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Old 06-25-2013, 08:25 PM   #1
jupers
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Sevierville TN questions

Hi all...we are driving to Sevierville Sat from Boston before heading to wdw...anyone been there? Any must do's...we have dollywood tix. The kids are 10 and 5. We are excited but nervous!
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:44 PM   #2
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Definitely go to Gatlinburg which is about 15-20 minutes from Pigeon Forge. I would describe it as tourist extreme - can honestly say I've never been anywhere quite like it though. Do you have time to go hiking?
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:50 PM   #3
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Go to the Old Mill Resturant over the Apple Barn. Ripley"s golf is fun & the Aquarium is awesome.

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Old 06-25-2013, 08:56 PM   #4
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Our family was just there 2 years ago. Great fun, very beautiful, wonderful people, waaaay too much food!! I was surprised at the level of commercial build-up in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, but fun. If you are going to be there for the Fourth of July, Gatlinburg has the distinction of having the first Fourth of July parade in the country every year. They have it at 12:01am on the 4th! It was great fun....and since my birthday is the 4th, it was unique way to usher that in too. If you get at chance to see Dixie Stampede, it is worth it. Again, food, fun, very nice people.
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Old 06-25-2013, 09:26 PM   #5
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Maybe a bit much for you but I want to help you avoid the traffic!!!

We live near Seiverville and have season passes for Dollywood. As someone mentioned, it is totally commercialized and a nightmare to travel on the main strip. Where are you staying? Here is a map I found of the main strip http://thegreatsmokeymountainsparkwa.../pfparkway.htm You will be able to see what is on it. My strong, strong suggestion is to avoid this main strip and try to take backroads like Teaster, Middle Creek etc or else you can sit on the main strip for an hour, moving only 1 mile. It can be that bad. This is especially true if you are going on the weekend.

I have tried to get the route you need to take in to avoid this mess. I had to use AAA trip tik and change what they were trying to do. I am not sure if it will work but this is the link for the map I created.
http://ww1.aaa.com/scripts/WebObject...|%20|&poiKey=0

Essentially, you need to avoid 441, the main parkway through the town like the plague! Instead, turn onto 411 Dollywood Parkway and travel until you hit Veterans Blvd. You will take a right and then follow that down until you see the signs for Dollywood--it's right off this road. I promise it will save you so much time and heartache. We made the mistake of listening to our GPS even though we KNOW this area but we were renting a cabin and didnt quite know where it was. I kid you not, 1 hour and 15 minutes on the main strip to get to Dollywood Lane which ultimately was a huge circle around to the otherside of Dollywood when we could have gone just how I told you. It was brutal.

Okay enough of that. You will enjoy your time here. Dollywood is a great family place. The food is awesome. We suggest eating at Miss Lillian's Chicken house--she is wonderful and will entertain you. Be waiting for Kettle Corn, great shows (as Kids' fest is on I think) and fun rides. We have been pass holders since our girls were 3 & 5. They have always loved it, even the shows. You will find a great train, the carnival areas with kiddie rides, a carousel, water rides (wearing a bathing suit may be a great idea). It's fun.

In terms of what else to do. Your kids will probably be worn out. There are some good restaurants like the Apple Barn and Johnny Carinos (or Italian fav) but those are on the main strip. We just stay at Dollywood and avoid all of the madness.

The strip does have go karts and stuff. If you go to Tanger Outlet (on the main strip but early on and accessible by taking Middle Creek) you can spend the day shopping, shopping, shopping. Check out their website for the huge list of stores. There is also a kids amusement area there like Putt, putt, go karts so mom could shop; dad could have fun

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.
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Old 06-25-2013, 09:45 PM   #6
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As others have said, a LOT of what is on the main stretches of both Pidgeon Forge and Gatlinburg are touristy and super crowded. However, out of all of those, the Christmas Store is my favorite. :-)
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Old 06-25-2013, 09:19 PM   #7
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This is funny, we usually vacation at disney, but we wanted to do a quick July 4th weekend trip to sevierville/pigeon forge/gatlinburg. My family are totally disney people, we are originally from Boston (south end and Framingham) but are now Atlanta residents (we moved to be closer to disney ). We went to tn las spring break. So although you have the New England aquarium, and all the east coast aquariums, we still got a kick out of the ripley's aquarium in gatlinburg. My DD liked "panning" for rocks and my DS loved the multi level wooden go-kart. We actually stayed away from dollywood, since it just can't compare to disney. If you're into this type of thing, there is this bird / parrot world (actually near dollywood) which was really cool, since they can land on your shoulders, and you can feed them too. Have fun! We're actually going to wilderness in the smokies water park / resort in sevierville for this trip.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mommyarewegoingback View Post
This is funny, we usually vacation at disney, but we wanted to do a quick July 4th weekend trip to sevierville/pigeon forge/gatlinburg. My family are totally disney people, we are originally from Boston (south end and Framingham) but are now Atlanta residents (we moved to be closer to disney ). We went to tn las spring break. So although you have the New England aquarium, and all the east coast aquariums, we still got a kick out of the ripley's aquarium in gatlinburg. My DD liked "panning" for rocks and my DS loved the multi level wooden go-kart. We actually stayed away from dollywood, since it just can't compare to disney. If you're into this type of thing, there is this bird / parrot world (actually near dollywood) which was really cool, since they can land on your shoulders, and you can feed them too. Have fun! We're actually going to wilderness in the smokies water park / resort in sevierville for this trip.
-Virginia
This s funny...we are staying here over the 4th!! We are on the Wyndham side!
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:38 AM   #9
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Try Cades Coves it was fun and we saw bears upclose.
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Old 06-27-2013, 03:49 AM   #10
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Just was here 2 months ago, you HAVE to go to Cades cove. It's free and they have bears with babies right now.

I also loved the Dixie Stampede, the Aquarium was very cool as well, even though I live in Chicago and have one of the best in the world 2 blocks away. It was worth a visit.

Also, absolutely loved the old mill restaurant. Best in town.
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:24 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by FunAtTheCircus View Post
Just was here 2 months ago, you HAVE to go to Cades cove. It's free and they have bears with babies right now.

I also loved the Dixie Stampede, the Aquarium was very cool as well, even though I live in Chicago and have one of the best in the world 2 blocks away. It was worth a visit.

Also, absolutely loved the old mill restaurant. Best in town.
Do you think the bears will still be around in sight? We'll be there next weekend and plan on going to Cades Cove. Can't wait !!!
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Old 07-07-2014, 10:14 AM   #12
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Do you think the bears will still be around in sight? We'll be there next weekend and plan on going to Cades Cove. Can't wait !!!
We spent a week last month at a rental cabin bordering the park in Wears Valley and had a great time.

As for bears, we did the Cades Cove loop twice and had a grand total of one "near miss" bear sighting. The first trip was in the afternoon and by then the car traffic was pretty bad. Guessing that the wildlife worked a lot like Yellowstone (you see more animals in the mornings), we went back another day mid-morning. That time we came upon a small "bear jam" (traffic jam due to people stopping their cars to get out and look at bears). However, the bear had just moved deeper into the woods out of view... and we opted to not do like one of the idiotic families who decided to go "track" the bear into the woods!

It appears that even in the mornings, traffic and crowds build quickly in the busy times of the year. I found it funny as we walked back to our car after the "near miss" a party of three Harley-Davidson's came to a stop and asked us "Is there some wildlife people are looking at???" All the while, the engines are belching their trademark loud bass "BOO-GAH, BOO-GAH, BOO-GAH..." sounds. I almost said "Well, if there was any wildlife around... I'm sure they're gone now!" But instead, I just said "Not anymore."

The one recommendation I'd make, and one that finally worked in the bear department for us, is to use the "road less traveled" approach. Guessing that we might see more critters if we ditched the Harley's and other traffic we took a side exit out of Cades. The north side-road out of the area is Rich Mountain Road and it runs out to Townsend. It's gravel most of the way, but is well maintained with very few pot holes and no "washboards". It also runs one-way out of the park. It worked. Halfway out, we saw a bear (I thought it was a juvenile at first) pop out of the grass ahead of us and we stopped. With no other cars in sight, we parked the car in the middle of the road. Then two cubs popped out two, and it was clear that the "young" bear was actually the mother. We stayed there for about 5 minutes as the bear and cubs walked around the car and checked us out. We stayed in the car with the windows rolled up too. Eventually, another car approached from behind and the bears opted to go check them out too. So we fired up the car and move on.

We really liked GSMNP. I and my son got up at 4 AM to drive up and watch the sun rise at Newfound Gap (if you want to see the "ball of fire" rise directly, you'll need to go a little further down the road into NC), went horseback riding at Cades Cove, hiked to Laurel Falls, walked up to Clingman's, and took lots of photos along Little River Road. However, I found Pigeon Forge (in general) and Gatlinburg (in particular) to be big "turn-offs". Congestion, traffic jams, and the whole cheap "tourist trap" feel to the place isn't my idea of a fun time. However, I did like eating at the Old Mill Inn and would highly recommend it. Reasonably priced great food... and lots of it!
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:35 AM   #13
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I just did the AAA triptik and looked at the difference. GPS/directions have you go 441 because it shaves about 40 miles off the total trip. But if you go 75 to 40 into Pigeon Forge, it actually has your time as about 7 minutes less. I would assume that it can be even a quicker time as you can book it on the interstate versus on more winding mountain roads.

I am always the type that prefers interstate. I think that you can get from point a to point b quicker with free flowing traffic, easy ability to pass slower travelers and straightish roads. I live in Asheville, NC where winding roads are our thing. I am used to them but boy, when you get behind someone who isnt' it can be brutally slow. And if you are not sure of winding mountain roads then it may slow down your trip. So with all of that said, my choice would be 75 to 40 and then turning off on 411 once in Sevierville--that is unless you are heading to the main strip for lodging etc. Hope this helps.
Thanks so much for looking that up for us. I did the trip tik too and I think I'm with you on the faster highway thing.

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This is accurate advice -- however, I am going to suggest that you not totally eliminate the possibility of taking 441 through the mountains, one way or the other.

If you would like to "enjoy the journey", taking 441 is a great way to do that. If you just want to arrive at your destination as efficiently as possible, then I75 is the way to go.

441 is a beautiful drive through the North Georgia mountains and through a number of small towns. There are many little roadside stands where you can buy honey, jams, jellies, crafts. Depending on the ages and gender of your children --- Cleveland, GA is about 15 miles off of your route. It is the home of Babyland General Hospital and the Cabbage Patch Kids --- little girls particularly love going here. Also, you would be driving through Cherokee, NC, which is a hokey, touristy town -- with a lot of kid appeal.

If you decide not to take this route this time, I do recommend, since you live in Atlanta, that you take a day or weekend trip up that way sometime in the summer or the fall. You can go through Cleveland and on up to Helen, GA, which is a fun place for the family to spend a day or two. From Atlanta, you can be there in less than 2 hours.
We did go over 441 last spring and it was beautiful. We were traveling early in the day so there was not too much traffic, I'm just worried about traveling on the afternoon before July 4th and the traffic on the mtn and strip. As for Cleveland GA, I've been trying to get my family to go, I want to go to the cabbage patch hospital, but can't seem to interest my family...

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This s funny...we are staying here over the 4th!! We are on the Wyndham side!
Well, I think the last time I went to pigeon forge area, my family was the only Asian family I saw our entire trip. So if you see an Asian family on the lazy river, it will probably be us. We are staying at the River Lodge bldg.

-Virginia
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:02 AM   #14
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Thanks so much for looking that up for us. I did the trip tik too and I think I'm with you on the faster highway thing.



We did go over 441 last spring and it was beautiful. We were traveling early in the day so there was not too much traffic, I'm just worried about traveling on the afternoon before July 4th and the traffic on the mtn and strip. As for Cleveland GA, I've been trying to get my family to go, I want to go to the cabbage patch hospital, but can't seem to interest my family...



Well, I think the last time I went to pigeon forge area, my family was the only Asian family I saw our entire trip. So if you see an Asian family on the lazy river, it will probably be us. We are staying at the River Lodge bldg.

-Virginia
We're leaving here (CT) either July 3rd or 4th. And will be in Pigeon Forge on the 5th. Will we hit a LOT of traffic or will we be okay. So we'll be there from the 5th-10th. I'm assuming it's a busy time of year? I'm also wondering what type of wildlife we'd be able to see in Cades Cove? And would you recommend things to see or avoid during the weekend? We're not doing Dollywood or the water park (did that last time) We're mostly looking to do the kitchy side road attractions, driving around checking out the mountains, Ripley's stuff (mini golf, aquarium, etc) Wonderworks.....
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:17 AM   #15
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Wow, a lot of us going this summer! DH, DD10 and myself are headed down on July 6 for 4 nights. We are staying in Cosby which looks to be 20-30 away from all the action which is fine with us. DH is a fly fisherman and wanted to be close to a trout stream. Looking forward to spending some quality time together and DD is really hoping to see some bears!
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