Small-town America is alive and teeming with things to explore. That’s probably why Reader’s Digest recently published a list with the “21 nicest small towns in America everyone should visit before they’re 50.” Here at White Oak Lodge and Resort we were happy, but not surprised, to see Gatlinburg on that list.
While Nashville and Memphis certainly have their draws, let’s take a closer look at that small-town charm that Gatlinburg and the surrounding area has to offer. Whether you are under or over 50, people of all ages are welcome.
The Arts and Crafts Scene is Still Going Strong
That a small town can have big ambitions becomes clear when you visit the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community. The 8-mile loop is part of the Tennessee Heritage Trail, and home to over a hundred skilled artisans and craftsmen. This unique experience is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, so be sure to add it to your itinerary.
Events with Locals and Visitors in Mind
Gatlinburg has an active community, and they don’t like to sit still. This is great news for visitors as well, because there are many events to enjoy throughout the year. From winter to fall, there are the Tennessee Winter Special Olympics, the Smoky Mountain Wine Weekend, Gatlinburg’s famous Independence Day Parade and of course, the Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights. No matter the season, you will feel as if you were personally invited to the celebration.
Family Friendly Atmosphere
Another benefit of a smaller town, such as Gatlinburg, is that it makes a great destination for the whole family. There are many options to choose from. Aerial adventure park Anakeesta is Gatlinburg’s newest family attraction with 70-acres of outdoor mountain fun. At the Space Needle you and your family can get all-around panoramic views, enjoy a slice of pizza, or get competitive at the large onsite arcade. Other attractions that will be a guaranteed hit with the family are Ripley’s Aquarium, Hillbilly Golf, Ober Gatlinburg and the Mountain Coaster.
It’s Like Driving Around in Your Own Neighborhood
While Gatlinburg loves lights of the Christmas kind, there are not too many traffic lights you will encounter. What you will find to make getting around even easier, are numbered intersections that are also prominently featured on tourist maps.
When you return to White Oak Lodge and Resort after a busy day out on the town, gather around the communal fire pit, do some serious grilling or challenge your newly found friends to a game of tennis.
Which characteristics do you like best when visiting a small town?