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Attention coin collectors and Smoky Mountain lovers: America’s most visited national park will adorn a new U.S. quarter representing Tennessee.

Next year, the U.S. Mint will begin issuing quarters that honor national sites. The Smoky Mountain coin, to be released in 2014, will be one of 56 new quarters to be rolled out starting in 2010.

More information can be found in this article by USA TODAY

My friends at Go Smokies have great tips for hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. With hundreds upon hundreds of miles of marked trails, where do you begin to learn the best trails? Hands down, the locals strongly recommend the “bible” of Smoky Mountain hiking – The Third Edition of Hiking Trails of the Smokies includes new trail profile charts, expanded and updated trail narratives, and revised, more-accurate trail mileages.

Hiking Trails of the SmokiesThe guidebook covers all 150 official trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with in-depth narratives and invaluable profile charts that show mileage, elevation change, and major stream crossings at a glance. Includes information on all backcountry campsites, shelters, regulations and permit/reservation information. New edition includes Mountains-to-Sea Trail and handy pocket in the back cover to hold park map. Printed on special lightweight paper. Pocket-sized. 584 pages at the Great Smoky Mountains Association’s Bookstore

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A Warm Welcome

Welcome to Mountain Moose, a blog for mountain lovers from across the Southeast U.S., including the Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, and Appalachian Mountains. We share the best tips, opportunities, hiking trails, places and secrets throughout these mountain regions. Visit the websites we recommend (in the sidebar) for more information about connecting with mountain people, finding lodging and real estate and other cool websites to help you learn more about the beautiful Smoky and Blue Ridge mountain regions in the states of Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, West Virginia, Alabama, and Kentucky.

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August is a great time to explore the mountains of Western North Carolina. Cool mountain waterfalls, whitewater escapades, charming bed and breakfast inns, all set amid the natural wonders of the mountains. And with incredible fall rates, golf packages, and other late summer sales, check out the VisitNC list of special offers
Greenville, South Carolina was named one of the best places to live the simple life by AARP Magazine due to its rich culture, great food, and low stress.
Dubbed as family-friendly fun, from “penny candy” to goat-cheese pizza, Greenville’s median housing price is just $151,080. When the most relaxing way to spend an afternoon is hiking the pristine mountain woodlands of Jones Gap State Park, just 25 miles outside Greenville and simple fun for less than $10 means grabbing a cup of coffee or an ice-cream cone at Spill the Beans, how could you go wrong?

Read the full article by Sarah Mahoney

From majestic peaks to hip and historic small towns, Lake Lure and the Blue Ridge Foothills offer everything you need for a getaway that will help you renew your senses. With great food, fun things to do, and amazing things to see, the lake may lure you – but the spectacular scenery and abundant activities will make you want to stay awhile.

Now, you can win a family trip for four to the area that Frommer’s Budget Travel called ‘a lake not to miss’. The winner will receive:

  • Two rooms for four nights and breakfast for four at the historic Lake Lure Inn and Spa
  • Admission for four to Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park and a picnic lunch provided by the park’s Old Rock Café
  • A one-hour Lake Lure Boat Cruise for four.
  • A 90-minute eco-kayak tour for four and a ½ day pontoon boat rental from the Lake Lure Adventure Company.
  • A half-day guided fishing trip for two from Granddaddy Fly Fishing.
  • A two-hour guided scenic horseback tour for four from Cedar Creek Riding Stables.
  • $100 gift certificate for MSquared Restaurant
  • $100 gift certificate for the Anna Rose Restaurant
  • $100 shopping voucher
  • $500 travel voucher

Enter today! The sweepstakes ends August 31, 2009.

Courtesy of www.visitnc.com

If the summer heat has you frazzled, consider a trip to the mountains and lake regions of the Southeast U.S. The lake breezes and higher mountain elevations ensure a cool down to soothe your stress.

If quiet ambiance is your dream vacation, consider a cabin rental through a vacation rental agency. Quaint small towns are filled with shops, diners, and local artisans and crafters.

But if adventure is your escape, consider whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, or a more rigorous mountain trail in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN offer a plethora of adventures such as horseback riding, Dollywood, Ober Gatlinburg, shopping, dining, the Gatlinburg Aquarium and so much more.

Visit http://www.floridahalfbacks.com/ to connect with lodging and adventure options throughout the mountains and lakes of the Carolinas, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, and more.