Numerous sites in Blount County have received recognition by BlueRidge Country magazine which is one of the most prominent publications covering the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains region. Every five years, BlueRidge Country gives its readers the opportunity to vote on awards in various categories, and this year, the magazine’s 20th anniversary, Cades Cove, The Tail of the Dragon and Great Smoky Mountains National Park all won awards.
“It is clear that the readers of our magazine really enjoy what Townsend and Blount County have to offer. To win so many of these awards speaks to just how rich the natural beauty is in this area,” said Michael Pak, with BlueRidge Country. “With the surveys being open-ended, and the awards being solely based on readers’ votes, these awards are completely reader-choice oriented. In our opinion, it makes the awards a little more prestigious when it is the people who actually go and visit these places who are deciding who wins.”
The magazine estimated that around 2,000 surveys were returned. Awards were given in 80 different categories with platinum, gold, and silver designations going to first, second and third place respectively.
Cades Cove received awards for five different categories: platinum for best campground, platinum for best birding area, platinum for wildlife viewing, gold in the country drive category and silver for historic attraction. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park garnered a platinum award for the best national park, a gold in the fall foliage category and a silver for wildlife viewing. Rounding out the awards going to attractions in Blount County was a gold award for the best motorcycle ride category won by the Tail of the Dragon.
“Our area has so much to offer visitors and residents—from attractions where you can experience nature and all it has to offer, to the history and heritage of our region to exploring our country roads and winding through the Tail of the Dragon,” said Herb Handly, executive vice president of tourism for the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We are proud that our area has received so many of these prominent awards, and it shows that our visitors truly do appreciate our efforts to provide them with an authentic escape from your typical tourist destinations.”
The complete list of winners were published in the June edition of BlueRidge Country.
“This issue is really is a keepsake for our loyal readers. It almost becomes like a guidebook that alerts people to things they need to go see,” said Pak.