to a bad visibility day.

On a clear day, guests can see a view of the mountains that spans over 100 miles.

View the Clingmans Dome webcam

4. Dollywood Eagle Cams

Dollywood is home to the largest exhibit for non-releasable Bald Eagles in the United States.

The eagle cams at Dollywood are one of my personal favorite views around the Smokies, because if you’re lucky, you might just be able to watch a baby eaglet grow up before your very eyes.

The Dollywood eagle cams are presented by the American Eagle Foundation.

View Dollywood’s eagle cam

5. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park

The SkyLift Park webcam offers a beautiful view of the mountains.

Watch guests at SkyLift Park board the lift with a beautiful bird’s eye view of the mountains in the background.

View the SkyLift Park webcam

6. Gatlinburg Space Needle

The camera at the Gatlinburg Space Needle overlooks the Gatlinburg Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains.

This camera gives viewers an insight to current Gatlinburg traffic conditions.

View the Gatlinburg Space Needle webcam

7. Hearthside Cabin Rentals

Hearthside Cabin Rentals offers views of the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge areas from a few of their cabins.

Get a sample of a beautiful mountain view from your cabin before you go!

View the Hearthside Cabin Rentals webcam

8. Newfound Gap

Newfound Gap, according to the National Park Service (NPS), is the lowest drivable pass through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Newfound Gap camera shows a live view to the Southeast as well as current weather conditions.

Digital images from web-based cameras are updated about every 15 minutes.

View the Newfound Gap camera

9. Look Rock (GSMNP)

Get a beautiful view of the mountains from Look Rock. This site also shows current air quality, visibility and weather conditions.

This camera is located on the edge of the park at mid-elevation with potential views of iconic landmarks such as Mount LeConte and Cades Cove.

View the Look Rock webcam

10. Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg offers not one, but two views of The Smokies. One view shows activities at Ober Gatlinburg, and the other shows a mountain valley view from Ober.

View the Ober Gatlinburg webcam 

11. Patriot Getaways

The Patriot Getaways cameras offer two views. One view shows Knotty Nest, which overlooks Pigeon Forge.

The second camera is above Smoky Mountain Escape Games. The Wheel at The Island in Pigeon Forge is visible in this live view.

View the Patriot Getaways webcam

12. Purchase Knob (GSMNP)

The camera from Purchase Knob looks northeast and shows the mountain view along with current weather conditions.

View the Purchase Knob camera

13. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

If a penguin cam doesn’t bring a smile to your face, I’m not sure what will.

Watch these flightless birds play around in the water at Ripley’s and check in on your friends if you can’t make it to the aquarium in person.

View the Ripley’s penguin cam

14. Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster

The panoramic view from Rowdy Bear gives viewers an up close and personal view of the track at Rowdy Bear Mountain Adventure Park in Gatlinburg.

A panoramic shot of Rowdy Bear shows viewers the track as well as nearby landmarks.

View the Rowdy Bear webcam

15. Twin Creeks (GSMNP)

The Twin Creeks camera offers a view of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at an elevation of about 1,932 feet.

This view is updated about every 15 minutes.

View the Twin Creeks camera

16. WATE

WATE also offers views of Pigeon Forge from their towercam, which is a great way to check current weather conditions of the area.

View the WATE webcam

17. WonderWorks Pigeon Forge

The WonderWorks webcam is a view of their building and its parking lot. So, if you’re considering a day at WonderWorks, the WonderWorks webcam can offer some insight to how crowded it might be.

View the WonderWorks webcam

What’s your favorite live view of the Great Smoky Mountains and Sevier County? Let us know in the comments!

Courtesy of the Smokies.com

Attractions, History, Parks

Things to do in Sevier County on a budget

Patriot Park

You can visit Patriot Park along Old Mill Square. The park is dedicated to veterans from Sevier County that served during wartime. The park offers a walking path, which takes you along the Little Pigeon River where you’ll see flags from the 50 states and from branches of the armed forces. The central point of Patriot Park is a Patriot Missile, which was made famous during the first Gulf War.

Walk Along Sevierville’s Greenways

Sevierville is home to multiple greenways, which are either situated along bodies of water or between commercial centers. These undeveloped tracts of land are exclusively meant for recreational enjoyment. The West Prong Greenway is especially beautiful, as it runs parallel to the West Prong Little Pigeon River. Enjoy a casual stroll along the river as you observe ducks, geese, and if you’re lucky, herons. If you’re in the mood for an extended journey, you’re welcome to hit up the Veteran’s Park Greenway, which will take you all the way to Pigeon Forge.

Trolley

The parking area for Patriot Park is also the hub for Pigeon Forge Mass Transit trolleys, which offer a convenient and affordable way to get around town.

Goof Off at the Mt. Ton of Fun Inclusive Playground

Kids and kids at heart adore the Mt. Ton of Fun Playground, which helps visitors move their muscles while also addressing their cognitive, emotional, and social needs. The playground’s accessible climbing structures are bound to keep young children entertained, while nearby exercise equipment takes the boredom out of fitness for adults. Designed to be fully inclusive, this playground brings the community together while promoting the spirit of lighthearted fun for which Sevierville is known.

Old Mill

You can tour The Old Mill. Guided Tours of our Historic Old Mill takes you back to 1830. Still operating today, very much as it did in 1830, the gristmill is listed on the National Register Of Historic Places and is also a stop on the Tennessee Civil War Trail. The tour guide, Emmitt, has been around the mill for more than 50 years, having played in the millpond as a kid and then became a miller’s assistant as a teenager. He regales visitors with stories, rumors, and quite a few facts, about how the mill has been in continuous operation since it opened almost 200 years ago. This is a family-friendly tour that guests of all ages will enjoy! $8.00 per adult.

Tour Historic Downtown Sevierville

Stop in at the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce to learn about local attractions and to pick up a free guide. Nearby, you’ll find several impressive structures worth viewing as you stroll through the historic district. During your walk, you’ll observe the architectural highlights of multiple historic periods represented in a variety of beautifully preserved structures. Top destinations include the Ashley W. Trotter House, the Goddard-Teague House, the Davis Hotel, and First Presbyterian Church. Visit just a few of these historic spots or build a full hour into your itinerary to check them all out. Some of the tour’s finest structures are private residences, so be sure to show your respect and enjoy from afar.

Moonshine Tasting

There are several free places to sample moonshine in Pigeon Forge. My favorite is Tennessee Legends Distillery. My husband loves Tennessee Shine Company which is across Vetersans Blvd from Patriot Park.

Discover Sevierville’s History at the Sevier County Heritage Museum

The Sevier County Heritage Museum may be tiny, but it’s definitely worth visiting. This free museum features a variety of rotating exhibits that are designed to enlighten guests on the region’s fascinating history. The museum maintains limited hours on weekdays but is also open for appointments. The volunteers that staff the museum are kind and clearly passionate about history. They love to share facts and stories with visitors, who emerge with a greater appreciation of the heritage that makes Sevierville so special.

Wine Tasting

There are also several places you can sample wine in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg for free.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There is no admission to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are countless trails and unbelievable views waiting for you to explore. There are scenic drives for those who cannot hike. Foothills Parkway entrance is on Wears Vally Road. The Roaring Fork Motor Trail is located in Gatlinburg. Cades Cove is in Townsend and is a must every time we visit the area.

Explore the Area

There area covered bridges and swinging bridges in the area.

The Island in Pigeon Forge

The Island offers free admission, and you can enjoy the fountain, live bluegrass music, and window shopping without spending a dime. There is a fountain show every half an hour.

Watch a Movie at the Sevierville Commons

During the summer, free movie showings take over the Sevierville Commons on the 2nd Friday of each month. Stop by with loved ones for a family-friendly event that is nothing short of magical. While the movie may be the main attraction, the summer series also includes free pre-show activities such as crafts and dance parties. Concessions are typically available, with proceeds benefiting local non-profits. In the event of inclement weather, the movies shift to an indoor location, to be determined the day of the showing.

Downtown Gatlinburg

We enjoy walking around downtown Gatlinburg and doing some window shopping. Or you can spend hours walking around the Arts and Craft community of Gatlinburg to see some local artists.

Enjoy Some Peace And Quiet at the King Family Library

As the flagship for the Sevier County Public Library System, the King Family Library boasts a vast collection of books, magazines, DVDs, and more. Ample resources are available for visitors of all ages, including kids and teens. The structure is stunning both inside and out, with large windows offering plenty of natural light for those relaxing indoors. Don’t forget to stop by the third floor, where you’ll find an impressive history center dedicated to genealogy.

Sections taken from SmokyMountains.com blog

Attractions, Pigeon Forge

Fun Facts About Pigeon Forge

Things to know about Pigeon Forge

Whether you’ve been bringing your families here to vacation for many years or if you’ve just been introduced to this beautiful mountain town, there’s always something new to see and explore in the area.

  • The first part of Pigeon Forge’s name comes from the Little Pigeon River, which got its name from the many passenger pigeons that once roosted on the banks of the river. The second part of the name comes from an iron forge that was built by Isaac Love in 1817. The forge is located near the Old Mill.
  • The city has around 7,000 permanent residents but there are millions of visitors to this well-loved city each year. Pigeon Forge is home to lots of great attractions such as Dollywood, countless dinner theatres, the great outdoors in the Smoky Mountains and so much more, it’s easy to see why Pigeon Forge is one of the most popular family vacation destinations in the Southeast.
  • The city is 33 miles southeast of Knoxville, four miles south of Sevierville, and five miles north of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States. It’s also one of the most biologically diverse locations in the world. And it’s a great place to spot a variety of wildlife, with over 400 species of animals that live in the park.
  • How did the Smoky Mountains get their name? The first settlers to inhabit the portion of the Appalachian Mountains now known as the Smokies were the Cherokee who called the place Shaconage, which means ‘place of blue smoke.’
  • Located within Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Clingman’s Dome. Standing at 6,643 feet, it’s the highest point in Tennessee and the third highest point in the eastern United States. An observation tower is located at the end of the half-mile paved trail, where visitors can see for hundreds of miles on a clear day.
  • Cade’s Cove is the most visited area in Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as one of the most historic areas. The area is home to cabins, barns, gristmills, stores and other buildings constructed by early settlers, before the area became a national park.
  • Dollywood is one of the most visited attractions in Tennessee. It is open from late March through December and attracts more than 2 million guests each year. And Dolly Parton, herself, still makes guest appearances to the city each year.
  • The Dollywood theme park was originally an attraction named Rebel Railroad and included a steam engine, general store, blacksmith shop and saloon. The attraction became Goldrush Junction in 1970 and then Silver Dollar City in 1976. It wasn’t until 1986 that the park was rebranded as Dollywood.
  • Flags from all 50 states and the branches of the armed forces fly in Patriot Park. There is also a replica Liberty Bell and a Patriot Missile that was used in the first Gulf War.
  • The Historic Old Mill, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is the most historic building in Pigeon Forge. The mill was built in 1830 and is still in operation today. The mill was constructed in 1830 and was used to power electricity for the city until 1935. Today it is still used to grind grains that are sold in the Old Mill General Store and the Old Mill Farmhouse Kitchen.
  • Pigeon Forge is home to one of only two TITANIC museums in the United States. Guests at the TITANIC Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge are invited to explore the twenty dramatically lit galleries, touch a growing iceberg, experience 28-degree water, sit in an actual size lifeboat, see the only actual TITANIC photos that exist on display and much more.
  • Pigeon Forge is home to several award-winning shows and theatres that deliver world-class entertainment year-round such as Country Tonite Theatre, The Comedy Barn Theater and Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud. And for those that prefer a hearty meal alongside their entertainment, you’ll find that too at Pigeon Forge dinner shows such as Dolly Parton’s Stampede, Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud and Pirates Voyage Dinner and Show.
  • You can capture a true feel for “mountain living” by staying in one of the many area cabins or chalets in Pigeon Forge.
  • Pigeon Forge is also home to one of five Margaritaville hotels in the United States. Inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of singer, songwriter and author Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville Island Hotel is the perfect setting to escape the everyday, discover a new outlook, and just chill. In addition, Pigeon Forge is also home to Margaritaville Island Inn.
  • You’ll find a total of 8 pancakes houses located throughout Pigeon Forge. After all, who doesn’t love some good pancakes for breakfast? Check out this list of some of our favorite places to eat pancakes in Pigeon Forge.
  • The trolley in Pigeon Forge will take you through the city for $1 per ride or $3 for an all day pass! So, park your car and then sit back and relax and let the trolley do the driving for you. You can also ride to Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country in style aboard a trolley, fares are $2.50.

Article taken from PigeonForge.com blog post