Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Gatlinburg Gets Go Ahead

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The Mountain Press reports that plans for a Margaritaville restaurant in Gatlinburg, Tennessee have been given the go-ahead:

To local Parrotheads’ delight, the city’s Municipal/Regional Planning Commission approved the site plan for Margaritaville — a popular Jimmy Buffett-inspired casual dining chain — during its Monday evening meeting.

The 13,000-square foot restaurant will sit at 805 Parkway—a property that was home to the recently-demolished Midtown Lodge and an area where construction is almost completed on a two-story parking garage that’s accessible from River Road and Parkway. The restaurant and parking garage will share the same tract, City Planner David Ball explained.

“There’s enough space there for both,” he told the board.

The single-story building will boast an outdoor dining area and have approximately 400 seats. A retail store will be connected to the restaurant — located on the upper portion of the lot, at the corner of Maple Lane and Parkway — though the retail component would only be a small portion of the building, local developer Ned Vickers said.

“(Margaritavilles) are typically restaurants and retail,” he explained. “It’s a big restaurant.”

Plans are still in the initial stages, with changes to the building’s overall design still being considered. The concept still requires submittal to the city’s Environmental Design Review Board, Ball explained.

UPDATE: Margaritaville now going in Pigeon Forge, TN.

Pigeon Forge Votes Down Liquor Referendum

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Pigeon Forge, TN – May 11, 2011 – Voters in the Great Smoky Mountains city of Pigeon Forge have again voted down liquor by the drink, leaving Gatlinburg and Sevierville the only nearby resort towns serving alcohol in a region known for its moonshine heritage.

The unofficial result Tuesday was 590-482. The issue also lost in 2009 in Pigeon Forge.

Pastor Ronnie Reagan, who had become one of the most outspoken public faces of the opposition, was at the polls throughout the day and stayed to celebrate the results.

“I just thank the Lord everyone spoke out like they did,” he told The Mountain Press.

The paper said church groups appealed to old-line values, campaigning about the dangers of strong drink.

“I’ve just felt a good fellowship with these people throughout the day,” Reagan said.

Businesswoman Pam Ogle said she and the business community were shocked.
Read more

I-40 Reopens 4/24/2010

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Interstate 40, closed since October due to a massive rockslide, reopened with little fanfare on Sunday evening 4/24/10. For the people who depend on the road for their living, seeing the traffic flow again brought a sense of relief.

“We are thrilled to death,” said Mike Sorrells, owner of Sorrell’s Marathon and Auto Repair in Jonathan Creek. “You do not know how much that road means to your well-being until it’s not there.”

The work on I-40 in the Pigeon River Gorge will continue through the summer as crews complete stabilization efforts, but with both eastbound lanes and one westbound lane open, Western North Carolina’s main transportation artery is back in business. Read more

Friends of the Smokies

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Friends of the Smokies, a Great Smoky Mountains National Park preservation and protection group, has pledged to give $1 million to park programs in 2010. That is amazing news for GRSM fans! This charity is not run by the National Parks Service, but each year the NPS publishes a list of needs for the Great Smoky Mountains Park and the Friends of the Smokies charity works to provide funding for those needs.

The group said in a news release that the projects it helps support include Parks as Classrooms, which provides hands-on learning opportunities for more than 18,000 area children.

You might not know Friends of the Smokies directly, but if you’ve visited the park I guarantee that you’ve seen benefits of their work. They have thousands of friends/donators – you’ll recognize some of them by the special license plates they have on their cars.

You cna find out more at FriendsOfTheSmokies.org

Welcome to Great Smoky Way

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Welcome to Great Smoky Way, a new blog dedicated to bringing you general information and news about the best place on earth, the Great Smoky Mountains. We are going to talk about all things Great Smoky Mountain. We’ll cover hiking, skiing, camping, scenic drives, festivals, hotels and more. If you’re looking for something specific, please use the search feature or look through our categories.