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Big Group Cabins | Pigeon Forge | Smoky Mountains | Pet Friendly

Kayaking with manatees on Florida’s west coast

FORT MYERS, Florida – The Orange River is tiny, just 8.7 miles long, but it showcases some really big attractions every winter. Manatees, those docile, bulbous vegetarian sea mammals that can be 10 feet long and weigh 1,200 pounds, love this little river, especially the warm water that flows out of a Florida Power & Light Co. generating plant.
January 22, 2021 • By Tom Adkinson

  orange river manatee

6 freebies and 1 great year-round deal at America’s national parks

Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns declared that national parks are “America’s best idea.” They are, and for six days this year, admission is free at the roughly one-fourth of them that charge an entrance fee. The freebie days are scattered through the year. The schedule starts this month – January 18 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day – and stretches until November 11, Veterans Day.
January 15, 2021 • By Tom Adkinson

  national parks

Shades of Vincent van Gogh every night in Clarksville, Tennessee

CLARKSVILLE, Tennessee – Clarksville certainly doesn’t play on the same field as New York City, but this mid-sized Middle Tennessee community and the Big Apple have something in common – the art of Vincent van Gogh.
January 8, 2021 • By Tom Adkinson

  clarksville tn

On guard in St. Augustine through war, peace and pandemic

National Park Service volunteer Chad Light, dressed as a Spanish soldier from the mid-1500s, stands on the gundeck of the Castillo de San Marcos and poses with a young visitor and then offers the youngster’s father a tip: “Give your daughter a print of that photo in about 40 years and tell her to visit us again. Nothing much will have changed.”
January 1, 2021 • By Tom Adkinson

  on guard in st augustine

baton rouge levee pellican statue crawfish and shrimp

Ol’ Man River sings to you down on the levee in Baton Rouge

You’ve seen “The Bean,” that highly reflective piece of public art in Chicago that’s shaped like, well, a kidney bean. There’s now a similarly reflective sculpture on the Mississippi River levee in Baton Rouge that goes one step farther – it sings to you.
December 25, 2020 • By Tom Adkinson

Why is there a pelican statue in a landlocked Tennessee state park?

Dixon Lanier Merritt doesn’t rank up there with Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost, but one of his poems appears in plenty of anthologies, and you’ve probably heard it yourself.
December 18, 2020 • By Tom Adkinson

It’s time to party in New Orleans, but stay in your car!

Dixon Lanier Merritt doesn’t rank up there with Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost, but one of his poems appears in plenty of anthologies, and you’ve probably heard it yourself.
December 11, 2020 • By Tom Adkinson
dresden germany franklin tennessee fishing holes aerial tramway
In Dresden, an anniversary of reconciliation and hope Social distancing in the quiet countryside outside Franklin 66 fishing holes from the Gulf of Mexico to Washington, D.C Up, up and away in a COVID-conscious aerial tramway

Brown-Lanier House
Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument added to National Park System
great smoky mountains

train ridesExperience a train ride into river gorges, through historic tunnels, and along some of the most beautiful landscapes in America
Journey through the Carolina Mountains and some of the most beautiful landscapes in America. Ride into river gorges, across valleys, and through tunnels carved out of majestic mountains. If you have been waiting to ride a train behind a century-old steam locomotive, here is your chance. Ride along one of the original railroad lines in Chattanooga, crossing four bridges and passing through pre-Civil War Missionary Ridge Tunnel, which was completed in 1858 and on the National Register of Historic Places.
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pickwick belleTennessee Riverboat Cruises: Romantic Cruises or Family Adventures
Tennessee offers a variety of leisure riverboat cruises on its waterways. Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis all have riverboats or steamboats to take you on Tennessee rivers to view beautiful scenery and wildlife, enjoy live entertainment and a great meal, or learn about the history of the Civil War in our great state. Archaeological evidence along the cruise routes tells the stories of the various Native American cultures who inhabited this river valley for over 10,000 years. Cruise in the wake of the early pioneers who had to overcome rapids, shoals, whirlpools and the formidable Chickamaugas. See the famous Body Farm. Pause and reflect in remembrance of the many that perished on the Trail of Tears.
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