When Christmas rolls around, I’m always reminded of “Oprah’s Favorite Things.” It makes me think of my favorite things in the bustling city of Gatlinburg. From food to activities, here are a few of my favorite things in this charming Smoky Mountain town!
Breakfast – The Pancake Pantry
One of Gatlinburg’s long-standing establishments, the Pancake Pantry always draws me in. When I want a hearty breakfast, I stop in for a big stack of pancakes with a side of bacon, sausage, or hashbrowns. They have pancakes for every taste, including sweet potato, wild blueberry, old-fashioned buttermilk, banana pineapple, peach, Swiss chocolate chip, orange walnut, and crepes in several flavors. It’s my favorite place for breakfast in the Smoky Mountains, but there are plenty of other great options as well!
Local items – The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community
This 8-mile loop road is home to dozens of local artisans showcasing their work and selling their goods. I think it’s the best place to pick up truly local goods that are handmade and unique. You can also see many of the artisans at work, which is a fun way to spend the afternoon. Browse to find photography, wood carvings, jewelry, paintings, leather goods, instruments, birdhouses, candles, baskets, pottery, quilts, local jams and jellies, and so much more.
Dessert – Kilwins Gatlinburg
Each time I stroll by the Kilwins storefront, I find myself tempted inside by the aroma of fresh Mackinac Island fudge and the thought of a big, juicy chocolate-dipped strawberry – my favorite dessert at Kilwins. Once you step inside, you’ll find fresh candy made in the store, from taffy and fudge to brittle and more. Toffee, chocolate, and caramel come in the form of brittle, clusters, and truffles, and the creamy fudge comes in a range of flavors. Try peanut butter, Peruvian chocolate, double dark chocolate, peppermint stick, sea-salt caramel, egg nog, toasted coconut, and more! The large candy apples are also impressive, coated in everything from nuts and caramel to chocolate chips and coconut. Not a fan of chocolate? Kilwins offers plenty of other candies, including salt water taffy in an assortment of flavors.
Challenging hike – Mt. LeConte
If I’m up for a challenge, the hike up to Mt. LeConte is my favorite. Several trails lead up to the top, and all offer a variety of things to see along the way. The hike up is fairly steep and can be a bit dangerous in some areas (just be careful!), but the view from the top is worth the work. If you’d like to stay overnight, check out the Mt. LeConte Lodge or the Mt. LeConte Backcountry Shelter (don’t forget to make reservations).
Scenic drive – Cades Cove Loop
This 11-mile scenic loop is available to drive, walk, or bike. I enjoy taking a peaceful drive to check out the scenery and explore the historic buildings of the Smoky Mountains. We always see deer and turkeys, and we’re always on the lookout for bears!
Dinner – The Peddler Steakhouse
Serving up juicy steaks that are hand cut to order, The Peddler Steakhouse is one of my favorite dinner spots. Along with steaks, The Peddler offers fried pickles, a large salad bar, shrimp cocktail, crab-and-shrimp-stuffed mushrooms, classic steakhouse sides, and lots of desserts. I love the tables overlooking the water, and I love to go here to treat myself!