Hillbilly Vacation Roundup


It’s been a while since I’ve been in the Smoky Mountains and it’s funny to see some of the changes that takes place in just a short amount of time.

Can you spot anything unusual about this building in Pigeon Forge?

Driving into town my wife and I wondered “What’s the deal with that building? It looks like it collapsed”.

We couldn’t stop staring at this thing and were it not for a red stoplight, we might not have figured it out until we saw the advertisements for “Wonderworks”. What we discovered is that they built it upside down. Notice the palm trees suspended from the ground/sky.

It opened earlier this year as a dinner-theatre, amusement park, museum. It’s on our to-do list for our next stop.

Our hillbilly vacation was everything we hoped it would be. We ate taffy, fudge and more junk food than we care to admit. We took the tram to Ober Gatlinburg, watched the live black bears and, when it rained out our chairlift morning, we ponied up the cash to walk through “Ripley’s Believe It or Not”. (save your money). The museum also nickles and dimes you to death throughout the entire exhibit. $2 for a paper guide, and coin operated machines at every turn.

Saturday we took the kids to my alma mater, Carson Newman College for homecoming and saw a bunch of folks who either taught me or sat beside me in class. I talked screenwriting with my film professor, chatted with an old buddy who was just elected Criminal Court Judge in Chattanooga, and crashed the reunion for the Class of ’86. Walking across that campus and seeing those old friends brought a complete rush of memories that made my head spin. I’m forever grateful to my parents for sending me to CN.

My wife remarked just as I did last year that it seems everybody who vacations in Gatlinburg are smokers. Everywhere we walked somebody was either eating a funnel cake or smoking a cigarette.

The NASCAR go-cart track was fun and our drive to the top of Mt. LeConte was beautiful even though most of the trees hadn’t turned colors yet.

We’re going back sometime soon. Maybe next fall when my class has its 20th year reunion at CN.

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