For believers, a trip to the mountains can be an opportunity to view the artistry of a maker who lovingly crafted a world of beauty and wonder.
In the mountains, a finger of light poking through the clouds, spotlighting a swath of green canopy can be a holy thing.
And so, spending Easter in the mountains is the perfect way to celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This year Easter arrives early, April 4, so it may be too late to plan anything other than a last minute getaway.
But if you’re going to be in the Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, here are some of the best ways to celebrate Easter.
6. Take the kids to an Easter Egg Hunt
Pigeon Forge’s annual East Egg Hunt is returning on Saturday, April 3 from 11 am to 1 pm at Wear Farm City Park.
The park serves as an athletic complex when it’s not home base for the Easter Bunny, who will hide eggs in each of the four fields in the cloverleaf formation.
Each field will be for a designated age group and the hunting will begin at 11 am. The event is free for children up to and including age 12.
5. See a Great Smoky Easter Arts & Crafts Show
We don’t want to paint with too broad a brush, but it’s fairly safe to say religion runs deep for the people of the mountains. So, too, does artistry.
The Great Smoky Easter Arts & Crafts Show, hosted at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, is a chance to indulge in a bit of both.
The free-to-the public show will feature the handcrafted work of local artists and craftspeople as well as from artisans around the country. The show will run from April 1-3.
While the items will not be specifically Easter themed, it’s a good bet that a wide selection of Easter-appropriate arts and gifts will be available for purchase.
4. Have breakfast with the Easter Bunny
Before heading over to the egg hunt, take the little ones to brunch with the Easter Bunny at Old Mill Pottery House Café & Grille.
The Bunny will be taking a well-deserved rest there from 9:30-11 am. There will be activities and door prizes. Reservations are required.
Call (865) 428-0771 for more details.
3. Easter Sunrise at Ober
A large part of Easter Sunday tradition is the sunrise service. The symbolism of rising to worship as the sun dawns on a new day is powerful.
Ober Gatlinburg will host a service from the top of Mt. Harrison, sponsored by Gatlinburg Ministerial Association.
The 30-40 minute service will begin at 6:30 am and will be led by local pastors. The offering collected will be used by the Association in assisting those in need.
Ober Gatlinburg will provide guests with free tram rides to the service beginning at 5:30 am and continuing every 15 minutes until 6:30 am.
Parking at Ober Gatlinburg will be provided for those who drive. The service will be held in the Ober Gatlinburg Upper Tramway Mall if the weather is bad.
A breakfast buffet will be available at Ober Gatlinburg’s Seasons of Ober Restaurant from 7:15-10:30 am. Breakfast for adults will be $14.95 plus tax, children 5-11 will be $9.95 plus tax and children under 5 eat free. Prices do not include drinks.
2. Watch the sunrise at Clingmans Dome
While an organized Sunrise service is great, it can also be especially moving to take in the sunrise in private.
While sunrises are beautiful anywhere in the mountains, the highest place in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the absolute best place to watch the sun come up.
With a clear view to the East, you can watch as the sun illuminates the misty mountains below. It’s a majestic sight and one of God’s true wonders.
It’s a perfect spot to celebrate the resurrection in peace and quiet reflection.
1. Visit Cades Cove
Spend Easter thinking about the generations of mountain people who lived in Cades Cove. Visit one of the churches inside the cove.
The Primitive Baptist Church, the Missionary Baptist Church and the Methodist Church have their rustic mountain charms.
Walk among the graves of parishioners, hear the echoes of their footsteps on the old wooden floors and then get outside into God’s Glory.
Take a walk through the fields among the spring wildflowers or down by one of the babbling mountain streams.
What are you planning for Easter this year? Let us know in the comments!