Where Luxury Meets the Smokies: New Luxury Big Cabins in Gatlinburg

GATLINBURG – A new development in Gatlinburg bridges the gap between rustic hillside cabins and well-appointed downtown hotel rooms. Cherokee Orchard has four big luxury rental cabins and a pool house with indoor pool — so far. The development at 368 E. Holly Ridge Road is already available for rent, but four more cabins are to come beginning in January 2019.

This collection of eight cabins has enough space to host up to 500 guests, of all ages, for a family reunion, company retreat, sports team competition, family anniversary celebration or a Smoky Mountain destination wedding. At this unique cabin community, you can get large parties–up to 96 people–under one roof.

A ribbon-cutting June 18 drew about 100 people, mostly local government and business officials connected to tourism and economic development.

Cherokee Orchard is the work of Kenny Hayes, the owner of Southern Scapes Home Design.
The cabins will be managed by Wyndham Vacation Rentals Smoky Mountains. Wyndham has been in the Gatlinburg-area market since 2012, managing properties with multiple owners.

Cherokee Orchard, on Historic Nature Trail, is designed like a small village with winding sidewalks, thoughtful landscaping, and plenty of parking, even for buses. It’s close enough to walk to the Gatlinburg strip, but a trolley stops at the bottom of the private driveway, too.

Inspired by the majestic beauty and rich history of the Smoky Mountains, Cherokee Orchard is your own private mountain oasis. Designed to bring the outdoors in, this incredible destination features stunning open-plan living spaces with modern mountain-lodge style and local décor. Sharp peaks, timber and rustic colors give the exterior of Cherokee Orchard cabins their classic lodge appeal. On the inside, history and functionality join forces to add yet another layer of character–rustic wide-plank engineered wood floors, locally sourced bark covered walls, oversized stone fireplaces and espresso colored furnishings.

With exceptional care taken to add modern comforts while preserving historic character, Cherokee Orchard strikes a perfect balance between active outdoor recreation, shared experiences, and personal renewal. The layout delivers intimacy without sacrificing spaciousness. Designed for memory-making, each cabin comes with varied amenities of modern resplendence such as home theaters, pool tables, an array of board games and more.
A shared space also means shared costs, so you can enjoy the ultimate get-together at a practical rate.
Book online at www.bigcabins.com or www.wyndhamvacationrentals.com or call 855-214-8104 to reserve your rustic-done-right retreat.

Harrah’s Cherokee

hcc2There is only one place to go if you are looking for world class gaming in the Smoky Mountains and that is Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in Cherokee, NC.  This casino and hotel opened in November of 1997 and it has become a desination unto itself in theyears since its opening.  The casino boasta hotel that contains 1,108 rooms and 107 suites.  The gaming area started with only electronic games but now it also has actual dealers for some games of chance.  Along with the hotel and casino, they have shopping world class dining and they bring in shows and celebrities throughout the year.

Over the years, Cherokee, NC has been trying to find ways to reinvent their town and bring in more and more visitors into their area.  With the addition of Harrah’s Cherokee, they have finally gotten a lock on the tourism market and they have used the new found draw to make continued improvements to Cherokee and offer more and more to the tourists and locals alike.  The casino provides jobs and is now the only gambling location in North Carolina and it boats the largest hotel in North Carolina as well.  The hotel, connected to the casino, is well maintained, beautiful and has amenities that you only find in huge resort areas.  Guests staying at Harrah’s Cherokee are treated to service that is beyond compare in rooms that are clean and well decorated.  Also, if you are there to game, you never have to leave the casino. You simply walk to the gaming floor, and get your game on.

hcc1And speaking of gaming, Harrah’s Cherokee has games to fit every taste.  State of the art video slot machines line all of the walls and most of the floor pace but their are also computerized versions of many of the game sof chance that you see in Las Vegas.  As of 2012, after attaining approval from the North Carolina legislature, Harrah’s Cherokee now has traditional hand dealt Blackjack, Roulette and Craps tables.  This live gaming, with live dealers, has taken Harrah’s Cherokee to the next level and brought in gamers that are looking for a more Vegas-style experience.  Whether you are into video gaming or live gaming, Harrah’s Cherokee has what you are looking for and has thousands of vsiitors each year.

But, let’s face it, you can’t game 24 hours a day and you are going to get hungry – Harrah’s Cherokee has you covered on that front as well.  Paula Deen’s Kitchen opening in the last few years, a Ruth Cris Steak House is also located inside the grounds of Harrah’s Cherokee, add to that an amazing buffet and lots of other culinary choices and you have more food than you can shake a steak at (pun intended).  There is also shopping located all around the casino so if you have a loved one that is spending a lot of time inside the casino there is plenty for you to do without even leaving the hotel.

Harrah’s Cherokee is a world class venue tucked into the shadows of the Smokies.  From gorgeous hotel rooms to world class gaming, dining and shopping – this stop on your trip tot he Smokies is more then memorable, it is unforgettable.

Harrah’s Cherokee
777 Casino Drive
Cherokee, NC

Mt LeConte Lodge

Hiking to Mt. LeConte Lodge

For viewing spectacular Smoky Mountain sunrises and sunsets, there is no better place than Mt. LeConte. Countless visitors have huddled together to view the sunrise from Myrtle Point on the eastern side, and hurried to see the sun set over Clingman’s Dome from Clifftops on the western flank.

The idea for a lodge on top of Mt. LeConte to accommodate visitors dates back to 1925, when Paul Adams established a permanent camp for the Great Smokies Conservation Association, an organization formed to seek national park status for the Great Smokies. Many prominent visitors spent the night at the early tent camp as guests of the Association in order to win their support for a park in the Southern Appalachians. Where else could you provide a better grandstand view of the Smokies than from the summit of Mt. LeConte?

Today, LeConte Lodge is the highest inn providing lodging for visitors in the East. Although LeConte is the third highest mountain in the Park at 6,595 feet, it is actually the “tallest” mountain in the Eastern United States, rising over a vertical mile from Gatlinburg. Rustic accommodations include the lodge, a dining hail, and a cluster of small cabins equipped with double-bunk beds. Dinner at the dining hall is served at 6 p.m., breakfast at 8 am. A pack-train of llamas brings food, bed linens, and other supplies to and from the Lodge three times a week. These animals do not damage these heavily used trails as much as horses.

LeConte Lodge can accommodate an average of 45 guests per night, and normally fills up a year in advance. Reservations are required for the lodge and for the 12-man lean-to shelter (with bear-proof chain link fence across the opening) near the lodge. There is no charge for staying at the shelter, but reservations are required through the Park’s backcountry office.

What to Bring: Since your dinner, breakfast, and bed are provided, you can pack light! Some essentials: light-weight hiking boots, a small backpack or daypack, flashlight, water, compass, knife, matches, lunch for the day you go up and a light snack for the return trip, rain gear (it rains a lot in the Smokies and even more on LeConte), hat, gloves, washcloth and towel, toothbrush, soap (you won’t need your shampoo—no showers!), toilet paper, a clean shirt and two pairs of socks (dry socks will he needed!), and money for a souvenir (you may want to buy a T-shirt). Other items that will help you enjoy your trip include: a camera, film, and binoculars (to view the peregrine falcons nesting the bluffs near the summit).

Article & Photography by Robin Bible

Jarrett House

Jarrett HouseThe railroad has always been a vital part of Dillsboro, NC and the town’s economy, especially during the late 19th century.  The train would bring travelers to town and many of those visitors would stop by the Jarrett House to rest, relax, and eat, while awaiting the connecting train.  The house itself has since become a historic landmark and currently serves some of the best food in Western North Carolina.

Frank Jarrett bought the inn in 1894 and was able to capitalize on the burgeoning tourism industry of the Smoky Mountains as people from other parts of the country flocked to the region.  The Jarrett Inn gave the people who rode on the railroad a place to stay. Meanwhile, the food made the Jarrett House famous all over the country.  From his wife’s fried ham and redeye gravy to the biscuits that seemed to float off the plate, this was truly southern food in an authentic southern setting.

Their menu is a huge draw still and whether you are there for lunch or dinner you are in for something special.  It’s family favorites with a southern flare and all the sides are served family style.  For lunch you get to pick your entrée from selections like fried catfish, fried chicken or chicken and dumplings (the chicken and dumplings are incredible).  For dinner you will see some of the same options as lunch but with the inclusion of country cured ham, mountain trout and pot roast.  Every meal includes a family style portion of the following:  Cole slaw, candied apples, buttered potatoes, green beans, pickled beets and hot biscuits.  You will feel like you are back in your grandmother’s house for Sunday lunch.  One thing will really stick out on the menu though and that is one of their desserts:  vinegar pie!  Don’t let the name fool you; it is delicious.  Imagine pecan pie without the pecans.

Jarrett HouseStepping foot in the dining room of the Jarrett House is like stepping back in time.  They have captured the feel of the early 20th century.  From the table cloths to the stem ware, there is not a detail they have missed.  You can look at the nick-knacks on the wall or the furniture in the hall and the look of the antiques really sets the scene.  You have just stepped off the train.  You are ready to check into your room and brush the travel dust from your clothes.  You are hoping for a good meal but you are not really prepared for the mounds of food that await you.

Next time you are in Dillsboro walk across the main street to the Jarrett House for a meal.  Step back in time and pull your chair up to the table.  Order the country cured ham and experience southern style salt cured ham.  Order the chicken and dumplings and sop up the juice with a homemade biscuit.  Be sure to order a slice of vinegar pie for dessert; trust me, it is better than it sounds.  Visit the Jarrett House; it will be an experience you will talk about for years to come.

Grove Park Inn

One of the most recognized and historical hotels in the United States, the Grove Park Inn rests in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Asheville, North Carolina. Over the years it’s garnered such accreditations as being named to the National Register of Historic Places and features a world-renowned spa that vacationers flock to year round.

Grove Park InnEdwin Wiley Grove and his son-in-law Fred Loring Seely originally came up with the concept for the Grove Park Inn. Edwin, who at one point owned a Paris, Tn medicine company, believed the Asheville climate had health benefits and would be an ideal locale for a resort-style hotel. When his doctors sent him to Asheville to see if the climate change could help relieve him of his hiccups, a seed was planted.

Grove began to buy up parcels of land for the Inn in 1910. Sunset Mountain was his destination as he purchased numerous farms in the vicinity. In 1912 the first shovel struck dirt and 11 months and 27 days later a hotel stood. Workers were said to have been paid handsomely and lived at the site during the almost 12-month build.

The Grove Park Inn officially opened on July 12, 1913. The hotel was built with granite stones and its lobby bears granite fireplaces to this day.

Over the years, the Inn became a vital resource, especially during wartime. First, during World War II it was transformed into an internment center for Axis diplomats. Then, the Navy used it as a rest and rehabilitation center for returning sailors. The Army even took hold of it from 1944-45 as a redistribution station.

In 1955, the Grove Park Inn became a part of Sammons Enterprises. Mr. and Mrs. Sammons expanded the resort and it continues to flourish in the same capacity today as a part of KSL Resorts, who acquired ownership in 2012.

You might also not know that the golf club at the Grove Park Inn was there even before construction began on the hotel itself. The first tee shot came in 1899 before it was redesigned in 1924 and is now a part of the resort. Today, it boasts a par-70 course and is open to members, the public as well as guests.

Grove Park InnStill not impressed? If the Grove Park Inn itself doesn’t make you stand in awe, its guest list will. Over the years the Inn has played host to such notable guests as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, John D. Rockefeller, North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, current NC Governor Bev Perdue, Sanjay Gupta, musician Trey Anastasio, Presidents Woodrow Wilson,  William Howard Taft, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and Barack Obama. Other notables  include magician Harry Houdini, author F. Scott Fitzgerald, golfer Bobby Jones, Will Rogers, Reverend Billy Graham, William Shatner, and many more.

The Grove Park Inn in Asheville is an experience like none other. Relax with guests the world over and see why presidents, musicians, farmers, and people from all walks of life have made the Inn a destination in itself.