The Best Life

Our Pigeon Forge Vacation

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My husband and I just spent five wonderful days in beautiful Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. If you’re not familiar with Pigeon Forge, it is home to the Dollywood theme park and is located only a few miles outside of Gatlinburg. We rented a cabin overlooking the Great Smoky Mountains and spent time exploring the local attractions and experiences.

Our views from our deck. Photo credits: Kenn Morris
Our Arrival

We were so excited for our trip, but when we arrived in Pigeon Forge we were a little concerned when we saw that the main strip was packed with all kinds of “touristy” attractions. There were all sorts of dinner shows, rides, weird museums and family fun centers. It left me questioning our decision to vacation there. “Touristy” is not our thing – we always strive for quiet, relaxing vacations, and what we saw was not fitting that description in the least. However, when we reached our rental cabin, appropriately named “Majestic Mountain View,” it was obvious that we were in the right place for us. The cabin had a deck with rocking chairs and a hot tub, both with a breathtaking view overlooking the mountains. All of the “touristy” stuff we had seen only minutes earlier began to magically melt away.

Majestic Mountain View
Our Rental

Our Enterprise car rental for the week was a nice, gray, 2018 Ford Escape SUV – it even smelled new! When we reached Sherwood Forest, the location of our cabin, we were sure glad we had it. The hills inside that development, and many of the roads in and around Pigeon Forge, were extremely steep. And get this, when we picked it up, it already had a Tennessee license plate on the back! It’s amazing how God is in the smallest details, even a small matter such as which car we receive. Check out the rentals available Here.

Our ride for the week

Our adventures for the week consisted of miniature golf at Treasure Quest Miniature Golf (we did this twice), hiking to see Laurel Falls (whew!), walking around Gatlinburg, blackberry and raspberry picking at Mountain Mist Farms (I hate gnats!), shopping (especially for books), gem mining at Goats on the Roof (and yes, there were goats on the roof), dining at new restaurants, sightseeing, and relaxing on the deck overlooking the mountains.

Can never have enough books or fabric!

I was excited to try Paula Deen’s restaurant in Pigeon Forge, but surprised by how we had to order our food there. Dinner was served family-style. We had to agree on three entrees and four sides, and we each were allowed to choose our own desserts. With just the two of us, it was entirely too much food and much was wasted. There’s no reduction in price for choosing less, and you can’t take anything home, but everything is refillable. All of the food was great, but the creamed potatoes and the fresh candied yams were AMAZING! I hope in the future they consider fewer menu options at a lower price for couples (as there were many couples there). This was simply too much food for us, but we really enjoyed what we ate. Now, if we would have had our son with us, he could’ve really helped us out!

Paula Deen's store and restaurant

Turns out, we really enjoyed Pigeon Forge. For most activities we sought out things to do off the main strip. Doing this helped us save money, see more of the surrounding beauty, and avoid the crowds. For example, the Pigeon Forge Gem Mine’s lowest priced bucket was $25 compared to Goats on the Roof’s price of $15 for one bucket or 2 buckets for $20. Treasure Quest Golf, while on the Parkway, offered a nice veterans discount taking $6 off of our total price of miniature golf and it was not crowded on either visit. Of course, while blackberry picking, we didn’t fight anything but the gnats as they were the only crowd there.

Treasure Quest Miniature Golf, Book Warehouse, and Goats on the Roof
Our Kitties

Before going home, we traveled back to the pet resort to pick up our kitties from their vacation. I love receiving their little report cards that describe how their week went and how much the workers loved on them.

"Murph the Sweet" and "Miss M"
Back Home

After we arrived home and unloaded the SUV, we were ready to get settled and get supper started when our power went off. So, we did a little camp-stove cooking to prepare fajitas for supper and ate them on our own porch. However, it wasn’t quite the same view as in previous days and there was no mountain breeze.

Cooking outside on the Coleman stove

As a nice little touch that you’ll find in a lot of cabin rentals, the owner of the cabin leaves a guest book so you can share with the owners and with other guests what restaurants and activities you enjoyed while staying there. I filled out the guest journal before we left, stating that we loved the cabin and the view. I also mentioned the free mug we were supposed to receive wasn’t available at the cabin when we checked in. Upon returning home, we received an email from the cabin owner stating he was glad we enjoyed the cabin. He and his family actually checked into it for nine days following our stay. The family had read read our entry in the guest book and saw we did not receive our mug. He called the management office and told them to send us two of the free mugs.

I’m not sure how relaxing I would consider this vacation since we were climbing mountains to see waterfalls and fighting gnats to pick fruit, but it definitely made my list of favorite vacations. And on the plus side, there was a hot tub overlooking the mountains to soak my tired and achy joints in after each day’s activities.

Mountain Mist Farms, Laurel Falls, and fantastic view from the hot tub

Where have you traveled this summer or do you have plans for traveling in the fall?

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