An unplanned Gatlinburg getaway

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I’M not quite sure how to describe the city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee other than a town that took my breathe away. I spent one weekend recently in Gatlinburg with husband Ronnie and daughter GG. It was actually an unplanned getaway.

When Ronnie asked where I wanted to go, I mumbled Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Next thing I knew we already loaded our bags and personal stuff on the car and headed to the town where I said I wanted to go to.

I could not describe the city like a poet but one thing I'm sure of is that it's charming and lovely. If Gatlinburg is a woman then it is exotic. Gatlinburg exemplifies the simple goodness of small town life.

Gatlinburg is where we gather together and stand in awe of nature’s glory. But I leave the job of describing the place to the city's official website.

It is a really elegant area according to my friend Dolly Wheeler who said Gatlinburg” is a lovely and fun place to be.” Dolly and her husband kept visiting Gatlinburg all these years and were still amazed by its natural beauty.

From Cornelius,North Carolina it was a three and a half-hour trip to Gatlinburg. It was not a boring trip because it was a sightseeing treat passing through so many places on the way to our destination.

Not to count the food we ate every time we made a pitstop to use the bathroom. My favorite of course was peanuts and chitcharon (fried pork rinds).

One can really notice the green trees that were planted along the roads and beyond; from part of North Carolina up to part of Asheville, NC where we have to bypass going to Tennessee.

I also noticed the rocks along the way which by the way don't pose any danger to motorists because the side of the mountain is covered with a net to catch the rocks should they fall.

We passed by a town which Ronnie called Black Mountain. I wondered why it's called Black Mountain when the ranges I saw were all green. It turned out that the town is called Black Mountain which is part of Asheville, NC.

The town is named for the old train stop at the Black Mountain Depot and is located at the southern end of the Black Mountain range of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Southern Appalachians.

It was raining when we arrived at downtown Gatlinburg and we settled in a hotel facing the Smokey Mountain. We lost no time going out for a walk after a few minutes of rest. If I may add Gatlinburg is like Baguio City or Bukidnon province.

It's a town that houses the guests headed to Smokey Mountain or were about to visit the next town of Pigeon Forge.

At the time we visited, it was a crowded afternoon with visitors and guests walking and stopping along gift shops or listening to music by street performers. The weather was very cooperative since it wasn't too warm or cold.

The buildings were sized just right and painted with lively colors and some are old or have a semblance of antiquity. Gift shops were also abundant and affordable.

There were also old time pictures in which people would wear costumes of the 18th century and have their picture taken.

The food is great. We ate the best hotdogs at the Five Guys restaurant along the road. This restaurant offers free peanuts. They placed the peanuts in sacks and it is up to the customer to get as much as he or she wants.

Mind you it was so good and the salt was just perfect. We ended the first night early and spent time in the hotel, looking at the mountain.

True enough, the following day I knew why it was called Smokey Moutain because one can see the white smoke from the mountain spreading throughout the range and as far as your eyes can see.

We had breakfast at the hotel which offered a splendid view of the mountain. I had this recent fascination about mountains, it almost felt like they were talking to me.

After breakfast, we braved the lcool summer wind and started our way to Cherokee, the details of which I promise to tell you in my next post.

(Susan Palmes-Dennis is a veteran journalist from Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao in the Philippines who works as a nanny in North Carolina. This page will serve as a venue for news and discussion on Filipino communities in the Carolinas. Visit and read her website at Read her blogs on susanpalmesstraightfrom the These and other articles also appear at

You can also connect with her through her Pinterest account at and…)

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