Home For Travelers Location Spotlight

Based out of Boston, FlipKey may have an affinity for Massachusetts, but not without good reason. New England showcases the four seasons like no where else in the United States. Vacationers come from all over the world to survey New England’s fall foliage, apple pick in Central Massachusetts, or hike in the Berkshires. As winter arrives, New Englanders trade their hiking boots for skis as people flock to the mountain slopes. In springtime, Boston becomes a hotspot for vacationers eager to experience Colonial history through Duck Tours and walking the Freedom Trail.

But when it comes to summers in Massachusetts, there’s no place better than Southeastern Massachusetts. So if you’re planning a summer retreat, look no further than Cape Cod and the Islands.


 ProvincetownAt the utmost tip of the Cape Cod Peninsula lies Provincetown, or more affectionately known as “P-town”. While the population may seem desolate during colder months, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Provincetown becomes a nonstop soirée of vacationers. In true summer style, vacationers can kayak around P-town Harbor, sail the Cape Cod Bay and partake in a whale watching tour, peruse the busy shopping district of Commercial Street, or simply enjoy the ocean breeze on its sandy, pristine beaches, all within eyeshot of the famous, 252-foot Pilgrim Monument. Provincetown also features a variety of festivities to honor the arts, such as the International Film Festival in June and the Provincetown Jazz Festival in August. Of course, Provincetown is best known as a gay village. The majority of its events and festivals are centered around the LGBT community, perhaps of which no event proves more popular than the annual Independence Day celebration.


 ChathamIf you want to experience the true old world charm of the Cape, look no further than Chatham. The town has managed to avoid the urban sprawl that has pervaded many parts of Massachusetts, and still features a variety of mom and pop shops along the picturesque Main Street. Chatham’s appeal comes from its antiquity. You can tour the old Atwood House, built in 1752, or pay a visit to the Chatham Lighthouse, established by Thomas Jefferson in 1808.


HyannisFor a slightly more urban appeal while still on the Cape, head over to Hyannis, home to the Cape Cod Mall. As one of the largest towns on the Cape and a designated commercial and transportation hub, Hyannis has earned the nickname, “The Capital of the Cape”. Hyannis offers something for all ages, from a family-friendly tour of the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory, to the much more adult tour of the Cape Cod Beer brewery. Don’t forget to pay homage to one of our most beloved political families, the Kennedy’s, by visiting the John F Kennedy Memorial and Museum.


 FalmouthTo witness the natural beauty of the Cape, visit Falmouth, whose southern shore boasts a series of ponds and rivers indicative of the Cape’s topography. Enjoy the finer things Falmouth has to offer, like a day trip to the Cape Cod winery, or a visit to the Cornelia Carey Sanctuary, which features nature trails that run alongside Buzzard’s Bay and offers spectacular views of the Elizabeth Islands and seaside sunsets. Perfect for a family trip or a romantic date, the Shining Sea Bikeway winds along the Vineyard Sound shoreline, ending in Woods Hole. From there, you can catch the ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard.

Martha’s Vineyard

 MarthasVineyardThe once home of Jackie Onassis, Martha’s Vineyard has attracted the attention of celebrities, politicians, and artists for decades. The Vineyard boasts temperate summers rarely exceeding 90 degrees, features ample beaches and cliffs, and offers plenty of scenic ocean views and places to eat and shop. Be sure to stop by The Black Dog, a restaurant and tavern that has become a Martha’s Vineyard icon, known throughout New England by its souvenir tee shirts featuring its eponymous Black Dog logo. Another popular destination, the Wesleyan Grove in the town of Oak Bluffs features 350 gingerbread cottages. Or check out the town of Aquinnah to view the scenic Gay Head Cliffs. Proceed with caution, however, as below the cliffs lies Lucy Vincent Beach, one of the few remaining nude beaches left in the US.


Nantucket2A place of serene beauty, Nantucket has become known as a center for the visual and performing arts, but not without a price tag. Nantucket possesses the highest median property value of anywhere in Massachusetts, but for good reason. It hosts a variety of world-class museums, including the Maria Mitchell Association, featuring observatories, an aquarium, a natural history museum, and a science library. While you’re there, plan a visit to the Whaling Museum, the Nantucket Vineyard, Cisco Brewery and Triple Eight Distillery, or the Brand Point Lighthouse, America’s second oldest lighthouse.

Whether you’re vacationing in July or December, shopping never goes out of season! Over the next few months join me as we journey around the world to discover unique and unexpected shopping destinations that you and your entire family are sure to enjoy. So fasten your seat belts, get your wallets ready, and make sure to leave extra room in your suitcases for new purchases! First stop: the Western United States…

From Hawaii to California, the West Coast is full of unique shopping experiences for any traveler. So gather up your belongings and head out to enjoy some fun in the sun shopping at one of these seven unexpected and unbelievable shopping destinations in the Western U.S.

1. Big Island, Hawaii

Big Island Shopping

While relaxing on this beautiful island in Hawaii, visit Ali’i Drive for some of the best shopping around. Whether you need sandals and a big straw hat or jewelry and a sarong, this drive will let you bring the island flavor back home with you. The Kona Inn Shopping Village, originally a wealthy hotel from the 20’s, has now been transformed into a gorgeous low-rise mall with dozens of clothing boutiques, art galleries, gift shops, and island-style eateries. For an even more authentic shopping experience, visit the Ali’i Gardens Marketplace to stroll, shop, and enjoy the Hawaiian aura in a beautiful garden setting. Not only will you enjoy a friendly atmosphere and be able to take advantage of great deals offered by merchants and farmers, but you will also be able to enjoy daily events ranging from Na Kapuna Hula dancing and ukulele lessons to lei making and ukulele jam sessions.

2. Carmel, California

Carmel Shopping

Carmel shopping is a unique metropolitan style, all-day experience and then some! The most discriminating shopper is sure to find something of great appeal in one of the town’s stone-paved alleyways or curlicue-roofed shops. Visit The Crossroads Shopping Village for an even more quaint and fashionable shopping experience. Along a flower-filled boulevard, friendly shopkeepers present the finest in anything and everything – fashion, jewelry, gifts, specialty food and more. And if you’re tired and hungry from all the shopping, The Crossroads also offers the best one-stop selection of award winning dining on the Californian Monterey Peninsula, so take a break and re-energize for more!  From outdoor malls to family-owned boutiques, Carmel offers a shopping environment of infinite exploration.

3. Laguna Beach, California

Laguna Beach Shopping

Laguna Beach is a walkable quaint village located in the heart of Southern California, making shopping in this fun and funky town an experience like none other. Take home part of Laguna Beach’s unique style with a beautiful piece of art you won’t find anywhere else. Over 100 art galleries and artists’ studios showcase all types of mediums, from paintings and sculptures to glass blowing and modern art. From the galleries in North Gallery Row to the showcases of the downtown village of South Laguna, you’ll find it easy to spend the day gallery-hopping as you explore all the incredible talents of these world-renowned artists. You’ll also discover an elaborate and unique collection of home furnishings to make your home a space to notice. And for those hard-to-find items, Laguna Beach boasts plenty of specialty stores that are sure to make your shopping experience a success.

4. Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu Shopping

The tropical setting of open air markets, luxury resort shops and an abundance of Hawaiian retail stores makes shopping a popular activity on a Hawaii vacation. For the casual shopper or the sophisticated consumer, Oahu is a virtual shopping paradise. Find a delightful variety of independent, locally owned markets and stores, national retail chains, and upscale boutiques that sell everything from handcrafted, Hawaiian products to imported items from around the world. If you’re looking to please both the beach bum and shopaholic, visit the infamous Waikiki Beach – the shopping capital on the beautiful island of Oahu! The Waikiki Beach Walk has all one needs, from art to jewelry to handcrafted trinkets. Just stroll along the amazing white sand beaches to discover the best shopping the island has to offer… and when you get tired of shopping (if that’s even possible), just head straight to the beach!

5. Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale Shopping

Although Scottsdale has primarily been known for its lavish resorts and manicured golf courses, Scottsdale is now becoming a hot shopping locale. Scottsdale has become the place for veteran shoppers, attracting more and more high-end boutiques everyday. At places like the Scottsdale Waterfront, the Borgata, and Kierland Commons, you will find original designers and showcases of the latest Hollywood trends in everything from clothing and accessories to chic alternative clothing and sophisticated nighttime wear. With more than 5,500 retail stores, malls, boutiques, and outlets, Scottsdale is home to serious shoppers who need some of the country’s finest retail therapy. What better way to spend your summer vacation than with a little retail therapy in the heart of Arizona?

6. South Lake Tahoe, California
South Lake Tahoe Shopping

The clear, blue lake and heavenly mountains are not the only reasons to visit Lake Tahoe. Along with the beauty of the natural wilderness, South Lake Tahoe is also home of unrestrained, multi-venue shopping. Visitors find numerous boutique shops, galleries, and restaurants with an open invitation to enter, browse, buy, and consume. While enjoying the view, head over to Tahoe Factory Store outlets for discount prices or over to Heavenly Village for some heavenly shopping. This beautiful village is a European-styled commercial shopping center surrounding the bottom of the Heavenly Gondola. With cobblestone walkways and slopped alpine roofs, the village shops sell everything from clothing and books to summer and winter sporting equipment and wine.

7. Taos, New Mexico

Taos, NM   Shopping

Taos is in a state of constant evolution, but the culture and core authenticity keeps Taos timeless. Don Fernando de Taos Plaza was settled by the Spanish colonists more than 300 years ago and still retains its original shape through plazas, paintings, artifacts, and more. Head over to the heart of Taos to find one-of-a-kind gifts and conversation pieces at local boutiques, museum shops, craft fairs, and artisan’s workshops. From the Alpacacs store with luxurious alpaca yarn, clothing, accessories, and toys, to the El Rincon Trading Post with pawn and contemporary jewelry, pottery, books, and Indian artifacts, Taos is home to unique items that are perfect for authentic gifts and conversation pieces back home.

This blog post comes to us from England by way of Paul Johnson, who owns a riverside vacation rental apartment in Kendal. Paul is a tourism professional and a regular contributor to aluxurytravelblog.com, aardvarktravel.net, and dedicate.co.uk.
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If you’re looking for the most popular tourist destination in England outside of London, look no further than the Lake District National Park.  Tucked away in the north-west of the country, just short of the border with Scotland, this is one of the most scenic parts of Britain and home to England’s highest mountain (Scafell Pike) and longest lake (Windermere).  A few miles from Windermere, you will find the old market town of Kendal, sitting on the edge the Lake District National Park boundary.  Using Kendal as a base, you get the best of both worlds because you are in fact sandwiched between two National Parks – the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.

Strickland Gate Boar Kendal itself is traditional market town full of history and interest, with plenty of restaurants, bars and other forms of entertainment.  It is home to Kendal Castle where Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth wife, lived before moving to London.  It is also home to Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal Museum, the Quaker Tapestry Museum, and the Brewery Arts Centre, which has its own cinema and a full programme of events.  Events in the town are varied, ranging from the International Kendal Mountain Film Festival to the Kendal Torchlight Procession, both of which are regular annual events.

Next time you’re visiting England, understand that there’s much more to it than just London.  There are some very beautiful areas such as the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales that too many visitors overlook, and basing yourself in Kendal would put you perfectly positioned to enjoy them both.

If you are interested in contributing to the FlipKey blog, then we’d love to hear from you! Please contact the blog editors by emailing memberservices (at) flipkey.com with the subject line “I’m interested in the FlipKey Blog!”

Ah, Carnival… one of the most fascinating, exciting festivals that happens around the globe every year.  Nearly everyone has heard tales of the festivities, but have you ever actually experienced it?  With the economy beginning to slowly recover and vacation rentals hotter than ever, now is the time to pack your bags and head south to the anything-but-sleepy city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Brazilian Carnival is widely considered the most colorful and vibrant in all of Brazil.  With the Samba schools shaking their way down the confetti colored streets and Bloco parades proudly representing the different boroughs, there’s no escaping the infectious music and costumes that toe the hazy line of gaudy and profound.  This year from February 13th to the 16th the city will be ablaze with lights, sequins and an insatiable desire for fun.

The parade in the Sambodromo is the largest attraction at Rio Carnival.  Here various samba schools dance down the 700 meter long street from 8pm until sunrise.  Each Samba school has 80 minutes to jitter, twist, shake and twirl in front of 90,000 fans to win the Championship and is truly a spectacle.

Beyond Carnival, Rio de Janeiro is a sprawling, sultry city that fuses pure South American hospitality with a blazing passion for life.  The iconic statue “Christ the Redeemer” that towers over the city is a constant icon of beauty apparent throughout the entire city.  While Capacabana beaches soak up the blissful sun gringos and locals alike sip the sweet Caipirinha (lime juice).

Grab your sequins, book your vacation rental and head south for a truly magnificent experience

White House

This month’s Off the Beaten Path home is a rarity for sure.  Nicknamed “The White House,” this architectural gem perfectly captures the open spirit of Costa Rica.  I spoke with one of the owners, Ken, a Los Angeles native who has a passion for exquisite architecture and the sunny shores of Santa Teresa…

Who designed the house?

“Michael Poirier, his work has been featured in magazines and journals internationally, including Architectural Record, GA Houses, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.”

Where did you get the inspiration to build such an exotic home?

“I have always loved modern architecture.  In L.A., I live in a mid-century modern home I called The Strawberry House, which is also a design-centered home.  My partner has always loved my L.A. home as well and so it was obvious that it would be the only way we would build.

Although it is exotic and unique for the area, it was also designed specifically to work for that particular environment in regards to air flow, rain management etc.”

What are some highlights of the property?

It’s steps away from the beach –that’s the biggest highlight. J Other highlights include the overall modern design, the floor to ceiling glass, the infinity pool, the wood ceiling in the master bedroom, the volleyball court, the kitchen that faces the ocean so you can watch the waves as you cook, and the fantastic local art.  In general, we are also trying to make it as sustainable as possible.  My girlfriend owns a small non-profit called Green Wave, through which we have implemented some environmental policies and she is working with our on-site manager on the development of many more.  Also through Green Wave, we are supporting other Costa Rican non-profit groups and schools.

What is your favorite aspect of the home?

I like how the whole house opens to the ocean; it makes me feel I within an arm’s reach away from the waves at all times (and we practically are).

What attracted you to Costa Rica? And why Santa Teresa?

I was attracted to Costa Rica because of the long standing stable government and country with no army as well as the emphasis on education. We fell in love with Santa Teresa for the beaches, the surfing and especially our niche in Playa Hermosa- the overall undeveloped aspect of the area which makes it quiet and private.

What are your favorite things to do in the area?

Surfing! I also love cooking so I like to go to Honey’s organic market on Saturday’s, Product C for fish and the new Natura Mia for healthy food. There are amazing restaurants in the area one of the closest, Tres, has the most amazing coffee and they serve great raw food.  I also like visiting the art gallery, ‘Inspiracion’ and as well as the RainSong Animal Sanctuary.

What is the best season to visit?

There are only two seasons in Costa Rica: wet and dry.  Dry season is the most popular running from about November to the beginning of May. I actually like going down in the rainy season though.  There are less people, its greener and I think the rain storms that only sweep through are fantastic.

Ok, so you’ve done the family vacation to the waterpark and school is in full swing, you’re free to breathe (for a minute at least). So, gather your bros and start planning that testosterone-infused male bonding thing that you’ve been day dreaming about at work. A mancation is a great chance to turn your cell phone off, clear your head and reconnect with ’your boys’…and maybe meet some new people along the way. But where to go? Well, we have a destination suggestion just for you, men.

Jaco, Costa Rica has earned the FlipKey ‘manly’ seal of approval, so round up your best guy friends and proudly declare it a mancation… did we mention the cigars here are divine?

Jaco is a well-balanced blend of rugged and gutsy activities like bungee jumping off the 265 ft bridge over the tops of the forest canopy or white water rafting the class IV rapids of the Naranjo River. Jaco is also home to some dynamite golf courses, like the coastal holes at the Hacienda Pinilla. Deep Sea fishing is also great for rekindling your inner man-flame. After you and the boys catch some tuna, take it back to your vacation rental and grill it up for some freshly won dinner.

But that’s not all…Jaco’s nightlife is almost as adventurous as its day-time activities. With bars open all night attracting crowds of all ages, it’s easy to get lost in the blur of the evening. Of course with the world-class beach out your backdoor, spending your days recovering from the night before is always an enjoyable option.


While many hotels are at their peak rates during the winter months, vacation rentals are a great way to kill two birds with one stone. You and your boys can get the chance to rule the roost but not break the bank in the process. Check out FlipKey’s huge database of vacation homes for any sized group of guys looking for a mancation.

For our monthly “Off the Beaten Path” series, we highlight homes that are extraordinarily unique, and this month’s feature listing certainly fits the bill. The “Redwood Tree House” is a California home, owned by Linda and Rolly, that has a 150 foot tree growing through the center of it!

Imagine spending some well earned vacation time at this 80 year old home which was designed around a living Redwood tree. The front entrance opens up through a tree trunk (no joke) into the living room where the affectionately named ‘Red’ shoots up through the ceiling and 150 feet into the sky. At night you can enjoy the night light created by the spot lights on the tree, a great way to unwind after a day of hiking the California forests.

Red isn’t the only reason that this Healdsburg, Californian home is so unique. It is located on the banks of a river, in the midst of hundreds of other amazing trees that only grow in this part of the world. It is the perfect place to float away on a raft searching for the tallest tree or immerse yourself in the peacefulness of these quiet giants on a hike.

Since the location is temperate, each season of the year offers something unique. The springtime sees the hatching of birds from the boughs of Red, and is when the forest comes alive. Summertime is great for heat lovers, made even better by the cool river that runs through the backyard. Fall is for wine aficionados, who come for the ‘crush,’ (when all the grapes are harvested) at the local vineyards. During the winter, cozy up to the fire place, disconnected from the hustle and bustle of the city and take in the peacefulness of the trees that surround you.

“Off the Beaten Path” is a FlipKey blog post series highlighting vacation rentals in enchanting yet lesser-known travel destinations throughout the world.  Today, we are kicking off our monthly series with vacation rentals located in the heart of the Bavarian National Forest in Germany.

For an accurate and in-depth account, we spoke directly with one of our very own vacation rental owners whose properties provide welcoming accommodations in the Bavarian Forest.  Margaret Leach, a Brit by blood speaks German fluently and enjoys renting her Bavarian homes to vacationers and travelers alike…

1) What makes the Bavarian Forest a unique and appealing destination?

Location: Bavaria is located right in the centre of Europe, directly on the border of the Czech Republic. Prague and Munich are each about 2 hours from here – and even Austria can be reached for a day trip. All these things add up to a huge amount of history to be discovered.

Pure, unspoiled natural surroundings: The Bavarian Forest National Park is part of the largest range of forested mountains in Central Europe and starts literally a few yards from our house. Our air is certifiably clean as well as our tap water, which comes from local springs– no need for bottled mineral water here.

2) When is the best time to come?

I guess that would depend on what you are looking to get out of your experience. The quietest times are probably November, March and April, but the peace and quiet is attractive in itself. If you are looking to play in the snow, December through February is a great time to visit. May through September is the time to come if you are looking to catch some sun outdoors.

3) What are the biggest attractions in the area?

The proximity to the border of the Czech Republic is a main attraction. You have access to not only a wealth of history but many pretty towns and villages that you normally wouldn’t get to see staying anywhere else. The Bavarian National Park is also a main focal point of the area, which comes at no surprise considering its overwhelming beauty. We are also close to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Regensburg and Cesky Krumlov, offering glimpses of medieval towns that have been preserved through the centuries.

4) What are your favorite aspects of the area?

A combination of three things: The peace and tranquility of a beautiful rural location, the friendliness of the people and the proximity to so many fascinating places to visit – there is nothing quite like popping up to Prague for a day’s shopping!

5) What are some fun activities for a visiting guest?
There is a wide range of activities for guests of all ages. There are medieval and traditional festivals in the summer with markets, music and food. The outdoor activities are endless: summer tobogganing, hiking and cross-country skiing are just a few. There are romantic boat rides down the Danube River in dusk or gondola rides up the Arber Mountain in the morning.

6) What are the benefits of staying in your vacation rentals in Bavaria?

We aim to offer a very high standard of accommodation, with an emphasis on maximum comfort. Our kitchens are well equipped, our seating is comfortable, our bedding is clean and our décor is pleasant. We provide a sauna, Internet access and a lounge with coffee machines and home made cakes. We are more than willing to aid our non-German speaking guests on where to go, how to get there and even offer guided tours of the village. Finally, we try to minimize the impact of our apartments on the environment with maximum recycling, minimum fossil fuel usage, organic food and drink and non-chemical cleaning materials.

Area: Kissimmee, FL and Orlando, FL
Expert: Sara Moore
Years living in Orlando, FL: 11
Company: ALL STAR Vacation Homes

Sara, what makes Orlando, FL a great destination to visit and stay in a vacation rental?

Besides beautiful, sunny, Florida weather – Orlando is home to more than 95 attractions, endless dining, shopping, spa and golf options and is just 60 miles from the closest beach.

We have more than 20,000 vacation rentals that surround the Orlando-area attractions and convention centers. Visitors can choose a condo or private pool home that meets any budget, group size or unique needs.

What are the top things to do (attractions, activities, events, etc.) in the area?  Are there any hidden gems that people may not be aware of? 

In Central Florida, you can do it all! Besides the well-known theme parks, visitors can choose from a large selection of unique experiences, such as:

• Airboat Rides
• Hot Air Balloons
• Freshwater or Saltwater Fishing
• Retail & Outlet Shopping

For example, Central Florida is home to Gatorland, a 110-acre attraction known as The Alligator Capital of the World. And Fantasy of Flight is an aviation-themed attraction showcasing vintage aircraft from the world’s largest private collection.

What are the top 5 ‘must-try’ restaurants in the area?

You can find almost any restaurant that is a family favorite in Orlando from McDonald’s to TGI Fridays. Below is a list of my favorites that are a little more unique, in no particular order.

1. Bahama Breeze – this limited Darden chain restaurant features Caribbean fare. Be sure to try the Tortilla Soup and the Bahamarita!

2. Texas de Brazil Steakhouse (also a limited chain restaurant) – If you ever have trouble choosing from a menu, this is a unique dining experience where you get to try it all.

3. Bruno’s Italian – Family friendly, homemade Italian and great pizza in a relaxed atmosphere. There is no better casual Italian in Orlando than Bruno’s.

4. Dixie Crossroads – If you are traveling to the East coast of Central Florida, Dixie Crossroads, located in Titusville, is famous for its Rock Shrimp!

5. Pointe Orlando – There are too many great restaurants to choose from in Orlando, so I’m cheating on #5 – Pointe Orlando, located on International Drive, is host to almost anything that you might be in the mood for. From Capital Grille for steaks to Oceannaire for seafood and Taverna Opa for Greek cuisine and festive entertainment.

What popular entertainment/nightlife options in the area would you recommend?

Pointe Orlando also features great nighttime entertainment, such as B.B.Kings Blues Club and a 20-screen movie theatre.

Downtown Disney has movies, the House of Blues, Bongos Cuban Cafe and Ragland Road Irish Pub.

Universal’s City Walk is also a great option for those looking to take in a little nightlife, with movies, dancing and is now home to the Blue Man Group!

Don’t forget the theme parks put on nightly fireworks shows, which can be seen throughout Central Florida and even from the pool decks of many of our private pool vacation homes.

You rent homes to hundreds of guests each year….so you must have a funny story or two about people that visit Orlando, FL:

We get this request a lot (remember I mentioned above our closest beach is 60 miles). “I want a home on the ocean, within a few miles of Disney.”

Also, in 2004, when Hurricane Charley blew through, we were hosting a famous comedian in a new community that still had construction going on. During the storm, the wind picked up a porta potty and it hit his rental car. Somehow I think that made it into a comedy routine at some point.

The FlipKey Blog often features stories from recent guests of our many popular vacation rental destinations. We caught up with Paul T. who recently visited Gatlinburg with a whopping twenty members of his family that range between the ages of 22-81. Paul had great things to say about Gatlinburg and his experience as a vacation home rental guest.

Area: Vacation Rentals in Gatlinburg, TN

Guest: Paul T.

Paul, how did you find a vacation rental that was able to accommodate twenty people and fit all of your needs?

We planned for our family vacation 2008 in early in 2007 and looked at many rental properties in Gatlinburg.  We chose BIG TIMBER LODGE rented by Jackson
Mountain Homes
. There is room to sleep 30 with adequate bathrooms.

What attractions, activities, and events would you recommend to other visitors of Gatlinburg, TN?

There was plenty to do for everyone, even in a house so diverse in age. The energetic crowd went to the national park to hike and learn about fireflies. The old folks spent time shopping at an outlet mall and dining in local restaurants in Pigeon Forge. On Saturday, we prepared pancakes for breakfast. They were exceptionally delicious. Most of the group went to Ober Gatlinburg; others went to Clingman’s Dome, while still others went gambling. While in the amusement park, we heard fire works used to scare away the bears.

After a cookout at the Big Timber Lodge, my grandson showed old home movies that he had put on a DVD. Then we played Cranium.

What was the best part of the vacation home that you stayed in?

 While there was plenty to do outdoors, our vacation rental was well equipped with a Wii system, a large kitchen for dining, and a DVD player for movies. In the evening we sat around the big kitchen table and talked about old times. My grandson showed photographs of his wedding. Then some of us went downtown to shop and purchased candles. Others went to the swimming pool. Every night there was a talk session in and around the hot tub. Many of the world’s problems were discussed. Few if any were solved.

Any final thoughts about your vacation Paul?

On Monday 8-25-08 all of us were out of the lodge and headed home by 9:30 AM.
The Big Timber Lodge was a great place for family time.  We were able to eat meals together, have a good time together, and still find time for privacy if needed.