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Questions Smoky Mountain Tourists Ask

Brianna is a working mom with 25 years of general life experience. She has a little girl and several exotic pets.


Being a local comes with a lot of questions that are usually the same. This article covers where we live, fun things to do, and more.

Do People Actually Live Here?

Yes. Yes they do. Away from the main road and all the touristy attractions and restaurants, there are houses and apartment complexes that people reside in. Honestly, many of the “back roads” we live on have the most beautiful views. If you’re curious, take an extra five minutes or less to go explore some of them. Be careful though, locals drive like maniacs around the curved roads that we’re comfortable with.


Favorite Place to Eat?

Everyone will have a different answer, so make sure you ask around. My friends and I really enjoy a few places around town like The Smoky Mountain Brewery, Quaker Steak and Lube, and Mellow Mushroom. There are many locally owned restaurants, so just do a little driving and you might find something new to try. There is something good for everyone’s taste. Yummy Indian restaurants, a plethora of Asian fusion cafes and of course Mexican. Google is also a fantastic place to find interesting restaurants most people wouldn’t even think of.


What Do the Locals Do for Fun?

Most of us don’t find the attractions to be fun after having done them a thousand times, but we will still give some recommendations. Among them will be Dollywood, WonderWorks, MagiQuest, escape rooms, etc., but the best thing to do by far is go for a hike, try zip lining or just enjoy nature by driving through Cades Cove.

Most people come to the mountains to see the beauty of one of the most visited national parks in the country, so make sure to get out and explore. When you do, make sure you do it safely.

I Bet You Hate This Traffic!

We do hate all the traffic that comes with the busy season, but we also know that without the traffic there wouldn’t be business. Keep in mind the busiest times of year and try to plan around the car shows that litter the calendar year. The months of April and March are busy for spring breaks, the summer is always fairly busy with families, and the worst weeks are generally from the end of December to the 7th of January.

To help you know when to avoid or to join in on the various car shows or rod runs, go to this website for more information.

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Is DollyWood About Dolly Parton?

Well, in a way it is. There is a museum about her life and a lot of her family performs in shows around the park, but mostly it's about having fun. They have rides for all kinds of people: top-of-the-line roller-coasters, one of the last remaining dark rides called the Blazing Fury and even a country fair for those who enjoy rides like teacups, flying elephants, and many more.

Each section is set up with a different theme, my favorite being the Juke-box junction very close to the park's entrance where they have many 50s themed stores, Red's Diner, and the Lightning Rod roller coaster. So, no, it's not just about Dolly Parton. If you would like to learn more about Dollywood and what there is to enjoy there, click this link!

Where Are All the Bears?

Well, they’re probably hiding in the woods from all the people. There is always a chance of seeing one of these beauties while driving through the mountains and in Cade's Cove! They sure are a sight to behold, but please don't get too close!

If you have the unique chance of seeing one running through Gatlinburg, please step inside the nearest shop and wait for it to pass. You don't want to encounter a bear while it's lost and scared.


When Do They Turn the Smoke On?

To this question, I usually respond with another: what? The "smoke" is not man-made, it's a natural phenomenon called mist or fog. This may seem like a very weird question, but we get asked it a lot, and I'm not sure why. Appalachia is called the Smoky Mountains because the Cherokee referred to it as the land of blue smoke, referring to how the fog looks over the mountains.

When Is the Best Time to Visit?

We will mostly recommend visiting our area during the dead times or "off season", which is generally around mid-January through mid-May. Less traffic and less people means you get to where you're going much faster and it's easier to get tickets for the many dinner shows around town. If you can handle the weather changing from summer to harsh winter back to summer within a week, it's a great time to come. Make sure you both don't expect snow but also prepare for it.

Are You Still Recouping After the Fires?

Most of the main areas that people visit weren’t affected by the fires, and those that were are doing much better after two years of rebuilding. Your vacation will not be ruined by not being able to see something. The trails are still open in the spring and summer as well, just watch out for those pesky bears. We appreciate your worry and interest in the fires, but we are doing just fine.


Thank You.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any other questions that you get asked as a local in your area, please leave those in the comments below. Have a great day!

© 2019 Brianna Knight

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