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Visiting Gatlinburg

Greened-up tourism at the Gateway to the Smokies

Gatlinburg Greening UpGatlinburg Greening UpGatlinburg is a walking community, and in all honestly, if you're going to drive within the city top up your car insurance and pre-book therapy. You're going to need both.

There doesn't seem to be a rush hour here - the driving is crazy all the time.

I spent a morning pushing my way through crowds of tourists balancing cameras, funnel cakes and corn dogs. Tackiness is all about perception, I suppose. In the spirit of fun, I agreed to pose as a saloon madam in 'The Garters and Guns Saloon' - complete with fishnet stockings and feather boa. I still get a little twitchy when I think about the number of people before me who strapped themselves into that bustier and rolled on those stockings...

While there's no denying the urban sprawl, Gatlinburg Gatlinburg - Gateway to the SmokiesGatlinburg - Gateway to the Smokiesis getting some things right when it comes to reducing traffic and pollution in the downtown core. For starters it promotes itself as pedestrian-friendly and has calibrated every public system to encourage tourists and residents to park their cars.

  • Trolley (bus) system runs until midnight, rates are low and you can get schedules everywhere
  • Abundant bus shelters
  • Parking lots in main areas max out at $6, but you can park for free just about everywhere else
  • Numbered streetlights co-ordinate with local maps to make navigation easy
  • And neatness counts.

    Overhead wires at main intersections are being buried and traffic signals are now on graceful, curved poles. In the congested downtown core, you'll find bear-proof trash containers that are emptied at obsessively regular intervals - even weekend nights.

    Who pays for all this green goodness? If you visit, youGateway to the SmokiesGateway to the Smokies will. Every business in town pays a 1 ¼% tax on gross receipts. But in all honesty, I'm happy to contribute to the greening of places I visit. It's better than adding to the pollution.

    If you go...

    If shopping's your thing, you'll find more than 450 specialty and artisan shops that boast one-of-a-kind collectables within the city limits of Gatlinburg.

    The Arts and Crafts Community sits on an 8-mile loop on the periphery of Gatlinburg. Most of it's unusual (and weird) enough to be considered art.

    Have you ever shopped in Gatlinburg? Did you find a treasure that surprised you?

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