Life In The Smokies
Words From the Valley
Living in this beautiful land is amazing and I've experienced so many great things. From hiking the trails to fighting through Spring Break traffic, I wouldn't leave this place if I had to.
Photos of My Home Place
Smokey Mountain Brewery PF
My Favorite Restraunt in Pigeon Forge
If you have ever been to Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, I'm sure you've realized that there is no lack of dining. There is something here for every taste and need, but sometimes it is nice to get an insiders thoughts on what's good.
Everyday when I'm working I get asked, "Where is a good place to eat?" After asking them what they're in the mood for, my number one recommendation is always the same: The Smokey Mountain Brewery. There are several locations scattered through out East TN, and I've visited just about all of them. You can not go wrong. They have pizza that can be topped with just about anything, burgers, salads, veggie burgers, ribs, pasta, and apps that are to die for. (I always get the fried pickles.) The best part to me is their micro-brewed beer selection; even my beer-snob boyfriend loves it.
When Not to Visit
In this town, traffic can range from free running to completely congested. If you are like me, you don't want to deal with the latter, so make sure you know when the best time is to visit this beautiful area. In this little segment I will give you some dates to make your vacations a little easier and more enjoyable.
Spring Break is probably the worst time to come here. Sure the weather is amazing, but the crowds are almost unbearable. In Gatlinburg, foot traffic is so bad that you can't see the sidewalk in front of you, and in Pigeon Forge, car traffic is about the same. This time usually lasts about the whole month of March and into the beginning of April.
Believe it or not, Rod Runs are even worse than Spring Break. Loud cars,drunk people, and gawkers line the streets to look at antique cars and back up traffic. A 10 minute commute instantly turns into an hour commute or more. The Rod Runs last far longer than their designated weekends, spreading into the week before and the week after. This year (2016) the official dates are:
- Pigeon Forge Spring Rod Run: April 14th through April 16th
- Smoky Mountain Classic Chevy Club: May 20th through May 21st
- Pontiacs in Pigeon Forge Classic Car Show: June 3rd through June 4th
- Great Smokey Mountain Jeep Invasion: August 27th through August 28th
- Shades of the Past Rod Run XXXIII: September 9th through September 10th
- Pigeon Forge Fall Rod Run: August 15th through August 17th
Though not as obnoxious as spring break, the traffic is still pretty bad, just not for as long. The main month for this is October.
Fall time in general can get pretty busy. Even though there are less drunk people, there is an abundance of the older crowd and people from the southern states expecting to see the beauty of the mountains in full color. I don't blame them, it really is beautiful, but if you come, just keep in mind that traffic is going to move much slower and the back roads will be busier than the main ones. Unfortunately this does not have a specific time, just the whole of the fall.
Summer break for the kiddos means crazy busy for the Smoky Mountains and any other vacation location you're planning on visiting. I understand for a large sum of people, summer is one of the only times that they can get away from their jobs and get their kids away from school. Summer time is absolutely beautiful, just like every other season. Just again, keep in mind, traffic is going to be crazy and the sidewalks are going to be crowded. This usually ranges from May to August or September.
These are the worst times to visit, but I understand if you do want to or need to visit then. I'm sure some of you have children or jobs that only let you to take your vacations at these times. Just be prepared for sitting in your car for long periods of time and having to settle your road rage.
What is your favorite time to visit the Smokies?
The Titanic Museum
Attractions To Visit
Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are full of attractions that look pretty awesome, but I have some suggestion for you to go see and do.
The Titanic Museum
I have been here a couple of times, and I always have a blast. The artifacts are interesting and well preserved, the story tellers do a great job to keep you feeling like you are experiencing them. The employees do a great job staying in character, and there is even a section for the kids to play around and get their energy out. You also get to touch a real iceberg and feel how cold the water was when it sunk on that fateful night. I highly recommend this attraction.
Wonderworks is an amazing attraction that has something for all ages. It is a completely interactive museum that puts an amazingly interesting spin on science. You'll be able to fit yourself or your child in a bubble, climb a ropes course, go through astronaut training, land a plane, and so much more! I love this place and I go at least once a year.
In one building that looks like a castle, there are four attraction and you can do all of it for a really low price. On the ground floor there is 18 holes of indoor and pirate themed mini golf, a 5,000 sq ft (the world's largest) mirror maze called the Odyssey with a light and music show, and the Vault Laser Maze which is like a spy game and you have to go under and over the lasers trying to get the fastest time. The main attraction in the building is the 12,000 sq ft medieval adventure through a forest, dragon's cave, and a village looking for items and collecting them with your wand to earn powers and go on adventures.
The Tomb is a live action adventure where you get to play the part of an expert going on an expedition with a guide and a few other people to find the lost professor. You will participate in several puzzles that you will use your ears, eyes, hands, and brain to solve. Lots of fun for all ages.
There are so many go cart tracks in town it is nuts, but it is lots of fun to drive little cars around a little track and trying to beat your family and friends.
The Island is MASSIVE. There are more than sixty retail and specialty shops along with several restaurants, rides, and other attractions, you will not get bored. The arcade there is just amazing with new and old games to play. My favorite restaurant on the Island is Poynor's Pommes Frites which is an authentic German eatery with bratwursts and fries that you can have topped with just about anything you want. So great!
This place has very interesting exhibits, but I will add that when my fiance brought his six-year-old son, he freaked out in the grave stone area. I don't recommend for little kids, but teens and up would find it pretty neat.
The Mysterious Mansion
This is the best haunted attraction in town. You have to find your way through several room and you get scared every time. It's not only jump scares, it is more psychological than anything. I do recommend for older kids and up.
Shoot'em Up Cinema
This attraction is super fun! You hop on a horse shaped seat, grab your gun, and start shooting at the bad guys on the screen. Thinking about it, it does sound silly, but it is so much fun. It takes about 15 minutes to do so it's perfect for a short sit down.
Before you do any attraction, I suggesting always checking out Trip Advisor to read some reviews. You don't have to rely on it solely, I do suggesting reaching out and experiencing some of the attractions that may not have the highest ratings.
Cades Cove Loop
The attractions are great, but if you come to this are, you absolutely have to get up in the mountains. Drive to Cade's Cove, go for one of our hundreds of hikes, drive to Clingman's dome and then climb to the top, or if you need help finding or just want to have a guide give you some history, contact one of the many places that can do that for you.
Smokey Mountain Outdoors (Phone Number: (800) 771-7238) is my recommendation. They not only do rafting, but also guided hikes and the like.I talk to their representative on a weekly basis, and she is one of the nicest people I have ever met.
Of course there are several other companies that you can do this through, so I suggest again just going on Trip Advisor and seeing which ones have a high rating and go from there. A few of them you can actually book through that site. Simple.
Thank you all for reading. If you have any comments or recommendations of you own, please feel free to leave those in the designated area below. Your thoughts are important to me and I appreciate the time you have given me. Have a great day, and enjoy your trip to the Smokies!