Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge, TN
This morning was our "leaving day" but we weren't in a hurry to get back home.
We woke up fairly early, packed, and decided to forgo the hotel restaurant so that Steve could avoid the overly friendly host. Heehee.
(I'd like to tell you which hotel we were staying in, because it was a nice place and a great place to stay if you're in the area, but I've been burned by the random corporate web-bots crawling around and finding my blog, and I don't want to get the guy fired. Overly friendly host or not, I don't want to be responsible for getting anyone fired!)
We had heard great things about a place called "Log Cabin Pancakes," which is apparently a town institution, so we decided to have breakfast over there. The parking lot wasn't full, so we thought we'd be able to get something to eat fairly quickly, but I had forgotten a very important detail about staying in Gatlinburg...people can walk to most places! We got as far as the porch and that is it. The line was insane, and trailing out the door and down the front of the building. It was like Clary's in Savannah. We pretty much decided that no pancakes were worth standing in a line like that, so we left. It wasn't just that place, though. Every pancake/breakfast place we saw was completely packed out with a line out the door. Alas, no pancakes for us! Oh, well...
We drove out of Gatlinburg and headed towards Pigeon forge so that we could go to the outlets. I love shopping at outlet malls. I don't know why, though, because I'm fairly sure that the prices aren't that much less than the regular stores, but it's the IDEA that you can get cheap stuff I suppose!
On our way there, we stopped at what I dubbed "THE MALL 'O CRAP" which was a really big store full of all of those cheesy souvenirs that are the staple and lifeblood of the tourist trade in places like that! I loved it. I always love to see the trashy t-shirts and tacky stuff that tourist traps have to offer. Don't worry, though, we didn't buy anything. I think the highlight of that visit was a shirt that I'm pretty sure was marketing that reality show "Swamp People" that said "Gator Done!" Now that's good stuff! :) When we left there, we hadn't gotten too far when Steve happened to look out of his window and say "HEY!" Right there, in plain sight of where we had actually stopped yesterday while we were looking for the store that I was convinced didn't really exist, was the store that we had been looking for! No, honestly, it was right there. I felt so stupid. Not only was it in plain sight, it was right next to a restaurant I'd told Steve I wanted to try the day before. We had just somehow blanked out the whole thing, which is even more amazing since the place is frickin' huge. Even the GPS hadn't found it, so I'm under the impression that it was built overnight just to mess with us.
The store is called "The Incredible Christmas Store" and it contains everything you could ever imagine might be wanted for Christmas decor. We even saw a life size nativity scene, which my mom would have loved, but we didn't have the trunk space for the entire holy family. ; ) We stayed in there a long time, mainly because the place was enormous. I found a couple of mermaid ornaments that I wanted to put in my bathroom (nothing for the tree, alas) and I also found a gorgeous music box that I fell in love with. It was a big, wooden thing that had these giant brass disks that played kind of like a record would. It was so beautiful. I don't know if my description makes any sense, but I wanted it so bad. Unfortunately, I didn't have $16,500 to spare. Ouch.
After we left there, we figured we'd go ahead and eat lunch, so we went to "The Partridge and Pear," which was the restaurant I'd seen the day before. It was such a neat place! It was Christmas themed, but not in a cheesy way. It looked like a really lovely home that had been decorated for Christmas, but not with Santas or anything like that, and each dining room was different. We were in the atrium, which was lined with windows and had an inset, hand-painted pear tree on the ceiling. That painting even had atmospheric distortion, which amazed me. It was gorgeous and the food was so good! We ordered way too much, but everything we tried was delicious. We'll go back on our next trip!
We got back on the road and finally made it to the outlets. Oh, and have I mentioned that traffic in these towns is horrible? It took us forever to get to every place we went. It was frustrating! Anyways, we walked the entire mall and, surprisingly, didn't buy much of anything. The prices weren't very low, and it was too hot to try on clothes. We did get shoes at the Croc store, and before you laugh and point, I need to specify that we got flip-flops, not the ugly kind. They are the most comfortable shoes on the planet! The last pair I bought, I have worn until the bottoms have flattened out and the tread is completely gone. I was lucky to find my size, so I got the only two pairs they had left in a size 7 so that I could stock up. :)
We drove out of town to buy some medicine for Steve (he was feeling better, but still not so hot) and then we decided to head back to Gatlinburg so that we could drive through the national park. Well, that was the original idea. We got back into town and Steve decided he wanted something to drink, so we walked back to the Parkway to find a place where slushies could be attained. We stopped long enough to ride a chair lift (and had a picture made like the one we had on our honeymoon) and then we got our drinks. Back in the car, I asked how far away the park was and Steve decided that he wanted to skip it. BAIT AND SWITCH! He really just wanted a slushy! BOOOOOOO! Oh, well....Gatlinburg isn't that far away! We'll go back and look at the mountains one day. Heehee.
So, we headed home & now we're here. We'd had a very good trip!