5 Things We Love About the Smoky Mountains

Rock hopping! We LOVE it! Wish I was rock hopping right now...

Fail. That’s me! For almost two and a half years, I’ve written the CabinConnection blog three times a week, except on holidays.

Until last week. Huh. Last week, I only managed to produce ONE blog entry! I could make excuses about Mother’s Day and my birthday (yes! I turned 34 last week!) and the new patio we’re putting in. But I won’t. I’ll just say that I messed up.

But I’m back on track! And, well, really tired. It’s been 90 degrees in Indiana for the past two days and we’ve been outside laying pavers. So, for tonight — I’m just dreaming of the Smokies. Here’s what I’m missing:

5 things we love about the Smokies

1. Rock Hopping!

Man, we LOVE rock hopping! We love to find a good rushing mountain stream and hop from rock to rock. One of our absolute favorite rock hopping spots is the Chimneys Picnic area. We have a great story about one time when rock hopping almost became disastrous — read about it here!

Next time you’re in the Smokies, schedule in some time to let your kids play in a cold mountain stream. You’ll be glad you did!

2. Ogle Dogs!

Ever had one? If not, you should. Ogle Dogs are a Beutler family tradition! So, what is it? It’s a really, really large corn dog — a whole foot long — that’s made from 100% beef. On a stick. We love to get a few for the family and share them.

Where can you find them? At Fannie Farkle’s on the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg. It’s an arcade and a food stand. It’s nothing too special. But the Ogle Dogs — now there’s something special. Yum.

Ogle Dogs cost around $5. And worth it. Man … I could really go for an Ogle Dog right now.

3. MagiQuest.

It really is one of our favorite things to do in the Smoky Mountain area. We just lucked into MagiQuest the first time — we found coupons and decided to try it. Well, that was a great idea. MagiQuest is SO much fun!

So what is it? At MagiQuest, kids get to be their very own wizards. They get their own wands and get to pick their wizard names. The wands keep track of quests that the kids go on, even months or years later. The wands are super interactive — the kids can “cast” at a treasure chest and it will open! It’s so fun!

If you’ve been to other MagiQuests around the nation (usually in Great Wolf Lodges), you should still visit in Pigeon Forge. It’s much bigger and more detailed than the others, with three separate “realms” to explore. SO FUN! Here’s our story of our adventures there.

4. Zorb!

Have you ever heard of Zorbing? If not, that’s not surprising.

Zorb Smoky Mountains is a place where you go inside a giant ball (think — like a hamster) and roll down a mountain. Seriously! Crazy, huh? There are a few options. You can either get strapped in and roll head over heels down the hill (can you say PUKE?) or you can go into the giant ball filled with water and slide down the mountain on the water. This is really true.

Pigeon Forge is the ONLY Zorb location in the United States. There are lots of other locations — Zorb started in New Zealand. It’s crazy!

5. Waterfall Hikes!

We do love a good hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But our FAVORITE hikes are to waterfalls! It’s SO great to hike along in the mountains and get to enjoy a cool, refreshing waterfall at the end! We LOVE that!

One of our favorite waterfall hikes is Grotto Falls. It’s a great hikes for kids, because it’s not super intense. Next time you’re in the Smokies, make sure to take time for nature, and enjoy a waterfall hike!

That’s it for tonight. I’m tired. But I’ll be back on Wednesday — guaranteed! See you then!


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