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If you’ve dreamed of owning a vacation or second home in the North Carolina mountains, the best buying opportunity in a generation may well be at hand. Prices have dropped, interest rates are low and good deals can be found just about anywhere you look.

Better hurry, though. After a sluggish fall and nearly dormant winter, the Western North Carolina real estate market is once again showing signs of life. While the boom days of 2003 to 2006 are gone, the mountains are clearly beginning the long slow climb back to health.

To view entire article by Jim Hughes, click here: http://www.metronc.com/article/?id=1923
The mountains and valleys here are comfortable, shady and full of outdoor fun.

Visit West Virginia State Parks, each offering a different mountain experience with plenty of outdoor recreation and lodging options. From resort rooms to camping, it will be easy to find the best fit for your interests and your budget.

Take a guided horseback ride at Pipestem Resort State Park, enjoy a scenic hike at Babcock State Park, and both Pipestem and Twin Falls Resort State Park offer great golf on scenic courses.

Outside the parks, Southern West Virginia is also home to 10 other golf courses, including a couple of beauties at Glade Springs Resort and Conference Center.

Hike, bike or ride a horse along the 76-mile Greenbrier River Trail. Include a fishing pole in your backpack; there are some wonderful spots to wet a line! This area abounds with rivers and lakes that are ideal for folks who fish and boat.

Cherokee, North Carolina is so close, but yet 11,000 years away. Nestled quietly at the gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the southern entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway, this ancient home of the Cherokee people combines a beautiful natural setting with thousands of years of Indian tradition, history, art and ceremony.

Now, you can win a family trip for four to this culturally rich homeland in the NC Mountains. The winner will receive:

  • Four nights for a family of four at the Comfort Suites Cherokee
  • Passes for four to various attractions including the “Unto These Hills” outdoor drama, the Oconaluftee Indian Village, The Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and a guided tour at the Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual
  • Passes for a ½ day guided fishing tour, a whitewater rafting/tubing trip, and a horseback ride
  • Four $50 dinner vouchers at four local restaurants
  • Four vouchers for a traditional Indian meal/lunch that explores the Cherokee language with a Warrior of AniKituhwa
  • $20 gift certificate for ice cream at a local shop
  • $20 gift certificate at Tribal Grounds Coffee
  • Various gifts, including an autographed Chief’s book, a copy of Cherokee Heritage Trails, and gifts from the Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual
  • $100 voucher for the Oconaluftee Indian Village Gift Shop
  • $100 voucher for the Museum of the Cherokee Indian Gift Shop
  • $500 travel voucher

Enter today! The sweepstakes ends July 31, 2009.
Enter To Win!

Taxes and gratuities not included. See complete listing of Official Rules.

Lots to do this July 4th weekend in the north Georgia mountains: http://ping.fm/aASos

Pigeon Forge, Tenn., has gone wild for 75. It’s a project called “75 Ways To Celebrate, from the Parkway to the Park.”

To help celebrate the 75th anniversary of neighboring Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this gateway city is seeking 75 families so it can give them $75 in gas, $75 of attraction tickets and a challenging list of 75 fun activities. The 75 families will get a Dolly Parton Smoky Mountains CD, too, the sound track from her “Sha-Kon-O-Hey!” musical at Dollywood.



“Pigeon Forge has 10 million visitors each year, and the national park is a large part of why today’s Pigeon Forge is here,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “Our ‘Parkway to the Park’ idea makes the connection between the attraction-filled parkway that goes through the middle of town and the treasure that is Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”

The giveaways are designed help travelers recognize the significance of the 75th anniversary. Registration for the “Parkway to the Park” packages is online at http://www.PF75.com

Registration ends July 15.

“Pigeon Forge really is a gateway to the Smokies,” Downey said.

One of only a handful of free national parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited of all (nine million visitors in 2008). The park, by design, is a major economic engine for the region, and many of its visitors land for a while in Pigeon Forge.

Pigeon Forge, one of the country’s top tourism destinations, is located within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population east of the Mississippi River.

“Parkway to the Park” registration and complete information about Pigeon Forge travel itineraries and attractions are available at http://www.PF75.com

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From one to five bedroom cabins and chalets in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge Tennessee. We are located minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and all area attractions such as Dollywood, Splash Country, Dixie Stampede and dinner shows and shopping. From honeymoon to family vacations, budget to luxurious… our fully furnished cabins feature all the comforts of home including jacuzzi tubs, fireplaces, kitchens, pool tables, theater room cabins, hot tubs and more. Ask about our honeymoon and wedding packages and PET FRIENDLY CABINS, because we know pets are family TOO! Visit our web site for great online booking specials! http://www.floridahalfbacks.com/Tennessee/Eastern-Tennessee/Pigeon-Forge/Affordable-Cabins-in-the-Smokies.htm

Did you know that there’s no admission fee to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? It’s true, America’s most popular park is free, but it is only one of many NC attractions and events that visitors can enjoy without spending a cent. VisitNC has provided a list of some fun free things to do in the North Carolina mountains. Find your favorite freebie:

Sliding Rock (near Brevard)

Heat getting to you? Come slip down this renowned 60-foot sloping slide into an eight-foot deep mountain pool near Brevard, NC. Lifeguards supervise the fun during the summer, so bring the family. Enjoy 11,000 gallons of water flowing down over the rock face each minute, and it’s just a few strokes to shore. Where else can you get that kind of thrill? Okay, it’s not quite free. Cost to enter the recreation area is $1.00 per person.

Dancin’ In The Streets – Lake Lure
Thanks to the Lake Lure Hot Summer Nights Street Dance Series, you can dirty dance where Johnny and Baby did… for free! The dances will be held right at spectacular Lake Lure, where much of Dirty Dancing was filmed. This is part of Lake Lure and The Blue Ridge Foothills’ Endless Summer Event Series. 828-625-2725

June 8 Beach Motown
July 13 Rock and Roll
August 10 Swinging Big Band
Sept 14 Country Bluegrass

The Create-Your-Own Art Tour
A D-I-Y art tour can turn into an adventure – it costs you nothing to look! Homegrown Handmade Art Roads and Farm Trails let you create your own free driving tour of authentic folk artisans, handicrafts, farmers and creative entrepreneurs rooted in our North Carolina’s rural countryside. Or how about looking into the artistry of traditional and not-so-traditional patterns on a Barn Quilt Tour? Free tours, each featuring between 30-100 quilts, can be found in three western North Carolina counties:
Avery
Watauga
Ashe

Shindig For The Price Of None –Asheville
Starting in July, Asheville’s Shindig On The Green goes into high gear as crowds with lawn chairs and blankets gather on summer Saturday evenings to enjoy Appalachian mountain music and dance traditions. (Saturday evenings July – September)

Are You The Stovepipe Type? – Valle Crucis
Midday rush? Not in Valle Crucis, thank you. The Mast General Store has music on the back porch each Saturday and Sunday from noon until 2 p.m. at the Original Store in Valle Crucis. Sometimes groups start a little earlier; sometimes they play a little later. Musical selections include bluegrass, old-time, Celtic and Appalachian performed by local talent. On occasion, cloggers, flat footers and shufflers come along to dance a bit, too.