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October 15, 2018

Harvest Festival Comes to Gatlinburg

 

The City of Gatlinburg is celebrating autumn and the harvest September 7 through November 25, 2018 with the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival. This is a fabulous time of year to visit Eastern Tennessee. You can enjoy the beautiful fall colors, visit talented artists and craftsmen, enjoy the whimsical decorations, or take in one of the area’s special events. Many of our guests have marked their calendars for the November 8 Chili Cookoff. More information on this and other events is available at https://www.gatlinburg.com/event.

Gatlinburg is embracing the season with brand-new autumn-themed displays, life-size scarecrow people, and scarecrows created by individual business establishments.

Scarecrows Have Long History as Harvest Helpers

Scarecrows are used by farmers to protect their crops from birds.  Historians tell use that people the world over have used scarecrows for more than 3,000 years.   The first record of scarecrows is by the Egyptians who used them to protect their wheat fields along the Nile.  Each culture designed their scarecrows differently.  Greek scarecrows looked like one of their gods, while German scarecrows are distinctly witch-like.  

Scarecrows are the perfect symbol of the harvest season.

Gatlinburg is celebrating the season with whimsical scarecrows.

Most scarecrows in the U.S. are human in form and dressed in old clothes.  Some farmers use aluminum strips tied to the scarecrow to catch the light and scare away birds.  Inflateable tube men have also been used in this fashion.

The scarecrow has been a powerful symbol in literature.  Nathanial Hawthorne’s short story “Feathertop” features a scarecrow brought to life by a witch in Salem, Massachusetts.  Whether you prefer Ray Bolger’s scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz” or Michael Jackson’s in “The Wiz”, we all root for the scarecrow who bemoans “If I only had a brain . . .”.  And Indiana-born John Mellencamp featured the agricultural anthem “Rain on the Scarecrow” in his 1985 album “Scarecrow”.  

Some of the most colorful names for scarecrows come from the United Kingdom.  There the figure may be called hay-man, murmet, hodmedod, tattie bogle, mommet or mawkin.

By whatever name, we find scarecrows to be the iconic decoration of the harvest season!

 

 

June 18, 2018

Anakeesta Offers Magic in the Mountains

We have just discovered Anakeesta!  As busy local innkeepers, we rarely take the time to enjoy the many attractions that appeal to our out-of-town guests.  We are so glad that we recently had the opportunity, thanks to the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce, to explore our area’s new aerial theme park.  Anakeesta is a Cherokee word referring to high ground.  It literally means “place of the balsams”.  The word also refers to the massive rock formation that encompasses many of our local mountain peaks:  Charlie’s Bunion, Chimney Tops, and Mount Kephart.  The aerial park is designed to be a mountain playground for all ages.  Bob and Karen Bentz and their family bought more than 55 acres of pristine mountain land in 2014 and proceeded to create their vision.  They are environmentally sound stewards and the attraction offers a family-oriented experience.

What to Do at Anakeesta

The Anakeesta walk through the trees offers beautiful views.

The canopy walk is 40 to 60′ from the forest floor.

We entered via an open-air four-person chair lift.  The other option is an enclosed gondola with a capacity of six.  The ride up 600′ to the summit was beautiful!  We were enchanted by the canopy walk through the trees.  A series of 16 connected sky bridges, 40 to 60′ above the forest floor, offered spectacular views.  While we did not try it out on this visit, we enjoyed watching others on the dueling zipline.  There are several options for dining.  We chose to try out the Cliff Top Grill and Bar.  We enjoyed lingering over our drinks on the outdoor pavilion and admiring the mountain peaks that were the backdrop to our dining experience.  

The south side of the park is located in an area that was badly scorched by the 2016 fire, the most devastating in the state’s history.  A memorial walk pays tribute to the brave men and women who fought the fires and to the resilience of those impacted by the tragedy.

As we strolled to the chair lift to back down the mountain, we admired the cute shops and vowed to come back soon.  For more information, visit http://www.anakeesta.com