In their still and snowy beauty, mountains are symbolic of timeless love and unflappable commitment. Show your lover how much they mean to you in the whimsical setting of Eastern Tennessee’s enchanting forests and mountains. With Valentine’s Day occurring on a Sunday this year, it’s a perfect opportunity to treat your partner to a romantic weekend getaway in the Great Smoky Mountains. Bookmark the following itinerary for a serene weekend of one-on-one quality time, Pigeon Forge entertainment, and endless adventures in charming mountain towns.
Day One: Saturday, February 13
Maple’s Ridge Vacation Rentals
No matter how far you must travel to reach the Great Smoky Mountains, there are countless top-notch accommodations for guests in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. For a truly one-of-a-kind mountain lodging experience, however, consider renting a log cabin or chalet at Maple’s Ridge Vacation Rentals. An exciting start to your Valentine’s weekend looks like checking into an impressive woodsy retreat with spectacular views of the mountains from the jacuzzi hot tub. As luxurious as they are affordable, the log cabins feature indoor pools, game rooms with pool tables and foosball, rustic décor with modern amenities, cozy fireplaces and fully equipped kitchens. Book a one- or two-bedroom cabin for a private honeymoon experience, or invite some friends to double date at a larger cabin with three or more bedrooms. Plan to arrive at your Maple’s Ridge Vacation Rentals cabin on the evening of Friday the 12th or the morning of Saturday the 13th to optimize your time.
The first activity of the day features vibrant fish, a 12-foot long shark, a giant sea turtle, and comical penguins. At Ripley’s Aquarium, enter the exotic worlds of Coral Reef, Ocean Realm, Tropical Rainforest and the Gallery of the Seas with your significant other. Learn about fascinating sea creatures through your eyes and hands! Diving and feeding shows with graceful stingrays and quirky penguins occur hourly, while the Discovery Center and Touch-A-Ray Bay allow you to pet horseshoe crabs, jellyfish and stingrays. Don’t miss out on the Glass Bottom Boat Adventure, where you’ll encounter Shark Lagoon’s fiercest inhabitants just inches from the boat’s glass floor. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, come to the Sips N’ Sharks event, available Valentine’s weekend only, for a sleepover plus drinks and hors d’oeuvres with Ripley’s shark friends.
Rocky Top Wine Trail
As the afternoon fades and you begin looking for a pick-me-up, head over to any of the five wineries included in the Rocky Top Wine Trail to get started on a tour of free wine tastings. As a self-guided tour, you can go at your own pace to visit Sugarland Cellars Winery, Mountain Valley Winery, Apple Barn Winery, Hillside Winery, and Mill Bridge Winery and earn your logo-ed wine glass prize. For thirty years, the wineries of the Smokies had been kept secret, perfecting their vintages with locally sourced fruits. Now, you and your special person can choose between over 70 different wines, including classic varieties like Cabernet and Chardonnay, as well as unconventional fruit wines of Blackberry, Peach, and Muscadine. For your pre-dinner cocktail hour, taste the Smoky Mountains on the Rocky Top Wine Trail.
The Peddler Steakhouse
Conclude the first night of your weekend getaway in true romantic fashion: over a steak dinner at a fancy restaurant. At The Peddler Steakhouse, indulge with your honey on some thick cuts of juicy ribeye, New York strip or filet mignon, paired with a glass of wine or a cocktail from their vast alcohol menu. The Peddler is located in a renovated historical cabin, the former home of Charles “Earl” Ogle, Sr., a merchant and significant figure in Gatlinburg history. As a result, The Peddler has deep roots in the local tradition and the ambiance feels intimate and rustic. Call ahead for seating right next to the scenic Little Pigeon River for a quintessential date night.
Day Two: Sunday, February 14
Get a head start on your second day of vacation at The Island in Pigeon Forge, a 23-acre hub of popular restaurants, boutique shops and affordable entertainment. Grab a bite of breakfast at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, known for its Southern-style classics like fried grits, biscuits with gravy, pancakes or french toast, country ham, and applewood smoked bacon. Afterward, take a leisurely stroll through the quarter to check out the variety of shops and purchase gifts and souvenirs for one another. The Island is also home to game rooms, arcades, obstacle courses and amusement rides, including The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, a 200-foot observation ferris wheel that whisks you high into the sky for breathtaking panoramic views of the mountains. Lastly, sit down for some lunch at Timberwood Grill, Mellow Mushroom or Margaritaville, and then treat your sweetie to some ice cream at The Island Creamery. You could easily spend all day exploring all that The Island has to offer!
The Spa at Riverstone
At Riverstone Resort, you’ll find the most relaxing spa in all of Pigeon Forge. After so much hiking and walking, a foot massage sounds like heaven, right? The Spa at Riverstone offers eight different massage options, including the Unity Couple’s Massage, designed to relieve muscle tenderness and promote a sense of tranquility alongside your sweetheart. Add on a paraffin treatment, scalp treatment, stone therapy or dry brush exfoliation for a supremely relaxing experience. The spa also offers facial and nail treatments, body treatments, waxing and make-up services, leaving you both looking and feeling your best before the evening intrigue.
The Titanic Museum is a replica of the infamous luxury liner, displaying over 400 genuine artifacts from the original ship and its passengers. You begin the self-tour with the boarding pass of an actual Titanic passenger and explore the oak-paneled hallways, ornate railings, and glowing glass dome. Each year, the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge celebrates “Sweetheart Month” in honor of the twelve honeymooning couples and fiancées who were aboard the Titanic during its first and only voyage. Whether you simply want to take photos on the Grand Staircase to remember a fantastic trip, or you want to take it to the next level with a special vow renewal package or a marriage proposal package, the Titanic Museum provides a unique venue for commemorating your love.
Valentine’s Day is your chance to express how much you appreciate your darling for making your life better. There’s no more thoughtful gesture than a pre-planned weekend getaway in a log cabin, brimming with fun and unconventional ways to spend quality time, as well as delicious food and romantic mountain scenery. This February, how will you say those three precious words in more love languages than one?