I am finally home from Tennessee! Actually, I re-entered West Virginia on Friday, stayed with my in-laws, and then got back to my own apartment yesterday. All this traveling has been exhausting!
Next time, I’ll be sure to set up some guest posts before I go on a trip. It occurred to me for about a second the day before I left that it might be a good idea…but then I figured I would be able to post myself and I decided against it. The Internet connection at the cabin we stayed in was horrible, though, and it left me unable to even check my email. So guest posts would be a good idea for the next trip I take, since the guarantee of “high-speed Internet” is not always completely reliable. Live and learn.
In case you’re curious about more trip details, such as where we stayed and what fun you can have in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg…here’s a little run-down.
We went through Cabin Fever (which has really good prices–Zach and I went through Cabins of the Smokey Mountains when we went there for our honeymoon, but their prices have skyrocketed since then…Cabin Fever is much more reasonable) and we stayed at Cozy Bear in Sherwood Forest. It was a very pretty cabin, though we did have some issues with it (they need to hire a new housekeeper, for one thing…it was kind of messy, whoever cleans didn’t bother to check anything before we got there, so the dishwasher was filled with stagnating water that hadn’t drained, the dryer had tons of lint in it…I realize the rules say that the person who rents is responsible for cleaning that sort of thing, but what are you paying a housekeeper to do if not check and make sure those things have been done?). Overall, though, the cabin was quite nice. The biggest annoyance was having inconsiderate neighbors who partied into all hours of the night (the walls are not very well insulated against noise) and threw their garbage over the deck instead of in a bin (personally, I think people who do that should be billed extra). But they were there for two days and then we had no neighbors for the rest of the week.
As far as things to do…there’s not much to do in either Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge that doesn’t require money. There are plenty of wine tastings in both towns and Gatlinburg has a moonshine (yum) tasting. It’s a little difficult to find if you’re not looking for it, even though it’s on the main road. (By the way, for anyone who has been down there and been annoyed by the fact that you have to drive into Gatlinburg to get liquor, while I was down there they voted for and passed a liquor law. Pigeon Forge will soon be selling liquor. Woo!)
There are also plenty of interesting shops to go to, even if you don’t plan to buy anything. I love going to the Christmas Village in Pigeon Forge just to look around. It’s beautiful! There’s also a little area in Gatlinburg called The Village that looks like a town from the middle ages. I usually go there just to look, but they have lots of nice shops, too.
When Zach and I honeymooned there in 2010, we went to the mall in Gatlinburg that is kind of underwhelming. It does have the Pepper Palace, though (my dad’s favorite store in the world) and I once saw a Master Sword (from The Legend of Zelda) there. Totally worth it.
As far as things to pay for, if you have the money: Ripley’s Aquarium is a lot of fun! I also really enjoyed the go-karts–I believe it was the Fast Tracks we liked the most. There is also a wax museum that I didn’t have the chance to go to, but I’ve heard good things about it.
I think the best food I had there were wings from Pucker’s in Gatlinburg, though we were kicked out due to a fairly unintelligent waitress. I swear we didn’t do anything! I went into the restroom, came out, and everyone had left! The reason she made us leave was because my 18-year-old sister was with us. At first we thought it was because they serve alcohol and they didn’t want anyone making the mistake of serving her. That would have been fine. The reason the waitress gave us? It’s a smoking bar. I kid you not. She’s 18 (the legal smoking age in the U.S.) and not allowed in a bar because some people smoke there. Weird. Still, some of the best wings I’ve ever had, aside from Drover’s in Wellsburg, WV, which I only discovered because a friend of mine in college bartended there. I still have dreams about those wings…and their deep-fried cheese cubes. Delicious.
That was pretty much our experience! Now let me share some more pictures from the trip. Like lasts week’s pictures…there are a lot of the dog. -_-
This is my sister and the dog sitting beside the Ford Dealership when Mom’s van broke down on the way out of West Virginia. This set us back about 5 hours. (Turns out, transmission fluid had been leaking, her last mechanic–who changed the transmission fluid–didn’t notice, and now the entire transmission needs replaced. Fantastic way to start a vacation. But everything turned out as OK as it could.) So, yes, this is my sister fully enjoying her Spring Break. 😛
I’ve probably posted a similar picture, but I just loved this fireplace.
This table decor is adorable!
Isn’t that just so pretty?
I’m not sure exactly why Mom has him in her lap. I feel like there was a reason.
I tried to take a nap and wound up taking pictures of Brodie as he flopped all over the bed.
We had to drive Dad to Knoxville on Thursday, so we look Brodie for a car ride. My purse is obviously very comfortable.
I took Cori to Ripley’s aquarium because she had never been. These are the shark fins coming up out of the water.
Getting to watch the penguins was Cori’s favorite part. She was also very upset because there is a tunnel that lets your crawl underneath the tank and get a much better look at the penguins. But there were a ton of kids down there and she couldn’t go in. My favorite part was watching my nearly nineteen-year-old sister pout because she couldn’t crawl under the penguins. 😛
At the end of the aquarium was a section of dinosaurs (that I think are supposed to be modeled in the correct proportions, but I’m not sure–why else would they put them there, though?). Because nothing says “aquarium” quite like mechanical dinosaurs.
T-Rex head! It was quite big. The picture doesn’t really do it justice.
Trying not to look like she’s enjoying herself.
My favorite part about Ripley’s aquarium is that you get to go underneath the sharks. It’s so cool because they just swim above your head.
Me: “Is it actually working? I’m not sure my camera is actually working.”
Being photo bombed by a fish is a new experience for me.
Cori swore she would find a way to smuggle this sea turtle out of Gatlinburg and into her dorm room. That would have been a fun ride home….
Dad and Cori fed the ducks. Dad can’t not wind up feeding the wildlife, no matter where he goes. You can take the man out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the man.
Brodie flopping all over Grandma. He laid still just long enough to get this picture.
Saw this in the Kroger at Pigeon Forge. It made me laugh because apparently I’m twelve.
At the Christmas Village–my absolute favorite place in Gatllinburg. Though I’m sure working there and being around Christmas all year round would really put a damper on the actual holiday. But I was greatly amused by the bubble garland. (In the “beach themed Christmas” section.)
I loved this and I actually almost bought it until I saw the price tag. It’s a little glass tree with wine rings hanging from it. Wouldn’t that be adorable in the kitchen for Christmas?
This smores nutcracker was adorable! It really must be if I’m impressed with it, because I actually really dislike nutcrackers. No idea why.
I also thought the wizard nutcracker was kind of cute.
I love this, if only because my mom and both of my grandmothers used to have one sitting in their own houses while I was growing up. Oh, nostalgia.
How I know I’m close to home–the golden top of the state building in Charleston, WV.
If you ever have the chance to go to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, I recommend it. It’s so fun! And the Smokey Mountains are just beautiful! However, there are bears and they are strong enough to knock over a dumpster that’s been bolted to the ground. O_O According to one of the guides, though, bears actively avoid groups of humans. So if you go out at night, take a group of people with you.