The Village Diaries

The Hayloft in the Gatlinburg Village

The Hayloft - Gatlinburg Village

The Hayloft shoe store in The Village - Gatlinburg, TN

If you are looking for something on the little un-ordinary side shoe wise then you should really take a trip to the Hayloft while you are in Gatlinburg. We went down in search of the Virbam five finger shoes just a few days ago. We have been a huge fan of the Vibrams since we first saw them last year and after shopping all over the internet and our local stores we discovered that the best prices and selection were at the Hayloft just up the road. What a pleasant surprise for us that was especially since our daughter is growing and needs a larger pair almost every other month. The best part about the Hayloft is their service, you don’t get a lot of personal care these days when you’re shopping for shoes. They know if you are shopping at the Hayloft that you are searching for a perfect fit and in most cases that you are on a vacation, they want to make sure that you feel comfortable both with your purchase that your fit.

Once you have selected the shoe you want to try on, they measure your fit and they also make sure that you understand their reasoning behind the fit. A lot of people these days seem to want smaller feet than they really have, and as you can imagine the wrong size shoe can prove disastrous once you have left town and the store is no longer in walking distance. I was particularly happy they took the time to make sure I was making the correct choice when choosing both my own and my daughters Vibrams. These are certainly shoes that can be either an awesome choice for any outdoors enthusiast or a total disaster on catastrophic levels. We are very intense hikers and when you start up the side of a mountain a very snug fitting shoe like the Vibram five finger can either be an asset or a danger. They really give me a lot of grip on the stones and allow for a firm hold when you’re climbing on stones or across creeks. Since the shoes do go from wet to dry land, if the fit is off you are in big trouble.

Blisters on a hike can cause a person to limp back to their car in pain and agony, and as well know it is hard enough to get the average child motivated these days so them being in pain while on a hike is never good. That is why I am so happy with the folks at the Hayloft, they know my daughter very well and even call her by name when we visit. They never fail to measure her foot when we go to look for a new pair of shoes, they know how important any type of hiking equipment can be. I have bought many shoes at other larger name stores over the years and the experience was never the same, it was always very impersonal. We have had people measure for a size before, but we know it is important that they also give our daughter room to grow and amazingly so do they. They care and that makes the difference, not just in the store but on a hike too. As I walked up the side of the mountain this week I reflected back to our day in the Hayloft, and the fact that if it weren’t for the care they took our hike would have been far less enjoyable. The shoes my daughter had first chose would have been too small and here she stood, precariously balanced on a stone in the middle of the creek at Greenbriar with perfect balance because she had the perfect fit.

That is why I am grateful for the small town atmosphere that we have here in Gatlinburg, I am grateful that we don’t have the larger “convenience stores” in our area that would never have taken the time to tell me that shoe would be too small once it started to move on my daughter’s foot. I guess knowing that your shop is so small can create a larger sense of pride on ones work that can’t be replaced by a larger selection or sometimes even better prices. Since they don’t have the large amount of returns or complaints at the Hayloft, they are able to offer competitive pricing and I found that their deals on Vibram are actually better than what I found on ebay. And had they not been so picky when I was purchasing my shoes, or my daughter’s shoes I would have more than likely purchased my first and last pair of Vibrams on the first purchase and never bought another pair after that. They are a very particular fit and anyone who has ever bought a pair will tell you that they love or hate them. That is when you know if they bought them at the Hayloft or not. As you will find, you may not know your size when it comes to all shoes and even with a very fine shoe the fit can make or break the owner. That is why when I purchase anything I try to shop locally, I know they will take the time and care to ensure the best fit.

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The Donut Friar – Gatlinburg, TN.

The Donut Friar in Gatlinburg, TN. where donuts are cooked fresh daily.

The Donut Friar in Gatlinburg, TN. where donuts are cooked fresh daily.

If you walk through the narrow path in the village that leads around to the backside of the main water fountain you will inevitably stumble onto one of our very favorite places in Gatlinburg. You may not see it as fast as you will smell the

Cinnamon Twists made fresh daily at the Donut Friar in Gatlinburg TN.

Cinnamon Twists made fresh daily at the Donut Friar in Gatlinburg TN.

fragrant aroma of the luscious donuts cooking every morning and afternoon. They offer a wide array of donuts and they don’t have the same commercialized taste that you might find at a grocery store or large donut chain, they have a very down to earth home cooked taste that would remind anyone of grandma’s house with the very first bite.

The green farm style half door is always open, allowing you to see just enough to realize what is inside looks as good as it smells. If you love the taste of a fresh glazed cake style donut, or if your favorite is a white powdered sugar covered donut with raspberry filling you are in luck because they are made fresh right in the donut Friar kitchen daily. We have always treasured Fridays because these are the days that they make their famous chocolate, glazed crullers that are tasty enough to break even the strongest  of diet will powers. If you can’t wait until Friday you can special order them any day of the week and they will have them ready for you either that afternoon or first thing in the morning.

A freshly brewed cut of coffee or hot chocolate is always brewing and the perfect side kick for any type of donut you might choose, and if donut’s aren’t your thing they also have cookies and muffins baked fresh daily that are also available at the Donut Friar. You can relax at one of the small tables downstairs or venture to their second floor and sit down and enjoy your snack with a book or the newspaper. It makes for a wonderful escape from

You order of fresh donuts, made fresh daily at the Donut Friar, located in the Village in Gatlinburg, TN. Go pick up a batch today!

You order of fresh donuts, made fresh daily at the Donut Friar, located in the Village in Gatlinburg, TN. Go pick up a batch today!

the cold or warm weather and I can promise once you have visited the Donut Friar you will keep coming back time and again.

It is the small nooks and uniquely rounded places like the Donut Friar that give Gatlinburg its charm and keeps people coming back year after year. So if you happen upon the Donut Friar and the line is long, just sit outside by the fountain or journey around to a few other shops if you like, but make sure you come back because they are definitely well worth the wait!

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Life According to Jake, The Village in Gatlinburg TN.

Life According to Jake, The Village in Gatlinburg, TN.

Life According to Jake, The Village in Gatlinburg, TN.

If you follow the trail around the water fountain in The Village in Gatlinburg you will find some really amazing shops. One of our favorites is called Life According to Jake, it isn’t just because of their prices that we love this shop. We love the calm and relaxing atmosphere and we love the fact that they are also animal lovers! They have everything in the shop from cups for hiking to toys for your puppy, we especially love the sticker selection they have since we love to decorate our rear windows with every hobby we take part in;-). Life According

Mugs and accessories at Life According to Jake in Gatlinburg, TN

Mugs and accessories at Life According to Jake in Gatlinburg, TN

to Jake is a very surprising breath of fresh artistic air, since they are not filled with every type of tourist trap type of paraphernalia. They have things you can actually use once your are back home, or for that matter they have things you can use while your on vacation like pj’s or back packs to carry everything you bought while your on your trip back home.

It’s very easy to find Life According to Jake, just follow the path to the right around the water fountain in the center of The Village. If you follow it all the way around and turn down the pathway on the right you will immediately see the entrance to Life According to Jake on the left. The sign outside the entrance is unmistakable and so are the unique items you will find inside. My daughter and I have traditionally bought toys for our dogs there and we also got her cute pink water bottle for school at the shop last year.

One of my favorite early morning coffee mugs also came from Life According to Jake and I can say that I truly enjoy the feel of my very favorite mug every morning. If you are looking for a gift to bring to family or friends that will make them think of you every time they use it, I highly suggest you buy one of these to take home with you. It is an easy reminder of a truly laid back time and lifestyle that I am sure your friends or family members will enjoy and think of you with every use. I can’t say enough about their colorful mugs either, I know they have saved me a thousand times from spills in my car.

Life According to Jake, Gatlinburg TN

Life According to Jake is pretty laid back in Gatlinburg TN.

My daughter and her friends really love the knit animal hats they have in the shop and these seem to also be all the rage right now with the kids and adults alike. You can find all types of quirky gifts that you or friends and family will actually treasure after the trip to Gatlinburg is over. All the prices are very reasonable and not at all over inflated so anything you decide to purchase will fit nicely into anyone’s budget. I can’t begin to tell you how many times we have come to downtown and underestimated how chilly the mountain winds can be, the hats and gloves at Life According to Jake fit my budget and they are always very colorful so my nine-year old daughter or her friends always love them even when there were last-minute purchases. My teenage sons have their rooms covered in Life According to Jake wall hangings, they think it is just too cool to dress our little dogs in the ear muffs and scarf

Life According to Jake in Gatlinburg, TN.

Stickers at Life According to Jake in Gatlinburg, TN.

like the wall hangings in the shop. I am not really sure when Sinjin got his first wall hanging from Life According to Jake, but I am very certain that when he decides to look for another one he will got to our little shop in The Village here in Gatlinburg.

I myself am crazy about the stickers, you will find all kinds of them on the back window of my car, and I love to give them to my kids. It makes it very easy to identify my car when I am parked in massive parking lots and I get to dress my otherwise boring rear window with all the colors of the Life According the Jake rainbow and show how much I love my own little dogs at the same time. We love this shop so much and the prices are so awesome that it has made our top ten list, we hope that when you come to Gatlinburg you will visit Lie According to Jake and take something memorable home with you from your trip. It is sure to be a fun experience with plenty of ambience since it is located in The Village.

There is a less known entrance to the Village in the rear of the shops, if you turn at the light at the corner where Subway is onto Cherokee Orchard Rd. you can park at Pi Beta Phi for a nominal fee, or you can park at the parking lot just behind The Village. The sidewalk leads straight into the back

Life According to Jake in The Village in Gatlinburg, TN.

Life According to Jake in The Village in Gatlinburg, TN.

side of The Village and if you follow the brick path back toward the big fountain just past the Doughnut Friar and turn to the left you will find Life According to Jake down the walkway on the left.

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