Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Very much known to be the headquarters for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, the town of Cherokee in Swain County is a favorite tourist destination. The town is in Western North Carolina, bordering at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and at the south of an All-American Road, the 469-miles Blue Ridge Parkway. Among the most important events annually held in Cherokee is the third oldest historical drama in the United States, “Unto These Hills” which follows the story of the Cherokee of the Eastern region up to their removal in 1838. Some of the famous alumni of the play are Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman and Michael Rosenbaum, who is best known for portraying Lex Luthor on Smallville. Cherokee’s traditional view on the Native Americans has been one of the area’s much-treasured heritage. Slowly, the tribe is starting to depart themselves away from the concept of them being tourist attractions, thus led to the formation of a number of tourist destinations and cultural centers that veer away from the physical stereotype.

Some of the most important cultural attractions of Cherokee are its museums, particularly the Museum of the Cherokee Indian which gives the visitors the access to the past, an educational journey that unveils of history from the beginnings of human existence in the area, which dates back to 11,000 years in the past. The museum is open seven days a week excluding Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Another important place for tourists is the Oconaluftee Indian Village which gives its visitors the chance to experience making hand-crafted works such as pottery, beadwork, baskets and finger weaving, with Cherokee art instructors. This village was faithfully preserved to look the same way it was established in 1750. Other interesting activities in the Indian Village are blowgun demo, weaving and mask carving.

Another important artists’ hub in Cherokee is the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual which gives tourists access to ancient crafts making. This is the oldest and leading Native American Arts cooperative in the Unites States. Just like in Oconaluftee, the wide range of arts and crafts in Qualla includes pottery which incorporates the intricate process of the pinch and coil method, a method which requires none other than skilled hands in shaping the loam, stone for smoothing the vessels and stamps for adding up colors and patterns. Other interesting crafts in Qualla include containers made from oak splints, honeysuckle and maple, an impressive display of practical arts, emphasizing their talent in carving and sculpting. Some of the events worth visiting in Cherokee are the Cherokee KOA Fishing Tournament (March and August), Cherokee Visitor Appreciation Day (May), “Unto These Hills” Outdoor Drama (June), Cherokee Voices Festival (June) and Cherokee Christmas and New Year’s Eve Parade (December).

The Great Smoky Mountains are known for their foggy dome. It is located between the overlapping ridges of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is a hiker’s paradise of over 800 miles loaded with trails from easy to strenuous treks. Though hiking may seem to be its main feature, car camping, picnicking and auto touring are also some of the activities to look forward to.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a twelve-month guarantor for a wide range of activities. Visitors willingly try out the park no matter what season it may be. Its moderate climate makes it a particular favorite for millions of people each year. Actually, it would be best to take your vacation when the crowds are not as many as when summer comes. It is in the seasons of late fall, winter and early spring months that will make your visits memorable and private.

As a known sanctuary for wildlife, there are more than 240 species of birds found in the park. 60 species are year-round residents, 120 species breed in the park, which includes 52 species from the neo-tropics. Many other species use the park as an important stopover and foraging area during their semiannual migration.

The four seasons experienced throughout the year are not hindrances to having quite a great time in the mountains. Should you decide to come on whichever seasons here are some information on the four-seasons’ temperature and weather:

Spring – March through May
Weather is unpredictable that it changes rapidly. Most radical changes happen in March that snow can fall at any time during this month. Temperatures: lower elevations have a mean high of 61ºF; Low temperatures, often below freezing, have a mean of 42ºF. Milder weather comes in mid-April. May is warmer, with daytime highs in the 70s and 80s and lows in the 40s and 50s. It is a wonderful time to come to the mountains during Spring because it is in this season that you will witness rhododendrons, azaleas, dogwoods, and other flowering trees and wildflowers blooming. During Springs, the days are usually warm and the nights are cool enough.

Summer – June through August
Heat, haze, and humidity envelop the Smokies during summer. Afternoon thunderstorms are common. Temperatures increase through the period with July and August afternoon highs in the 90s in the lower elevations. In the higher elevations, the weather is much more pleasant.
It is in the summer that people would be very glad to come over. It is a season filled with fun activities enjoyed by both young and old. Whitewater rafting, mountain biking, and horseback riding are just some of the sports to enjoy during the summer season. Community activities like craft shows, parades, festivals, go-carting, and fairs are the guests’ craze during the summer too.

Autumn – September through mid-November
Autumn’s signals are the clear skies and cooler weather at the very beginning of the fall season. Warm days alternate with cool nights. Daytime highs are usually in the 70s and 80s during September, falling to the 50s and 60s in early November. September – first frosts often occur. November – lows are usually near freezing, the driest period of the year with only occasional rain showers; in the higher elevations, snow is a possibility by November If you decide to visit the Smokies during fall, you’ve just chosen the right season. Colors of different hues are seen everywhere. As mentioned in the Blue Ridge Parkway page, it is the colors that astound visitors. The mountains ar covered with leaves of vivid red, orange, and golden colors.

Winter – Mid-November through February
Winter in the Smokies is generally moderate, but there are occurrences of extreme weather. Low elevations have warm temperatures and it is in the higher areas that you’ll usually find snow. January and February are the months when one is most likely to find snow in the mountains. Winter is considered to be a special season in the mountains. The snows are not usually deep that there is just enough to be enjoyed by children who wish to go snow sledding.  And why else can you not call the Smokies a heavenly place when all year, all seasons, the mountains are available for accommodation? The fog on the mountains is an invitation to your visitors to discover what it sees underneath it. There is so much to be happy about in the mountains and it is up to you which delights to pick, but a perfect suggestion would be, pick all!