October 18, 2012 | Barb Carr

Staff Recommendations, Part 1: Best Gatlinburg Attractions During 2013 Global TapRooT® Summit Week!

Since the 2013 Global TapRooT® Summit host city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee is so close to the System Improvements’ home office in Knoxville, Tennessee (it’s just 50 miles away), our staff has plenty of experience visiting this fantastic mountain resort city.

I asked them what they would personally recommend to someone visiting the area for the first time, and here are a few of their responses.  (I’ll post more info in Part 2 next week!):

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Cades Cove.  ~ Mark, President

My favorite thing about Gatlinburg is its proximity to the Smoky Mountains – they are stunningly beautiful and offer many walking trails and hiking opportunities. ~ Amanda, General Counsel

Cades Cove is a valley full of wildlife and history nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Abandoned homesteads from early settlers who lived there until the formation of the national park still remain.  Smoky Mountain wildlife roam free in Cades Cove including black bears, bobcats, red wolves, coyotes, foxes, skunks, deer and more.

Before you venture into the Cove or hike any trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we recommend reading up on how to enjoy the wildlife and stay safe, (Read Smoky Mountain Wildlife Should Be Respected.)

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

My favorite thing about Gatlinburg is Ripley’s Aquarium because I like the sharks exhibit.
Cathy, Receivables Accountant

I agree with Cathy.  I’ve been to several aquariums around the U.S. and this one is my favorite by far.  Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is also one of TripAdvisor’s top picks for U.S. aquariums.  The aquarium boasts a variety of live sharks and over 30 hands-on interactive displays.

The Resort Town of Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is always such a relaxing place to go where you can take in the fresh mountain air, enjoy the beautiful mountain views that surround you, visit the quaint little shops, and maybe even experience that ‘old time’ feeling. ~ Michelle, Licensing Paralegal

My favorite thing about Gatlinburg is the food and candy because there are so many great restaurants and candy shops all within walking distance of the main drag! The variety and quality of candy and delicious steakhouses or legendary pancake houses allow for good eating at any time of the day!
Garrett, Information Technology

I love hiking in the Smokies right outside Gatlinburg. There’s nothing like climbing to the top of a peaceful mountain for an amazing view, then coming back to civilization for some comfort food at the Pancake Pantry. You’ve also got to check out the antique shops that line the streets. I’ve found so many interesting pieces of history there!
~ Megan, Media Specialist

I like to people watch and get fresh hot fudge! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm …
Benna, Implementation Strategist

Here are a couple of the irresistable candy stores Garrett referred to:  Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen (Yelp review) and Aunt Mahalia’s Candies.

What about fresh fudge that Benna loves?  Check out Kilwin’s.

Here are two great Gatlinburg steakhouses:  The Peddler Steakhouse and Park Grill Restaurant.

As well as a couple of popular pancake houses:  Log Cabin Pancake House and The Pancake Pantry (recommended by Megan).

And here are just some of the unique shops Michelle hinted at:

The Day Hiker:  Find everything you need for a mountain hike.

The Village Shops of Gatlinburg:  You’ll find The Day Hiker plus 26 unique boutiques, clothiers, eateries & galleries in a quaint Old World setting in The Village Shops.

And as Megan mentioned, there are many interesting antique shops to browse through in this area, including Morton’s Antiques.

Register for the 2013 Global TapRooT® Summit, or learn more on our website.


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