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Author Topic: Tennessee, here we come!
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 00:35      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So, in just two weeks Jonathan and I will be married. Yay!

We'll be honeymooning in Gatlinburg, TN, from 30 December to 7 January. This will be my first time in Tennessee; the last time Jonathan was there, he was in school and it was a family trip. We don't have a massive budget for our trip, but we would like to go to some nice restaurants for dinner (I have some dress-up outfits I'm just dying to wear) and do some sightseeing and local stuff. Those of you familiar with that area, do you have any advice/recommendations of what (not) to see/do?

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 03:56      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Rhonwyyn__________________________ I have heard that some where in or near Gatlinburg is a large Marble that is supported in a fountain of water. It is almost friction less and rotates on its own.

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Posts: 5855 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 04:42      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The large marble is outside the Ripley's Believe it or Not attraction in the middle of Gatlinburg. The marble itself is about umm... around 4' diameter or so (it's been a bit since I've been next to it). It's amusing to watch how delighted kids are when they find they can move the huge thing by themselves.

Rhonwyyn:
If you can tell me what you and your soon-to-be are interested in beyond restaurants, I can probably offer some suggestions for inexpensive things to do and see while you're here. I'll post some restaurant suggestions a bit later.

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Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
GMx

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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 05:11      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't know if it's still there or not, but there's the Smokey Mountain Police Museum It's either in Pigeon Forge or Sevierville. I think it's on the highway to Gatlinburg, so you can't miss it. They have Buford Pusser's (of "Walking Tall" fame) death car! That's right the Corvette that Buford was driving when he wrecked and the car burst into flames. All right it sounds stupid (which it is), but I like that kind of thing. They also have for sale albums that have the song "The Ballad of Buford Pusser" on it. The museum's pretty much a hoot and a holler, but that's only if you view it in an ironical vein.
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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 07:23      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Carbo's Police Museum. It's in Pigeon Forge and still open. So is the Elvis museum, which makes the police museum look tasteful by comparison. [Smile]

I'm fairly sure both are open in the off season, but Rhonwyyn may want me to verify that if there is any desire to see either. The same goes for most tourist attractions, in fact, because quite a few close for the winter season.

Anyway... restaurants:

You can see a reasonably current lists of the restaurants in Gatlinburg here and here. The latter includes menus with prices for quite a few, which may be helpful.

Not much in Gatlinburg is really fancy, but some places are bit nicer than others. Most places are definitely geared toward vacationers with kids and casual clothing. The nicest places are probably in the same class as Ruby Tuesday's or just a bit better.

I like Lineberger's Seafood and they aren't too horribly priced. They seem to have trouble getting special orders correct, which is an issue if you have food allergies. Cherokee Grill has a nice local theme to it, but the menu is what you'd find at most steakhouses.

It's only a 20 minute drive to Pigeon Forge and there are some decent options there as well. Once again, most aren't really upscale.

Santo's Italian restaurant is probably the nicest place you'll find in pigeon forge. If you go for dinner after 6pm or so, they usually have a live piano for music. The food is pretty typical Italian, but decent quality. If you want southern cooking and enjoy wandering in shops before/after, The Old Mill Restaurant is a good choice. If you remember the old sitcom Alice, Mel's Diner is a fun destination.

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Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Black Widow
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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 08:41      Profile for Black Widow     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Steen:
So is the Elvis museum, which makes the police museum look tasteful by comparison. [Smile]

Elvis?
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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 09:01      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So, part 2... attractions:

First, plan for at least one late night drive. Christmas lights are strung up everywhere. They're called Winterfest lights now, not because it's PC but because they go up around the start of November and stay up until march or so and they couldn't pretend anymore. What's funny is that they actually put up Christmas themed lights along with the rest, but then take the Christmas themed ones down after Christmas. Anyway, driving around and seeing the lights is free (except for gas) and some are quite nice.

Helicopter tours are a bit pricey, but offer a view of the mountains that you won't get any other way.

Christus Gardens. Far too religious for my tastes, but it might be of interest and admission price isn't too bad. This one would be better in the evening when the lights are visible due to it being winter and the gardens being rather less garden-like.

Ober Gatlinburg has a fairly scenic tram ride up, but all the trees are bare and there isn't any snow, so it's not worth the price on it's own. They have indoor ice skating up there and a few other things, though, which can be a fun afternoon.

The Guiness World Records Museum has a batmobile from the TV show displayed in a mock up of the TV show batcave. I was amused by it, at least.

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies is pretty cool. They have a good underwater tunnel through the main tank, some nice sharks and an area where you can touch the rays as they swim past (just rays, not sting rays, so no Steve Irwin impersonations).

Sweet Fanny Adam's Theater is a bit pricey, but fun. I haven't seen either of their current shows, but the shows I have seen there are well done.

Moving on to Pigeon Forge:

There are a lot of dinner show type attractions. Tickets are usually a bit pricey, but they do include dinner. If you can say what sort of show you might like (comedy, music, rodeo, chinese acrobats, etc) I can offer better advice.

There are a lot of outlet malls if you enjoy that sort of thing. There's actually a store called "sock world".

Heading off into the park, the hike up to Laurel Falls is very pretty in the summer and spring. It can be pleasant in winter too. The path is mostly non-dirt, too, so it's a good choice to avoid mud.

The Little Greenbriar schoolhouse (pic #1,pic #2) is a pleasant place. It was used as a church as well and there's a graveyard, so if those give you the creeps, maybe not.

Cades Cove has a lot of cabins and churches. Many are near the road, but there are some that require a bit of a hike. There are almost always deer around that you can see as well and they aren't too scared of people. It's an all day trip if you make stops and get out to look at things. Half a day if you make no stops. Pack a lunch either way as snacks sold at the one store at the entrance are quite overpriced.

...

I think that's enough for now. As I said, given an idea of what interests you the most, I can offer better advice. I can also check into whether things are closed for the season or not, if you already have some ideas.

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Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 11:15      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I can't believe no-one has suggested Dollywood yet.

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 11:20      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
http://www.gatlinburg.com/?GCID=S18356x002-gb&KEYWORD=gatlinburg+tennessee&MATCHTYPE=search

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 11:24      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The Famous Druid wrote:
I can't believe no-one has suggested Dollywood yet.

Rhonwyyn said she didn't have a massive budget. Dollywood tickets are $42 each. Then you still have to deal with overpriced food, drinks and whatnot once you get inside. I wouldn't suggest Dollywood to anyone who is on any sort of a budget.

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Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 11:27      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Steen:
The Famous Druid wrote:
I can't believe no-one has suggested Dollywood yet.

Rhonwyyn said she didn't have a massive budget. Dollywood tickets are $42 each. Then you still have to deal with overpriced food, drinks and whatnot once you get inside. I wouldn't suggest Dollywood to anyone who is on any sort of a budget.

But it's still fun to drive past and laugh at it from the outside. ;)3 (Dolly winking)

Can't remember any names, but there were some very nice state parks we visited in Tennessee, including an "indian mounds" archaeological site that will remind you there was a lot more to the native americans than teepees.

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zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 12:18      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
$42 to get into an amusement park? I think I'll go skiing instead, thank you very much.
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Black Widow
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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 13:45      Profile for Black Widow     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My mom, dad, and son went to Dollywood this last summer. They said it really wasn't worth the cost.
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Ugh, MightyClub
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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 14:02      Profile for Ugh, MightyClub     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I went to Dollywood with my family when I was in high school. I have no idea how much we paid to get in, but it wasn't the most impressive park in the world.

My parents said they tried to go back a few years ago but it was closed/non-existant. Did my father's famous "navigation-memory-of-an-elephant" fail them somehow, or did they shutter the whole park for a while? Or did it move?

And what about the Grand ol' Oprey? Is that still around? I seem to recall that was right near Dollywood.

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 14:05      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dollywood is exactly where it's always been and hasn't been closed except for holidays.

The Grand Ole Opry amusement park is closed although the Grand Ole Opry itself is still running. It was in Nashville about 200 miles away from Dollywood.

And I have to agree that Dollywood isn't worth the price, although the associated Splash Country waterpark they opened up is a lot of fun in the summer but is closed for the winter season, obviously.

Hmm... curious now. *checks* According to Google maps, which actually chose a decent route for a change, it's less than 40 miles from my apartment to Dollywood.

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Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 14:59      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Wow, guys, thanks for the suggestions! I'm totally psyched about going to the Ripley's places. Jonathan wanted to know if there's any historical stuff we should look out for. He's also interested in nature stuff.

Steen, when and where is your New Year's Eve party? We'll bring dessert. [Wink]

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Demosthenes
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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 16:11      Profile for Demosthenes     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by zesovietrussian:
$42 to get into an amusement park? I think I'll go get a lapdance instead, thank you very much.

Fixed. [Big Grin]
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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 16:31      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This area has mostly been farming communities. Knoxville has some more significant history behind it, but nothing really worth going out of your way for, I don't think.

Cades Cove is probably the most visibly historic place in the area. The link I gave in the previous post provides some detail about the various places. It also boasts some beautiful views of the mountains and a lot of exposure to nature.

Closer to Gatlinburg, the Sugarlands Visitor Center has an audiovisual room and they play back a film about the Smoky Mountains National Park and it's history.

About 30 miles (if I recall correctly) of driving through mountain roads will get you to the Ocanaluftee Visitor Center in NC. There's a small, working farm there. It can be toured in the winter, but they don't have people there doing demonstrations, so it's so-so.

As for New Year's Eve, I'm afraid I don't really do parties, so there isn't one from me. I'm more likely to be on the phone with Faith in my comfortably heated apartment than out and about at midnight [Smile]

Gatlinburg does do a ball drop and fireworks display and the streets will be crowded with people, but not Times Square crowded. The restaurants and a lot of shops usually stay open until midnight or later that night too. You won't have any problem finding a party-like atmosphere to enjoy [Smile]

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Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 16:33      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Demosthenes:
quote:
Originally posted by zesovietrussian:
$42 to get into an amusement park? I think I'll go watch someone else get a lapdance instead, thank you very much, because the strippers in east Tennessee are some nasty skanks that you wouldn't want touching you.

Fixed. [Big Grin]
Fixed for real [Big Grin]

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Worst. Celibate. Ever.

Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 16:39      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Steen:

Sounds like you got quite a story there, please, do share [Big Grin]

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 16:49      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think I'd rather maintain the pretense that I'm just playing at being a complete degenerate and not provide testimony or proof [Smile]

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Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Ugh, MightyClub
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Icon 1 posted December 15, 2006 20:27      Profile for Ugh, MightyClub     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Steen: We do not need scientific evidence of Tennessee stripper skankitude.

Thank you, that is all.

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Ugh!

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Astronomer Jedi
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Icon 1 posted December 16, 2006 05:41      Profile for Astronomer Jedi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As the originator of the "Scientific evidence" tag line...oh to hell with it. Regale us with your story Steen.

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