Gatlinburg is a Winter Wonderland!
For those of us who love the Smoky Mountains that I am blessed to call my home we love the change of seasons and scenery here in and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Each mild yet distinct season has its own special character and charm and sometimes winter is overlooked. The fun outdoors in summer is unmatched with mountain streams and rivers that are perfect to to swim in, hike beside, or just relax by. Our Gatlinburg area is famous for it’s autumn color that we treasure and millions of people come every October to view the leaves as they change from that rich green of summer to spectacular hues of red, yellow, and orange. In fact, July is generally our busiest tourist month and October is a close second. In the spring, we have wildflower hikes and many of the craft shows to enjoy as well as the blooming of nearly everything. If you have serious issues with pollen or grass allergies you may NOT want to visit in the Spring but for the rest of us the blooming is wonderful.
But what about winter? Certainly the slowest season of the year for tourism, winter provides a break for us locals when we can almost enjoy any restaurant without a wait. We also get a much needed vacation from the tangle of traffic that threatens to cause those of us on a tight schedule to lose our sanity during the peak summer and fall months. This morning, however, the winter weather of yesterday provides a spectacular vista for anyone fortunate enough to be here. The snow that fell yesterday morning varied from as little as a minute 3-4 inches in Sevierville to as much as 17 inches at the top of Mt. LeConte where the elevation of 6,593 feet causes temperatures to average about 20 degrees cooler (much of what started as rain in the valley fell as snow there).
While there are thousands of beautiful places in the area I’m working today and don’t have time to get out and get a proper picture of our splendid mountain scenery. Although this photo isn’t scenic it will give you an idea of what things look like this morning at our office:
The great thing about snow in the Smokies is that it doesn’t stay on the ground long. Less than 24 hours later all of the major roads are cleared and only the secondary mountain roads are still snow covered. Schools are closed again today and may not reopen on Friday either because it simply isn’t safe to send a school bus packed with children on some of the more remote mountain routes where the road surface is shaded from the sun by foliage and therefore the snow or ice persists a little longer. As our temperatures continue to warm over the next couple of days however we will see a complete thawing and it will be back to business as usual.
For now the winter wonderland is still with us and I encourage any of you who have the opportunity to come to Sevier County this weekend. The skiing at Ober Gatlinburg is at full force and the whole community is supremely beautiful – Don’t miss it!
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