After our debacle the day before which saw us drive 15 hours out of our way from Daytona Beach, FL to Durham, NC only to not see one pitch of the Durham Bulls game we were pursuing, we weren’t super excited to hop right back on the road. Fortunately, we had some time before our next scheduled stop on our baseball tour, so we could go slow and stop at our leisure.
Initially, our only goal for the day was to get closer to Louisville, but Keke had other ideas. She realized that we were relatively close to Pigeon Forge, TN. Dolly Parton is from this area (Sevierville) and decided she wanted to stalk her.
We first stopped in Sevierville so Keke could visit the Dolly Parton statue there. A couple of pics and we were on to Pigeon Forge.
Pigeon Forge was not on my radar at all. It is not too far from Dollywood, but it is an entertainment area all it’s own. I would compare it in some ways to the Wisconsin Dells area. As you drive down the main road, you see the things you’d see in a town; gas stations, restaurants, etc. You drive a little further and the character of the town starts to reveal itself. I first noticed something was different when I saw a building that was upside down. Then I noticed a building on it’s side. Then I saw a building with King Kong climbing up it. The area started to look like something out of Alice In Wonderland.
Going further down the road it started to look like a carnival or fair on either side of the road. We saw go kart tracks and mini-golf and rides. There are theaters and shows. The whole town has this really fun vibe.
We went to check into our hotel. Tonight’s stay would be at the Super 8 in Pigeon Forge. This was probably the nicest Super 8 we’d ever seen. It was updated, clean, and just well done overall. It was fairly inexpensive, I think we paid about $80 for the night, and was just a really good place to stay.
After check-in, we went out in search for a place to eat. We first went to The Olde Mill Restaurant. This is a large complex made out of wood planking and looked very much like it’s namesake. The food and decor reminded me of a Cracker Barrel on steroids. Set right on a river, it was a very charming spot. What wasn’t charming were the prices. Much of what we were looking at was approaching $20 an entree. I’m sure everything was well worth the price, but there wasn’t anything that was really sticking out to me as something I wanted, so paying that much wasn’t of great interest to me. We explored a bit, but ended up looking for another spot.
We ended up finding a place called the Smoky Mountain Brewery. This place was perfect. The low lighting, open layout, and multiple TV’s gave a vibe of a relaxing sports bar (if that’s a thing). As we walked in they had the Twins game on many of their TV’s. I later found that it was being played before one of the higher profile national games, but still, it made us feel at home. The food there was very well done, and all of us were happy with our choices. I got a chicken version of a Philly Cheesesteak, and I don’t think it could have been better made; very good. The prices were also very reasonable. I think I paid $10 something for my sandwhich. Tax on food in Pigeon Forge seemed a bit high, however.
Since it was a brewery, I decided to sample some of the local ale. You could get a flight of up to 10 beers, for $11. They only had nine on tap at the time, so I got the nine for $10. This is probably the cheapest flight I have ever had, typically they cost about $2 or more a sample. The beer was decent, and had a bit of a battle knocking down nine five oz. glasses. Of course I persevered though.
We walked around the area a bit, but soon hopped in the car went back to turn in for the night. In hindsight, we probably should have gone out and experienced more of this town as I don’t know when/if we’ll be back. It is probably a bit far from our home in Minnesota to make the trek to as we could visit similar places (Wisconsin Dells, Branson, etc) that are a bit closer. It looked like tremendous fun, however. Maybe we’ll make another attempt at a Durham Bulls game and hang out in Pigeon Forge on the way?