Tourist Trap Hell

It was a last second idea, but I wanted to finally see Gatlinburg, Tennessee. My second oldest brother, Scott, and his family go down there two or three times a year. Since it’s just a 6 hour trip on the interstate, we decided to go for it this weekend. We were on our way Friday afternoon after work, and procured a room at the Country Hearth Inn in Pigeon Forge via for a modest $38/night, a savings of $20/night. Priceline has yet to fail our travel expenses in the 6+ years we’ve been using it.

We arrived at our motel at 11pm Friday night and headed straight for bed. We had no plan at all for Saturday, and that was just fine. Our first stop Saturday morning was to one of the many visitor’s centers in Pigeon Forge where we loaded up on brochures from the area. We took those and stopped for breakfast up the road in Sevierville at a place affectionately known as The Diner. After planning our attack over bacon, eggs, pancakes, and grits, we first headed to a “As Seen on TV” outlet store. It’s a place where you can buy all sorts of gadgets & crap that you see on late night infommercials. Everything from heel skin scrapers to pillows stuffed with buckwheat could be had there. I got a couple of things in the auto aisle for $.99, but Jennifer got a lot of other “stuff” that just had to be had.

From there we were on our way to Gatlinburg. The traffic through Pigeon Forge was heavy, and once we got to Gatlinburg, it was a logjam. After many “Lot Full” encounters, we finally found a parking garage charging “just” $8. The main drag through Gatlinburg was just about what I expected, full of fudge shops, t-shirt shops, and other various museums and attractions.

We went to the Hollywood Wax Museum after finding a parking spot. My review of this place is a little mixed. There were some really good ones and some absolute duds. This can best be epitomized with the “Men in Black” guys, Tommy Lee Jones on the left (Oh, it is??), and Will Smith on the right. TLJ looks like he’d be about 87!

But overall, it was a nice visit. We got a combo ticket for the wax museum and the Hollywood Star Cars Museum across the street. 

It too was a decent exhibit. They had various machines from TV, movies, as well as some personal cars from stars such as Elvis, Bob Hope, and Frank Sinatra. We were looking forward to going to “Earthquake: The Ride”, but were soundly disappointed. Save your $7.99! Would’ve much rather paid $20 for a better ride than losing the $8 each we lost!

We then started our walk on both sides of the main drag through Gatlinburg, hitting all the fudge shops, novelty shops, and one place I could have stayed at all afternoon that had samples of various dips & salsas.

After leaving as much $$$ as we could in Gatlinburg, we decided to head back towards Pigeon Forge at 5pm so we could see a show. We drove up into the hills and found a good vantage point overlooking Gatlinburg.

We meandered our way through the Smokies and back onto US 441 and got back to Pigeon Forge for dinner at Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que. BBQ is some of my favorite food, so I was eager to give their’s a try. We started off with a plate of deep fried pickle chips, served with a side of Ranch dressing. Seasoned well and worth another helping the next time we’re there.

I finally settled on the “Smokehouse Combo”, which consisted of a quarter chicken, pork spare ribs, and beef brisket. The potato salad I got with it was rather flat, however.

Jennifer got the “B-L-FGT” (Bacon, Lettuce, Fried Green Tomato), and we topped off dinner with a piece of pecan pie ala mode.

Overall, I give Bennett’s 3 moist towlettes out of 4! 😉

Following dinner, we decided to head over to the Memories Theatre to see the “Elvis & Friends” tribute show. The show opened with a stand-up routine by “Barney Fife”. Honestly, his act started out a little slow, but I found myself laughing at the end. The first act to come out was “Conway Twitty”. From the songs I knew of from him, this guy did really well on them. Then came “Loretta Lynn” to sing a few with “Conway”, then some on her own. Again, not bad. Then out came “Buddy Holly”, who we realized was also the guy who did “Barney”. I’d say he was probably the best out of all of them. After intermission, out came “Elvis”, portrayed by Lou Vuto. He started out as late 60’s Elvis and I wasn’t too impressed. After a wardrobe change into “Jump Suit Elvis” from the early-mid 1970’s, he seemed to do much better with those songs. We’d probably go back the next time down there, but only if we have discount tickets again.

Sunday we started our way back home and took some various state & US highways through Tennessee & Kentucky, and picked up the interstate in Crestwood, KY for the remainder of the trip home. More pics of the weekend are here.

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