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For me, transitions in life always lead me back to nature.  I am often reminded that the changing of the seasons in nature are like the transitions we all go through; we all know the joy of summer, the isolation of winter, the rebirth of spring and the harvest and colors of the fall.  Nature shows that that everything has its time and that nothing lasts forever.  Whenever I feel stressed in my life, I love to get back into nature.  That’s one of the true joys of living in Colorado. Our gentle transition into the fall reminds me of one of my favorite places to visit this time of the year.  That place is Gatlinburg, TN and The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The quaint town of Gatlinburg, TN is a must to do anytime of the year but especially in the fall.  The town’s year-round population is only approximately 4,000 but it’s filled in the summer and the fall with thousands of tourists because it stands at the gateway of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Gatlinburg is a town that is terrific for everyone, from families to nature lovers to honeymooners and destination weddings.  There is so much do for anyone from the world class aquarium; Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies to shopping in all of the unique shops along Gatinburg’s main street “Parkway”.  In addition, there is the “Dollywood” theme park in the neighboring town of Pigeon Forge, dinner at the Dixie Stampede show, white water rafting, miniature golf and several wedding chapels to renew your vows or get married.

I’ve been going to Gatlinburg since I was 5 years old and whenever my wife Heidi and I have gone we always stay at one of the beautiful cabins that sit in the mountains above Gatlinburg.  My favorite rental company is Chalet Village. They have nightly rentals from $80 - $700 a night.  All of the cabins we have stayed in are high quality, wonderful places.

Sometimes in all the busyness of Gatlinburg it is hard to remember that a beautiful national park is only minutes away from downtown.  The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is always one of the top visited national parks in the country and one of the few that charges no daily entrance fee.  The vastness of the park makes it hard to cover everything in one article but here are some of my favorite places:

Cades Cove – Is an 11 mile loop road that is only one way. If you don’t have time for anything else in the Smokies you should drive this loop.  On busy days in the summer or fall it can take well over an hour to get through the entire loop but the beauty you will encounter makes it very much worth it.  You will see lots of wildlife including white tailed deer, black bear and occasionally a turkey or coyote.  There are original settler’s homes and farms to walk through and my favorite the hike out to Abrams Falls, a five mile out and back hike that brings you to a magnificent waterfall at the end.

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Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail - This 5.5 mile one way loop starts right behind Gatlinburg’s main street.  The trail is open from May 1st through November 30th and winds through lush forest with beautiful views of several small to midsized waterfalls that are so close you can almost reach out of your car to touch them.

Clingmans Dome – Is a great place to take in the beauty of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the observation tower reaches to the highest point in the Smoky Mountains (6,643ft).  The half mile trail from the parking is fairly step and not an easy trek for everyone but the payoff at the top is incredible.  On clear days you can see at least 100 miles all around you and begin to appreciate the beauty of the park below you.

Quiet Walkways – These small foot trails that dot the main roads in the park are often overlooked by the masses of people that visit.  They can range anywhere from .25 – 2 miles and just bring you into nature.  Many times there are streams near the pathways and you can enjoy the sound and beauty of the water as well as the lushness of the forest around you.

 

All in all, Gatlinburg and The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a wonderful place for anyone to visit.  The beautiful colors of the fall make an even better option this time of the year.  Hope you will check it out.

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Bill Bruner – is the owner of Cruise Planners – Heart and Soul Excursions a full service travel agency for all of your travel needs.  You can reach Bill at 720-463-1023 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Conifer Rotary Club recently awarded a total of $6,800 in scholarships to students at Conifer High School and Platte Canyon High School. Key selection criteria were scholarly performance and community service.  All students had at least 200 hours.
Group photo posted here: http://justaroundhere.com/index.php/all-sections/special-interest/community-news-general/144-conifer/1504-conifer-rotary-awards-scholarships

I love social interaction and decided I need to get a job that interacts with strangers on a daily basis. Also my children want to sign up for Soccer and Gymnastics, and both take money.

My husband and I moved up here last year, to help my father in law renovate a house he bought.  It has been the most magical year.  Everywhere I look, I am overwhelmed by the beauty of these mountains.IMG 20141024 135020 025 

Now that we are settled, I want to get out and about more.  My husband and father in law are happy being hermits. 

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Hi everyone, next week we have a lot going on at Mountain Sprouts. On Monday Feb 23rd we will be making Brown Bear puppets and learning a little bit about Brown Bears.
Also on Thursday we will experiment with how bears stay warm in the win...ter.
Then on Feb 27th we have our last Free Movie Night of the season. With the nights getting shorter it is hard for the little ones to stay out so late. We will be showing "Disney Nature Bears". The movie will start at 6:00PM, doors open at 5:30PM.

For more info on classes check out our website @http://mountain-sprouts.weebly.com/about.html

Newly opened, Blue Spruce Toys is Conifer's only full service specialty toy store.  We are located on US 285 at Springs Rd, less than 2 miles south of Staples, in the Green Valley Center. Store hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm Monday - Saturday. We are stocking up for the holidays and looking forward to your visit!



 

Hi all, We have our FREE park day at Mountain Sprouts on Tuesday. I have booked a face painter and I will also have lots of fun games and crafts for the kids to do. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend. Thanks.

Kaila Paul (720)341-3609
http://mountain-sprouts.weebly.com/

 

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On Monday in class we will do candle art. We will be doing candle dipping, with a stick and string tied to the starter candle. And for the little ones, I have pots to paint and we can pour the wax in their pots. Everything will start at 10:00 and will end about 11:15 the cost is $12 for the first child and $8 for siblings. Let me know if you have any other questions. We hope to see you there.

See you all in class soon.

 

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