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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN: The Sodom and Gomarrah of the South

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited national park in the United States.  There is no doubting its pretty.

While the natural beauty is nice there is a different kind of paradise tucked in these mountains.  The Great Smokey Mountain Parkway is sandwiched between two of the most legendary tourist tourist traps in the Country.  One one side is Cherokee, NC, which I have discussed before.  After you travel through roughly 45 minutes of pure nature, creeks, waterfalls and bears you pop out into the strange and wonderful world of Gatlinburg, TN.

After leaving the serenity of the forest you are subject to sights such as this.

Its the equivalent of sitting in a hot tub and then jumping into a swimming pool.

Gatlinburg was originally know for its Appalachian native crafts, but over time it has morphed into what it is today: a redneck mecca, a city that is and off itself a tourist trap, it is either heaven or hell on earth, depending who you are.

On the crowded streets of Gatlinburg are endless rows of fudge shops, gift shops, and tourists watching taffy being made.

There is every tacky treasure one could hope for including hand painted vanity plates.

And there is an airbrushed t-shirt shop about every 10 feet.....

You can have any airbrushed t-shirt you want made up for your special occasions...........from two teddy bears in a hot tub....

To a rebel flag shaped like a heart.....

In fact, if you like rebel flags, you are in luck, as you can get about anything you want with a rebel flag on it.....

There are more individual tourist attractions, museums, and activities then I could discuss in one post, so I may be discussing them in the future..................but there are a few choice places I would like to take a chance to mention....

There are three haunted houses within walking distance of each other....

"Cooter's":  A Musem based around " The Dukes of Hazzard"

"Christ in the Smokies": Formerly known as "Christus Gardens" is an amazing wax museum based on the Bible, that sadly does not allow photography of their "New Testament Section".   They do allow photography in the "Old Testament Section", but sadly that section only has two figures.  I know one is Moses, but I forgot who the other one is.  (I'm thinking Abraham.)

They have a cool old building too.....

Also, there are three "Mirror Mazes" in the immediate area.  For those those not familiar with mirror mazes:  You are plunged into a winding maze or mirrors where every room looks exactly the same, you are also subjected to flashing lights and throbbing club music for some reason.

 Check it out.....

Of  course the tiny town of Gatlinburg could simply not contain all the tackiness and cheesy fun that there was to contain......As the essence of Gatlinburg became to much for one town, it spilled into its sister city of Pigeon Forge, TN.


While Gatlinburg's geography in a mountain valley restrict its size, Pigeon Forge has no such restrictions.  Pigeon Forge is a sprawling metropolis running along the side of Highway 441.

One of the first things you will notice is there appears to be more mini-golf then there are anywhere else on the face of earth....

Massive fiberglass behemoths flank the highway.

Pigeon Forge contains many of the same amenities as Gatlinburg, primarily airbrush t-shirt stands.

There are also miniature amusement parks up and down the highway.

 Along with numerous go-kart courses......

 There is replica of the Titanic hitting an iceberg on the side of the road.....

An upside down White House....

Several zany castles.....

Another unique feature  of Pigeon Forge is that appears to be the world capital of Hillbilly Dinner Theater.  The includes a dinner show about the Hatfield and McCoy feud.

And don't forget "Hazard County Hoedown" a musical based on "The Dukes of Hazzard"

And let's not forget the Miracle Theater, which shows a musical based on Revelations.......

The cherry on top is this life sized King Kong that towers over the city on top of the Hollywood Wax Museum.

Oh yeah.......and I almost forgot:  They have a Bear Pit.

Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are an unbelievable site to behold and I have only scratched the surface.  They are tacky, mind-numbing, and hideous........but I love them dearly.

The Carpetbagger

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  1. i love them too. every time we go back there are less things i actually want to do, but i just can't stop! i can't believe you didn't even mention dollywood!

    1. So much stuff I forgot Dollywood! I'll have to get to that sometime in the future. I think have done everything there is to do, but I race over there every time something new opens up :)

  2. That teddy bear couple t-shirt reminds me of the one my brother and his wife got when they had their honeymoon there. That was so long ago, I wonder if they still have it.

    At hillbilly village, did they get rid of the moonshiner with the rifle on the outside?

    1. They still have the cardboard cutouts of all the Hillbillies on the outside. What is funny is that the "display in the back" is essentially ruined, all the wood is rotten and laying in heaps on the ground, yet they still have it open

  3. Three Bears Gift Shop with a pit of live bears...Is it similar to Red Lobster; i.e., you choose your entrée bear then they prepare and serve it?