Sunday, 6/12/11 - Dolly and Pigeon Forge have redeem themselves with Will and I as we had a great time at Dollywood today. Yesterday, with the traffic, being tired and the "trailer trash" park we are staying in, we were ready to leave. But today was a new day, a little cooler and we treated ourselves to breakfast at Cracker Barrel. This is a very popular restaurant all through out the South with rocking chairs on their front porch "for sale." We passed up our favorite Denny's for a new experience......which turned out to be a mistake as I guess we are just not C.B. fans. Will was very disappointed with their biscuits & gravy which he thought should be terrific, but wasn't. Oh well, we tried something new.
Next, off to Dollywood which I must tell you I really had NO idea is was a big amusement park similar to Disneyland. Lots of rides, exhibits, places to eat and a big price tag to get into. But what the heck, we will only be passing this way ONE time. Actually, the day was really enjoyable and a lot of fun. The park has huge trees everywhere so you are mostly always in the shade and the weather was cooler with a breeze.
Our first ride was a water ride (how's that for stupid) there were 6 people in our circular car and Will had the best seat, he didn't get wet. I got pretty soaked but fortunately wore my nylon shorts that dried quickly. It was a great ride. Next we found the ferris wheel, both of our favorites and then a great 20 minute train ride on an old 1939 steam/coal engine.
We then wandered through Dolly's fabulous museum, several floors of pictures, costumes, music and films playing....this was really a treat. They have done a fabulous job of displaying all of her memorabilia. We next toured her bus that she used for many years on the road.
We saw several live shows, one with Dolly's Uncle Bill who when Dolly was 10 years old heard her singing and entered her in a contest that she won. He seemed to be responsible for getting her to Nashville and hooking up with Porter Wagner which was when her career really took off. We also saw a wonderful show in the Celebrity Theatre - Sha-Kon-O-Hey - Which is about the blue smokey mountains and the Cherokee Indians. It was a wonderful song and dance presentation and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Fortunately, for us it was not a busy day here (the crowds were NOTHING like Disney World/Land.) We were able to wander freely around, get on rides and into shows very quickly. We still spent about 6 1/2 hours there and were pretty tired when it was time to leave.
Because I was driving, I wanted to take a quick run down to Gatlinburg, a small town about 5 miles away, right at the entrance to the Smokey Mountains National Park. However, this town is similar to Pigeon Forge, one long street down the middle of town, with lots & lots of shops on each side. After seeing what it was we just drove down, turned around and came back to Pigeon Forge, but I can at least say, "I saw Gatlinburg." With more time, I'm sure there is more to see in this area but we plan to see the Smokey Mountains in the fall on our way down to Florida when we visit the Vanderbilt Mansion. Yesterday, I was sorry we came here, today not so much, it turned out to be a nice day and tomorrow we will be ready to move on to Kentucky. Much love to all our family and friends.