from Sights of the Smokies Tour
Lunch at a highly rated local restaurant is included on this tour.
Begin your tour at the Gatlinburg Welcome Center in the upper parking area. From here we take a ride aboard the air conditioned tour bus into the city of Pigeon Forge. In this area, we will be visiting the Old Mill district, the oldest part of Pigeon Forge. You will learn about its history, its heritage, and its people. We will discuss the Old Mill and its multiple uses throughout the years. Built in 1830 and still in operation today, the Old Mill is one of Pigeon Forge's most noted landmarks. Your guide will take you on a journey into the past with full detail.
After we re-board the tour bus, our next stop brings us to Wears Valley. Here we will discuss its namesake, Samuel Wear, a civil war veteran and hero. We will also show you the oldest home in the area which was built in 1818. Among the stops in this area will be Mountain Brothers General Store and Elvira's Cafe where we stop for lunch which is included at no additional cost.
After lunch, we head on out to the area of Townsend. Here we discuss W.B. Townsend, his little river lumber company, and the railroad. We will be visiting the Artistic Bean for after brunch coffee, the Little River Railroad & Lumber Company Museum, and the Apple Valley stores. At the museum, you will see relics of the past both in person and in photos. You will also see a real life Shay Engine, log loader, and flatbed car. We also make a stop at the Apple Valley shops for a bit more local trinkets and a restroom break. Inside you will find all sorts of local goodies made by the amazing people of Townsend.
Passing through the area of Walland, we make our way to the road known as Foothills Parkway West. We will be driving up the Foothills to the top area called Look Rock. On our way up we will make 3 stops to get some of the best photos in the entire region. Once we reach the summit there will be an optional hike of 1/2 mile to the observatory to get breathtaking 360-degree views.
Heading down the mountain side, we head back through Townsend and into the national park. We will make a restroom stop at the top before heading back down to Little River Road on our trip towards Gatlinburg.
Once we get into the Elkmont area, your guide will discuss the locals who lived in the once thriving resort area known to many as the first resort in the Smoky Mountains. Hear tails about such locals as Lemuel Ownby, the Sage of the Smokies. You may also hear tails of the Walker Sisters and other families who made their home in the park areas known as Little Greenbriar and Elkmont. As we get closer to Gatlinburg, we may make a final stop at Sugarlands Visitor Center depending on time. Your guide will make sure the tour keeps pace and this stop is optional. As you enter into the city you will learn the history of Gatlinburg. We will discuss its founding family and its long heritage as the gateway to the Smoky Mountains.
On this amazing 8-hour journey, your guide will be there to answer all your questions and to entice you will many tales from both historical and personal experiences. Our guides are encouraged to share their life stories growing up in rural East Tennessee. We have locals who were born and raised in the Smokies. You may also see several DVD's that we use to help you learn our history and heritage. You will see breathtaking sights up high and down low. From mountain peaks to mountain streams and even waterfalls. Welcome to East Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains!