My husband and I are planning a trip the the Great Smoky Mountains. We'd love some advice. We are very interested in the nature, not so much in touristy trap things - but we do love the offbeat and unique experiences. We want to avoid the Chicago area going to/from Minnesota, does anyone have a "best route" - My husband is looking at St. Louis for layover, but I'm also seeing Kentucky? We've done a few caves - is Mammoth so unique? I'm wondering if wandering through the Ozarks on the way would be a viable route. He's a little nervous that we'll get "natured out" - how many days do people generally spend in the park? We do have 7 or 8 days for exploring. I think we should see the Biltmore, take the route from Franklin to Highlands...what about going into Georgia to see Fox Fire, or are we going to be seeing enough of early Appalachian life if we explore the Mountain Museum at the park? I'd love to see clogging and local music - these seem hard to find. It sounds like I'd rather avoid Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge with their crowds. Is it reasonable to rent a cabin in Townsend or NC as a base, or should we plan on staying more along-the-way? Would you take in Nashville and Memphis on a trip like this?