Holiday Fun On Only One By Lindsay GobleJordan As prices at the pump rise, many Chattanoogans have opted to stay home for the holidays this year. But don’t let sticker shock make a ‘Scrooge’ out of you. On only one tank of gas, Chattanooga families can visit a multitude parades, parks, and panoramic splendor. Crossville, TN Estimated travel time 1 hour and 51 minutes One of the most beloved playhouses in Tennessee springs to life in the mist of winter for three delightful familyoriented Christmas shows. “A Sanders Family Christmas” at the Cumberland County Playhouse will be returning for its eighth season this year. The bluegrass rendition of holiday favorites and ribtickling fun is centered around a heart warming story featuring the arrival of the Savior. The show will run October 23 through December 20. Adult tickets to the show are $23 and children’s tickets are $13. Group, student, and senior discounts are available as well. New to the playhouse this year is the stage adaptation of Paramount Pictures’ “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.” Chattanooga families are likely to recognize many tunes in this dazzling production’s score, such as Blue Skies, I Love a Piano, How Deep Is the Ocean, and White Christmas. The story follows two World War II veterans, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, as they accompany two beautiful singing sisters to their Christmas show at the Vermont Lodge – a lodge that just happens to be owned by Bob and Phil’s former army commander. Cue the romance, laughter, and a little oldtimey holiday cheer. Adult tickets to this show are $26 and children’s tickets are $13. The show will run October 31 through December 31. What is a Christmas theater season without a showing of the tradition and beauty of “The Nutcracker?” The Cumberland County Playhouse brings to life the grace and art of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece under the direction of Dance Directors Eldar Valiev and Lilia Valieva, both classically trained at the Kirov Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. This show runs December 48. Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for children. Again, group, student, and senior discounts are available. For showtimes and to purchase tickets to one of these or many other Cumberland County Playhouse shows, visit www.ccplayhouse.com or call (931) 4845000. Nashville, TN Estimated travel time 2 hours and 10 minutes The Music City is known for its allstar musical acts, and during the holiday season visitors can actually customize their own vacation package to include seasonal acts and city attractions. At www.visitmusiccity.com, families can choose a package based on their own financial means – including accommodations – and may choose from tickets to
Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, the Nashville Zoo, Belle Meade Plantation, The Hermitage, Nashville Duck Tours, and aboard the General Jackson. The “Tank Saver” trip even includes a $25 gas gift card. Gaylord Opryland is celebrating their 25th anniversary by pulling out all of the stops for this year’s “A County Christmas” celebration. Chattanooga families can catch the famous Rockettes in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular – a dazzling production with over 100 cast members – from November 14 December 28, and see Whoville come to life as ICE! turns Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” into a world of crystalclear art. Presented by CocaCola, ICE features interactive slides above the Grinch’s snowcovered lair and will be on display from November 14 January 4. Radio City tickets start at only $35, with prime Gold Circle running $84. Discounts of up to 15 percent are available for large groups. Children’s admission to ICE is only $12 MondayWednesday and $14 ThursdaySunday. Adult tickets cost $20 and $22. A traditional holiday meal with all the trimmings will be served at Louise Mandrell’s “Joy To the World” Christmas Dinner and Show, running November 15 December 25, as Mandrell and her band entertain with music, dance, and comedy. Rockabilly Christmas jive, Nashvegas On the River aboard the General Jackson Showboat, a Hall of Trees, carriage rides, outdoor nativity, gingerbreadmaking classes, and children’s Christmas train round out “A Country Christmas” that is sure to make this Opryland anniversary one to remember. Packages – including tickets to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, ICE!, Louise Mandrell’s “Joy To the World” Dinner and Show, breakfast aboard the General Jackson, and admission to the Hall of Trees – start at $297 for a twonight stay for two at the Radisson Hotel at Opryland and run up to $510 for three nights at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. Tickets can be purchased at www.gaylordhotels.com. Those familiar with the “ChooChoo” may also appreciate the North Pole Express, departing this year from the Tennessee Central Railway Museum November 29 and December 6 and 13. What is a trip to the North Pole without Santa on board? Children will be able to visit with Santa on these excursions to Watertown and Lebanon, as well as drop off their Christmas letters at the post offices in town. Prices vary and include the trip back to Nashville. Visit www.tcry.org for more information and ticket prices. Middle Tennessee Estimated travel time 2 hours Antebellum Christmas tours throughout middle Tennessee offer a look into the history and mystique of prewar beauty and class. The “Victorian Masquerade Christmas” at the Belle Meade Plantation provides guests a chance to tour Victorian style in masquerade masks, enjoy period music, play traditional Parlor games and even learn Parlor dances in the ballroom. Tours will begin in early November and run through Christmas.
“Christmas at Belmont” at the Belmont Mansion and “Plantation Holidays” at Travelers Rest Plantation also offer unique views into antebellum cheer, featuring yards of garland, lights, fruit and dried flowers. Chattanoogans can learn what Christmas was like during the raging days of the Civil War at The Sam Davis Home and Museum’s “Civil War Christmas,” and then go back even further to the days of Dicken’s at the 22nd annual “Dickens of a Christmas.” This Victorian holiday festival features characters from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” as well as carriage rides, ‘living window’ crafters, strolling minstrels, and authentic Dickens cuisine. For ticket prices and tour times to these and other Victorian attractions, visit www.nashvillelife.com. Dollywood Estimated travel time 2 hours and 39 minutes This Southeastern staple is never in short supply of entertainment, and during the holiday season Chattanooga families can take advantage of special discounts and savings by booking multiple shows. The “Smoky Mountain Christmas” runs from November 8 through January 3 and includes a dazzling 4 million light display throughout the park. Shows include the headlining Christmas In the Smokies, Dollywood’s Babes In Toyland, and Santa’s Workshop. Other acts include Carol of the Tree, O Holy Night, Scrooge, and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. The Parade of Lights at Dollywood is a daily event featuring brightly colored lights and holiday characters sure to delight the young and young at heart. The park also boasts over 20 familyfriendly rides as well as food and fine dining geared towards mountain fun. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN Estimated travel time 3 hours 35 minutes Take in two great cities at once this holiday season by visiting in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee together! Families wanting to celebrate the holidays surrounded by the beauty of nature will enjoy “Fall Foliage In the Smokies.” Visitors are encouraged to kick their feet back at one of the many Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge hotels and cabins and enjoy the Appalachia scenery as black gum, sumacs, dogwoods, and sourwood trees change from green to deep hues of gold and red. A plethora of craft fairs, concerts and food festivals are just a few steps from the cabin door, and friendly tourist shops are always generous with discount coupons to the many local attractions. The Smoky Mountain Winterfest lights up the sky with over 4 million lights from November 5 February 28 and a fivedollar trolley ride will guide families through the mountain winterscape with ease. Families can also enjoy this year’s Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade featuring marching bands, giant helium balloons, over 100 parade entries, and Santa and his elves at the Gatlinburg Convention Center on December 5 at 7:30 p.m. This free event was named one of the “Top Twenty Events in the South” by the Southeast Tourism Society and is guaranteed to delight.
For those wanting to play in the snow this holiday season, the OberGatlinburg Ski Resort and Amusement Park features an array of exciting activities. New to the resort this year is snow tubing. Similar to water tubing, snow tubing requires no special skill or equipment and the mild slopes are fun for the entire family. Children must be six years old and 42 inches tall to ride solo. Children ages 35 must be accompanied by an adult. The resort, a familyfriendly environment, also offers eight trails for snowboarding and skiing as well as an indoor ice arena, scenic chairlift, and all new tramway. The amusement park includes an Alpine slide, Black Bear habitat, bungee jump, spider web Velcro wall jump, minigolf, and bumper cars among many others. Wristband specials offer discounts to many of the attractions and can be purchased at www.obergatlinburg.com. Just how far can a family get on a tank of gas? If that family happens to live in the Scenic City, the answer is “pretty far.” Even on a strict budget, Chattanooga families can enjoy the scenery and splendor of a Southern holiday, and on only one tank of gas. A season of fun awaits you and yours. All you need to do is make a little trip to the pump.