Pigeon Forge….(by Diane)
We left Georgia early this morning, much to Dick’s delight. He has decided he doesn’t like Georgia. Nothing against it, it was just a bad state for him. Between bug bites and the problems with his rig, he was glad to see Georgia fall behind him.
We took the opportunity to drive thru the western most tip of North Carolina, we had to get it on our map. And then it was into Tennessee. After a quick meeting on the road, and a stop at a welcome center, we decided to take the drive thru Smokey Mountain National park. I think we were all in awe, we had not seen any mountains in months. We think the last time we saw anything that even resembled a large hill was way back in New Mexico. The drive thru the park was very pretty and it did make us homesick as the hills remind us of home. It is quite a pull for the rigs, and our gas mileage sure showed it.
We did lose the Pellegrini’s at the casino, as they stopped to have lunch and tried to win some change. But what happens at Harrah’s stays at Harrah’s and the rest of us are not talking.
We all were under the impression that Pigeon Forge was a sleepy little town that just happened to have a theme park near it. Boy were we wrong. It really reminds us of the Wisconsin Dells. There are shows and small amusement parks all up and down the highway. I think you could find any type of restaurant or shop here.
We are only here for three nights, so that only left us one day to see Dollywood. We arrived on Easter Sunday, and it was closed that day, and it is closed on Tuesdays also until the summer. So, that left us with only Monday to see the park. When we awoke that morning, the temperature was down in the 20’s. By the time we left for the park, it had started to snow. Dick and Gail almost chickened out, but they were troopers and joined us.
For those of you have had not been here, it is more of a show theme park rather than a ride park. Right now they are having a Festival of Nations with Dance and Music troops from all over the world. They are also selling crafts and you can buy food from the various nations.
Our first show was the Kingdom Heirs. We would have seen singing chickens if it got us out of the cold and snow! This group is a southern gospel quartet. They gave an excellent performance and it went on for about 45 minutes. The harmony and the songs were great.
The second show we attended was the Rhythm of the Dance from Ireland. There were Celtic singers, musicians and of course those wonderful dancers. This show was also 45 minutes long.
We all had lunch and then split up and explored the park on our own. Some of the rides were closed, but Larry did brave the Tennessee Tornado, a 70 MPH triple loop steel roller coaster. Of course, I held the camera and his glasses. He did say that it was fun, but he is still complaining about his back.
This park was nothing like the Disney parks, it really is more geared to shows and entertainment. Dolly Parton has her memorabilia in a museum there along with all her awards and gold and platinum records.
We all had a great time although we didn’t see Dolly. That really would have made our trip.
Tuesday was an on your own day and Larry and I drove about 15 miles west of here to see a gallery of woodworking called intarsia. It is a picture made out of pieces of wood, kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. Anyone who has been to our house, knows what I am talking about. Larry has made many of them and given some away as gifts. The lady who really invented this process is Judy Gale Roberts and her husband Jerry Booher gave us a good tour of the studio and their shop. Larry was thrilled to meet them and they were very nice and gracious to us. We did purchase many new patterns, and Larry is groaning at the things I picked out that he will want to make! Ha ha. If anyone is interested in it, look at their website www.intarsia.com
After our morning looking at Intarsia, we then drove south to the Great Smokey Mountain Arts and Craft Community. This little area is just outside of Gatlinburg. It is an 8 mile loop with lots of cottage industries there. We stopped at quite a few, mostly woodworking. We felt there are many talented people who live here. All of the things we looked at were very reasonable. We saw wood trolls, homemade brooms, wooden fruit, some quilts, candles, and lots of carved birds and flowers.
This is a beautiful part of the country and the folks here sure are friendly.
As a side note, we found out that we our little website here has been listed as one of the best on the Travel Journal website!!! Don't know what that means, but it puts some pressure on us. We do hope that everyone is enjoying reading about our adventures as much as we are by writing about them.