During a recent brutal heat wave, I was already saying OUT LOUD how much I looked forward to the arrival of autumn.
I don’t like wishing it so early in July; there is still so much summer left. But hey, the high heat and humidity forced my hand. Of course, SINCE, we had very nice warm days but with much less humidity. And I’ll take this all day.
AUTUMN IN THE SMOKY MOUNTAINS
But I will take AUTUMN 24/7/365. It’s my favorite time of the year, without a doubt. And while I’m good at finding all kinds of things to do – in any location – that perfectly complement the best season of the year, nothing beats spending time in Gatlinburg or East Tennessee for the fall months.
And the cities and communities of the Smoky Mountains KNOW. That’s why it’s never a surprise when I see the fall festival schedule there.
THE SMOKY MOUNTAINS HARVEST FESTIVAL
The newly expanded Smoky Mountains Harvest Festival kicks off in mid-September and runs through late November. There will be plenty to do in the Smokies this fall, including the three main hubs – Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, where you might be joined on an afternoon stroll by the Pumpkin People.
In Sevierville, everything revolves around Dolly. I mean why wouldn’t he? In this interview with a member of the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce, the country music icon’s imprint is everywhere.
In Pigeon Forge, Dolly also reigns supreme; it’s where you’ll find Dollywood and the annual Smoky Mountains Harvest Festival LumiNights.
Keep in mind that the Smoky Mountains Harvest Festival is a general fall event with other festivals taking place in East Tennessee from September through November.
THE KYKER FARMS CORN MAZE
The Kyker Farms Corn Maze isn’t something you want to skip when heading to the Smokies for a fall party. I mean, it’s a CORN MAZE. Wait… I’m corrected. That’s FIVE corn mazes.
Of course, with fall comes October and Oktoberfest, which is celebrated everywhere, including Gatlinburg at Ober Ski Mountain.
Don’t forget the leiderhosen.
GRAINS AND GRILLS
And don’t forget to bring your appetite—no, I know you won’t—because the Grains and Grits Festival is set to roll on November 5 in Townsend, Tennessee.
I once planned a trip through the mid-Atlantic states to get extra credit in my 8th grade history class. The vacation focused on well-known places in American history. The trip was for my teacher. I have no idea if he ever went there.
But I say this because if I helped plan a fall getaway for you and your family for friends, it makes me smile.
Gatlinburg makes me smile. The Smokies make me smile. Above all, FALL makes me smile. I’m thinking about it and smiling right now.
SEE: Have you ever heard of the abandoned amusement park in downtown Gatlinburg?
Gatlinburg is home to an abandoned amusement park and we have photos.
Forget a cabin, you can stay in a Smoky Mountain castle near Gatlinburg
This Airbnb will definitely make you feel like Smoky Mountain royalty!
SEE INSIDE: Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in the Smoky Mountains
Brushy Mountain was a working jail for over 100 years, but has been a popular tourist destination since it closed in 2009.