Beat Cabin Fever in East Tennessee!

Read about turning snow days into quality family time.

We’ve had a break from the bitter cold this week. We had a warm snap, true to the typical Tennessee weather pattern, where if you don’t like it, just wait a while. ‘Cause it’ll change. We’ve had darn-near tropical weather for a couple of days! Temperatures reached almost 70 degrees at one point. That’s a vast difference from last week, where lows dipped into the single digits!

But cold weather is blowing through again, and we’re predicting snow starting around Saturday or so. While the warm weather stretches are pretty nice, the bitter cold and even that mean, in-between weather, where everything is just slushy and slick, can keep us indoors. And you know what that means … cabin fever!


We know that keeping kids home from school can get us all feeling pretty squirrelly, so we rounded up some great ideas to beat that itchy, cabin-fevery feeling. Read on to see some of our favorites!

1. Board Games

Snowed in? It’s time to break out Monopoly. Put the phones down and spend some quality time on the boardwalk.

2. Movie Marathon

Don’t just veg out in front of your smartphone or tablet. Get the family together and watch the whole Die Hard franchise, or all of Harry Potter. Make popcorn and hot chocolate, and spend a little family time with some classic entertainment. Bonus points if you make a game out of how many times a shoot-out happens or the word “Cowboy” is spoken in Die Hard! Or, for Harry Potter, keep score of how many times someone says “Harry.” You get the picture.

3. Clean Up

When you’re feeling cooped up, sometimes cleaning out the clutter can get you zen-ed out. Go through the kids’ clothes, go through your own closet, get rid of things that you don’t want or have outgrown. Hey, it’s a new year! Out with the old, in with the new!

4. Get Crafty

Start a scrapbook, or sew a blanket. Make a castle out of old cereal boxes. Attempt all those Pinterest ideas you’ve been saving for a … well, a snowy day! Get your kids in on it!

5. Get Cooking

If you’re like lots of families, your schedule is a tightly wound nightmare! Between school, after-school activities, work, grocery shopping … you barely have time to get a hot meal on the table at the end of the day. Take this enforced slow-down as a blessing, and do some things the slow, old-fashioned way. Roast a chicken. Try a new recipe you’ve had your eye on. Sit down with the family and enjoy a meal together.


And, really, don’t sweat it. After all, we typically don’t stay cooped up for long here in East Tennessee. It’s one of the perks about living here: the weather is very rarely extreme! And if you are worried about the cold snaps, just remember: the really cold days bring down the annoying bug population. So a few cold spells here and there equal much more pleasant summer days!

If you’re in the market for your own East Tennessean cabin (without the fever, of course!) then check out

Thanksgiving, TN State Park Style!

Did you know? You can have Thanksgiving dinner at one of these eight TN state parks!

Nothing is better than enjoying a home-cooked Thanksgiving feast, with friends and family surrounding you. Traditional recipes and cries of “That’s the best turkey you’ve cooked, yet!” make the day perfect.

Nothing is better than cooking and eating the meal at home …


Unless you’re enjoying Thanksgiving dinner at one of these eight Tennessee State Parks. If you’re like most people, you had no idea that you could get a meal at a state park, let alone an epic feast! But you can! State Parks at these locations have a restaurant that is open and ready to serve a delicious, memorable Thanksgiving dinner experience:


  • Tip: Try the famous banana pudding.


  • Tip: Spend the Friday after Thanksgiving on a family-friendly, ranger-led hike.


  • Tip: Private dining is available for large groups. Be sure to call ahead for availability.


  • Tip: Check out the cranberry jello salad for a twist on the traditional favorite.


  • Tip: The Thanksgiving menu includes Southern favorites like fried okra and catfish.


  • Tip: Be sure to get an eyeful of the gorgeous lake view.


  • Tip: Enjoy the cinnamon apples.


  • Tip: Smoked chicken and beef brisket are served alongside the traditional turkey.

Lots of people, including those who aren’t the best turkey bakers or who just plain get fed up with the huge mess after cooking and eating, choose to go out for November’s traditional American meal. And, eating just steps away from our state’s gorgeous, natural resources—with an eye-popping view, too—reminds us of what we have to be thankful for! Go to the Tennessee State Parks website to view full menus and get contact information, so you can call to check on reservations. (Some of the parks are first come, first serve, while others take reservations. Be sure to check!)


If you’re in our neck of the woods, here in East Tennessee, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, at the doorstep to our lovely Great Smokies, are full of restaurants to enjoy a traditional meal this Thanksgiving holiday.

After Dinner, Get Out!

You can indulge in some frenzied Black Friday shopping; after all, Sevierville is famous for its outlet malls. But you can also join a growing movement, called #OptOut by outdoors retailer REI. They close their stores and encourage both employees and patrons to go outside and enjoy the beauty of nature in the fall with your family. Take a hike, play Frisbee, have a picnic if the weather is agreeable! Save your shopping for another (less crowded) day and soak in the fresh air, instead. Plus, the Opt Out movement is a great way to work off some of that turkey you stuffed yourself with the day before!

In the market for a home this holiday season? Check out to get started.