TIPS FOR PLANNING FAMILY REUNION IN SEVIERVILLE, TENNESSEE
Every day is a family affair at Hidden Mountain Resort. The staff at this family-operated business includes siblings, cousins, parents and their grown children working side-by-side. The log cabin resort’s welcoming, family-friendly vibe helps make it a popular choice for family reunions. Kay Green, director of group sales, has spent more than 22 years helping guests plan successful family reunions. We reached out to her for tips with planning a memory-making trip for you and yours.
Talk with your family members to set goals for the reunion, pick travel dates, establish budget parameters, and list favored activities. But don’t worry about having to think of everything on your own: Ask a pro. “Feel free to call and ask questions!” says Green. “I enjoy helping you with ideas of what to incorporate into your events.” Seek the benefit of experience and you can incorporate successes and lessons learned from previous guests’ reunions into your own.
Pick a Location
Choose a location that’s easy for all family members to reach. Sevierville, Tennessee has key advantages: It’s within an eight-hour drive of over 75 percent of the U.S. population. Plus, far-flung family members can fly into nearby Knoxville (airport code TYS), about a half-hour drive away.
An ideal destination offers a broad range of activities that will appeal to all ages, from great-grandparents to toddlers. Sevierville boasts a breathtaking array of things for families to enjoy together, from zip-lining to spas, with attractions such as Forbidden Caverns, Tanger Outlets , NASCAR SpeedPark, the Tennessee Museum of Aviation, Sevierville Golf Club, Ripley’sOld MacDonald’s Mini-Golf, Sevier Air Trampoline & Ninja Warrior Park, NASCAR SpeedPark, and many more. Perennial favorite hotspots the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Dollywood are conveniently nearby.
Hidden Mountain Resort gives families room to spread out, both indoors and out. Log cabins, mountain villas, and farmhouse cottages range from one to 14 bedrooms. There’s even a motor coach resort on site. Property amenities include a fishing lake, picnic pavilion, several seasonal swimming pools, event center, gazebos, fire pit, workout room, and fishing ponds. All rentals boast spectacular views, are individually decorated, and offer upscale features like a private hot tub, gas fireplace, full-service kitchen, and more. Some cabins are dog friendly.
Choose a Timeframe
Decide as a family whether your reunion will be an overnight extravaganza, a week-long retreat, or some other length of time.
Set a Budget
Commonly, not all family members are on the same budget. A resort with multiple accommodation options across a broad price range can be the solution to making everyone happy. “I like to think we have something for everyone,” says Green. “We rent cabins from $75 to $1,275 a night, so you can book what you need depending on what you’re looking for.” Since the resort’s largest cabin can sleep up to 40 guests, the price can be shared among multiple people which helps make it more affordable.
Settling on sleeping arrangements is a factor in budgeting. “You can book an entire house to share, or you can book cabins close to one another so you’re next door,” says Green. “Find a place that fits your needs,” whether that’s sharing a living space or gathering for daytime activities but retreating to a private space at night.
“It’s best if you can plan a family reunion in advance,” says Green. “We book up to two years in advance, so to get the units you want”— whether your family prefers several small cabins clustered near one another or a large cabin with 14 bedrooms—“it’s best to make a reservation as quickly as you can.” Though spontaneous travelers might get lucky and find some last-minute availability, accommodation options will likely be more limited. “It’s true that ‘the early bird catches the worm,’” Green says.
Offer Something for Everyone
Based on your family members’ personalities, you might prefer to plan a detailed itinerary or offer a list of possible activities. You might choose to do everything as a group or meet at select times. Whatever your approach, be sure to include some downtime: Memories can be built simply spending time together. “Some groups have everything planned, have their own website, and even wear matching T-shirts,” says Green. “Others are less formal. Likewise, some groups get out and explore the area, others just stay at the resort.” Shared meals are a common way to bring everyone together. At Hidden Mountain Resort, you can cook meals in your cabin’s kitchen, share a casual picnic, or even host a chef-prepared catered meal in a banquet hall.
Pack for Play
On-site entertainment is built-in at Hidden Mountain Resort, since many cabins boast game rooms with pool, foosball, and/or ping-pong tables. You can also find hot tubs, big-screen TVs, and even private pools. Kitchens are fully equipped, though you’ll need to supply your own groceries. Green recommends shopping at a local grocer in Sevierville rather than toting ingredients from home. “There’s also a grocery service that if you call in advance can have the groceries in the cabin when you arrive,” she says.
When asked what to bring from home, Green suggests DVDs (since cabins have players but not libraries), books and magazines, beach towels, and swimming suits. A camera and chargers are essential to be sure you’re ready to capture all those memories in the making.
Consider making a packing list; that way, you can be sure not to forget anything when packing to leave.
Preserve Memories, Continue to Create More
Shared experiences at family reunions linger in memory and pop up in conversations for years to come. While in Sevierville, stop at the Scrapbook Superstore, which carries over 15,000 different supplies from more than 280 vendors. Stock up on everything you need to preserve those family reunion photos.
Of course, you’ll want to build even more memories as a family: Since opening its first seven cabins in 1981, Hidden Mountain Resort has hosted some groups year after year. “People love coming here,” says Green. “In fact, 77 percent of our guests are repeat customers!” Many groups return regularly, whether it’s every year, every other year, or every five years.
For many families, Sevierville has become a tradition. Make it one of yours.
Learn more at hiddenmountain.com or call 865-453-9850.