Mountains & Shine

things to see and do in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville




Today, February 7th, is National #BookDirect Day. What?  Yep, today is a day that vacation rental owners are educating and encouraging vacation travelers about booking direct with owners like us.

Why Book Direct?

There are many benefits to booking direct with the owner when you’re ready to plan your vacation. The first one, is savings!  When you book on large listing/booking sites like HomeAway, Airbnb,, VRBO, TripAdvisor, or local rental management companies, or use travel sites like Expedia, you’ll be paying additional fees just to book through their system. Booking direct will pay for a week a week of groceries, a nice meal out or even an extra night in some cases, with the savings you’ll have. Its the same destination, why pay more? Check out the savings shown below by booking direct with us at each of our cabins:

Fireflies comparison v2Mudpuppies comparison v2

When you book direct with owners you have the opportunity to speak directly, ask questions to be sure the property is a good fit and get great, local recommendations for restaurants, shopping and attractions. Owners who rent direct rather than using rental companies often have nicer, cleaner accommodations since we’re frequently at our properties taking care of things and have personal relationships with our cleaners and maintenance companies.

We are frequent visitors to our cabins and take a lot of pride in offering a beautiful, comfortable and clean place for our guests to vacation.

Is it safe to book direct?

Absolutely!  The listing sites claim they are protecting you with their fees but you are no more protected than if you use a credit card to pay for your vacation. This effort is about you not being taken advantage of and making sure you remain in control of who you book with. We pay the same to process your credit card transaction directly or on any listing site, we use the exact same rental agreement – there is no benefit to either of us for you to book through a listing site.

There are scammers out there, it’s true, but here are some things you should always do to make sure you’re dealing with legitimate owners:

  • Always pay with a credit card. Do not send money through PayPal ‘Friends and Family’. Do not wire money, ever.
  • Ask for a rental agreement
  • Look for the property on different sites. Many owners can book direct, but will also be found on various listing sites as well and you can see their reviews
  • Find websites and Facebook pages. Scammers don’t go through the trouble of making those pages to appear legitimate.
  • Talk to us on the phone if you have questions or are concerned. Many scammers will avoid doing this and try to only use email or Facebook messaging.

How do I book direct?

We love the phrase “Look. Don’t Book” for using the listing sites mentioned above. When you’re ready to find a place to stay for your next vacation, there are many ways to find owners without using the expensive listing sites. Here are more tips for finding owners:

  • Search the listing site and look for the property name. Quite often you’ll find their Facebook page or website with contact information. Don’t be afraid to call-we love to talk to guests!
  • Check with the local Convention & Visitors Bureau or Chamber of Commerce
  • Look for fee free regional sites for the area you’re traveling – for example, in our area, we (along with many others) can be found on Do a google search for the area you’re traveling and enter key words like “by owner” with the city or region. We have a page at our website with several owner websites where you can book direct. Check it out here
  • Search Facebook for regional pages or groups that advertise their rentals

Ready for your Smoky Mountain vacation?

Call us or head to!  We’re ready for you!


Pancake Pantry: What to Know! (Besides YUM!)

We’ve been to Gatlinburg far more times thpantry collage2an I can count.  We’ve tried to go to the Pancake Pantry at least twice.  That long line will scare many o’ folks away!  On our last trip, we decided we were all in and we MUST go.  We were not disappointed, but there are some things you should know.

1.) Bring CASH!  I knew this, but “forgot” to mention it to my husband.  Fortunately, he had the cash to cover our meal.  Even if he didn’t, there is a conveniently located ATM inside. Never mind all the CASH ONLY signs we apparently looked past on our way in and during our wait…which brings me to the next point.

Complimentary Coffee

2.) Be prepared to wait.  Feed the kids a small breakfast to keep the whining at bay or plan accordingly.  Hubby and I didn’t eat but the kids had a small bite before we left our cabin.  Our wait was about 30 minutes on a chilly morning. Not too bad. We’ve seen the lines snaking all the way  back into the fountain area of The Village during peak seasons and peak times.
They offer complimentary coffee if you just can’t wait or need to warm up!  Lots of folks appreciated and took advantage of that on a chilly morning. There was a young man taking names and party sizes near the end of the line. Someone from your party must stay in line.

3.) Bring your appetite!  First, the decisions on what to order were not easy.  There are so many scrumptious options.  Then, when our meals came, boy are we glad we brought our appetites! The plates were filled generously.  At our table we had a couple of meals from the kids menu, Swiss chocolate pancakes, wildberry crepes, and eggs with a shortstack. I think we all left a little on our plates due to the generous portions! I had coffee as I always do with any delicious breakfast-the creamer comes in little copper containers and made my coffee taste that much better. I’m a sucker for things like that!

On the menu, they have box lunches if you’re the adventurous type and headed into the park for the afternoon.  You can order those with your breakfast and they’ll be ready when you leave. They’re a one stop shop!

We really loved our time at the Pancake Pantry. The tables are packed in pretty tight and it was pretty loud but the delicious food and great service was worth it! It’s so indulgent and a little more pricey than our usual pancake place, but certainly a lovely treat.  Of course, we know many people who never miss a visit to the Pancake Pantry when they’re in town.  Maybe we’ll add ourselves to that list.

Hmmm…wonder what I’ll order next time…

Where to Stay (part deux)

We’ve got the best location for your Smoky Mountain vacations!  Again, we’re biased, but hear us out! 🙂  If our 5 Bedroom cabin is too much for you check out our 2 bedroom, 2 bath cabin, Fireflies & Moonshine. And if you missed reading about our 5 bedroom cabin-check here.  Just like our other cabin, Fireflies & Moonshine is located a resort area just a quick drive from the crazy, busy parkway in Downtown Gatlinburg, with all the same conveniences!

The Space

Flat parking…a rarity!!


As you pull into your FLAT parking space (really, you can’t get flat parking many places


this close to the Smokies!) you’ll be greeted by the cutest front porch…it’ll be hard to resist the temptation to relax in the porch swing before you unpack…go ahead…you deserve it!

Sure, two bedrooms sounds kind of small and if you’ve stayed in a smoky mountain cabin, many are pretty small.  Not us!  When you walk in, you’ll enter the living room with plenty of seating for up to six, tall ceilings, a beautiful, locally hand carved mantle and cozy fireplace.  The open floor plan then takes you to a spacious dining area and kitchen.  The kitchen is stocked with all the needs a home cook could need.  One of the perks of a cabin is saving money by preparing meals at home, not to mention TIME waiting on for your table since very few restaurants in the area take a reservation.

Also on the first floor is one of two master suites. This one is THE master since it has a Jacuzzi tub in addition to the tub and shower combo.  Upstairs you’ll find the second master bedroom and bath with a seating area for resting or reading that book you’ve been meaning to read!  Like many cabins in the area, we’ve got a loft with a TV and games as well as a futon that sleeps 2 more!

The best part of the cabin is my favorite-the sunroom!  Off the dining and kitchen areas is a gorgeous, wood paneled, cozy sunroom.  It’s perfect for grabbing your favorite book (you know, that one you’ve been trying to finish) and reading in one of two recliners, or heck, it’s vacation-take a nap!  There’s also a small table for a friendly game of cards or checkers!  To get even cozier in the wintertime you can turn on the gas fireplace and enjoy the wooded view.

What to Do

We’re close to so much!  The quieter areas of the park are so convenient-Cosby is 20 minutes away and full of great day hikes or an overnight in a tent at their campground if you’re feeling adventurous.  Check out Greenbrier where you will find Porter’s Creek trail and an old cemetery as well as a couple of older buildings.  If you’re up for a longer hike, pack a lunch and check out Ramsey’s Cascades.  Of course, Sugarlands Visitor center is as little as 15 minutes away-that’s a great place to stop and talk with a Park Ranger about where to venture in the park on any given day!

Walk to the pool if you want to cool off.  If the kids are restless, our resort has a great play area with swings and a sand volleyball court as well as basketball!  Mills Park is a quick drive, too.  there you’ll find play areas for the kids as well!

There’s plenty of shopping on the Arts & Crafts Trail-it’s our backyard!  We are blessed with so many beautiful artisans.  You won’t be able to see them all in one day!

In the winter, there’s tubing and snow skiing at Ober Gatlinburg.  In warmer months you can ride a variety of rides and zip down the mountain on the new mountain coaster or the original Alpine Slide, take the chairlift up even higher for more amazing views or play a friendly game of mini-golf.  Ice skating is available year round, too!  Of course, you’ve gotta take the tram from Downtown up the mountainside.  No worries if someone is afraid of heights, you can drive up, too!  Just follow the signs along Ski Mountain Rd at the south end of downtown.

Well, I could go on and on and on…but I invite you to come see for yourself all there is to do when you stay with us!  Check out our calendar and rates to book your stay now

Where to Stay (part 1)

So, you’re ready to head to the Smokies for a weekend getaway or a weeklong vacation with family or friends.  The  next step…where to stay?  We think (yes, we’re biased, but hear us out!) Mudpuppies & Moonshine Cabin is the PERFECT spot for your getaway!   Here’s why:

LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!cabin front try2 online edits

Yes, location!  We are located in a resort area just a quick drive from the crazy, busy parkway in Downtown Gatlinburg.  Love the trolley to get around?  Perfect.  Just outside the resort is a trolley stop.  Love to feel like you’re in the mountains but don’t like the drive into the mountains?  That’s us!  It’s quiet and the birds are always singing but the roads are paved and easily navigated, even in the snow.  No 180 degree turns or long gravel roads to get here!  There are great restaurants really close if you want to avoid the crowds of downtown.  Wanna get to the park quick?  We’re 10 minutes from one of the quieter entrance to the park-Greenbrier, just a few miles east on Rt. 321, you’ll be there in a flash!  A few more miles east and your at Cosby Campground where you can find some great trails to hike for a great day trip.  Oh, and the Arts & Crafts Trail?  It’s our back yard!

Plenty of Space

We can comfortably sleep groups up to 14.  One bedroom is a bunkroom-perfect for kids!  Up to 6 kids can share this space and have a TV, cable and DVD player all to themselves.  We’ve got 4 more bedrooms for the adults-2 kings and 2 queens, all with TVs.  Oh and for those nights you need to relax after shopping, hiking and playing?  We’ve got a hot tub out back.  Our kitchen is stocked with everything you need to cook a great meal for those nights you want to stay in.  We’ve got plenty of room on three decks to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds…the front porch  looks up to Mt. LeConte!


I love to have my coffee out there and welcome the day as we plan our next adventure.


You can all spread out and have your own space or come together for meals, games  and family time. We’ve got pool & air hockey in the loft, and a great selection of family friendly games or a good old fashioned deck of cards.

When the weather’s hot, we’re a quick walk to the resort pool.  Take a dip or pull up a chair and a good book near the water fall at the pool area.  Relax the day away.  Kids have energy to burn?  Mills park is nearby or head to the resort’s playground area, a quick drive away!

Check out more pictures at our website:

Book with us on your favorite travel website: Airbnb  FlipKey  VRBO

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑