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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chapter 4: Of Mountains and Men

The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee offers its visitors beautiful scenery, outdoor music, restaurants and shops. The Old Mill Restaurant provides great food at very affordable prices. During major holidays, everyone converges on the restaurant, so prepare for a short wait. Once you enter, the servers provide phenomenal service and delicious food. The Old Mill Cafe and Grille across the street also offers a light menu and great service.

You might get lucky and catch an afternoon show on your way in or out. We were fortunate to hear the gentleman below as he entertained the crowd with his guitar, harmonica and songs. Our afternoon could not have been more perfect.

Read about the history of the The Old Mill

Pigeon Forge has changed dramatically since my husband and I first visited in 1991. Back then, there were only a few blocks on the strip. Today, there are so many restaurants, shows, go cart tracks, arcades, mini golf courses, stores and traffic that one easily loses focus. This time, we decided to visit one of the newer attractions called Wonderworks. In addition, to fascinating exhibits, games and strange contraptions, we enjoyed the lazer tag, 3D movie, arcade and rock climbing. In the photo below, my oldest races against his father on the way up to the bell. I am proud to say all three "boys" made it up to ring the bell and then made it back down safely.

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through 27 different tunnels. I always become a little dizzy as we pass through one, especially if the tunnel goes on and on. Yet, I cannot help but reflect on the fact that I am literally under that huge mountain of rock. It's a magical feeling for me.

Tunnel in the Great Smoky Mountains coming from Gatlinburg on our way to Pigeon Forge

If you plan a visit to Pigeon Forge, I highly recommend that you visit Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa. This 100 acre farm contains a petting zoo, picnic tables, a stocked pond for fishing, horseback riding, a gift shop and kind folks who will serve you with great respect and joy. In particular, I want to thank Missy, our horse guide, for her patience and care. She made our ride through the mountain trails very pleasurable. After the horse ride, the guys went fishing and my youngest caught the only fish that day. While they fished, I of course wondered around the ranch and took some pictures of the wildlife.

This beautiful lama posed graciously for me while my oldest spent most of his time with the miniature horse, the goat, turkey and emu.

Just a day in the mountains..........

A Final Note on this New Year's Eve 2008

With temperatures in the low 20's here in East Tennessee, we have decided to watch the Gatlinburg fireworks display from our cabin high up in the mountains. With a warm fireplace, a cup of hot chocolate and Woody at my feet, I
wish you all a very Happy New Year!


  1. It all looks beautiful. I know what you mean about the Pigeon Forge area changing over the years. I was surprised at the growth the last time we visited the area.
    Loved the photos.
    Have a safe and wonderful New Year!

  2. Happy New Year to your and your family as well. I've enjoyed spending your vacation with you through your writings and pictures. That area of the country is very special to me and I was thrilled to revisit it.

  3. In the summer driving through there is some killer traffic jams to rival NYC and DC traffic.
    You can literally walk quicker through there and Gatlinburg on a Saturday in the summer!

  4. I got married in Pigeon Forge! :D

    Have a wonderful 2009!

  5. Pam and Lorenzo

    Oh yes this entire area here in East Tenn has changed. In the early 90's it was really a pleasure to drive through and spend time here. Although the area is still very beautiful and we had a great time while we were here, I still prefer the the peace and quiet we find in Western NC. We spent the first half of our vacation in NC and the 2nd half here in Tenn. The guys wanted to visit the Smokey's since we had not been here in about 5 years.

    The traffic is awful but the people are great! Tons of entertainment and great food.... Thank you both for the visit.

    Mountain Woman

    Always happy to hear from you. You too have great pictures to share and stories to tell.

    Hi Jessica
    We actually saw a wedding as we were leaving Gatlinburg yesterday...temps in the low 30's and a bride in white and groom in black walking out of the chapel. Beautiful picture...

    Glad to hear from you...Happy New Year!!!

  6. Happy new year!

    I've never been to Pigeon Forge, but now feel as if I know a bit about it. Great photographs, too.

    Looking forward to reading more in 2009.


  7. It looks like a fabulour place to visit. I enjoyed reading about it and the pictures illustrate your words very well.

    Happy New Year,

  8. What a wonderful start to the New Year! We've been just about everywhere in the US, but have yet to visit Pidgeon Forge. The only thing I know about Pidgeon Forge is Dolly Parton! Ha! New Year? Hot chocolate, family, fireworks and Woody(I could just kiss him!) ...Does it get any better than that?...I wouldn't think so. Love to you and yours Mar...-Nards


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