Great Places to Bike in Townsend, TN

March 19, 2018   -   0 comments

Living in the Smokies means finding many ways to get outside and soak up the gorgeous views – and that’s something that we love to share with visitors as well. There are dozens of ways to enjoy the great outdoors in Townsend, and one of them is to hop on your bicycle and go for a cruise. Townsend offers a variety of biking trails, as well as easy access to other popular trails nearby. If you want to bike in Townsend, TN, here are three great places to try.

Bike the Townsend, TN Bicycle Trial

The Townsend Bicycle Trail is a 4.5-mile long trail that is perfect for families, inexperienced riders, or anyone wanting a leisurely ride. It only has easy rolling hills, nothing too steep, and is smoothly paved for the entire length. This trail runs alongside the highway and the Little River, so you do have access to restaurants, shops, and places to rest along the way. The view of the mountains is unparalleled, and it’s an ideal way to explore Townsend without having to be in the car all day.

One part of this trail is a historical trail called Shadows of the Past, which starts at the Townsend Visitors Center. This part of the trail splits off and gives you an additional nine miles of paved pathways to explore.

Try Out Tremont Road

Tremont Road is another option to bike in Townsend, TN. This road starts in a parking lot, goes along Laurel Creek Road, and then takes you on a five-mile round trip loop along the Great Smoky Mountains. At the end of the trail, you are at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute in Tremont, and while you could continue on past this area if you like, the paved path turns to gravel at that point. This one is perfect if you want a quieter trip away from the highway, but still want a relatively easy ride that is good for kids.

Cades Cove Loop Road Offers Panoramic Views

Probably the most well-known biking path in Townsend is the Cades Cove Loop Road. This starts at the Visitor Center in Townsend, and follows an 11-mile loop that is totally paved. You’ll pass by beautiful mountain streams, stunning views of the wilderness, historic mills and cabins, and old churches. It’s also common to see wildlife like turkey and deer along the way. This trail is open to vehicles, but there are special times available for hikers and bikers when cars aren’t allowed. You can also rent bikes for this trail at the Cades Cove Bike Shop in Townsend.

Strap On Your Helmet and Hit the Trails

These trails in Townsend are just some of the ways you can explore the region on your trusty bike. If you’re looking for additional fun bike trips, we have a few more ideas for you. Check out more inside Blount County to find other great excursions.

Explore the Top Historical Sites in Maryville, TN

March 16, 2018   -   0 comments

Coming to Maryville, TN, is like walking a thin line between the incredible history of the area and modern times. This area in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains was once home to the Great Indian Warpath and was home to a Cherokee village that sat where the Heritage High School now sits. As you can imagine there are several historic places for you to check out while you are in town.

The Sam Houston Schoolhouse

The Sam Houston Schoolhouse was built in 1794. It’s named for legendary hero Sam Houston, who spent time in the one-room schoolhouse as its schoolmaster in 1812. Bring your kids and let them experience (rather than just see) what a typical day in the life of the average school-age child was like in the classroom. They will do things like “book learnin’, colonial-era games, candle making, bullet making, grinding corn, doing the laundry with a washboard, and quilting. Life was hard back then, but there was also lots of fun to be had.

The Clover Hill Mill

The Clover Hill Mill was built in 1849 by David McKamey on a tributary branch of Baker’s Creek. Today, over 150 years later, the mill continues to operate but is no longer powered by water. The original mill burned down in 1921 but was rebuilt. The machinery in the mill has not changed much over the decades and gives you a chance to step back into the past.

The Palace Theater

The Palace Theater was built in 1868 by Carl Pflanze as a furniture and casket factory. Over the years, the building has housed a five and dime store, a drug store, a dollar store in the 60s and 70s and finally a carpet store until a fire closed the store down in 1975. That same year the Hamil brothers purchased the property with the intent of restoring it. Today, the theater has been lovingly restored and is the city’s premier acoustic venue and hosts a number of events all year round.

Maryville College

Founded in 1819, Maryville College is a private liberal arts college. When Presbyterian minister Isaac L. Anderson first opened the college, it was for the express purpose of spreading enlightenment and furthering education. It is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the country. Currently, the school boasts an enrollment of over 1,000 students on the 60-acre campus. Many of the buildings on the campus are on the National Register of Historic Places, making a visit to this magnificent campus a must when you are in town.

This is only a small sampling of the many historic places to see in and around Maryville, TN. The area is steeped in early American History with many historic homes and barns to see. Be sure to plan your vacation carefully to ensure you have plenty of time to wander through the Historic District and take in the many historic sites in the area.

Discover the Best Pubs & Nightlife in Maryville, TN

March 7, 2018   -   0 comments

After spending all day enjoying the many attractions in the Maryville, TN, area, when night comes along, why on earth would you want to spend time sitting in your hotel room?  There is a lot of nightlife in the area, including a number of excellent pubs to choose from. You never need to worry about being bored once the sun sets. Here are four of the best pubs and nightlife activities for you to enjoy.

The Casual Pint

Located at 721 Watkins Rd, Maryville, TN, 37801, The Causal Pint is more than just another pub. It’s the perfect place to sit back and enjoy a pint or two served up to you by the Beertenders. They offer dozens of craft brews for you to sample in the can, in the bottle, or by the growler if you want to take some back to your hotel with you. Fantastic atmosphere, superb service, an incredible selection of beers, what more could you ask for?


Located at 112 E Broadway Ave, Maryville, TN, 37804, Brackins is one of the most popular blues bars in the area. In fact, they are rated as the number one blues dive bar in the region; so much so that it has literally become a destination. Whether you want an insane burger for lunch or are simply looking for the best place in town to dance like there’s no tomorrow, this is the place with live music, plenty of cold beer, and a big plate of wings.

The Shed Smokehouse & Juke Joint

Located at 1820 W Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Maryville, TN, 37801, The Shed offers house-smoked meats to die for. The smoker only runs on Friday and Saturday, but the smoked meats are fantastic any day of the week. This is the perfect spot for Harley Davidson fans as the joint is located right next door to Smoky Mountain Harley Davidson. Open Thursday through Sunday, The Shed is Blount County’s Number One outdoor music venue, attracting some of the top bands in the area.

Two Doors Down

Located at 118 E Broadway Ave, Maryville, TN, 37804, Two Doors Down may be one of the best places to have a little fun at night in Maryville, TN. Not only can you feast on wings, brick oven pizza, and a range of burgers and sandwiches, but their activity calendar is packed with nighttime activities. Love to do Karaoke? Come on in Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. and strut your stuff. Friday and Saturday nights offer an unbelievable selection of live entertainment. The list goes on, but no matter what night of the week you go here, you are sure to have an unforgettable time.

While there may be plenty to do during the daytime in the Maryville, TN, area, this is only the beginning, as once the sun sets, the party gets started. Be sure to check out these great places along with many others in town and in the surrounding area. You are guaranteed to have a great time and hit your hotel room exhausted and ready for a good night’s sleep!

Exciting 2018 Townsend, TN Camping Trips Start Here (Part 1 of 3)

February 27, 2018   -   0 comments

Visiting the mountains is the perfect way to introduce your family to the wonders of the great outdoors – and what better way to explore the beauty of the Smokies than by camping? In Townsend, TN, campgrounds are a way of life. Your family can get closer to nature, connect with each other away from the hustle of modern life, and see some of the most stunning sights in the country, at our campgrounds.

Fun and convenience are just two of the features that the many campgrounds in the area offer. In Townsend, you’ll find everything from modern RV campgrounds with luxury amenities that rival the best hotels, to more rustic spots that really let you test your camping skills. In this three-part series, we’ll introduce you to the best places to stay, no matter what kind of camping you love.

Big Meadow Family Campground in Townsend

A family-owned and operated campground that welcomes RVs and tent campers alike, the Big Meadow Family Campground is ideal for people visiting with children. The campground is clean and quiet, with a focus put on allowing everyone to have a peaceful visit in this beautiful region of the world. The family that owns the campground is known for providing very friendly and welcoming service. If you want to try your hand at camping, but also want to have a courteous guide nearby in case anything goes wrong, you can’t go wrong with a stay here!

Lazy Daze Campground and Motel in Townsend

Just close enough to the action of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, but far enough away to let you indulge in the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies,” Lazy Daze Campground is the perfect spot for those who want great access to the Little River. It is right on the water, and has stunning mountain views. In addition to being a campground, there is also a motel for those who prefer a bit more modern luxury during their stay. For campers, there are shower houses and a small general store so you are never without anything you need. The camp also hosts family fun night every weeknight at 8PM, where there are games and prizes.

Little River Campground and RV Resort

Located near Townsend, the Little River Campground and RV Resort is the perfect spot for those who want a quiet, private camping experience. With a very peaceful atmosphere and tons of fishing right on site, you have plenty of ways to relax here. This campground is under new management, and there are tons of great improvements that have made it an ideal place for RV campers.

Join us for the next installment in this series where we’ll introduce you to three more great campsites in the Townsend area. The beauty of the Smokies awaits your camping adventure!

2018 Blount County Motorcycle Tourism Highlights

February 23, 2018   -   0 comments

For the first time in five years, the H.O.G. Rally is coming back to Maryville for 2018! This summer event for Harley owners is a great time to grab your bike and experience some of the best rides in the Smokies, but you don’t have to wait for this event. The area is perfect for rides any time, and the H.O.G. Rally is just one of the many times that motorcycle lovers can gather in one of the most scenic areas of the country.

Ride the Dragon

Located near Maryville and just a short ride away from Gatlinburg, the Tail of the Dragon is one of the most well-known motorcycle rides in the area. This 11-mile section of road is not for the faint of heart! With 318 S-curves in the short distance, it offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the area if you’re up for the challenge. The speed limit is 30 miles per hour, but the steep downhill ride won’t feel like any gentle cruise you’ve ever taken before. The road is carefully patrolled, and the lack of intersections or driveways makes it easy to lose yourself in the ride without too much worry.

Check Out Cades Cove

Nearby Cades Cove is always a delight for motorcyclists. This motor-tourism loop is separate from any through traffic, so the only other drivers you’ll meet are also there to take it slow and soak up the scenery. You’ll see mountains, wildlife, and historic settlements along the way, and there are plenty of places to stop and stretch your legs on the drive. The ride from Townsend to Cades Cove is tranquil and just as gorgeous. Cades Cove has a speed limit of 20 miles per hour, and the 11-mile loop is perfect for riders who want an easy cruise.

Try Foothills Parkway

Only part of the Foothills Parkway is currently open, but it’s a beautiful 16.5-mile section that is perfect for a leisurely ride. There are wide lanes and beautiful views, so you can simply settle in for a lovely ride through the mountains. This area is accessed through Walland, and is under construction for a final pass that will lead to Townsend. Go ahead and enjoy the ride now, and you’ll be able to see even more of this trip in the future as the road is continued. You can also access this route via the Tail of the Dragon.

Visit for the H.O.G. Rally and Try Them All!

Of course, who can choose between all these amazing trails in the Blount County area? Keep an eye out for news about the H.O.G. rally in 2018, and plan your trip to include a drive down them all! You can visit with your fellow riders or simply enjoy a solo cruise through the stunning mountains.  You can also check out other journeys to areas like Clingman’s Dome and more on our website.

Fun 2018 Day Trips in Blount County – Greenway Expansion

February 20, 2018   -   0 comments

The Greenway Expansion is a trail that will stretch 14 miles between Maryville and Townsend, connecting these communities to the greater areas of Knoxville and Alcoa. The trail offers the perfect way to walk or ride through the Smokies, giving explorers a great day trip or making a convenient path for visitors. Here’s what you need to know about this fun route:

This Day Trip Connects Visitors to the Beauty of Blount County

The Greenway Expansion project will offer a fantastic way to connect visitors to the entire Blount County region. In addition to visiting Knoxville, guests can now take a day trip to see the peaceful Smokies through a whole new lens. With Maryville, Townsend, and Alcoa linked via two connectors on this expansion, guests can easily explore the area in any way they want. The first phase will connect Maryville to Heritage High School, and the second phase will connect Heritage High School to Townsend. From there, the route takes guests right to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hikers, bikers, and other National Park explorers can continue their trek into Townsend and Maryville, taking in the lovely view and helping support local businesses along the way.

Bike or Walk to Explore the Mountains

One of the best ways to explore the Smokies is to walk or bike along the many trails that cover the area. In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you can hike to waterfalls, bike along the mountainside, ride horses through the Park, or even zip line through the trees. But once you’ve explored the Park, you’re stuck getting back into a car and heading back to town the modern way. If you want to really immerse yourself in the view and let the peace of the mountains rejuvenate your spirit for a day, why not set out from your hotel or vacation home on foot and return the same way? With the Greenway Expansion, you’ll have easy access to the mountains from the entire Blount County area, perfect for those who want to leave the modern world behind and experience the mountains up close and personal.

Big Things for the Future of Blount County

The Greenway Expansion is a project that is coming very soon, and the Blount County area will see huge benefits. Some of those include an estimated economic impact of over $65 million in the coming decade, thanks to more traffic being directed towards Maryville and Townsend, more homeowners coming to the area, and other avenues. However, the chance to get out and explore the region with more convenient access is another great benefit for locals and tourists alike. If you want to learn more about this fun day trip option that is coming soon, watch the Blount Chamber of Commerce website for news!

Discover The PetSafe Dog Park in Maryville

February 16, 2018   -   0 comments

Have you ever wished that you had a space to play with your dog that was convenient and free? Maryville dog owners may have a backyard to retreat to – but what if you’ve been stuck with sidewalk trots to keep your pup active? Now you can visit the first public dog park in Maryville, where the facilities will have you and your dog excited to break out the ball and have a blast. Here’s what you need to know to visit:

PetSafe Dog Park Facilities

When you visit the PetSafe Dog Park in Maryville, you’ll find that there is a full acre for large dogs to romp around, as well as a separate half acre for the smaller guys to have some fun. You don’t have to worry about your little dog getting tangled up with a big dog that doesn’t know his own strength. At each area, you’ll find waste stations with doggy bags, dog-friendly water fountains, benches to relax on, a pavilion for shade, and a specific unleashing area where you can safely get your dog on and off the leash before entering the play area. We welcome you to visit any day between dawn and dusk when the dog park is open!

Help Your Dog Stay Active and Healthy

Dog parks are good for more than just a game of fetch! Here are a few fun ideas for visiting the PetSafe Dog Park:

  • Set up a play date and help your dog learn how to play nicely with other dogs. Socialization is key for puppies.
  • Teach your dog to follow commands even with lots of distractions around. This controlled environment helps you ensure that your dog will listen in emergencies.
  • Try out some new games! Has your dog ever tried to catch a flying disc before? Here’s the perfect place to give it a whirl, without the fear of nearby traffic.

Requirements for Visiting the Dog Park

We want everyone who visits the dog park to be safe, so please be aware that there are a few requirements for visitors. All dogs must be current on their shots, and they must be in good health when they visit. Please keep your dog at home if they are sick! Just like kids, dogs can easily spread germs. Be sure that your dog has on their collar with current identification when you come to the dog park. You must also have a leash when entering and exiting the park.

We also require that all dog waste be cleaned up by the owner, and that owners don’t allow their dogs to dig holes at the dog park. In order to keep all the dog park visitors safe, we require that dog owners bring no more than three dogs per person, and that any children be supervised by an adult. To learn more about our requirements, or to find out how you can have a great time at the dog park, please visit our Parks and Rec website!

Blount County Antique Markets – There’s a Treasure or Two Waiting for You

February 13, 2018   -   0 comments

If you are interested in shopping for antiques while in Maryville, TN, or Blount County, you have definitely come to the right part of Tennessee. There are several outstanding antique stores for you to choose from, all of which have an excellent selection of antiques. Here are five antique stores and malls you simply have to check out during your stay in Blount County, or even if you are just passing through.

The Shoppes at Homespun

The Shoppes at Homespun are located at 1410 Sevierville Rd, Maryville, TN 37804. The Shoppes are located in what was once the Old Cherokee Lumber Company right behind the Blount Memorial Hospital. Inside, you will find a fantastic selection of vintage and country primitives, boutique clothing, and creative décor items to choose from. There are many aisles loaded with artisan booths full of unique merchandise that is constantly changing for you to enjoy.

Broken Arrow

Broken Arrow is located at 3204 East Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Maryville, TN 37804 and is what many of us would call a true “Mom and Pop” antique store. You can find everything from primitives to fine glass, pottery, crockery, farm equipment and more art than you can find walls to put it on.  Inside you will find 12 vendors who all work hard to keep the place stacked to the rafters with a constantly changing inventory.

Hoo La La Vintage

Hoo La La Vintage is located at 564 N Foothills Plaza Dr., Maryville, TN 37801 and focuses on antiques, arts & crafts, used and vintage items, and consignment sales.  Inside you will find a wide selection of painstakingly distressed furniture, meticulously detailed vintage items, and more. On any given day, you can hear them working on new pieces for the store in the back workshop. Customer service is outstanding, and you are always assured of finding something you can’t live without.

Druid Hills Antique Mall

Druids Hills Antique Mall is located at 2726 Druid Hill Dr, Maryville, TN 37804 and offers an excellent selection of antiques, used and vintage items, and consignment sales. As you wander the aisles, you will find old tools, photos, records, clothing, trinkets, and furniture on tables, in booths, and covering just about every inch of the floors, walls, and just about everywhere else.

Rivermill Antiques, etc.

Located at 4618 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Walland, TN 37886, Rivermill Antiques, etc. offers in their own words, “A little bit of everything in the store.” Inside you will find antique and newer furniture, pottery, glassware, collectibles, decorative items, primitives, and more. Not only do they sell an incredibly diverse range of items, they are always in the market for antiques, will sell items on consignment, and rent out spaces in the shop.

This is just a small sampling of the many fabulous antique stores to be found in Blount County, TN. For those who are coming here to shop, bring a trailer or large vehicle to take home the many things you are bound to buy while you are here.

Discover the Restaurant at RT Lodge in Maryville

February 9, 2018   -   0 comments

There are times when the average restaurant is not really what you had in mind for dinner. Not that there’s anything wrong with the average restaurant, but when you want something that is cut from a different cloth, consider the Restaurant at the RT Lodge in Maryville, TN. Under the guidance of Chef Trevor Stockton, named Chef to Watch 2017 by Plate Magazine®, the restaurant serves an ever-changing menu that varies with the seasons.

Every Aspect of Each Meal Is Important

One of the hallmarks of an exceptional restaurant is their dedication to their dishes and their customers. While it might be easier to buy many heavily used items, you won’t find that happening at the RT Lodge. What you will find, is freshly made bread, pickles, mayonnaise, pimento cheese, and many other hand-made ingredients.

This is only the beginning. In the restaurant world, there has been a significant swing to buying locally sourced ingredients. This includes fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, fish, and poultry. The results of this movement are dishes that are fresher and more flavorful than has been seen in restaurants in decades.

Proud to Join the Revolution

Chef Stockton and the rest of his staff are proud to have joined this revolution by sourcing the freshest possible ingredients from local farms and the best possible providers. A few of the many dishes you might see depending on the season: steelhead trout, Joyce Farms chicken, braised short rib puff pastry, and more.

Some dishes are subject to availability, even when they are in season, due to scarcity of key ingredients. However, even if your favorite dish isn’t available on any given night, you can still count on Chef Stockton and his team to ensure there is another amazing dish to tempt your taste buds. Each entrée is served as a self-contained meal and comes complete with a selection of vegetables and side dishes. You can, of course, add more sides to your meal, there are several seasonal sides for you to choose from.

All meals are served in a fine-dining environment as one might expect from this Ruby Tuesday owned lodge. The Chef and his team take great pride in not only bringing the culinary revolution to the RT Lodge in Maryville, TN, but in introducing you to a world of some of the freshest dishes you’ll ever taste.

Elevate Classic Southern Dishes

Chef Stockton states that his goal is to “Elevate classic Southern dishes while staying true to the traditions behind them.” To many, this might seem unusual for a Chef who hails from Detroit. But when you look a little further back, you will find his family has its roots in Tennessee, so in reality, Chef Stockton is a Tennessean and a chef by blood. Both his father and brother are chefs as well.

The next time you are in the Maryville, TN, area be sure to reserve a table at the Restaurant at the RT Lodge. The atmosphere is exquisite, the service impeccable, and the food absolutely divine.

Get Ready to Explore Blount County with Help from River John’s Outfitters

February 6, 2018   -   0 comments

There is so much to see in Blount County, it can be easy to miss out on so much of the natural beauty here. Coming to this part of Tennessee is the perfect time to turn off those pesky cell phones and leave them locked in the glove box. Take off that suit and tie or work uniform and get ready to see what you have been missing.  When you come to River John’s Outfitters, you will find everything you need to help you and your family explore the less traveled areas of the county.

So Much Peace and Quiet

As they say at River John’s, “Peace! – It’s getting pretty hard to find.” The good news is that you can always find plenty of good old-fashioned peace and quiet while still being able to explore the beauty of Blount County. In fact, as you cruise down the river, the only thing you are likely to hear is the sound of your paddles dipping in the water.

Along your way, you may encounter blue herons as they soar among the mighty sycamore trees; several varieties of fish flashing past you in the water; or any number of frogs sunbathing out on old stumps. You can pull over, do a little sunbathing for yourself, go paddling, or go all in and take a dip in the crystal clear cool waters.

Ready to Explore, but Not in Town?

The great outdoors is one of Blount County’s greatest assets. With this in mind, why not plan to camp out on River John’s River Island?  The island measures approximately 3 1/3 acres and sits in the middle of the Little River. There is room for 100 campers at a time with a separate “tents only” area. You’ll quickly take to the serenity: light your campfire, sit back and enjoy the sounds of the night.

Time to Get Serious About Exploring

For those who are intent on seeing the true natural beauty this area has to offer, there is no better way to see it than by canoeing down the Little River. The drop-off point is 7 1/2 miles above River John’s. While you could complete the trip down the river in as little as 3 1/2 hours, why would you? There is so much to see from the river in terms of local flora and fauna.

You never know what you might see as you explore the essence of Blount County, TN.  As you glide along, you are bound to come across a number of turtles basking in the sun, or perhaps a few ducks in mid-flight. One thing you’ll learn is that a good number of the local residents come from families who have called this area home for many generations. Bring your family and see what living in the shadows of the Smokies is all about! Be sure to book your campsite at River John’s early as they fill up fast!

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