Pigeon Forge Christmas Vacation

Welcome to the first hump day of 2012!

Can’t you tell introductions are my WORST writing skill ever? I’ve been super busy at work writing about year-end procedures and taxes and forms and other stuff, and I’m finally getting a chance to blog again. Yes, I’ve only worked two days this week, but I’ve gotten tons done… and still have a lot of things to move from the “to-do” list to the “To-DONE” list.

If death and taxes are the only two certain things in life, this technical writer for financial accounting software definitely has job security.

Clay and I both had time off of work after Christmas and I had a year-end bonus from work burning a hole in my bank account, so instead of staying around the house and spending hours in the gym, watching trash TV, eating leftovers, or just being pointless around the house, we took a little trip to Pigeon Forge, Tenn. since he had never been and I haven’t been in about three years. It’s in the mountains and a pretty popular vacation destination for those of us who live in South Carolina.

Despite the cold, windy, weather, we had a really good trip. We left South Carolina bright and early on the day after Christmas (and my 3 mile post-Christmas run), and by lunchtime, we were already in Tennessee. We stopped for lunch at Subway and then headed to our hotel and checked in. Since I bought a package, we stayed at a hotel called the Willow Brook Lodge. It was pretty no-frills but not bad for the two nights we were there, although the wireless internet could have worked a little better (and been a little faster).

In keeping with our vacation traditions, this was the first picture I took.

We also took some pics around the hotel. It was decorated pretty cute for Christmas.

After checking in and resting a bit, we walked to the Old Mill, which is a restaurant and shopping area. We bought a few things and just chilled out but didn’t eat.

When we left the Old Mill, we walked over to Taste of India of the Smokies. We bought a $10 gift card from Restaurant.com for 50 cents (yes- they were 90% off!) a few days before because we were planning to eat here. It ended up saving us a lot of money and our bill was only about $30 after tip, and we got tons of food.

The food was *incredible*. Clay and I absolutely love Indian food, and if you’ve never had Indian food, you should definitely try it. A lot of people are scared of ethnic foods, but not us. It’s kind of ironic, because as a vegetarian, people sort of assume I’d be a picky eater, but I love Indian, Thai, etc. I had the Vegetarian Thali, which was basically a sampler of three vegetarian dishes. Clay had a similar meat dish.

Not only was the food delicious, but we also had leftovers to heat up and eat for lunch the next day :). We spent the next morning doing some serious outlet shopping (Under Armor Outlet? Heck yeah!) and then headed to Dollywood.

Yeah, Dollywood is kind of hokey, but they had a really neat Christmas Light display there as well as some rides, shows, shops, and other attractions. It’s basically a country music theme park (and neither of us like country music).

Since it was rainy and cold, Dollywood was pretty much empty. We didn’t have to wait for any rides, and we even did a ropes course. I was pretty much a wuss when it came to the ropes course, but I did a few of them and had fun. I’ve never done anything like that before. Pretty soon, it got dark and the park turned on all the lights, so I took a few pics.

After a few hours, we were tired, cold, and damp, so we left Dollywood on the trolley to go to dinner. Pigeon Forge had really neat public transportation, so that’s how we got around. It was only 50 cents to ride the trolley and it went pretty much everywhere, much less stressful than driving in the crazy traffic or paying for parking at Dollywood.

We decided on a restaurant called Smokey Mountain Brewery for dinner after my coworker Mike recommended it. Mike really knows his stuff about beers, so when he recommended it, I showed it to Clay knowing he’d like it- and we weren’t disappointed :).

Clay got a beer sampler, a meatball grinder, and wings. I had a veggie boca burger and broccoli with “beer cheese”. It was definitely different than regular broccoli and cheese, and I really liked it.

The best thing about the restaurant was that it was warm and toasty, but when we finished dinner, we only had to wait about 5 minutes for the trolley to pick us up and take us back to our hotel. I didn’t drink, and Clay didn’t drink much, but that’s definitely another advantage of good public transportation for those who do like to drink a lot. We came back to our hotel room and pretty much passed out in front of the New Orleans game.

The next morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel again, then headed for South Carolina. On our way home, we stopped at the Bush’s Baked Beans factory and museum. Yep- we love crazy roadside attractions and having Griswold-esque vacations, but this place was actually pretty cool. The museum showed the history of the plant and a lot of the inner workings of how beans are canned. I thought it was really interesting, but I guess I’m a little nerdy when it comes to learning about how things work. It reminded me of those documentaries on the History Channel.

You could also take a picture with the dog from their commercials, and they had a crazy scale that told you your weight in baked beans. Guess there’s at least one cool scale out there, huh?

So, that was our little Christmas Family Vacation :). We had a really great time, but probably won’t be going back to Pigeon Forge anytime soon because we don’t like to visit the same places over and over (so unlike my parents). We got back to South Carolina later Wednesday afternoon, and I enjoyed a nice Thursday off of work- spent working out, cleaning, and de-stressing from the holidays!

Q1.) Where would you like to go on the weekends or on mini-vacations? We don’t get to do many trips with Clay’s schedule, but I know we’d like to visit Savannah, Ga., one day.

Q2.) What’s the goofiest roadside attraction you’ve ever visited or heard of? Mine would definitely be South of the Border, which is a weird sombrero off of I-95 in South Carolina. It’s the kind of place you have to stop at once but won’t ever want to go back!

Q3.) Have you ever tried Indian food? Do you like it? Oh yes, we love it!

This entry was posted in Holidays, Married Life, Traveling and Trips and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Pigeon Forge Christmas Vacation

  1. Amanda says:

    Your vacation looked like tons of fun. I’ve been to the area on vacation once and it really is gorgeous down in TN. (Think we went to Gatlinburg) I love that pic of the house with the lights all spaced out. It’s so nifty.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I like Gatlinburg, but hotels there are pricier and also a bit older. I do wish we could’ve driven through there and maybe spent some time there, but with just a few days, it just wasn’t going to happen. It definitely has more character than Pigeon Forge (which honestly reminded me a lot of Myrtle Beach because of the “strip” feel on the highway).

      The pic is a restaurant in Dollywood. It’s like they “Clark Griswold-ed” the restaurant with lights but in a non-tacky way.

  2. Looks like you had a great vacation! 🙂 On the weekends I usually stay home but I love to travel so I’d go almost anywhere for vacation. 🙂

  3. ladycoop says:

    Sounds like a great vacay!

    When we lived in FL, we LOVED going to Savannah, GA. We always stayed at the Westin on the River and loved walking around downtown. We never did eat at Paula Deen’s resturant, but there was this yummy bakery/resturant everything was make from scratch. They only serve b-fast and lunch. SO Good.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Nice :). If we ever go to Sav, I doubt we’d eat at Paula’s restaurant. I don’t like butter, and I’m a vegetarian- so I don’t think there would be much there for me. I’ve also heard from several people who have went that it was very hyped and definitely NOT the best country cooking restaurant in Savannah. But, I think when it has a celebrity’s name on it, people also have super high expectation.

  4. Lindsay says:

    That plate of Indian food is enormous! I LOL’d that you went to dolly wood but don’t like country music. I’ve never been to pigeon forge (i think) or dolly wood (I know I havent). Also, love your white coat!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks for the compliment on my coat! This is the third winter I’ve had it and still looks great. I love it- classic pieces like pea coats are pretty awesome, they’re stylish every year!

      Yup that was a ton of food… no wonder I had leftovers. But I ate a lot of it, it was just so good!

  5. Cori says:

    I haven’t been to Pigeon Forge in ages! One year, we went there for Thanksgiving. A family friend also got married in Gatlinburg when I was in middle school, and I was in her wedding. I believe that was the last time I was there. It’s a cool place to visit every once in awhile! Sounds like y’all had a great mini-vacation there!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It’s really grown in the past few years, lots of new things to do up there. We did have a great mini vacation! And yeah lots of people get married there too.

  6. allieksmith says:

    I love your jacket! What a smart idea for you and Clay to head off on a little vaca instead of just hanging around-that always ends up being a ton of fun!

    Savannah is def. on my list! It wouldn’t be a mini vacation for me because Savannah is 12 hours away (SAD) by car. But for mini trips I like to go to Niagara Falls or Washington D.C. because they are only about 4 hours away from Pittsburgh 🙂

    As for Indian food… I LOVE IT!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks for the jacket compliment- vacations are always a lot of fun!

      I think it’s so neat you are that close to DC. DC is pretty fun and I like how so much is free there, all the museums, national zoo, etc.

  7. Indian food is the best! I haven’t had it in awhile, but they always have a good selection of delicious vegetarian options, plus I love anything really spicy!

    I go to Denver a lot, since it’s about an hour’s drive away, but that’s usually just for shopping trips. For more outdoorsy types of mini vacations we usually head up into the mountains and visit ski resorts during the summer, since they always have something fun going on. But I wish I could check out all these places over on the East Coast since the furthest east I’ve ever been is Orlando!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Denver sounds like such a fun city with a lot going on :). You’re lucky to live so close to a big city. And the vegetarian options are definitely what makes Indian food great!

  8. I see everyone is in love with your jacket but I am too. It’s just so darn cute! I am actually not the biggest fan of Indian food but I think I could learn to love it again. Perhaps.

    I want to take some day trips to DC while I’m back home and then go back over to Canada and Vermont when in NY. We shall see.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I hope you get to take some day trips especially now that you’re done with swim and will have more time :). Plus you could always do some sort of racing vacation :).

      Or you could come to SC and I could introduce you to some good Indian food…

  9. Pingback: Christmas Vacation Part 2 « From Here to Bulgaria

  10. Krystie says:

    Great pictures, It looks like you really enjoyed yourself! I like certain Indian foods, my dads neighbor makes really some great dishes but I dont normally have a lot of Indian foods, not too many restaurants around me!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      An Indian restaurant opened last year in my town and it’s amazing. Before that, I only got Indian food maybe once a year! Many of my friends have never had it though, so I guess I’m lucky in that sense. And, just like Mexican food, Indian food that Indians make at home is a lot different than restaurant version. I have an Indian friend and like what she cooks too!

  11. These are great pictures Amy, looks like you had a ton of fun 🙂 I loveeee me some Indian Food! I used to think it was unhealthy and fattening (which yes, some is), but that is not the case at all! There are plenty of tasty items there that are healthy too 🙂

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