Ooooh y’all! Clay and I teamed up with the folks at Anakeesta for our annual anniversary trip, to show you all the fun, romance and spooky adventures they have to offer, in October. It was awesome and we can’t thank them enough for hosting us this year. We plan on making Anakeesta a definite tradition each year for our anniversary getaway!
~Photo slideshow and video at end of post!~
We knew that Anakeesta had all the makings for a romantic attraction, but we wanted to add a little spooky fun as well. We alternate taking our anniversary tip in October and November. This year, we went in October,so we wanted to add in some October and fall fun to our trip, not just the mushy stuff. I checked out Anakeesta’s website and found just what I was looking for.
To get there, you have 3 options. You can ride one of their enclosed Chondola cabins, the chair lift or their new Ridge Rambler that drives you up. We chose to ride the Chondola up and the chair lift back down for the romantic view!
I’d heard about Anakeesta’s Legend Of Hallow Mountain event offered in October and it seemed perfect for what we were looking for. And it was! This event offers a haunted garden walk where the souls of the early settlers seek their way off the mountain by taking the souls of visitors. OOOOOOOOH! (read more about the Legend of Hallow Mountain here)
QUICK NOTE: We were not allowed to film or take photos during the haunted garden walk (The Legend Of Hallow Mountain). So I don’t have any footage of the inside of that. I wish I did. I had planned on going through with our action cam and filming, but wasn’t allowed. I understand why they have that rule, just a little bummed I couldn’t share more with you. I do have some stock photos in our video, below.
With that said, I can tell you a little about it and we did get photos of the outside while we were standing in line. Be prepared if you do go, there was a pretty good wait to get in. It’s a haunted attraction, so many folks wanted to check it out.
While you’re in line, make sure you read all the names on the headstones that line the garden edge. They are hilarious! (Think Miss Kitty or Opie Taylor as well as the last names of Sevier County settlers. ie: Ogle, Wear, Sevier)
There’s also a fog and bubble machine that blows in the entrance. The bubbles blow your way and when they pop, the fog comes out of them! That was an awesome touch and kept everyone entertained while we waited. Not to make fun of anyone, but, there was a man in line in front of us that had a shaved head. A bubble popped on his head, without him knowing it, and all this fog/smoke started rolling off. It looked like his head was smoking!
I may have laughed a little too hard at that!
The Legend Of Hallow Mountain at Anakeesta is a fun, haunted adventure. It’s a haunted trail on a hill top, taking over the Vista Gardens after dark. When you first enter, you’re greeted by a settler woman who warns you of what’s ahead and gives you a chance to turn back.
She then takes you to the grave digger who gives you a story of the settlers and what they’re after. Beyond that is the trail filled with zombies and plenty of jump scares. The actors do NOT touch you so no worries about that. They will follow you, though, pretty close to get your scare on. They make jokes and scream and chase so there is plenty of spook factor.
One zombie fellow chased me and Clay pretty far before falling back, cracking jokes about the fact that I may have “fear tinkled” a little. It was awesome!
This haunted trail is recommended for ages 12 and up. There was a 10 year old boy in the group in front of us that got permission to go through. It was, basically, up to him and his mom. He seemed mature enough and did really well. I’d say 12 and up is a good age limit, though. Use your own parental judgement.
Along with the Legend Of Hallow Mountain, Anakeesta offers Halloween themed movies after dark. The night we were there they showed Ghostbusters on their outdoor amphitheater, along with 2 other movies. There were benches and picnic tables. You could grab a bite to eat from the Smokehouse BBQ truck and enjoy a movie with your meal.
After the movie, take a walk on the Treetop Sky Walk and gaze at the “fireflies” below!
I won’t give away the secret to the fireflies. I figured out how they were done but I have to say, they were beautiful and very well executed! The idea for these is fantastic!!!! I wish they had them year round, but I think they are only during October. I’m not 100% sure about that, though. Clay and I actually walked on the bridge twice while we were there. Once during the daylight and then again after dark to see the “fireflies”.
Folks, let me tell you, this walk is incredibly romantic! The forest floor sparkles with millions of “fireflies” while you walk the suspended bridges above. They flash in the trees all around you. MIllions, upon millions of fireflies light your way! You can see the light from Gatlinburg off in the distance and it is breathtaking. I really want to take our kids there to see it too.
I tried really hard to get a photo or video of the fireflies but my camera just wouldn’t pick it up very well. I did make a gif from what video I could capture and you can see that below. Hopefully, you can make it out a little. In person, though, there were millions of lights everywhere and the forest was a sight to behold. This gif does NOTHING to capture what it really looks like! I highly recommend going and seeing it in person. It is SO pretty and romantic.
Another very romantic experience was when we were eating our meal. The Cliff Top Grill overlooks Gatlinburg with a spectacular mountain view. The sunset was incredible! The restaurant has glass walls all around so you can see the sunset and the views everywhere you look.
The food was decent. Clay had a Philly Cheese-steak and I had a salad with fried chicken. They were really busy, so we did have a bit of a wait for our food. We started out, outside but it got too chilly so we found a table inside to finish our meal. To order, you walk up and order like you would at a fast food place, then you sit and they bring your food to you. It was a little confusing since it was so busy but it was a neat experience anyway.
There are tons of Instagram worthy photo opps. There are rocking chairs lining the edge so you can sit and take in the views. There’s a bonfire with chairs around that. I do wish there was more than one of those, though, because Anakeesta is a very hopping place to be! A second or third firepit would be great for more to enjoy on the chilly nights.
Things To Do At Anakeesta
- Dueling Zip Line
- Rail Runner
- Treetop Skywalk
- Treehouse Village Adventure
- Vista Gardens
- Memorial Forest Walk
- Gem Mining
- Shop & Eat
- Clifftop Grill & Bar
- A Little Coffee
- Pearl’s Pie In The Sky
- Smokehouse BBQ
- Relax and take in the views
- The Legend Of Hallow Mountain (October)
Overall, though, even as busy as it was, it was so relaxing just to be up there. The views, the garden and bridge and the entire atmosphere is so amazing that you don’t even care how many people are there. The energy is perfect. The romantic locations for photos or just to sit and enjoy each others company are perfect. The entire experience is just really cool.
Clay and I, both, really wish we’d gone earlier in the day and just made an entire day of it. But, we got a late start and got there in early evening. If you get there after 6 pm, you can use your ticket again the next day. So, if you get a late start, like we did, you can enjoy Anakeesta in the evening and then again the next day!
So, if you’re looking for a romantic attraction during an anniversary or honeymoon trip, Clay and I recommend Anakeesta. And if you’re looking fro some spooky fun during an October trip…. Anakeesta!
Check out our Anakeesta slideshow and video!
Check out photos from our 2021 trip to Anakeesta here.
Have you ever been to Anakeesta? What attraction, there, would you most like to do or is your favorite?
Directions To Anakeesta In Gatlinburg, TN
Hi! I’m Crystal Martin, a stay at home mom of 4, living in KY with my high school sweetheart husband of 20+ years. My husband and I are co-bloggers at Cinnamon Hollow where we write about homesteading, travel, beauty, our lives with our kids and pets, fun and free printables as well as the products and services that make our lives just a little bit easier – and a lot more fun!
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