Snow and ice strand travelers in their Smoky Mountain cabins

Snow and ice left many stranded in their Smoky Mountain cabinsDozens of travelers to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee were left stranded in their rental cabins earlier this week thanks to snow and ice covered roads. Most had a minimal supply of food and were unsure when they could resupply thanks to the treacherous conditions.

Winter storms dumped several inches of snow on the region, but it was the ice that posed the real danger. The narrow and winding mountain roads became impassable thanks to a thick coat of ice which caused many vehicles to slide off the pavement and become stuck in ditches. Without ice chains on their tires, most vehicles were useless on the slick surface, which meant that visitors to the Majestic Mountain Lodges near Gatlinburg were forced to stay in their cabins and wait for assistance.

Some couldn’t wait however. Running low on food, many of people set out on foot for the nearby town, pulling sleds behind them as they went. Once they made the walk into Gatlinburg, they would purchase their needed supplies and then hike back up the mountain to their cabin. That round-trip trek would take several hours to complete.

Slowly the conditions have begun to improve over the past few days, but even salt trucks and plows have had problems getting up the steep mountain roads. For now, most of the visitors have had to stay in their cabins and wait for the ice to clear.

Would this kind of ice storm be a fun winter adventure or leave you with severe cabin fever? It seems that if you were well stocked on food and supplies, it would be fine just relaxing by the fire. But if you were running low on those things, it wouldn’t be much fun at all. I’d hate to be the guy that drew the short straw to make the beer run.


TripAdvisor picks the top ten most expensive vacation rentals in North America

You think finding a sub-$200 hotel in the summer is a challenge? Consider the challenges for the rich and famous – do you go with a 12 bedroom mansion, or can you settle for a mere 10? Will the kitchen be large enough to feed all 250 guests at your poolside soirée?

And then there is the pool itself – is one pool going to be enough, and will the fitness room be large enough? Yes – the world of luxury vacation rentals provides a level of luxury not found at many hotels, which is why their rates are as high as $150,000 for a single week.

Our friends at TripAdvisor put together a list of the most expensive rentals in North America – but if they seem to be a little above your budget, check out their entire list, with many more affordable options.

  1. Aguajito Rd – Carmel, California Weekly Peak Season Rate: $150,000
  2. MIT PED – Punta de Mita, Mexico Weekly Peak Season Rate: $112,000
  3. 17 Mile Drive at the Lodge – Pebble Beach, California Weekly Peak Season Rate: $100,000
  4. Casa Fryzer – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Weekly Peak Season Rate: $70,000
  5. Over the Edge – Steamboat Springs, Colorado Weekly Peak Season Rate: $50,365
  6. Highlands Manor – Telluride, Colorado Weekly Peak Season Rate: $52,500
  7. Camelback Vista – Phoenix, Arizona Weekly Peak Season Rate: $21,000
  8. Admiral’s Treasure – Key West, FloridaWeekly Peak Season Rate: $11,760
  9. The Bellagio – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Weekly Peak Season Rate: $9,320
  10. Kona Shangrila – Kailua, HawaiiWeekly Peak Season Rate: $7,700

[Images and property descriptions courtesy of TripAdvisor]

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