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-   -   TN - Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge ... suggestions? (https://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f109/tn-gatlinburg-or-pigeon-forge-suggestions-17782.html)

SizzlininIN 12-28-2005 10:09 AM

TN - Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge ... suggestions?
DH and I are thinking about going back to this area in May. We were married in a chapel on a mountain outside of Pigeon Forge. Since it'll be 10 years since we were last there I'm sure its changed some.

marmalady 12-29-2005 07:47 AM

Major commercialism! I was there last year, and was sad to see how commercial it's all become. We ate at the Apple Tree Restaurant, it was pretty good. I'd maybe try to find some local BBQ houses for some real local tastes. Or - take a short ride 'over the mountain', through the Cherokee Reservation and go to Maggie Valley; lots of great little 'family' type restaurants that serve fresh mountain trout!

phinz 12-29-2005 09:13 AM

I live 45 minutes from Gatlinburg. You'll be amazed at how Pigeon Forge and Sevierville have grown. The stretch of 66 from the 407 exit to the light at Chapman Hwy. is heavily developed now, and the 407 itself is growing tremendously. They just opened a huge Bass Pro Shops at the exit, and the baseball stadium overlooks the interstate there as well. From Sevierville to Pigeon Forge there is little to no empty space left. Traffic is horrendous every day, especially through the park as you head toward Gatlinburg. If you can, take the bypass around Gatlinburg and come in from the other side. It will save you a lot of time and frustration.

The Apple Tree Inn is very popular, but there are many others. I'd prefer to head into Gatlinburg instead of the Forge for food. There is a more eclectic selection. Burning Bush is gone, but there is Greenbrier, Hofbrauhaus, the Pancake Pantry, Applewood (in the old Burning Bush) and so many others.

You should be able to get over the mountain to Maggie Valley in May, but if there is a late snow the highway through the park to Cherokee *will* be closed. If school is out, or it's close to Memorial Day I wouldn't even consider going that direction, as traffic around the casino can be nuts. The drive itself is beautiful, though.:mrgreen:

marmalady 12-29-2005 09:16 AM

Whoops - forgot about those late snows!

Raine 01-01-2006 06:58 PM

Check out the Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge. Great Dinner and Show!

Cheech 02-15-2006 12:09 AM

We visited this area in September for the first time in several years and found the Bullfish grill in or near pigeon forge to be a great dinner. We also can't visit this area without a stop at a Calhoun's BBQ. Breakfast is the best at the applebarn with the apple muffins, fritters and applebutter.

Sunflower 05-01-2006 07:24 PM

Surprised to find a thread on Pigeon Forge! We are going to Pigeon Forge this weekend with our friends. We are making a trip to Dollywood on Saturday to see the 'Festival of Nations', and then on Sunday we're planning to do some sightseeing/hiking in that area. One of our friends suggested we should go to Cades Cove Road, too.

Any suggestions on good but inexpensive eating places in the area? We're all vegetarians, except my husband. Our friends are on a tight budget so we would really like some suggestions.


Dove 05-01-2006 07:42 PM

I remember all those places from wayyyyy back when they were beautiful, quiet and very peaceful..My first trip to the area was in 1955. I fell in love with N.C. My DH's sisters are there and we do (did) go back about every other year. Age has caught up with us so we don't take the RV out any more.

A few years ago we were in Pigeon Forge. We ate at an "50's" style diner. It was pretty darn good. We just spent one night and day there. I couldn't stand to see what they did to the area.

Maggie Valley in the Fall is spectacular !!

phinz 05-01-2006 07:45 PM

The Festival of Nations is OK. I enjoyed the pretty Russian girls.

Don't go to Cades Cove unless you can get there right when it opens. If you don't get there right when it opens you had best set most of your day aside because the traffic is horrendous, especially if you get deer or bear jams. If you're not interested in Gatlinburg then take the bypass as you head up 321. This will take you around town and put you in the park just outside G'Burg, thereby avoiding the bumper-to-bumper nature of the Burg.

Pigeon Forge is a meat and potatoes town. Good luck on good vegetarian food. I know that Dixie Stampede will do a vegetarian meal for you if you call ahead of time (I think a day or so). The show is pretty good.

phinz 05-01-2006 07:46 PM


Originally Posted by Dove
Maggie Valley in the Fall is spectacular !!

My mother-in-law's father owns Ghost Town in Maggie Valley. It's for sale if you want it. :smile:

marmalady 05-02-2006 06:49 AM

Maggie Valley any time is spectacular - except maybe when they have the biker's convention there!

SizzlininIN 05-02-2006 07:39 AM

Well it doesn't look like we'll be making it there this month....:sad: . But Phinz.....whenever we do decide to take a trip your way I'll post to see if there's any event we need to be made aware of because of traffic.

We ate at the Apple Tree Inn in Pigeon Forge when we were down there..........we have a picture of our waitress.....:smile: . It was very good down home cooking. We went to Gattlinburg on one day and ate at Ruby Tuesdays, which I liked. We took a ride in that takes you up in the air for a view of the area.....:ermm: I can't remember what those things are called.....sky lift???.....anyway it was ok.........but I'm not a fan of heights but DH really enjoyed it...minus my claws in his thigh :smile: .
I remember we took off walking in the Smokey Mountains and really had a wonderful time. It wasn't till after the fact that we found out we could of ran into Bear, rattlesnakes, etc..... Wouldn't that of been lovely reaching down for a rock (my moms request) and coming across a snake....:smile: .
Anyway, Phinz...your neck of the woods is breath taking and I'd move down there in a heartbeat if I could. If no ones been to the Smokey Mountains I highly recommend it. We were there between May 8th and May 12th and the hotels were very reasonable because of off season. But that was 10 years ago and things could have changed.

Yakuta 05-02-2006 07:58 AM

Smokies are so beautiful. When I used to live in Atlanta we used to frequently visit them. That was 10+ years ago and at that time as well Pigeon Forge was commercialized. I did however like the country dancing outside restaurants and in little offbeat strip malls. The food at local joints was good.

My favorite part of the visit was to go to Cherokee and get some boiled salted peanuts. They were delicious. Do they still sell them by the street side.

Also a visit to Clingmans Dome is a must if you go to Smokies. That is the highest point and depending on the day (clear or not) the views are amazing. You can see the blue haze which makes the Smokies so special.

Cades Cove as others indicated was a big waste of time since there were hardly any animals to spot. We also stopped along little benches roadside (by the little streams that run all through the park) to have our own picnic. I could not resist dipping my feet in the water. That place is truly beautiful.

SizzlininIN 05-02-2006 08:28 AM

There was also a place we went to....high in the mountains if I remember right. The view was amazing. If you stood in one place you were in TN if you stood in another you were in NC. I think it was right outside of Cherokee. We didn't go to Cherokee because the weather took a turn and started pouring down rain.

phinz 05-02-2006 10:21 AM

That's probably Clingman's Dome. The road to Clingman's Dome was closed last time I checked.

Cherokee is another traffic nightmare now because of the casino. The drive to Cherokee from GBurg is gorgeous, though.

marmalady 05-02-2006 05:10 PM

Going the other direction, a little southeast, don't forget Chimney Rock, Bat Cave, and Lake Lure - where Dirty Dancing was filmed! Used to be adorable little out of the way places, now getting better known, but still beautiful. Chimney Rock is awesome - you take an elevator up the rock to get to the top, and if I remember correctly, there's an old still built into the side of the mountain you can take a tour through - if you're not claustrophic!

But Maggie Valley still has my heart. Used to take my boys there on weekends, and went there myself when I was in the midst of breaking up from a bad marriage. That was 20 years ago, and I know it's changed a lot since then, but as I said, it still has my heart. It's my 'place of peace' - Goodweed will understand, I know :smile:

Claire 05-08-2006 08:10 AM

I found Pigeon Ford to be very commercial and tacky .... until I told myself that many of these people were living in poverty during my lifetime. Yes, it was picturesque poverty. When we stayed there (at a KOA campground nearby) we didn't really eat out .... we found a great butcher, though, and ate some of the best meat I've ever had.

phinz 05-08-2006 08:46 AM

You have to get outside Pigeon Forge. Even one road over from Dolly Parton Parkway it gets nicer. I avoid the Parkway like the plague. I'll be taking the back way in two weeks to go the Gatlinburg Highland Games. :mrgreen:

SizzlininIN 05-08-2006 08:49 AM

Oh definetely check out the other areas around Pigeon Forge. We were on a road trip and just went where ever our hearts desired as we didn't make any reservations so we did just what we wanted. On our way home we took the scenic routes through Kentucky .... avoiding the the Interstates/Highways. We saw some beautiful county....of course we saw the poor areas too and it really made us appreciate all that we had.

mudbug 05-08-2006 04:49 PM


Originally Posted by Yakuta
Cades Cove as others indicated was a big waste of time since there were hardly any animals to spot.

Yakuta, I'm heartsick to be at odds with you but we must have visited Cades Cove at another time of year. We found loads of beautiful tiny little deer that came right up to us and charmed our then 4-or-so-year-old.

fluteplayer 05-10-2006 01:54 PM

We love that area! We vacation every year there! When you live near the big Mickey Rat the traffiic thru the mountain is nothing! I'd give anything for a by-pass thru the gridlock! There are plenty of scenic mountain drives to take where you can stop the car and take pic's or picnic.I suggest the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, portions are huge and there is a wait every time, but you can wonder thru the village and there's a loud speaker in every store to hear your call. In G'burg the pancake pantry is our favorite for breakfast or lunch and they do a great box lunch for picnics. We hope to visit in June.

phinz 05-11-2006 06:02 AM

I'm headed up there in a couple of weekends for the Gatlinburg Highland Games. I can only say that I'm very happy that there *are* back ways to get in.

If you're up there and see a fat, balding guy in a kilt, wave.

Wait.... there will be lots of fat, balding guys in kilts. Never mind.:lol:

flys 05-12-2006 05:41 AM

next year i'll go near to Pigeon Forge thanks for the helpful post

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