The Perfect Gatlinburg Getaway at the Eight Gables Inn
UPDATE: We are devastated to hear that the Eight Gables Inn was destroyed in the wildfires in Gatlinburg in November 2016. The amazing team at Eight Gables is in our thoughts at this difficult time. Grateful for our memories there.
Growing up, my family frequented Gatlinburg nearly every year for our family vacation. I think many Floridians can probably say the same, as nearly every other tourist you come across in Gatlinburg is from Florida. I suppose its because it is a quick escape to cooler weather and higher altitudes. It’s the one place us “flatlanders” can get a taste of the four seasons – seeing the leaves change or a chance for some snow! Our Gatlinburg getaways would always include a cabin, usually for 8 people (my parents, my 2 brothers and I, and of course we would have to each bring a friend). I love our memories cozying up in the cabins at Christmastime, but I also got bored repeating the same vacation every year. I swore it was going to be a long time before I returned to Gatlinburg.
That is until we returned home from Thailand and decided to do a Southern US road trip and Gatlinburg was mentioned. Charlie and his parents had never been and it had been a long time since I had visited in the summer months. I figured this could actually be a very different experience. It really didn’t take much convincing. We added the stop to our itinerary just after our weekend in Nashville.
Although we briefly considered renting a cabin for our stay, I really wanted a different experience this time around. What I was really interested in was the Eight Gables Inn, a charming and elegant bed and breakfast located between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and just at the foothills of the Smoky Mountain National Park. It was the ideal location and the perfect choice for two couples that were looking for some relaxation and a little spoiling. Besides, none of us had ever really stayed at a true B&B and we were excited to see what it was all about.
The rooms were clean and spacious and the bathroom was equipped with a whirlpool tub and Philosophy Skin Care soaps and shampoos (bonus points!). The breakfasts served each morning were varied and sooo delicious! The nightly desserts delivered straight to our room were such a treat, especially those snickerdoodles – my favorites! Above all, the warm and welcoming staff made us feel completely at home. They went above and beyond to make sure our needs were met and that our stay was remarkable.
We probably would have been perfectly content spending our days hanging out on the porch playing with Smooch, the GM’s friendly dog that hangs about, but there was too much to see in just a few short days. Although you feel worlds away from civilization, you are actually just minutes away from both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Conveniently, the trolley stops just down the hill which was a lifesaver as parking in downtown Gatlinburg can be a nightmare. We gladly paid our $0.50/ride (which also took care of our DD situation after our 20 free shots of moonshine). However, aside from our stint with the moonshine, we really spent very little time in Gatlinburg itself and preferred to spend our time in the Smoky Mountain National Park in search of wildlife and waterfalls.
We took a drive through Cades Cove, a scenic loop in the valley popular for its abundance of wildlife. We were lucky to spot a couple of deer, a coyote, plenty of turkey and even a black bear. The drive is really beautiful with various historical cabins and churches dating back to the 19th century you can explore along the way.
On our last day in Gatlinburg, we took another scenic drive along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail which was new for me. Somehow after all of my trips to Gatlinburg over the years, this little slice of heaven managed to escape us. The drive itself is worth the detour from town, but if you are up for a hike and some beautiful falls then you have plenty of options. We opted for Grotto Falls, a 2.6 mile roundtrip hike that is moderate in difficulty. We found the trail to be pretty nicely carved out (but no, not paved) and nothing too steep. We were met with a few pretty streams to cross over, beautiful picturesque views and luckily no black bears (although we did see a snake!). The falls at the end were quite stunning.
Back in the car, we completed the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail with a view of the Place of a Thousand Drips, a waterfall that can be viewed right from the car. We were told its only good for viewing after a good rain, and lucky for us, it had been raining quite a bit since we arrived.
It was the perfect end to our Gatlinburg Getaway.
Take a tour of the Eight Gables Inn, discover some of the Smoky Mountains best waterfalls and check out the highlights of our Southern US road trip in the video below!