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Wyndham Smoky Mountains

Myxdvz

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We're at Wyndham Smoky Mountains right now. Booked this using my RCI points that were expiring. 2BR at 165K points. 2BR using Wyndham points is 166K, so RCI is not exactly cheaper because of the exchange fee -- but it's worth the would be cancelled points.

Internet is free using AT&T. No Resort2Net here yet - that's good in my book. We got a top floor unit with a Mountain View as requested.

After almost 11 hours on the road yesterday, today will be a lazy day. Maybe driving around exploring the area and figuring out what we'll do the rest of the week. I'm thinking Smoky Mountains tomorrow, Dollywood Wednesday/Friday. Winging the rest of the week.

Unit is very like Mountain Vista. The place is also like Branson. We did Dixie Stampede and Silver Dollar City last year in Branson so was wondering if we should skip Dixie Stampede here.

Any suggestions are welcome.
 
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scootr5

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We're at Wyndham Smoky Mountains right now. Booked this using my RCI points that were expiring. 2BR at 165K points. 2BR using Wyndham points is 166K, so RCI is not exactly cheaper because of the exchange fee -- but it's worth the would be cancelled points.

Internet is free using AT&T. No Resort2Net here yet - that's good in my book. We got a top floor unit with a Mountain View as requested.

After almost 11 hours on the road yesterday, today will be a lazy day. Maybe driving around exploring the area and figuring out what we'll do the rest of the week. I'm thinking Smoky Mountains tomorrow, Dollywood Wednesday/Friday. Winging the rest of the week.

Unit is very like Mountain Vista. The place is also like Branson. We did Dixie Stampede and Silver Dollar City last year in Branson so was wondering if we should skip Dixie Stampede here.

Any suggestions are welcome.

No suggestions, but looking forward to reading others. We'll be there next summer in one of the 4 bedroom presidential units.
 

raygo123

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The smokey mountain opry has their Christmas show now. We went the week it opened. Very nice.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
 

weems637

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Laurel Falls is a nice little hike to view the waterfall.
 

raygo123

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The best part of the park is cades cove. And have picnic area with grills and a babbling Brook. If you leave at 9 am
You should be back by dinner.

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rubbub

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I second the Cades Cove recommendation, and also suggest getting going early.

Among the hikes we did was a trail called Trillium Gap which led to a nice waterfall.

If there will be a clear day it might be worth going up to Clingman's Dome. Be warned that it's a pretty steep hike up there, though. Unfortunately when we went the weather was not so good.

We didn't do too many touristy things, but the Ripley's Aquarium was recommended to us and we liked it.

We sent through the park and spent the last day or so in Cherokee. I wish we had allocated more time for that. Right at the entrance to the park there is a visitor center with a large field where elk will congregate. Our last evening we went out around dusk and there were several dozen grazing.
 

JimMIA

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Just a little factoid about Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It is THE most popular National Park in the entire United States. Every year, more people visit Great Smokys than visit Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon... COMBINED!

For info, go to www.nps.gov/grsm

I second the Cades Cove recommendation, and also suggest getting going early.
To get to Cades Cove from Sevierville, start on 441 toward Gatlingburg, but then take US 321 SW toward Townsend, TN. This route will take you around a stretch of truly dizzying switchbacks on the road within the National Park.

Just before Townsend, take 73 (TN?) south into the park. You will come to a T-intersection with Laurel Creek Road just inside the park. Take that RIGHT (west) to Cades Cove.

Cades Cove is a pristine mountain valley (cove) which was once a triving (sorta) farming community with numerous family farms and historic churches. When the National Park Service took over the area, they allowed the landowners to continue to farm as they always had until they died. Today, the NPS maintains many of the farms and they are a very interesting window into primitive Appalachian life of 100+ years ago. GREAT place to visit -- one of the best sites in the whole National Park system.

Cades Cove is VERY popular, so if you arrive there mid-morning, you are going to be in one huge traffic jam of cars trying to make their way around the loop road. A couple of summers ago, we arrived about 7:30 AM and had the place almost to ourselves.

If there will be a clear day it might be worth going up to Clingman's Dome. Be warned that it's a pretty steep hike up there, though.
Paved 1/2 mile trail, how bad could it be?

rubbub is correct...it is steep. And it's at 6,000+ feet altitude. I had done this trail several times years ago, and never really thought much of it. But when I did it two years ago, I was happy to finally arrive at the top of the observation tower! It is steeper than it looks.

But cool to be "...On Top of Old Smoky!" This is THE site that old folk song refers to -- the highest point in the Smoky Mountains.
 
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JimMIA

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Right at the entrance to the park there is a visitor center with a large field where elk will congregate. Our last evening we went out around dusk and there were several dozen grazing.
That's Oconaluftee Visitor Center -- one of the nicest settings in the park.

On the wildlife sightings, you read that right...ELK. Several years ago, the National Park Service attempted to reintroduce ELK to the Eastern US. The experiment (unlike the experiment with wolves here) succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Today, there are dozens, maybe hundreds, of ELK living in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I think it is the only population of elk east of the Mississippi.

If you haven't ever seen an elk, they are about as majestic an animal as you can imagine. Really worth seeing. The best place to see elk in the East is the Cataloochee area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the NC side of the park north of the Cherokee/Oconaluftee area. They are also sometimes seen at Oconaluftee.
 

JimMIA

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In Cherokee, on the NC side of the park, oddly enough there is a Cherokee Indian Reservation. Imagine that.

The Cherokee are one of the really amazing Indian tribes in the US.

They were friends of the white man, even after the US demanded that they move to Oklahoma. You've heard of the "Trail of Tears?" That was the Cherokee being "relocated" to Oklahoma -- which was roughly equivalent to moving them to Mars. One-third of them died on that little road trip.

Sequoia (right, the guy the BIG tree is named for) was the Cherokee chief who developed the first written Indian language. Prior to Sequoia, the Indians' only history and tradition was passed verbally from one "storyteller" to another, from one generation to the next.

In the town of Cherokee, NC, there are two things everyone should see.

One is the Cherokee Museum, which contains some of the highest-quality Indian arts and crafts anywhere.

The other is "Unto These Hills," a theatrical presentation about the Cherokee's resistance to the "Trail of Tears" enslavement by their former ally, Andrew Jackson. Beautifully presented in a stunning outdoor amphitheater, and really worth experiencing.
 

Myxdvz

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Thanks for all the responses.

We are on Day 2... and both have been spent at the park. We are NOT morning people, so as much as I want to be out there at 7am -- wrangling 4 kids to be ready and out is a process, and we're lucky if we're out before lunch :)

Monday -- we did the Newfound Gap road -- from Sugarland Visitor Center to Clingman's Dome. For some reason, the volunteer there told us sunset is at 7:30pm, so despite my husband's skepticism, I believed him and took everything leisurely, hoping to be at Clingman's Dome by sunset. Monday we took the Bypass.

Well, we were there way before 7:30pm, but it looks like the guy gave us the time for sunrise. Sunset was at ~5:30pm, so by the time we were at the Clingman's Dome parking lot, the light was gone, it was dusk -- and we were driving home in the dark :) We DID see a baby black bear in our first few minutes (even before Chimney Tops), so we count ourselves lucky.

Today -- we did Cades Cove. Traffic was not bad. We saw a male adult white tailed deer and we were the first to see it, so we were there before the traffic backed up. Saw lots of wild turkeys, a coyote (too fast), more deers on our way, but no elk :( Tuesday, we took the Bypass going into the park, but drove by Gatlinburg in the evening to see the town and the lights. Gatlinburg looks busy -- we're probably going to avoid driving there again.

I'm hoping we can find another day to do the park and drive all the way to Oconaluftee/Cherokee, but that's > 3 hours round trip, so that's half a day if we do that. Maybe we can save that for next summer.

We are planning to do Dollywood tomorrow. Maybe get season passes, and plan a summer here in 2016 to make it worth while.

We've looked at the shows (Dixie Stampede, Hatfield and McCoys ) and hubby is not interested in anything. We did Dixie Stampede last year at Branson (Christmas show also), and it looks the same - so we might be skipping that.

Kids did MagiQuest tonight using their old wands so $10 for an hour of entertainment is not bad.


The Christmas lights are everywhere. Very pretty.
 
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JimMIA

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Monday -- we did the Newfound Gap road -- from Sugarland Visitor Center to Clingman's Dome. For some reason, the volunteer there told us sunset is at 7:30pm
Unfortunately, the VIP (Volunteer In Parks) was suffering from a congenital problem in the NPS -- the inability to articulate the words "I DON'T KNOW." It's just in the organizational DNA. Sorry they messed you up, but hopefully you learned that not everyone who "knows" actually "knows."

We DID see a baby black bear in our first few minutes (even before Chimney Tops), so we count ourselves lucky.
Possibly doubly lucky. With most wildlife -- where baby goes, Momma goes. And Critter Mommies typically have a pretty minimal sense of humor about their offspring. Do yourself a favor. Enjoy the wildlife from a safe distance, as I'm sure you did.

If you see Baby Bear, Momma Bear is VERY close by. If any animal displays any change of behavior, you are too close.

For GRSM in particular, there is currently a rather unusual and specific "Bear Alert" in effect. Check it out on the website, and pay attention to it. Read between the lines -- they've had some problems. I'll try to find out particulars, but in the meantime be careful around all wildlife.

Today -- we did Cades Cove...Saw more deers on our way, but no elk
You will see a LOT of deer at Cades Cove, but no Elk. The Elk are on the other side of the park.
 

Myxdvz

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Possibly doubly lucky. With most wildlife -- where baby goes, Momma goes. And Critter Mommies typically have a pretty minimal sense of humor about their offspring. Do yourself a favor. Enjoy the wildlife from a safe distance, as I'm sure you did.

If you see Baby Bear, Momma Bear is VERY close by. If any animal displays any change of behavior, you are too close.

For GRSM in particular, there is currently a rather unusual and specific "Bear Alert" in effect. Check it out on the website, and pay attention to it. Read between the lines -- they've had some problems. I'll try to find out particulars, but in the meantime be careful around all wildlife.

Yes, we understand this. There was a ranger nearby that was helping move traffic along (as a lot of cars were just stopping and not pulling over) and making sure people were not getting too close. He also "pushed" the bear back as he said it was getting too close (to the road).

We saw the bear alert on the website. We have 4 kids, the youngest at 4, so we don't really hike much. We mostly enjoy the park via driving, or pulling at a stop and looking around.
 

raygo123

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Thanks for all the responses.

We are on Day 2... and both have been spent at the park. We are NOT morning people, so as much as I want to be out there at 7am -- wrangling 4 kids to be ready and out is a process, and we're lucky if we're out before lunch :)

Monday -- we did the Newfound Gap road -- from Sugarland Visitor Center to Clingman's Dome. For some reason, the volunteer there told us sunset is at 7:30pm, so despite my husband's skepticism, I believed him and took everything leisurely, hoping to be at Clingman's Dome by sunset. Monday we took the Bypass.

Well, we were there way before 7:30pm, but it looks like the guy gave us the time for sunrise. Sunset was at ~5:30pm, so by the time we were at the Clingman's Dome parking lot, the light was gone, it was dusk -- and we were driving home in the dark :) We DID see a baby black bear in our first few minutes (even before Chimney Tops), so we count ourselves lucky.

Today -- we did Cades Cove. Traffic was not bad. We saw a male adult white tailed deer and we were the first to see it, so we were there before the traffic backed up. Saw lots of wild turkeys, a coyote (too fast), more deers on our way, but no elk :( Tuesday, we took the Bypass going into the park, but drove by Gatlinburg in the evening to see the town and the lights. Gatlinburg looks busy -- we're probably going to avoid driving there again.

I'm hoping we can find another day to do the park and drive all the way to Oconaluftee/Cherokee, but that's > 3 hours round trip, so that's half a day if we do that. Maybe we can save that for next summer.

We are planning to do Dollywood tomorrow. Maybe get season passes, and plan a summer here in 2016 to make it worth while.

We've looked at the shows (Dixie Stampede, Hatfield and McCoys ) and hubby is not interested in anything. We did Dixie Stampede last year at Branson (Christmas show also), and it looks the same - so we might be skipping that.

Kids did MagiQuest tonight using their old wands so $10 for an hour of entertainment is not bad.


The Christmas lights are everywhere. Very pretty.
I would put Cherokee at the very bottom of the list. Casino and hotel took over from the street to the river. All the old stuff is gone for blocks.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
 

Myxdvz

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One more full day left and we go back home. I really like the location of this resort. A few miles to Dollywood, access to Veteran's Blvd to bypass the Parkway, proximity to Walmart and other restaurant places and as I learned today, near an Urgent Care/Hospital facility as well.

We're planning to come back in the summer and I'm trying to rationalize why we should stay at the lodge vs this resort. The water parks are probably the biggest thing, but we will have access to Dolly's Splash park.

The only problem we've had is the heater in the indoor pool is not working so the pools are cold. We are at the unit across the checkin up the hill, building 25


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raygo123

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Thanks for all the responses.

We are on Day 2... and both have been spent at the park. We are NOT morning people, so as much as I want to be out there at 7am -- wrangling 4 kids to be ready and out is a process, and we're lucky if we're out before lunch :)

Monday -- we did the Newfound Gap road -- from Sugarland Visitor Center to Clingman's Dome. For some reason, the volunteer there told us sunset is at 7:30pm, so despite my husband's skepticism, I believed him and took everything leisurely, hoping to be at Clingman's Dome by sunset. Monday we took the Bypass.

Well, we were there way before 7:30pm, but it looks like the guy gave us the time for sunrise. Sunset was at ~5:30pm, so by the time we were at the Clingman's Dome parking lot, the light was gone, it was dusk -- and we were driving home in the dark :) We DID see a baby black bear in our first few minutes (even before Chimney Tops), so we count ourselves lucky.

Today -- we did Cades Cove. Traffic was not bad. We saw a male adult white tailed deer and we were the first to see it, so we were there before the traffic backed up. Saw lots of wild turkeys, a coyote (too fast), more deers on our way, but no elk :( Tuesday, we took the Bypass going into the park, but drove by Gatlinburg in the evening to see the town and the lights. Gatlinburg looks busy -- we're probably going to avoid driving there again.

I'm hoping we can find another day to do the park and drive all the way to Oconaluftee/Cherokee, but that's > 3 hours round trip, so that's half a day if we do that. Maybe we can save that for next summer.

We are planning to do Dollywood tomorrow. Maybe get season passes, and plan a summer here in 2016 to make it worth while.

We've looked at the shows (Dixie Stampede, Hatfield and McCoys ) and hubby is not interested in anything. We did Dixie Stampede last year at Branson (Christmas show also), and it looks the same - so we might be skipping that.

Kids did MagiQuest tonight using their old wands so $10 for an hour of entertainment is not bad.


The Christmas lights are everywhere. Very pretty.
Charakee is not for kids. Souvenir stores and a casino the only thing worth seeing is the charakee Indian center at the fork in the road, on the edge of town. When you get there you will see what I mean.

Go to the flea market it is huge! It's right up the hill right before the highway entrance on the left. Thy have every kind of junk, cheap jewelry, antiques, produce outside,

You want knifes, the largest knife store, they have ceramic kitchen knives. Just think of the biggest knife store then multiply X 10. It's pretty kid friendly, downstairs there are the bear, raccoon dog singing, I w watched it for about 20 minutes while the wife bought a new tomato knfe.

Then a couple more miles back towards the resort is , can't remember thier name, the last manufacturer of REAL cast iron pots in the USA has their factory store, the wife bought a full set, 6" 8" and 10" for $29.99 and as a bonus received a free cast iron spoon holder. Really something to keep.

That will take a short day, indoors.

They told us the heater was working, that's it.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
 
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friedshrimp

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Just a little factoid about Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It is THE most popular National Park in the entire United States. Every year, more people visit Great Smokys than visit Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon... COMBINED!

For info, go to www.nps.gov/grsm

To get to Cades Cove from Sevierville, start on 441 toward Gatlingburg, but then take US 321 SW toward Townsend, TN. This route will take you around a stretch of truly dizzying switchbacks on the road within the National Park.

Just before Townsend, take 73 (TN?) south into the park. You will come to a T-intersection with Laurel Creek Road just inside the park. Take that RIGHT (west) to Cades Cove.

Cades Cove is a pristine mountain valley (cove) which was once a triving (sorta) farming community with numerous family farms and historic churches. When the National Park Service took over the area, they allowed the landowners to continue to farm as they always had until they died. Today, the NPS maintains many of the farms and they are a very interesting window into primitive Appalachian life of 100+ years ago. GREAT place to visit -- one of the best sites in the whole National Park system.

Cades Cove is VERY popular, so if you arrive there mid-morning, you are going to be in one huge traffic jam of cars trying to make their way around the loop road. A couple of summers ago, we arrived about 7:30 AM and had the place almost to ourselves.

Paved 1/2 mile trail, how bad could it be?

rubbub is correct...it is steep. And it's at 6,000+ feet altitude. I had done this trail several times years ago, and never really thought much of it. But when I did it two years ago, I was happy to finally arrive at the top of the observation tower! It is steeper than it looks.

But cool to be "...On Top of Old Smoky!" This is THE site that old folk song refers to -- the highest point in the Smoky Mountains.

Just a correction on Clingman's Dome. It is the SECOND highest point in the Smokey's. Mt Mitchell is the highest. It is a nice walk up the path and the view is outstanding from the top.

BTW, exactly where is Wyndham Smokey Mountains located? If in Gatlinburg, which light in the closest?
 
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"BTW, exactly where is Wyndham Smokey Mountains located? If in Gatlinburg, which light in the closest?"

It is located in Sevierville, not Gatlinburg. It is on Collier Drive about 1 mile north of it's intersection of Hwy 441 (Walmart stoplight).
 
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friedshrimp

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"BTW, exactly where is Wyndham Smokey Mountains located? If in Gatlinburg, which light in the closest?"

It is located in Sevierville, not Gatlinburg. It is on Collier Drive about 1 mile north of it's intersection of Hwy 441 (Walmart stoplight).

Thank you. I couldn't remember it being in Gatlinburg but someone told me they thought it was. Now I can let them know where it is actually located.
 

pedro47

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Are you in Tenn or the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina? You are in Tenn.
 
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scootr5

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No suggestions, but looking forward to reading others. We'll be there next summer in one of the 4 bedroom presidential units.

We checked in on Saturday. I had to go down and speak to the resort manager yesterday, and let her know that this was the first time I've been truly disappointed in a Wyndham unit.

The pantry had loose bugle corn chips on the shelf, an open bag of cookies and used ziploc bags. The back of a dining chair is broken, the drapes next to the dining table have food smeared on them, a sink in the bathroom is cracked, there is an under cabinet light that is flickering and not working correctly, and the blinds on the balcony door are broken.

I'm currently waiting on maintenance and housekeeping to come look at the items today.
 

puppymommo

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We checked in on Saturday. I had to go down and speak to the resort manager yesterday, and let her know that this was the first time I've been truly disappointed in a Wyndham unit.

The pantry had loose bugle corn chips on the shelf, an open bag of cookies and used ziploc bags. The back of a dining chair is broken, the drapes next to the dining table have food smeared on them, a sink in the bathroom is cracked, there is an under cabinet light that is flickering and not working correctly, and the blinds on the balcony door are broken.

I'm currently waiting on maintenance and housekeeping to come look at the items today.

How horrible! I agree this is not what I have come to expect with Wyndham. I hope you can get resolution for a least some of these issues and can enjoy your vacation!
 

scootr5

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Maintenance and HK came today to take care of most of the issues. They will do the sink when the unit is unoccupied, since it's not leaking.

The manager followed up several times, sent over an apology letter, and a $50 gift card.

I'll be posting a review (warts and all), complete with pictures, since there are very few images of the 4 bedroom units here to be found online. We are in building 23, which is right next to the upper activity center and pool. That's really nice, but the balcony view is out to the malls and the parkway (with the mountains in the distance) - that's not so nice.
 
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