Hello friends! Danny, the dogs, and I headed to the mountains to enjoy some nature in and around Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
I recommend staying in the nearby town of Townsend. The other nearby towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinberg have more hotel chains and souvenir shops, but are swarming with tourists and traffic. Instead, we looked to Townsend which is a mile or two away from the national park border. This quaint town has a few small restaurants and shops, and plenty of grass for the dogs to run around. A large paved bike path runs alongside the road on both sides of the road, and is perfect for long walks with the pups!
Staying in a hotel with multiple dogs can be expensive, but luckily Danny found a great pet friendly hotel in the small town of Townsend. The hotel is listed online as Scenic Motel, but it recently changed its name to Townsend Lodge. Townsend Lodge is 100% pet friendly without a pet fee!! NO PET FEE even for multiple pets! This is crazy, people! For around $50 a night, this is the cheapest and nicest pet friendly hotel I’ve stayed in! Our room came with two queen size beds, a tv with cable, a microwave, mini fridge, and free wifi. I’m definitely coming back to Townsend and staying here :)
Townsend Lodge has a pool and a fire pit, and even a playground ship!
Townsend Lodge (Scenic Motel) is located at:
8254 State Hwy. Tennessee 73
Townsend, TN 37882-4302
Although we travelled to TN because we wanted to explore the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, we found out today that dogs are NOT allowed on ANY trails :( Horses are allowed on some trails, however. So you’ll have to take the dogs for walks elsewhere, perhaps down the long bike path just outside your hotel.
As for food, so far we have tried two places, and both had vegan and gluten-free options.
First, we went to a Mexican restaurant named Al Jimador in the nearby city of Maryville. It was about 15 minutes away by car. I ordered my favorite Mexican restaurant dish, vegetable fajitas, and they were delicious. It was so tasty that I inhaled it before remembering to take a picture. The veggies were mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers, and onions, and they weren’t covered in oil or fat, just a little salt. The guacamole was fresh and full of jalapenos (so be careful if you don’t like spicy food!). Yum. And the service was great :)
Al Jimador is located at:
1705 East Lamar Alexander Parkway
Maryville, TN 37804-6202
We also tried a local Townsend restaurant located right down the road from our hotel. The Riverstone Family Restaurant serves “Smoky Mountain comfort food,” but don’t let that scare you vegans off! With a garden veggie burger, veggie soup, and multiple veggie sides like beans, turnip greens, baked potatoes, and okra, you’ll have plenty to eat. The waitstaff are very friendly and courteous.
Riverstone Family Restaurant is located at:
8503 State Hwy. 73
Townsend, TN 37882-4302