The signs of the holiday season are all around in Sevier County, and the draw of the mountains is strong as ever.

“We come here every year for Christmas,” said Jimmy Dunn, of McMinnville. “We have for at least the last five years anyway.”

Dunn and his wife, Wanda, travel to Gatlinburg to celebrate the holiday and hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“It's beautiful, beautiful, beautiful,” he said.

“We don't come for the shopping and everything downtown,” he added. “We come for this right here – you get back to nature.”

Folks come from near and far to enjoy celebrating in the mountains.

Amit Sinha lives in Atlanta. His brother's family is visiting from India, so they came to Gatlinburg for the end of the year.

Amit Sinha, of Atlanta.
Amit Sinha, of Atlanta.

“It's beautiful, because they have an impression of the U.S., and I say it's better than that,” Sinha said.

While he'd welcome a snowy Christmas, he says Georgia has seen plenty in the last few weeks.

“It stopped everything in the city, but it was good,” Sinha laughed.

“I'm happy we're here,” he said, looking out over Gatlinburg.

Dunn agrees – there's no better way to celebrate a holiday than enjoying a beautiful place with the people you love.

“You get back to nature,” he said. “It touches the soul.”