Can we book direct and avoid traveler fees?
Absolutely! There are no traveler or service fees when you book directly with us. We don’t have the overhead like the large corporate sites, so you’ll never be charged a fee to reserve your stay. You’ll get the same cabin; the same personalized service. On Feb. 18, 2016, HomeAway/VRBO rolled out new service fees for travelers ranging from 4-10%. The fee is applied to everything but state and local taxes. For our guests, this averages out to 8-9% more for their reservation. The HomeAway service fee can exceed $100.00 for a typical 2BR/2BA summer weekly rental.
Please note: if you inquire through HomeAway or VRBO and ask us to waive the service fee, we’re not able to do that. It would be in violation of HomeAway’s terms and conditions and we’re not going to circumvent their system. However if you inquire directly here, we’ll be happy to work with you fee free!
How does check-in work?
Your cabin will be ready by 4 p.m. the day of your arrival. Your rental information PDF will contain the address of the cabin and our directions to get you there. It’s very important that you print out your rental information so you can refer to those directions in case your GPS doesn’t get you to the right cabin. It doesn’t happen often, but GPS mapping isn’t always correct in the mountains. Once you arrive, you’ll let yourselves in with the key code we provide. If there is any issue with the code not working, you can call us anytime for assistance. Every property has a lockbox so if there are any technical problems, we can get you in quickly with a key.
Is earlier check-in possible? The short answer is yes–sometimes. If you’re coming in the off-season months of January or February we can almost always get you in earlier than 4:00 p.m. Please contact us in advance so we can confirm your early check-in time. Shoulder season is March-April-May and September or November non-holiday weeks. During those times, there’s a reasonable chance the cabin might be ready early. In those months, we ask that you call us around 1:00 p.m. the day of your arrival and we’ll give you a status update. Early check in is not possible during the peak summer and fall leaf season or during any holiday periods but you are welcome to call after 1:00 p.m. and check with us. If it’s ready, we’ll give you the all-clear to head on up. If not, we’ll do our best to give you an ETA.
What do we need to bring?
Every cabin is outfitted with bed linens, blankets, pillows and a minimum of 4 sets of towels (bath, hand and washcloth) for one bedroom cabins and 8 sets of towels for two bedroom cabins. All cabins have a washer and dryer except Alpine Belle. Some cabin owners provide soap and shampoo amenities. Two rolls of toilet paper provided per bathroom.
We pride our cabins on having well-outfitted kitchens, including coffeemaker and filters, crock pot, toaster, microwave, blender, aluminum foil, glass baking dishes and basic spices. Some kitchens offer more so we’ll be glad to confirm items for you–just ask.
Need a high chair, baby gate or Pack-and-Play? Quite a few of our cabins have some or all of these items on hand. Just ask and we’ll let you know what your cabin provides.
When is the fireplace available?
A few of our cabins have electric fireplaces: MountainView Haven, Alpine Belle and Alpine Rose. They do not produce heat but you can turn on the flame effect year-round. Hillside Haven also has an electric fireplace but it puts out heat and is available from October to early January (this cabin only rents from May to early January). All other cabins have propane fireplaces and are turned on October 1 and shut off after March 31. Most of them feature 60 minute timers so you don’t have to worry about shutting them off. Bonus: Nature’s Nest and TreeHouse Hideaway each have a year-round wall-mount electric fireplace in the non-master bedrooms.
What about outdoor grilling or fire pits?
Every cabin has a charcoal grill available. Some have lids like the one shown; others are park models with just the grill grates. Mountain Laurel also has a propane grill. You’ll need to bring your own charcoal but some of the cabins have deck boxes and you’ll want to check them first to see if previous guests have left charcoal or starter fluid. Please use the provided ash cans to dispose of coals after they’ve cooled. Grilling utensils are kept in the kitchen.
Fire pits are not permitted or provided at our cabins for insurance reasons. We love the ambience of a fire but the risk of wildfires in the mountains is too great. One spark can set a hillside on fire and wipe out everything in its path. Thank you for understanding and being cautious when disposing of coals and putting cigarette butts in the provided ash buckets on the decks.
Are there grocery stores nearby?
Yes, there are several grocery stores to choose from.
- Food City in Pigeon Forge is on the east side of the Parkway just north of traffic light #8. Open until midnight.
- Kroger in Pigeon Forge is on Wears Valley Rd–right off the Parkway at traffic light #3. The Kroger sign is easy to miss so look for the Taco Bell sign–it’s right in front of the Kroger parking lot.
- Kroger in Sevierville is convenient if you are coming from I-40 at exit 407. This is a Kroger Marketplace so it’s a larger, newer store than the Pigeon Forge location.
- Publix is located on the west side of the Parkway just south of traffic light #3. Open unti 11 p.m.
- Walmart Supercenter is a little further north (in Sevierville) at the Parkway and Collier Drive (Governor’s Crossing). Open 24 hrs.
- Aldi in Sevierville is in a shopping center near Lowe’s and Kroger on the west side of the parkway. The address is 538 Winfield-Dunn Parkway. Open until 7 p.m. M-F. Open until 8 p.m. Sat-Sun.
- Dollar Tree in Pigeon Forge has snacks, dry goods and a small freezer section. Located at 141 E. Wears Valley Rd in a shopping center just east of the parkway at traffic light #3. Open until 9 p.m. Mon-Sat. Open until 8 p.m. Sun.
Where can I get a fishing license?
Anyone 13 or older must have a valid fishing license in Tennessee. Out of state residents may purchase 3 day licenses at these locations: Walmart (Sevierville), Pigeon Forge Hardware (2519 McGill Street near Kroger), Clabough’s Market (405 Wears Valley Rd), Ace Hardware of Gatlinburg (1025 E. Parkway), Old Smoky Outfitters (511 E. Parkway) and Smoky Mountain Angler (376 E. Parkway). If you’re staying at Swaying Pines or Water’s Edge, no license is required because the fishing areas are on private property.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has hundreds of miles of streams where you can fish. Your Tennessee fishing license is good throughout the park–even if you are fishing on the North Carolina side of GSMNP. Here’s a link to the park’s website where you can get more details on fishing opportunities and regulations.
What if there's accidental damage to the cabin?
Due to rising costs to replace items like sheet sets, pillows, blankets, quilts, dishes and items that are susceptible to damage, we require a $30 damage protection fee. This covers accidental damage up to $300. If you prefer, we’ll accept a $300 refundable security deposit and then refund it within 10 business days after housekeeping clears the cabin. If there is damage in excess of $300, you agree to promptly pay for for materials and labor in excess of that amount.
Damage protection does not cover excessive cleaning charges. If the housekeeper arrives and there’s far more cleaning work required than usual, you will be billed for the the additional labor required.
When is trash pick up?
Sevier County does not provide refuse pick-up like most of us are used to at home. So when you depart, the housekeepers are responsible for taking trash to the county dump sites. We ask that you gather up all your trash from inside the house and put it in the garbage cans outside prior to leaving. During warmer months when bears and raccoons are active, we recommend that tasty food scraps–like BBQ bones–be kept in the freezer. Then when you’re cleaning out the fridge before heading home, you can toss the frozen scraps in the outside trash cans. Some cabins have regular trash cans while others have animal-resistant containers.
Do the cabins have air conditioning?
Yes, every one of them! Smoky Mountain summers can go for days in the 90s so A/C is must for guest comfort. We ask that you don’t push the A/C system too hard when the temperature and humidity levels are high. If you ask the heat pump to cool the house to 65 degrees when it’s 95 outside, it can cause the system to literally freeze up and fail. Please be kind to our A/C units and don’t set them below 70 degrees when there’s a heat wave. Close blinds during the day and turn on any overhead fans to help move the air and improve comfort. We really appreciate your help using energy wisely and keeping us from having jaw-dropping electric bills!
When will fall colors be at their peak?
Every year the best fall color days seem to vary as much as a week to 10 days depending on temperatures, sunshine, rain and wind. But it really depends where you’re looking for the autumn palette: high in the mountains of the park at 4,000+ feet…or the trees around your cabin at 1,300 or so feet? Those are two very different elevations and the peak colors in those regions could be as much as two weeks apart. Typically the leaves in the high elevations of the park begin to show color in early October but may not peak until the second or third week of October. By the same measure, the trees in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge may not show full color until the 4th week of October. In some years, peak color has come as late as early November. Our very unscientific, unofficial recommendation is to plan your trip for somewhere between Oct. 20 and Nov. 3. Those two weeks seem the safest bet for enjoying the best nature has to offer.
Do you decorate your cabins for Christmas?
It wouldn’t be the holidays without them so every cabin has welcoming decorations for all of December and early January. Some of our cabins are decorated just prior to Thanksgiving due to time constraints. Most of the cabins do not have room for full size trees, so we use skinny or Alpine artificial trees. Depending on the owner and their personal style, cabins may have wreaths, garland or swags in the spirit of the mountains. Flameless candles, lanterns, evergreen centerpieces, snowmen, pinecones and conversation pillows and signs add to the charm. Please do not bring real candles to the cabins as they are fire hazard.
Where can I buy wine and spirits?
Sevier County is technically a dry county–no liquor or wine sales at Pigeon Forge or Sevierville grocery stores, just beer and wine coolers. However you can purchase moonshine at two distilleries in Pigeon Forge and wine at a various wineries in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge. To purchase non-locally-made wine or liquor, you’ll have to drive to Gatlinburg. The Gatlinburg Package Store is on the left side of the road just as you enter Gatlinburg coming from Pigeon Forge. A little further down also on the left is Parkway Liquor. Another option is Wine and Liquor of the Smokies located one mile north of Gatlinburg at 115 S. Mountain Trail Rd.–right across from Westgate Resort just off the Spur (what the locals call the Parkway between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg).
Do we need a 4-wheel drive vehicle?
All our cabins are on paved roads accessible by 2WD cars, vans, SUVs and pick-up trucks. But if the weather forecast calls for snow or ice, you may not be able to reach your cabin by any vehicle safely. This doesn’t happen very often, thank goodness. But if you are coming to the area in December, January or February–and yes, sometimes even early March–it’s always a possibility and we strongly recommend you purchase trip cancellation insurance. Visit www.vacationprotection.com or www.insuremytrip.com for policy providers and quotes.
A few final notes…
We like to say that ‘our home is your home’ while you’re on vacation. But there are a few things we put restrictions on–mostly for your safety and the protection of the property.
1. No candles, fireworks or fire pits anywhere on property. Many of our cabins have battery-operated flameless candles.
2. No more guests at the cabin than you’ve declared in your party unless approved in advance.
3. Pets must never be locked in bathrooms or bedrooms. When you’re away from the cabin, either crate your dog or let him enjoy the run of the house. Note: Alpine Belle, Alpine Rose and Mountain Laurel require crating. Some pets will chew on quilts, door frames and tear up carpet when they feel trapped in a room. Make sure your pet has access to a window where he can see out.