Pigeon Forge, TN and Great Smoky Mountains


Pigeon Forge, TN and Great Smoky Mountains | www.chocolatemoosey.com

It’s been awhile since I did a What’s On Moosey’s Mind series, and boy do I have a lot to tell you! Last week, I went on vacation to Pigeon Forge, TN, so I have lots of pictures to share. Then a group of very wonderful and amazing bloggers threw me a virtual birthday party. I’ll share with you the plans I don’t have for Memorial Day, and last, a list of recipes I’ve found from other bloggers that I can’t wait to try.

Vacation


New River Gorge | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Last week was family vacation with my parents and brother to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to visit Dollywood and the Smoky Mountains. Dad and brother have been wanting to go here for years and years now. For once I didn’t have a big role in the planning. The first day we drove down through a bunch of rain storms. Along the way we stopped at New River Gorge in West Virginia, which is one of the oldest rivers in North America. Finally we arrived in Pigeon Forge. We didn’t expect the place to be so touristy with all of the shows, attractions, and souvenir shops.


Gatlinburg | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Gatlinburg | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Gatlinburg | www.chocolatemoosey.com


Day 2 we spent the whole day in Gatlinburg (the town next to Pigeon Forge), which was more touristy than Pigeon Forge itself. Attractions like The Guinness Book of World Records Museum, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, a comedy hypnosis show, places that you know are there just to take your money. Along with that is the nightmare of parking. If you decide to visit Gatlinburg, just accept that you have to pay for parking. We found a $5 lot. Others were $8-$10 or parking garages. Despite the touristy feel, you can’t argue with the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. We rode up to the top of the one mountain in an aerial tram car. Can you imagine staying in one of those houses on the mountain like that? I think I could for a week getaway, but I definitely couldn’t live in one permanently. I’d be constantly expecting a landslide. Then Dad and I rode up on a ski lift to another view of the mountains.


Moonshine | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Moonshine | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Moonshine | www.chocolatemoosey.com
(not my family)


Next, we went to a place that legally makes real moonshine. Because it was Sunday, you are not allowed to buy moonshine. However, they were still offering tastings (which doesn’t make sense – you can still drink but not buy?). I tried lemon drop and peach. Although they tasted better than what I expected, I don’t think I would be drinking a whole glass anytime soon.


Ripley's Aquarium | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Ripley's Aquarium | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Ripley's Aquarium | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Ripley's Aquarium | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Ripley's Aquarium | www.chocolatemoosey.com


Our final activity for the day was visiting Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. I’ve been to aquariums before, but this one stood out because they had an underwater tunnel where you could literally be underneath the sharks. And if you ever wanted to test your camera skills, aquariums are one of the toughest places to photograph because of all the low lighting. Thankfully I’m getting better at manual mode, so I was able to compensate some of the settings.


Smoky Mountain Brewery | www.chocolatemoosey.com

For dinner, we ate at Smoky Mountain Brewery. When Dad and I travel, we make it a point to find at least one brewery for dinner and try the beer. We got a sampler to try all of the beers. My favorite was the Tuckaleechee Porter, which is a dark ale with caramel and roasted malts. For dinner, I got the Smoked Portabella Mushroom Philly Sandwich. I may not be a vegetarian, but I do love meatless options when I dine out.


Dolly Parton | www.chocolatemoosey.comDollywood | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Day 3 we spent a little bit at Dollywood. If you’re planning a trip to the amusement park, keep this in mind – if you buy your ticket after 3 PM at the gate, you get in the next day for free (except they are closed on Tuesdays, so our next day was Wednesday). So we spent four hours at the park on Monday night and the whole day on Wednesday. I took my DSLR in Monday to get some nice shots of the park.


Great Smoky Mountains National Park | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Great Smoky Mountains National Park | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Great Smoky Mountains National Park | www.chocolatemoosey.com


Day 4 we spent the first half at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As you drive around, there are different areas to pull off and take pictures. Our goal was Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the mountains. At first glance, you read that the trail up and back is 1 mile. Don’t let that fool you! Yes it’s a mile, but the first half is up a steep, steep mountain! We were out of breath and exhausted when we got to the top, something to keep in mind if you’re not in shape for hiking.

Later that evening, we had dinner and a show at Dixie Stampede. You weren’t allowed to take pictures, so I have none to share. However, when they say you get no utensils to eat dinner, they weren’t kidding. You literally have to tear your (whole!) roasted chicken with your hands. The soup bowl had a handle so you could drink your soup. The slice of pork tenderloin, well, you just picked it up and ate it. The food was good, but they give you so. much. food. I ate everything but half of the chicken.


Gigi's Cupcakes | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Day 5 was my birthday! There was a cupcakery in town, so we stopped by after breakfast for birthday cupcakes. I got a chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting, my parents split a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting, and my brother got a chocolate cinnamon cupcake with chocolate frosting. They were good, but there was too much frosting for me. I felt sick after eating all that sugar!


Dollywood | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Dollywood | www.chocolatemoosey.com


Then we spent the whole day at Dollywood. I took my point and shoot camera in because I didn’t want to deal with my (heavy and expensive) DSLR on the rides. I think I’m getting too old for roller coasters because I didn’t feel well after most of them. I even hit my head really hard on the one because I wasn’t expecting it to jerk right after we left the station. The park is definitely a work out because you do have to walk up hills.


Cades Cove | www.chocolatemoosey.com
Crane flying

Cades Cove | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Cades Cove | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Cades Cove | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Cades Cove | www.chocolatemoosey.com
Woodpecker

Cades Cove | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Cades Cove | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Cades Cove | www.chocolatemoosey.com


Day 6 we went back to the Smoky Mountains, this time to Cades Cove. It’s just a one-way loop you drive around to enjoy the wilderness. We were lucky and saw a good bit of wild life, including bears! FYI, if you’re not moving, chances are there is a bear somewhere. Traffic will stop and people will block the road.


Bush's Baked Beans | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Bush's Baked Beans | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Bush's Baked Beans | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Bush's Baked Beans | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Bush's Baked Beans | www.chocolatemoosey.com


Day 7 was our last day in Pigeon Forge as we headed to North Carolina for a side trip. On the way there, we stopped at Bush’s Baked Beans Museum and Store. Although we didn’t physically tour the factory, they showed us a video on Bush’s over the years. Then they had a little museum that showed the evolution of the company.


Maybury | www.chocolatemoosey.com
Andy Griffith’s house growing up. An actual family lives here now. Can you imagine living in a famous person’s old house?

Maybury | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Maybury | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Maybury | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Maybury | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Maybury | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Maybury | www.chocolatemoosey.com

Maybury | www.chocolatemoosey.com


Day 8 we spent the first half of the day in Mount Airy, NC. It is the town that Maybury in The Andy Griffith Show was based on. You could actually visit and buy/eat at the places you saw in the show. For show fanatics, that is a dream come true. Although I’ve never really seen the show, my dad told me all about it. Then we drove back home in some more rain storms.

Birthday


Birthday

While I was on vacation, some of my best blogging friends threw me a virtual surprise birthday party! I was so shocked when I woke up that morning. I expected just tweets and texts, not full posts and recipes dedicated to me. Thank you to Jen for coordinating the party and to Joan, Kim, Susan, Nicole, Renee, Jennie, Isabel, Nancy, and Jen for coming! I am so thankful for the beautiful friendships I have made through blogging. Here are the recipes they made me (don’t they know me so well!):


birthday

For my birthday, my parents got me two cookbooks, a cookie scoop since I kept breaking mine, and popsicle molds. Now I can make fudgesicles!

Memorial Day

Memorial Day for me is pretty boring. My family and I usually grill hot dogs and hamburgers then have either potato or macaroni salad and something for dessert. Then I get to drive back a few hours to my place. They really need to invent instant transportation or I need to figure out how to be like Nightcrawler on X-Men.




Speaking of macaroni salad, I reshot the Amish Macaroni Salad I posted a few years ago. I am never, ever, ever shooting outside again. As soon as I started setting up, the wind really kicked in, and my tablecloth, napkins, paper plates, etc. went flying! If you’re looking for a non-traditional macaroni salad to serve this summer, you should check out my Amish version. It uses mustard and paprika.

Recipes To Try

You may also like these recipes:

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Comments

  1. What a great vacation! I’ve been to Gatlinburg but it was a long time ago. It was very touristy there even back then. It’s still a beautiful area to visit.

  2. Carla, so much to say on this post, we’ll start with happy birthday again! Your trip looked wonderful and I can’t believe you got to see bears so close! Sadly almost any place you want to go these days has turned “comercially” but there are still treasures to be found.
    I can’t believe you’ve never seen the Andy Griffith show, you have to come for a visit. They play the reruns here M-F at 5:30 p between the 5p and 6p news shows on CBS!

  3. ooo I love all of the photos! I love Gatlinburg and Mt. Airy. My dad is a huge Andy fan so he loves taking trips to “Mayberry” haha Happy belated birthday!

  4. Cheryl illinois says:

    rea.

  5. I love all of your photos, oh my goodness. My favorites were the bear, but that’s ’cause I love bears! Such beautiful scenery and that roller coaster is calling my name! Love it!
    Makes me think it’s time for me to take a vacation soon, I need one! Happy weekend Carla! :)

    • I’m actually not a bear fan, but the bear pics were my favorite because I saw them in the wild and not contained at the zoo or anything haha Thanks Nicole!

  6. What a great week. I love being a tourist and doing all the kitschy things. And the wild life-I’d be holding up traffic for the day. Great photos! And what fun being with your folks and having brewskis with your dad! Happy birthday!

  7. Leslie Gagne says:

    Thanks for sharing those wonderful pictures of your vacation. Sounds like you all had a wonderful time. Loved the old Mayberry pictures. Would love to see that some time.
    Happy Belated Birthday!!

  8. Such beautiful pictures Carla! I think I need to get myself on vacation.

  9. Omg I could write an essay in response to this amazing post. First and foremost, I actually laughed out loud when I read the “not my family” caption under the pic of the people that I totally assumed was your family. And girl, you are way too modest about your photography skills. I can’t get over how gloriously beautiful your shots in the aquarium are. Well, all of your photos are beautiful but I’ve taken many a dark, blurry, grainy photo in an aquarium so I know how hard shooting in that environment is. Mad props to you, Carla. That’s a ridiculous cake to icing ratio on that cupcake. I don’t even like frosting – I would’ve just knocked it off and eaten the cake. I would have no problem devouring your amish macaroni salad, holy yum! Happy long weekend to you!

  10. Aw your vacation looks like a blast!!! And I loved all the recipes for your bday, so sweet :D

  11. Beautiful photos, as usual! Sounds like a great birthday and a great vacation – I love road trips! :)

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