If you’ve been reading along with us, you’ll know that this is the last stop of our 2016 fall vacation that we took the first of Nov. The first stop was Tennessee’s oldest town, Jonesborough, and the next stop was in the second oldest town, Greeneville. If you missed those posts, you can catch up on them at the links below. The first two towns were chock full of history and although you definitely don’t think history when you think of Pigeon Forge, we were able to dig up quite a bit of the past. So come along and see what we found at Destination: Pigeon Forge, TN!
We had not been to Pigeon Forge in quite a few years because the last time we were there it was Oct and the peak of leaf season. We got caught in a 5 mile, standing still, bumper-to-bumper traffic jam trying to go into Gatlinburg to Alewine’s Pottery to pick up my daughter a piece of pottery. I vowed then not to return. Well, I guess traffic jams are like childbirth and after a few years the horror starts to wear off … and also, Chris had been wanting to go back. Me, not so much. Then I saw pictures of the new Margaritaville and Paula Deen store in Pigeon Forge and I think that’s when my memory went a little fuzzy … because remember, I did have only one child! 😀
But all was well when we rolled in on that Thursday, the beginning of November. And that’s the main reason we’d planned the trip at that particular time. The leaf season had passed, or so we’d thought, so the peak season was a thing of the past and we hopefully would be in the clear as far as the crowds were concerned.
So the first thing we did was head into the Smoky Mountains National Park. We certainly weren’t expecting to see what we saw!
The ride was gorgeous as the fall leaves were still plentiful. Nothing makes me happier than to ride through the mountains on a cool, sunny day with fall leaves floating from overhead and that’s what accompanied us as we drove. Definitely my happy place!
This was taken at Newfound Gap. The weather was perfect.
This photo was taken at the Gatlinburg Overlook about a week before the fires started burning around the Gatlinburg area.
Friday morning at dawn, we rolled out to rush over to Cades Cove to hopefully snap some awesome sunrise photos. Back in 2011, with my Easy Share camera, I got some of the coolest shots there at sunrise and I wanted to see what I’d get with my new Nikon. So off we drove into the dark. Well, us and half of Pigeon Forge it seemed. Yeah, everyone else must have a new Nikon as well. The place was packed!!
This is the John Oliver Place. It’s about a quarter mile hike off the road. Here I ran into a couple of other photography buffs who’d later spend some of their free time trying to impart some of their vast knowledge into my very elementary mind.
I love seeing those photos where the sun’s rays are shining down through the clouds.
We stopped at the Cades Cove Visitors Center. We’d stopped there before, but never noticed the buildings in the back so that was our first time to see just what we’d been missing.
We spent most of the day Friday in Cades Cove and by that evening the streets of Pigeon Forge were jammed with traffic. My nightmare was coming true again and it was so bad Chris wanted to pack up and leave Saturday night. After asking around, we were told that it’s not usually that busy at that time of year, but because it was still so warm people were still coming into Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. And they were coming … in droves! And because of that I didn’t get to Margaritaville or Paula Deen’s. Everywhere we went there was no where to park!
We did however, spend much of the day Saturday at the Titantic Museum. This was something that I wanted to do and after I got in there, ummm, something I wished I hadn’t. Only towards the end was I really interested. Chris, on the other hand, really liked it, of course. If there’s a plaque to read, he’s on board. Me, not so much. And, of course, it was very sad to see all those “real people” who didn’t survive … many of which were children. It really became real that it wasn’t just a movie. Plus, I also learned my husband hasn’t seen the Titantic movie. Unbelievable!
On one of our trips through Wears Valley, I snapped these photos. I also like old barns as well as churches.
A sweet little church in the Valley.
This is my favorite barn photo so far.
Our hotel was across the street from this attraction, so I couldn’t help but snap a photo since it was so eye-catching and life like. So HUGE and life like! Pigeon Forge has certainly grown and changed since we were there last and I’m sure it will grow and change a lot more before we make it back again. 🙂
I will close with one word of advise … if you’re going at any time when it’s not a frozen month and you don’t want to encounter crowds, I’d encourage you to go during the week and avoid the weekends. Take that for what it’s worth.
Chris’ word of advice … don’t use Sugar Hollow Rd as a backway around the traffic. If you know us, ask. His version … boring; mine, hilarious! 😀