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Townsend, Tennessee Is That Hidden Gem With Lots To Offer

Sailun Tires

About a half hour from the Knoxville airport, Townsend might be comparatively small, but it punches above its vacation weight. 

With easy access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the area offers visitors stunning vistas, diverse eats for the explorer foodie, and a myriad of outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and biking. 

Here’s what you should know about planning the trip:


Number one on your list for places to dine? Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro, which has a menu for those who enjoy the finer tastes. They boast a farm-to table ethos. Chef Jeff Carter leads the culinary vision, that helped win it one of TripAdvisor’s top 25 fine dining establishments. The range is stunning.

A shortlist includes:

* black and blue beef tips: blackened beef tenderloin tips, blue cheese relish, celeriac puree, red pepper emulsion, chimichurri, pickled peppers, green beans, celery leaves.

*lamb ribs & meatballs: kentucky heritage lamb spare ribs, lamb sausage meatballs, root vegetable slaw, sherry & honey reduction, spiced greek yogurt, mustard bbq sauce.

* sunburst farms rainbow trout: herb marinated nc rainbow trout, rock shrimp and blistered corn relish, pickled mustard seeds, shaved garden vegetables, anson mills grains, meyer lemon beurre blanc.

* flavors of duck “gumbo”: crispy moulard duck breast, caroline gold rice, pickled okra, house smoked sausage, gumbo file sauce, sweet peppers, pearl onions, celery leaves.

* filet mignon: 8 oz. angus filet of beef, yukon potato and leek pave, brown butter sautéed greens, local mushrooms, spring chimichurri, goat cheese foam.

So much more!
All of my dining companions were gushing about the incredible food.

The Bar at the Bear won recognition from Wine Spectator in 2023. Their wine and whisky menu is an embarrassment of riches. If you tried a new beverage or cocktail each day of the year you probably wouldn’t get through the menu for a couple of years.


While in the area, enjoy a Cades Cove tour, nature’s sanctuary in the heart of the Smoky Mountain National Park. This idyllic valley offers a peaceful visit for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, and adventure seekers. Cades Cove is renowned for its rolling meadows, surrounded by majestic mountain peaks. Whether you’re driving, biking, or hiking, you’ll be greeted with stunning landscapes at every turn.

The Cove is home to a variety of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and coyotes. 

Step back in time as you explore preserved log cabins, churches, and barns dating back to the 19th century.

The 11-mile one-way loop road offers a leisurely drive with multiple pull-offs for taking in the sights and capturing photographs. 

As you wander through Cades Cove, let the sounds of rustling leaves, chirping birds, and babbling brooks soothe your soul. Abrams Creek and other gentle streams flow through the Cove, providing a calming soundtrack to your outdoor adventures.

Cades Cove holds a significant place in Appalachian history. The area was once home to a thriving community of settlers whose legacy is preserved in the historic buildings and cultural sites.


I embarked on an exhilarating mountain biking adventure at Vee Hollow, and it turned out to be a heart-pumping ride.

I was greeted by the views of rolling hills and dense forest. The air was fresh and crisp, setting the stage for an exciting day. The well-marked trails and friendly staff at the entrance made it easy to get started.

Vee Hollow offers a variety of trails catering to all skill levels, from beginners to advanced riders. I started with the beginner-friendly Green Trail to warm up. The gentle slopes and smooth paths were perfect for getting a feel for my bike and the terrain.

Feeling confident, I then tackled the intermediate Blue Trail. This trail had just the right mix of challenging climbs, thrilling descents, and technical sections to keep my adrenaline pumping. The twists and turns through the forest were nothing short of exhilarating.

One of the highlights of mountain biking at Vee Hollow was the breathtaking scenery. As I pedaled through the trails, I was surrounded by lush greenery, towering trees, and small brooks. 

The advanced Red Trail was my ultimate challenge of the day. With steep inclines, rocky sections, and sharp turns, it pushed my skills to the limit. There were moments when I had to dig deep and push through, but the sense of accomplishment when I reached the end was indescribable. 

The adventures continued with fly fishing in the Little River, and though I didn’t catch anything, I was told that trout are hopping throughout. Also available in the area are ATV rides, and tubing in the river. 


As a bourbon drinker, one of the highlights was visiting Company Distilling with a tasting led by master distiller, Jeff Arnett. Arnett is a prominent figure in the whiskey industry, best known for his tenure as the master distiller at Jack Daniel’s, where he played a crucial role in maintaining the quality and reputation of one of the world’s most famous whiskey brands. 

Arnett joined Jack Daniel’s in 2001 and became the master distiller in 2008. During his 12-year tenure as master distiller, he was responsible for overseeing the entire whiskey-making process, from grain selection to bottling. Under his leadership, Jack Daniel’s expanded its portfolio with new expressions and innovations, including the introduction of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and the Single Barrel Select series. Arnett’s commitment to quality and consistency helped maintain Jack Daniel’s status as a leading global whiskey brand.

In 2021, Arnett left Jack Daniel’s to co-found Company Distilling, aimed at creating unique and high-quality spirits. 

I don’t say this very often, but after trying the various selections they have to offer, I’ve become an immediate fan. There wasn’t a beverage in the line-up I didn’t like, all of them filled with varying tasting notes and exquisite flavors. Even if you’re not a whiskey lover, it’s worth at least trying, because you may enjoy what Company Distilling has to offer.


A half-hour drive from the Knoxville airport, Little Arrow Outdoor Resort in Townsend, offers a perfect retreat for families, couples, and outdoor enthusiasts. This resort provides a variety of accommodations and a host of amenities that ensure a memorable and comfortable stay.

The resort offers an array of exquisite cabins, tiny homes, and Airstreams to suit different preferences and needs. The cabins are particularly noteworthy, featuring kid-friendly upstairs dual beds that make them ideal for families. The Premier Cabin is a standout, equipped with a living room, a fully stocked kitchen, and the added luxury of robes for guests. Though on the outside, it might look like an ordinary log cabin, on the inside, it felt like a Four Seasons hotel suite.

The games lounge and full kids playground, complete with slides and swing sets, ensure that younger guests are entertained. The heated pool and Jacuzzi offer a relaxing spot to unwind, while the covered patio provides a great place to gather with family and friends. For sports enthusiasts, the resort boasts a basketball court and a pickleball court.

For those looking to explore the great outdoors, the resort is conveniently located near several hiking trails. After a day of adventure, guests can indulge in an on-site massage service housed in a beautifully converted Airstream.

The resort also features a 24/7 laundry facility, adding to the convenience and comfort of the stay.

Nestled at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains, Townsend, Tennessee, is an all-in-one town that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, culinary treats, and adventure activities, making it a must-visit destination for all.


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