Taking a trip to the Smokies is fun, so why not bring home a token of your good memories with a cool souvenir? Some souvenirs can offer the cheese factor that we’ve come to expect. There are always classic gift shop coffee mugs and t-shirts. But a really cool and unique souvenir can also be acquired if you know the right places to look. Whether you are purchasing for sweet grandma back home or for that friend who likes quirky unique wares, your Gatlinburg trip will offer something for each of them!
Sweets and Treats
For the sweet-tooth back home, you can delight them with some homemade taffy and other candy treats. Gatlinburg boasts a large array of shops specializing in homemade candies, fudge, caramel, and taffy. Visit Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen right on the main Parkway. Home of the original Taffy Logs in the Smokies, this establishment has been whipping up sweet treats since 1952.
If a trip to Dollywood is on the agenda, be sure to hit up the Gristmill. Their famous cinnamon bread is buttery, dense, and sugary. Just make sure to get two loaves. These classic signature dessert items tend to disappear fast.
Stop by the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge. In addition to selling pound cakes, breads, pies, and snacks, they also sell a wide variety of pantry items. For the baker or home chef in your life, take home some hand crafted condiments, infused olive oils, and unique jams and jelly’s. Locally made molasses, sorghum, and flavored syrups are also a great gift!
For the adventurous type, consider a fishing trip. Bring home a few fresh-caught Smoky Mountain trout!
The Smoky Mountains are famous for trout fishing for good reason. The native rainbow trout have always been a draw, even dating back to the times of the Cherokee. These days, brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout dominate our streams.
While trout in the Smokies are relatively small, this souvenir is definitely unforgettable.
If hunting is more your speed, there’s plenty of hunting around the area. Of course, you cannot hunt inside the boundary of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but the neighboring national forests have abundant wild game.
Want a really unique gift? Check out the Glades Arts and Crafts Community. This amazing 8-mile loop has over 100 artisans crafting nearly every item you can think of.
For the musically inclined, check out Smoky Mountain Dulcimers. Master craftsman at this shop have been playing and building dulcimers for more than 30 years. Appalachian dulcimers are fretted stringed instruments, typically with 3-4 strings. These lap instruments first appeared in the area during the 19th century and the arrival of the Scots-Irish immigrants. The classic sound created by this plucked instrument is unmistakable. Who knows, by giving an instrument as a souvenir, you could be helping to create the next folk music legend!
For something functional and beautiful, try a trip to Alewine Pottery. Gorgeous hand-thrown baking dishes, mixing bowls, pitchers, and coffee mugs can all be found at Alewine Pottery. Since each item is handmade, they’re all a little bit different. Spend your time browsing for the perfect gift or souvenir to remind you of a special Smoky Mountain getaway.
Blackwolff Knives features handmade and handcrafted knives. From hunting, fishing and novelty knives to collectibles and letter openers, each item is handmade by artist Ted Wolff. Handles range from deer and buffalo bone to elk antler to exotic hardwoods. In addition to knives, you can also find custom hand-tooled leather sheaths. This unique shop is a must see.
What trip to the Smokies is complete without a stop (or a few!) at a moonshine distillery? While the settlers in these mountains have been making moonshine under the radar for a few hundred years, now you can stop by a legal distillery right on the parkway.
Stop by Ole Smoky in Gatlinburg for a classic jar of White Lightening or Blue Flame. Bring back some moonshine peaches, cherries, or even moonshine pickles as a reminder of your trip.
Tennessee Shine Company, located at 519 Parkway Gatlinburg, 1 (800) 398-5132, uses old family recipes. Putting in authenticity from generations gone by sets their moonshine apart. Their traditions pay homage to their Appalachian Roots from the first drop to the last. Stop by any of their four locations, including the Gatlinburg location above, for a tasting!
Nearby Pigeon Forge has Old Forge Distillery. Located in the oldest part of town, Old Forge Distillery is located in a building dating back to the founding of Pigeon Forge. Tastings and tours are available upon request here. The store has plenty of spirits and and even a few cream liqours to bring home and recreate a taste of the mountains. Be sure to check out their recipe page.
There are plenty of shops to get coffee mugs and sweatshirts if you like, but there is no need to stick with common place souvenirs! Step outside the box. Explore the options and bring back a true piece of Gatlinburg with you.