After a long holiday season that seemingly starts earlier each year and stays hectic to the point that, when New Year’s Day rolls up and it’s time to get those big aspirations started, it feels more like a chore than an exciting new beginning. Start 2019 living your best life in a beautiful, fun, and incredible place: the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s got everything for every kind of New Year’s resolution! Here are 19 ways to kick off 2019 in a Smoky Mountain cabin and give your New Year’s resolutions all the momentum it needs:
- Get more fresh air
Whether you are cooped up with kids all day or quarantined to a stuffy office, getting more fresh air has positive effects on your mind, body, and soul. Get this resolution started before 2018 even has a chance to end, and wake up on January 1, 2019 to breathtaking mountain views while sitting on the back deck with a warm cup of coffee and no stress in sight.
- Experience more culture
Sometimes we can get so caught up in our own lives that we forget just how much is out there waiting to be discovered and to inspire us. In the sweet mountain air of the Smoky Mountains there are 2 cultures rooted among this lush forestry: the rich culture of the Cherokee Native Americans and the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” culture of artisanship passed down from the original European settlers. On the Eastern entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park rests the vibrant town of Cherokee, North Carolina, where there are numerous authentic shops and a museum to explore. Just 3 miles outside of Gatlinburg, the nation’s largest and oldest organization of independent artisans sell and showcase their handmade goods!
- Conquer a mountain
While conquering a mountain is literally what you will be doing, hiking to the summit of a majestic mountain is an accomplishment that’s not only inspiring at the top, but conquers our own limitations we often put on ourselves. While there are 6 trails to the top of Mt. LeConte, the shortest and arguably one of the most scenic trails is via Alum Cave. The trail is 11 miles roundtrip, so, it is do-able, but definitely book a nearby Cabins for YOU cabin to rest in a soothing hot tub or cozy bed after such an eventful feat for your mind and body! Spend the day being in awe of a number of natural landmarks like the 80-foot Alum Cave Bluff, Arch Rock, and Inspiration Point before coming upon a great resting spot, the LeConte Lodge.
- Relax a bit more
Find yourself stressing about work or school before the day has even begun? Can’t remember the last time you did something just for you? Unwind your mind that has been spooled around work, the kids, school, and other responsibilities and take a 3-day trip to the Smoky Mountains to let nature do its natural therapeutic thing on you. Rock slowly on the back deck while finally getting to that book you have been meaning to finish.
- Challenge your mind
I’m not suggesting getting lost in the woods somewhere in the Smokies, but there are a couple ways to challenge your mind in ways it usually doesn’t in Pigeon Forge! If you have kids or feel like “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader” poses some real challenges for you, head on over to WonderWorks! This cool, upside-down building is packed with awesome interactive, educational exhibits spanning subjects from physics to environmental science to biology.
See if your mind would have a meltdown or if you are clever enough to defeat 1 of 5 scenario-challenges in the uber-popular Escape Game at The Island in Pigeon Forge. You and up to 5-7 of your friends must beat the mob to a stash of gold, repair your ship before you are a permanent Mars resident, catch the international art thief, escape from prison in a Shawshank Redemption type of situation, or infiltrate an international military threat. Book a beautiful large group lodge to enjoy with friends or a church group and split up to see whose group can escape the fastest!
- Improve a relationship
Life and stress can really give your mind and soul a beating, and more often than not, your closest relationships can get caught in the crossfire. In a quiet cabin escape, reconnect with your sisters, brothers, wife, or husband while secluded in the mountains, surrounded by the peaceful beauty. Make a big statement to your special someone with a romantic, luxury cabin getaway to remind them just how much you love them.
- Learn to eat healthy
While this usually starts at home, why not make it a grand gesture from the very beginning with a catered meal in a Smoky Mountain cabin? Serving the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas, Chef Jeremy and his team at Savory Solutions come out to your cabin, cook in front of you, and can talk you through exactly what they are doing with some very helpful pointers when trying to eat healthy at home. Being more conscious of your diet and eating habits often means cooking more, so get a great start with a catered dinner in the privacy of cozy cabin from a talented, knowledgeable chef!
- Explore more
Not everyone wants to hike the Appalachian Trail or climb a mountain, but just getting outside a little more is so beneficial. There are numerous easy hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with huge payoffs like 360-degree views from Clingmans Dome, gorgeous waterfalls like Laurel Falls, and babbling streams and teeming wildlife along the Kephart Prong Trail.
- Be a better friend
Again, life just finds ways to get in the way of friendships, especially when kids have 100 different places to be, work is constantly demanding more, and the list goes on – you get the point. Plan a trip specifically for you and your group of people, and no excuses! Splitting the cost of a Cabins for YOU cabin makes for an affordable trip (and it gets even cheaper in a budget-friendly cabin! No need to drop a bunch of money, either, because this is about spending time together. Go grocery shopping to stock the fully loaded kitchen, pack all your favorite games and movies from home, and enjoy all the quality time you can while laughing and reconnecting with the people who you haven’t seen this much since college.
- Read more
Visit a rare bookstore like Our Place or hit up the Moon Pie General Store and pick out a book or two to enjoy while undistracted in your cabin’s rocking chair on the porch, by a warm, crackling fire in a stone fireplace, or while soaking in a large indoor jetted tub. With a couple days without the kids or away from home in a quiet log cabin in the Smokies, you can kick off this new year of reading in the most relaxing ways possible!
- Learn more
This seems like a daunting yet vague task when you start writing down your resolutions, but it’s one of the most important. “To learn more” in 2019, get out and explore those informative nature trails like Rich Mountain Loop, where you can see one of the oldest structures in the park (a preserved log cabin from 1820) or the Townsend Trail, where you can cycle and read the numerous exhibits marking the numerous historic structures. It doesn’t have to be all about history, though; learn a bunch totally random, fun facts in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium, because the weird stuff matters, too! Take a visit to the Titanic Museum to see all 400+ authentic Titanic artifacts and learn more about the passengers, honoring their lives and detailing invaluable insight into the past!
- Spend more time with the family
With no place to be other than in the cabin spending time playing board games by the fire, eating takeout from Corky’s Ribs & BBQ, swimming in the indoor pool, and watching movies on the big screen TVs, there is no better place to be reconnecting with your kids and family than the intimate, homey atmosphere of a Cabins for YOU cabin among the Smoky Mountain pines.
- Learn a new hobby
After a visit to the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, get inspired to take up that new hobby in 2019! Many of the artisans are present in their shops along the 8-mile loop of the nation’s largest and oldest organized group of independent craftsmen and they love sharing their art and methods with curious visitors. Stop by a crafts store on the way back to the cabin (and maybe even the Smoky Mountain Winery) and take up a new hobby over a night of crafting and wine with friends or arts and crafts with the kids by the fire and warm cups of hot cocoa.
- Focus on your personal well-being
Much like the resolution to “Relax More,” this resolution can get a really great start in the seclusion and tranquility of a Smoky Mountain cabin. Whether it starts with yoga in the cabin’s yard by a warm fire crackling in the living room fireplace or quiet moments on the back deck in view of soul-stirring mountains, shutting out all the noises and voices of life and stress is whole lot easier when the only sounds are the soft breezes through the evergreens. Turn your thoughts inward while the low hum of the soothing hot tub jets and soft pops of the bubbles drown out any stress.
- Get more organized
Just like trying to escape from a maze, it’s much easier to solve when you stand outside of the mess. Taking on your messy garage, erratic kitchen shelves, or dysfunctional office seems daunting when you are just sitting and staring at the craziness. Take some pictures of your target and head to the peaceful atmosphere of the mountains and peruse the internet for ideas while relaxing in a rocking chair, sitting around the coffee table in the living room while music plays and sipping on glasses of local wine. Organization starts with the right tactics and plans; do this step in a clean, clutter-free cabin where nothing is overwhelming you.
- Try a new outdoor activity
The Smoky Mountains are home to thousands of acres of terrain, thousands of miles of rivers and streams, and lush forestry – which makes it a prime area to try a new outdoor activity! Never thought you could try skiing in the South, did you? Ober Gatlinburg has 10 superb slopes and offers group and individual ski and snowboarding classes as well! Take the first steps to learning how to skydive at Flyaway Indoor Skydiving in Pigeon Forge where you can learn body surfing and control in a giant vertical wind tunnel. Here is one you probably would never think of: hike with a llama!
- Face your fears
If you are ready to take on every nightmare in one fell swoop, then enter the 10,000-square-foot house of horrors that is the Ripley’s Haunted Adventure! Two stories and filled to the brim with everything that goes “bump in the night,” your trip through this giant fright will be a true test of your courage, and once it’s all said and done with, come down with a relaxing soak in your cabin’s hot tub or treat yourself to a mouthwatering steak at The Peddler Steakhouse!
- Let loose a little more
If this is your resolution, there are plenty of ways to revisit your younger self in the Smokies. Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre is a show and an experience; volunteer to join the silliness during one of their hilarious and fun 1890s style extravaganzas in their intimate little theater along the Parkway in Gatlinburg. Bounce down a 1,000-foot hill in a giant inflatable orb while “zorbing” in Pigeon Forge’s Outdoor Gravity Park. Or don’t hold back during charades with friends and family for a ridiculously fun game night in the cabin! However you choose to, reinvigorating your spirit in the Smoky Mountains is a great way to start 2019!
- Plan a vacation
Planning a vacation is truly part of the fun with Cabins for YOU! Plan your family’s Spring Break to get your resolution of “spending more time with family” started. Or, email your favorited Cabins for YOU large group lodge and tentative dates to your Sunday School Group or tennis team to begin your resolution of “spend more time with friends.” Resolutions don’t always start at the stroke of midnight, but starting your plans can get you excited for 2019 and jumpstart your new year!