Bright lights and big cities get all the press, but the often-overlooked prized jewels that are the small towns of the United States are where many are finding their next summer vacationing spot, according to an article from Country Living. While the complete list details thirty total provincial villages, towns, and boroughs, the following are two particular hidden gems that you should absolutely consider making your summer getaway in the coming months.
Contemplate spending a week in the summer hiking through the Great Smoky Mountains and staying in the nearby mountain resort city of Gatlinburg, TN. Located southeast of Knoxville, this outdoor adventurer’s paradise is the ideal “home base” for those looking to partake in horseback riding, hiking, fishing, and rafting due to the fact that Gatlinburg is located at the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Take a 340 ft. elevator ride upward and observe the breathtaking majesty of the Smokies from atop theGatlinburg Space Needle or take a leisurely ride above the treetops from one of the gondolas, chairlifts, or aerial tram cars that the area has to offer. Once at the top of the town, you and your travel companions can take in a day observing underwater wonders at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the arcades, escape rooms, and mini-golf courses of the Gatlin Fun Center.
One key attraction that is essential to the Gatlinburg experience besides the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or the massive amusement park is an area known as the Village Shops. Filled with floral arrangements, gardens, and landscaping marvels, this collection of small businesses, eateries, and lodgings is perfect for those wanting to get a scaled-down version of the commercialization found up the mountain. One bite into a barbecue sandwich at Tennessee Jed’s will have you forgetting about ever wanting to conquer that advanced-level hiking trail you saw earlier that day. Whether you partake in a Gatlinburg experience outdoors or indoors, it’s safe to say that hidden among the expansive range that is the Great Smoky Mountains is a town with plenty to offer travelers of all types.
Located only 90 minutes away from Louisville, KY, this might not be the Nashville you’re familiar with, but it is certainly the Nashville that will win your heart. This quaint town is the county seat of Brown County, and it’s home to dozens of locally-owned restaurants and small businesses that will win you and your family over. One particular shop, the Brown County Rock Shop, sells fossils and rocks, but it also has a station where you can pan for gems right outside the front doors.
The most notable destination inside the city limits of Nashville, IN is assuredly the Zoo’Opolis Exotic Petting Zoo and Bird Park. The petting zoo element of Zoo’Opolisis one of its biggest draws, as it has three levels of tickets that can be purchased for participants to interact with the animals. At the beginner ($15) and advanced ($45) levels, zoo visitors can feed fawns, goats, ostrich chicks, and zebu calves; pet wallaby, muntjac deer, and tortoises; and interact with leopard Bengal kittens, hedgehogs, chinchillas, snakes, and iguana. It’s the ambassador ticket level ($85) that has tourists visiting this small town from all over the eastern United States, as this level allows for a more interactive approach with participants observing and sometimes entering the animal enclosures of timber wolves, red foxes, raccoons, coatimundi, zebras, and lemurs.
Ideally, this town is visited in the autumn as the changing colors of the leaves is the type of picturesque iconography that’s present across the town’s tourism pamphlets. The scenery can be best observed along Main Street (Van Buren Street) within the courtyard of the Iris Garden Cottage and Suites, or in the forests of Brown County State Park. So, pack up the car and become better acquainted with a town that is one of the more unforgettable treasures of Indiana, the not-as-famous but just-as-musical, Nashville.
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