We’ve spent some time in East Tennessee in 2019 and discovered, shockingly, Pal’s Sudden Service. Of course many of you from the East Tennessee or Western Virginia region already knew about this gem. That’s what we love most about traveling is finding the unique to the region.
Other than random drive-thru restaurants we have some great ideas that you need to consider this Spring and Early Summer as soon as we are able to travel again. We had our daughter on our adventures so we know even the kids will enjoy the experiences we are going to suggest.
We need to travel again after being stuck indoors and in our town since 2020’s pandemic’s start. We want to help by showing you some of our favorite ways to travel and to do it with “Buy Local” in mind. The small businesses of America will need your help (no matter the town) to recover in 2020. So, think of the locals when traveling elsewhere.
1. Synchronous Fireflies. For 2 weeks each year, you can witness this natural phenomenon that only happens in The Great Smoky Mountain National Park and in a region of Asia. During this time, the male fireflies can synchronize their light patterns. They really put on a show for the female fireflies who are checking out their dance moves from the ground. This was a phenomenal experience that we hope to do again. However, you must win the lottery to go! You have to enter the lottery system in order to attend and then cross your fingers for good luck. We were one of the lucky 1800 out of 24,000 to win the lottery! This is definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Hopefully a twice in a lifetime experience…fingers crossed! Click here for more information. Here is a great segment from CBS Sunday Morning on the event.
2. Drive through the Smokey Mountains National Park over to the Biltmore Estate. This is the perfect day trip. It’s 81 miles away with breathtaking views of The Great Smoky Mountains. There are many opportunities to pull over and admire the view and snap some pics along the way. Once you’re there, you can take a tour of America’s largest home. Built by George Vanderbilt in 1895, there are 8000 beautiful acres to explore. This includes the home, the gardens and the winery! Free wine tasting included!
3. Take advantage of the local creeks. There are many hotels and restaurants in the area with views of and balconies atop a babbling brook. So relaxing! There is nothing as calming as the sound of gently moving water.
4. Shopping. From Tanger Outlets to the Lodge Factory Store, you’re sure to find great bargains. There are also many local treasures waiting to be discovered, not just big chain stores. From local art, pottery, jewelry, home decor, and a year-round Christmas store, shopping here is easy. Find the perfect gift or a little something for yourself.
5. Enjoy delicious food. Some of our favorites: Fanny Farkle’s legendary Ogle Dog. This is a locally exclusive, closely guarded secret recipe. This delicious footlong corn dog is prepared in front of you from start to finish. The Apple Barn. The Apple Barn has been operating for over 20 years! It is a great place to visit when you’re looking for a delicious southern meal made with local ingredients. And the Apple Fritters with Apple Butter is a MUST! Crockett’s 1875 Breakfast Camp was new to us on this trip. Crockett’s is known to serve the best home-cooked breakfast in the Smokey Mountains and it did not disappoint. They serve cinnamon rolls as big as your head but the real standout was their Buckwheat Pancakes. The Donut Friar is always a favorite. They have been serving fresh donuts from scratch since 1969. While they have superb donuts, don’t forget their world-famous cinnamon bread!