Stampeding into the Great Smoky Mountains

After visiting four cities in a row we were exited to check out our next stop, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Our hotel was right inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and had all the makings of a beautiful place to stay. Away from all the hustle and bustle, or so we thought.

What we hadn’t counted on, was that Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge aren’t exactly country living: Pigeon Forge especially was one big tourist attraction! Wonder Works, the Christmas Village, Ripley’s Believe it or not, you name it, It was there. In the end, we divided our visit into two parts, finding peace in nature and finding some good fun in Pigeon Forge.

imageWe spent one day driving through the Great Smoky Mountains. So impressive, the mountain ranges, the hazy skies above them, the beautiful nature. We walked up Clingmans Dome, finding after some struggles up the steep slope what we had already feared: we saw nothing. The clouds were hanging so low, we could hardly see fifty feet ahead of us. It gave the scenery a mystic feel, and still made the climb well worth it. image

imageWe visited the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, and learned a lot about the Cherokee nation. On the trip last year we learned about the Navajo and the Hopi Indians, and it once again made me sad. To read about the Trail of Tears, and to realize once again all the wrongs that have been comitted to these proud people.image

The second part of our visit was much more light hearted: we visited Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge. Not exactly sure what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised at the fun evening I had. The show was fun, beautiful horses, perfect horsemanship and a place for some laughs too. We saw little piglets in the Arena, chickens and mini-horses too. image

The food was okay. Nothing to write home about though and the fact that you had to eat with your hands wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. You see, I’m not a vegetarian, but having to dig into the little chicken that was laying in almost complete form on my plate almost made me swear off meat altogether. Still, everything was well timed, it worked like clockwork and you hardly noticed the waiters that made it all happen. It was clear the show had been performed for years. They still managed to make it feel spontaneous and fun.

imageLast time, when I wrote about Nashville, I mentioned the musical connection of our road-trip, and I guess you can see our stay in Gatlinburg in the same light: there really was no escaping Dolly Parton, nor did we want to. She was there at the Dixie Stampede (or rather her songs and multiple pictures and posters of her), Dollywood was right around the corner and I wouldn’t be surprised if she carries quite some weight in the town of Pigeon Forge ( no pun intended).

Glad she has a beautiful Venomoth in her gym! image


  1. Very nice! I’ve been to a Dixie Stampede, but not the one in Gatlinburg. On the other hand, my wife has been to the one there multiple times! Seems like you are having a lot of fun!

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