Saturday, 19 April 2014

Pigeon Forge TN (Day 2)

First of all, to address some preconceived ideas about Pigeon Forge, as I have seen them. It is much more than Dollywood. It is definitely a tourist area but I don't think just Dollywood had everything to do with it.

The total population of this county of Sevier is about 84,000. Each year approximately 8-9 million people come to visit the Smokey Mtns. and as one trolley driver told us today, not everyone wants to just stay in the mountains. On any given summer evening he said that there can be upwards of 60-70,000 people visiting the three major cities of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville. That is a lot of people. What they have done is built an empire around entertaining. Now, it does seem a bit odd that lots of that "entertaining" is on the main drag. Dollywood, on the other hand isn't even visible from the main street. It is back a few miles behind some hills and a pretty nice golf course, tucked quite nicely into a very pretty environment of streams, hills and trees. Now, for us, we aren't "into" the big arcade, entertainment areas but LOTS of families are and that is, generally, how these areas grow. They grow from consumer wants and needs. There are many hotels, restaurants and entertainment facilities on this main strip. In fact, I counted about 7 go-kart tracks!!  They have many, many time share residents and many campgrounds. It is, all in all, a very busy area. Pretty sure if you were here decades ago and saw a quiet little, sleepy town and came back now you might be a bit dismayed and shocked but there is always a price for "progress".....

Meanwhile we also learned that Dolly herself is still very involved in this area. She has donated $1 million to the new hospital. She also provides books to ALL children in Sevier County under the Grade 4 age group. That's a lot of kids and it is nice to see someone successful give back to their community. She is in town 8-10 times per year. One driver told us that his friend stopped on the side of a road to help a lady with a ball cap in a broken down old truck once and guess who it was? Nope, he didn't have a camera either!! I think there are MANY superstars who do not give generously to their home community so my hat's off to her. 

Here are a few "daylight" shots of the campground area. There is a nice stream and some cool ducks that come waddling by everyday, up from the stream. Unfortunately, there are some extremely disrespectful children across the road from us who delight in throwing their big rubber balls at the ducks and proclaim loudly "I hit one!!" when they make contact. We were pretty shocked but I guess it is all in the raising. Pretty sure the parents, who are sitting around in their chairs watching this all go down, don't give a flying hoot. We have opened our van door twice, when the ducks were quacking and scurrying for cover, by our van, to ask them to stop. So far, they have not. Pretty disappointing for sure......Anyway, thanks for listening to my rant. Apparently respect for living creatures is hard to come by for some!!  Right, back to those pictures.....


Seeking quiet and a place to sleep in Site #67....

Campground is a bit small but not too busy. It is pretty well run.
We are happy with our $21.33 Passport America rate.....
We got the trolley right here at the campground. It cost us 50 cents each to go to the main trolley depot. From there you can connect with 4 or 5 different trolley lines. An all day, hop on-off pass costs $2.50 each. Pretty reasonable we think. We took advantage of it and rode the trolley buses all day long!!
All aboard!!   
Apparently they auction some of these trolleys off each year.
They typically sell for between $3-6,000. They will have about
300-500,000 miles on them! Doug thought one would make a good cabin!

This trolley goes to.....
We thought that Dollywood was closed but apparently we were wrong!! 

Best part was that Doug found out that you can get a 1 hour "shopping pass" that allows you to go in and just see a few of the shops. They take your credit card information and fill in the amount for the full day's entry for both of you. When you hand the slip of paper back in, provided you return in less than 1 hour, your credit card is not charged.
Even their own security force!!



We took this picture for our lovely daughter-in-law, Kathy.

Right now the current feature of the park is the Festival of Nations.

See, I told you so!!


It is quite pretty in how it is done and attracts loads of people!! There are many rides
although we never even saw them. The whole area is surrounded by trees and encompasses 130 total acres. Lots to see and do.....

Some quiet spaces too....

Dolly's tour bus.


...and with the clock ticking, we were out in less than an hour. They
don't advertise this "shopping pass" but it is available. Just ask at Guest Services....
We rode one more loop and then it was, of course, time for lunch. We just stopped at a nice little sandwich place and sat in the garden. Pretty reasonably priced, especially with just lemonade and tea with your sandwich!
Lots of pretty gardens......


This little restaurant was located in an area called the Old Mill District, right by an old mill...of all things!!



Then, it was onto another tour of the town. As I said above, this is where we saw the "entertainment" part of the city. Just happens to be all on the main drag through the town.
Yes, there are some pretty garish things!!



2 blocks off that busy street, this is what it looks like!

Some kind of weird, upside down house.....


And here is the Titanic. And you thought it sank!!


One of 6 or 7 go-kart tracks.....
So, that ends our tour of Pigeon Forge!! If you like a busy type of area, filled with lots of the above, on the main drag then you will like Pigeon Forge. And believe me, judging from the number of cars in EVERY lot, lots of folks do. If you don't, then this isn't your type of town perhaps. But don't forget, the Smokey Mountains are here and they look to be stunning and filled with lots of the exact opposite as above. Just saying there is something for everyone. As for Doug and I, we try to get something out of wherever we go! 
Not sure of tomorrow's plans. Chances are good we will stay one more night. We may take a different trolley over to Gatlinburg to see what it is all about. It is roughly 10 miles away.
Here is a Happy Easter weekend to all our family and friends. We sure miss you all!!
Thought for the Day: As Dolly says......"and I will always love you"  


  1. Like you we prefer the quieter parts of the mountains more than the Glitz but we even survived that.
    The upside down building is a place called Wonder Works. It's a great place for kids of all ages to learn all about the forces of nature. You can sit in a booth and feel what an Earth Quake would feel like. Or what the winds of a category 2 Hurricane would feel like. It is learning all about Science while having fun.
    Took our grandson's Tyler and Matthew and they loved it.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. Thanks for the info on Wonder Works. Glad to see that it is a fun and educational place for kids to go!!

  2. Happy Easter! A quiet day for us: Chelsea is home from school, and our neighbours are joining us for dinner. Should be nice. I'll have some turkey for you.

    1. Thanks for taking one for the team, cuz!!