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Old 02-12-2013, 02:43 PM   #31
quiltymom
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Any restaurant recommendations? I saw there is a Cracker Barrel (DD's favorite restaurant!). But are there any local spots that are worth visiting? We tend to enjoy patronizing individual places rather than chain restaurants. Except for Cracker Barrel, that is!
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:56 PM   #32
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Now THAT is in plentifuls as I don't remember names I'm going to look through my "box" there is one on the strip as you go out of Gatlinburg into the State Park that is a "must do" for the area it is TS with large portions any meal!! Fudge&candy shoppes O yummy!! Many dinner shows with very reasonable prices!! I shall reply this evening (home) with name promise!!! So excited to help someone in a region I know we'll as this board has been a huge help to me!!
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:27 PM   #33
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Hi- I live in TN and we go to the Gatlinburg area a couple of times a year. We are actually headed there this weekend.
I normally try to stay in a timeshare either ebay or resortcerts, so we have a kitchen. We also get groupons or deals on halfoffdepot. We are doing the aquarium and wonderworks but only because I got deals on them. Also we plan to hit a couple of the Ripley's attractions that were on groupon.
This trip I am going to the Dixie Stampede, but only b/c my family wants to go. I think it is pricey, but if you want to know if it is worth it I can let you know in a week. I would prefer Dollywood since it is all day versus a few hours.
Restaurants- We have tried lots over the years and most don't have high quality or customer service since they are touristy and don't necessarily try to get repeat customers. In most towns we try to go nonchains but not in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. My brother likes the apple barn and we will eat at Applewood with him. To me it is okay. If you go lunch is way cheaper (except on Sunday.)
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:12 PM   #34
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Any restaurant recommendations? I saw there is a Cracker Barrel (DD's favorite restaurant!). But are there any local spots that are worth visiting? We tend to enjoy patronizing individual places rather than chain restaurants. Except for Cracker Barrel, that is!
We like the Apple Barn and Old Mill Restaurants. Also, the there is a Brewery/Pub typle place (I think it is called the Old Smokey Brewery or something like that) in the center of Gatlinburg that is great. We try to stay away from the chain restaurants.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:11 PM   #35
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**FlapJack's** That's one I couldn't remember lol I enjoyed checking my "box" as we are not heading to mtns til fall its WDW for spring yet it reminded me just how much there really is between those 2 states We love adventuring from NC to Tn!! Wish I could feed you all info out of this 2013 guide tho my best recommend is definitely give yourself free time as there prob is as much within that area as WDW just no one web page to community it all-Teens here were excited to remember the indoor sky diving is a must do on our next-Good Luck
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:42 PM   #36
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My top local must do restaurants are The Pancake Pantry ( I know I already mentioned that, but you really should try it), people keep mentioning The Old Mill, and it is good, and also something you won't find anywhere else, but you should really try The Pottery House across the street. It's more of a local place. With fantastic food. The Peddler in Gatlinburg has been there forever and ever. It's very good, but it's a little pricey. Those are the only ones I can really think of. There are very few non chain restaurants in that area. And as for The Dixie Stampede, personally, I love it, but it is a little cheesy and a little over the top. There are chicken races, and wooden horse races. Also, the food isn't anything to write home about (except the soup. I LOVE that soup!) and there's no silverware. So if that doesn't sound like something your group would enjoy, I would skip it. Dollywood is more than a nice amusement park. There's a lot of mountain history showcased there. And demonstrations of things that are lost arts these days in Craftman's Valley. There's blacksmithing, and soap making and all kinds of other things that you won't really see anywhere else.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:40 PM   #37
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I didnt read all of the posts, but here is my 2cents.

We go to the area each summer, 3 years in a row now and have this July booked already. We arent ourdoorsy/hikers, etc and I dont care for all the shows. But, we always stay at the Wyndham Smoky Mtn. Resort. They have on onsite waterpark, arcade, restaurant, etc. We get a 2-3 bedroom and they have a full kitchen and Im able to cook as much or as little as I want.

But, if you dont want something like that to stay at...I think you can get a daily pass if you wanted. Just an idea.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:14 AM   #38
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Best steak ever Alamo. One in Pf is where we eat. We love the Old Mill too.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:44 AM   #39
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For those that have suggested Dollywood, is there something special about it besides being a nice amusement park?

The reason I ask is, it would cost our family about $200 to go there for the day, and we live approximately 90 minutes from Cedar Point, so usually go up there once every summer.

If it's just a nice amusement park, I think I'm probably going to skip it. Not that my girls wouldn't enjoy it I'm sure, but thinking there could be lots of other things to spend $200 on that we haven't seen/done.

I was really hoping to keep this whole trip under $1600, so I've priced out everything below.


So far, I've made a list of possible attractions to see, which include

Cades cove/sightseeing - Free
The Ripley Aquarium - $76
Alpine sleds - $28
Horseback riding - $120
Tram/Skylift - $40
Wonderworks - $74
Dixie Stampede - $170

If we stay 5 nights, the cabin which I'm looking at is going to cost $900.

We would probably stock up the cabin's kitchen for breakfast, then eat 1 big meal out each day, and either do a light meal in evening, or just eat back at the cabin.. so let's assume $40 per day eating out, and $25 per day for cabin food. That would give me approximately $400 for food.

So we're looking at approximately $300 for attractions, which isn't much... but based on my list above, what would you consider the must-see's and what would be ones that aren't worth it?


Thanks,
If you are doing the Alpine Sleds at Ober Gatlinburg, you might want to plan on more than that. We went last year and are planning on it again this summer. You can buy an all day pass and it is so worth it. You will want to ride the Alpine Slides more than once. On top of that, they have some water ride slides that you don't really get wet on. My kids had a blast on them. On a side note, since my youngest is under 7, I had to ride with her on all rides. It wasn't so much fun for me on the water rides...I got much wetter than anyone else. The whole weight being in the back of the raft I think. If I were by myself or the weight was a bit more distributed, I don't think I would of gotten so wet. It wasn't like I was soaked, but walking around in wet jeans is not my idea of a good time. Our cabin was just below Ober Gatlinburg, so we drove up. I would consider driving up anyway. The price to park is considerably cheaper than taking the tram up.

Wonderworks is a must for my family. My kids LOVED it. They are already talking about what they want to do again. My boys especially liked the ropes course. It is included in your admission price and was actually a good time. I went up with them and it was a cool experience.

The Aquarium was so good. I wasn't sure what to expect with it being a Ripley's. I tend to think some of the Ripley's stuff is a rip-off for what you pay. But the Aquarium was well worth it. We ended up buying a multi-experience ticket with our Aquarium ticket. We added three more experiences on it. We went to the Mirror Maze (not worth it), 3D movie (not worth it), and the Davy Crockett Put-Put (was okay). This year we are only getting the aquarium pass.

I would skip Dixie Stampede and the horseback riding. I think that is a bit pricey considering you are only wanting to spend $300. Both of that will put a huge dent in your budget.

I know you can leave and enter Wonderworks multiple times on the day of your ticket. I would think about a picnic that day to keep the food costs down. If you do go to Ober Gatlinburg for the day, I would do a picnic lunch that day too. It is really quite pretty up there and you can find places to sit and enjoy the view and lunch at the same time. You will have to pay for parking again if you drive off.

Another free experience is going to Clingmans Dome. It was quite a hike up to it, but worth it if it isn't cloudy. The view is amazing. That would be another picnic kind of day. You will want to bring your own drinks and snacks, because there is no where to buy any of that up there.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:22 AM   #40
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Can anyone tell me how long an average day at the Aquarium is? Full day? Half day? Trying to plan!! Thanks! This thread is super duper helpful for those of us who have never stayed in Gatlinburg!
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:35 AM   #41
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It can def be done in a half day and w/o really rush yet you could also consume a whole day if watching feeding &shows along with a lunch break We are huge animal nuts & that is my children's fave aquarium There is a Ripleys Mirror Funhouse in downtown Gatlinburg close to aquarium that's great very inexpensive with an armband that allows access all day!! The Tunnel in the aquarium is great to redo when waiting for feeding times or shows there's always different activity of animals each time you stroll through! Good Luck
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:32 PM   #42
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If you eat out, you must eat at the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge. It can be a little pricey, but we always go at lunch time to save a little money. It is soooo delicious!

Gatlinburg is worth an evening visit. In the summer, they have cloggers and local musicians placed all around for street entertainment. There is a neat little sky lift that goes up to an overlook. We usually go have dinner there (we like Calhoun's) and then just walk around going in the little shops and get some fudge.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:49 PM   #43
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Best steak ever Alamo. One in Pf is where we eat. We love the Old Mill too.
I second Alamo, too! But I like the one in Gatlinburg better. If you can find the Alamo coupon in the coupon books (not all of them have it), you can use it at lunch, and lunch prices are way better than dinner with just about the same menu.

Lots of people rave about Best Italian. Very easy to split stuff because the portions are big, and the food's really good they say. I haven't been yet, but I plan on it next trip.

http://www.bestitalian.com/

If it were me, I would do Dollywood over Dixie Stampede. Love watching the craftspeople, riding the train, and seeing all the shows. Plus, if your first day you go after 3 PM, you get the next day free. so, you could do something else on your list in the AM, do lunch, and then head to DW.

If you do decide to go to DW, you can avoid the $10 parking fee by taking the trolley (50 cents per person each way). We always park at Patriot Park and catch it there. However, if you are staying on the trolley route, I believe you can just take that trolley and transfer over to the DW trolly at Patriot Park. Depening on how big your family is, you might be better off driving. When I go, it's just 2 of us.

EDIT; forgot - I like Flapjack's too! No huge lines like the pancake Pantry, and the food is tasty. We ate at the Gatlinburg parkway West one (146 parkway).

http://flapjackspancakes.com/
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:05 PM   #44
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We also did the Aquarium in about half a day. We let the gdaughter pick the pace and the time we spent more than satisfied her. For coupons you can pick up this Visitors Guide http://www.vgnet.com/tennessee_smokies/index.php outside of most grocery stores, lodging, some restaurants and probably Welcome Centers too.

Alamo has a good Steak, but we like The Chop House. It can be pretty pricey but we do a late lunch for our main meals most days, and then do a light meal later at the cabin. Portions are pretty big everywhere, that way we are not miserable and so full at night. It's located in the middle of Tanger Outlet and there is another one by The Bass Pro Shop at I-40. Bass Pro and Smokey Mountain Knife Works is a must do for hubby, but the Knife works has plenty of other things to keep the ladies happy too.

All this talk about makes me want to plan another trip
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:11 PM   #45
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I've been to both cedar point and dolly wood. They are very different experiences. My D worked one summer at CP so I'm pretty familiar with it. Dollywood is more about the shows and musical experiences and CP is more about rides. Depends on what you like but I enjoyed both. I would do Dollywood instead of Dixie Stampede but then horses and food in the same place doesn't do it for me.
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