A March 1996 trip
to Pigeon Forge by vampirefan
Quote: Over 10 years ago John and I started our lives together by getting married in Pigeon Forge and staying there for our honeymoon.
Then you will find accommodations ranging from rustic with fireplaces and hot tubs to modern and the requisite honeymoon suits with Jacuzzi. You can go to either above CVB web site where you can find a list of wedding chapels and services. Be on the lookout for Guide to the Smokies. This free publication can be found all over town and offers money saving coupons. There is also the What to Do Magazine with ideas galore and more money saving coupons. Country music abounds in this area. There are a number of venues and theaters in both cities as well as performances at Dollywood. So if county music is your thing you might want to purchase tickets before you head out the door.
Hotel | "Days Inn of Pigeon Forge"
If you have ever stayed in more than one Days Inn, then you know it is a gamble. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you shoot craps. But in this case, the Days Inn here will make you a winner indeed.
Since we were asking family members to come with us we needed to be mindful of others people’s budgets and decided we wanted a nice but budget friendly hotel where we could all stay. I have a relative who frequents this area often and asked her for a suggestion and she said she loved the Days Inn Pigeon Forge. And knowing this person well, I knew she wouldn’t stay in a budget hotel unless it was very nice indeed.
The décor here is typical budget hotel. Nothing spectacular, but very nice. Our group had rooms with both queen sized and king sized beds. The bathrooms were spacious and very clean. The hotel is centrally located and very nice and clean on the outside.
John and I had one of the honeymoon suits which featured a king sized bed and a Jacuzzi tub. This was quite a welcome relief after a day of running around and the cold mountain weather. We had a TV and plenty of closet and drawer space. Our room also came with a fridge.
The staff was very welcome and friendly. When I made our reservations I let them know we were a wedding party and was very surprised when we arrived in our room to find a bottle of wine and chocolates! But since we don’t drink, it was just taken home to go into my spaghetti sauce. Their lobby is clean and inviting and they have plenty of literature on local and nearby spots.
Amenities include free HBO, a heated pool, and coffee bar. Some rooms include Jacuzzis and refrigerator. They do have a limited number of connecting rooms. They do offer discounts for groups. Just make sure either one person calls to make reservations or you mention you will be with a group. They do have a restaurant on the premises. For more information or to make reservations please go to www.daysinn.com
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 24, 2006
Days Inn Pigeon Forge
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee 37863
Attraction | "Smoky Mountain Deer Farm"
Smoky Mountain Deer Farm & Exotic Petting Zoo
478 Happy Hollow Lane
Sevierville, Tennessee 37876
Since 1987 thousands of couples have said ‘I Do’ at the Smoky Mountain Wedding Chapel. With its beautiful and simple log church, it makes the perfect spot to begin your new life. In fact they were the first chapel to begin offering such ceremonies.
When looking through the information on weddings, this lovely chapel immediately caught my eye. I loved the old fashioned look of the log chapel against the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains. I sent away for information and once my package arrived I never even considered any other place. When we were there they were part of the Holiday Inn Village and at the time had a choice of the log chapel or a modern chapel for larger weddings. Now it appears they only have the chapel.
The tiny chapel holds up to 25 guests. Inside the chapel they have a wooden trellis with wisteria, a place for the candle lighting ceremony, and an alter for the minister and couple. They do offer 4 packages to fit every need and budget. All the ceremonies are candlelight ceremonies and if you are having a ceremony in the cooler months try to get one of the last ceremony times. Ours was at 5 o’clock and the candlelight made the chapel even more stunning. The ceremonies are Christian and non-denominational. All packages include the ceremony performed by an ordained minister, music, and a photo album. In the warmer months, garden ceremonies can be arranged. Extras include limo service as well as the release of white doves.
The staff here goes beyond helpful. They will do everything within their power to help make your day its most special. They can help arrange for a place to stay, a place to get your wedding duds, or a way to make Aunt Tilly feel special at your ceremony. They were the ones who suggested Santo’s to me as a place to hold our after wedding dinner and made the arrangements to have a private room for us. In the end our wedding went off without any problem and I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful place to start my married life. But if you do happen to already be married, they also offer vow renewal packages as well.
Again all you have to do to get married in Pigeon Forge is just go to the courthouse and get your marriage license. There is not a waiting period nor or blood tests required. You just need a birth certificate and proof of citizenship and your all set. To find out how to book your wedding, please visit these fine folks at www.smokymountainweddingchapels.com
Smoky Mountain Wedding Chapels
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee 37863
One of the best ways to get an awe inspiring view of Gatlinburg is from the chair at the Gatlinburg Sky Lift. For more than 50 years now visitors to the city have made this a must stop while in town. It is the highlight of the Boyne USA Resorts and has been voted Gatlinburg’s #1 Scenic Overlook.
You started your adventure from the bottom of the mountain. You climb into one of the lift chairs which are very similar to the ski lift chairs. As you climb up 1800 feet and over the Little Pigeon River you get a bird’s eye view of the lovely and famous Smoky Mountains. At the top you will find a 4000 square foot visitor center. Here you can get a panoramic view of the mountains and Gatlinburg down below. They have telescopes out on the deck for an even better view of the surrounding area.
You will simply be amazed at the treat presented before you. In the fall your eyes will pop as the fall colors blaze through the mountain scenery. In the winter what a better way to take in the beauty a winter blanket of snow brings. In the warmer months take an evening ride and check out Gatlinburg from above as the town twinkles down below from thousands of lights throughout the city. The center also offers restrooms, a snack bar, and gift shop. As you descent back down the mountain you can appreciate the sheer beauty of this amazing town.
Once on the ground you have a chance to purchase a souvenir photo of your adventure. They are handicapped accessible. They do have free parking nearby. They also have picnic tables for your use located on the grounds.
Admission: $12 adults; $9 children. They do offer group discounts.
Hours: April to October from 9am to 10pm; November to March from 9am to 5pm.
This is one of the best ways to get an over view of this delightful and charming city. It was one of my favorite things on our trip even in the cold April air. Make sure to bring your camera and capture all the beauty this place has to offer.
Gatlinburg Sky Lift
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738
For a truly beautiful and divine place make sure to stop by the Christus Gardens in Gatlinburg. This is truly a place to inspire and to be inspired with its amazing beauty and reverence to the life of Jesus Christ.
For more than 40 years now this attraction has been inspiring the thousands of visitors who come here yearly. They are the recipient of the Shining Example Award. They have also been voted America’s #1 Religious attraction as well as been voted the most visited family attraction on the Southeast.
This beautiful place began more than 40 years ago when Ronald S. Ligon contracted TB. Before he passed he wanted to leave behind a place to honor the Divine Savior and all that He had given Ronald. He begin visiting religious shires all over the worlds and put his ideas into motion. He ended up with his religious memorial and gardens in the heart of the famed Smoky Mountains.
Today visitors to the center will find 100 life-sizes figures that are important in the life of Jesus, an heirloom Bible collection, the Place of the Parable, The Promise, a Bible coin collection, and the Gems of the Bible. In addition they have truly stunning gardens that can be enjoyed year round. One of the most exquisite pieces is the chiseled Carrara face of Jesus that greats visitors to the center. This is a tour at your own pace attraction and you may stay as long as you like.
The center is handicapped accessible. They do offer restrooms and picnic tables. They do have ample free parking and parking for buses. They do also have a large gift shop filled with religious items as well as gardening items. They do hold a number of events through out the year. As you might expect they do have a number of events following a religious holiday such as Christmas and Easter. And as you might guess, this is when crowds are at the peak. Cameras allowed.
Hours and admission info:
Admission: $10.75 adults; $4.48 children. Children under 6: free. Group discounts available.
Hours: April to October from 8am to 9pm; November to March from 9am to 5pm. Closed on Christmas.
Website: www.christusgardens.com $1 off admission coupon on-line.
This is truly an amazing place to visit no matter what your religious believes (or lack of) are. When you leave this place you will be awed by what you see here. Make sure to put it on your must see list.
510 River Road
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738
When John got down on one knee more than 11 years ago and proposed….of course I said yes. Followed by "now can we please get to the car it is cold." He had asked me to marry him at the beautiful duck pond near our apartment in Charlotte on a cold fall evening.
We chose a date in March that was my grandmother’s birthday to honor her. By the time we would be married I would be almost 31 and thoughts of a magnificent grand wedding had long gone. Granted these days that doesn’t make one a spinster, but still the lavish wedding would have been something I would have been more inclined to do in my 20’. Unfortunately in my 20’s I was quite enjoying single life and wasn’t inclined to think about weddings and husbands! I would also be starting to work on my BA that coming fall and crowds scared the bejesus out of John. So we settled on a small ceremony with only family. We didn’t want to go the way of a court house nor did we want a big church for only a handful of people. So a friend mentioned they had wedding chapels in the Pigeon Forge area and you could pick up your marriage licenses and get married in the same day. So that is what we did. We chose to only have our parents, John’s grandparents, my bother and sister-in-law, and her niece. Our wedding was intimate and perfect. Plus we must have done something right because this March we will celebrate 11 years of happiness. Sadly a feat that is hardly ever obtained by today’s married couples.
Pigeon Forge and the surrounding area is perfect for all size families, budgets, and tastes. It is also the perfect destination year round. In the spring time the place comes alive as the weather warms up and the mountains come to life with vivid green trees and wildflowers abound throughout. The summer offers summer fun with water parks, Dollywood, and temperatures that are a little more bearable that your typical southern destination. Fall will knock you out as the mountain forest is blanketed with hues of red, gold, and orange. The winter is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. This is also home to Dollywood. Dollywood is the brainchild of county music legend Dolly Parton. Also another reason why I liked this area. Though not a fan of country music, I absolutely adore Dolly with her Southern drawl and sass.
Dollywood is open from mid-March through the end of the year. Though not exactly a coaster enthusiast’s paradise, the park is still a big hit with the whole family. They offer rides and down home entertainment and even the occasional appearance by Dolly herself. Their newest wooden coaster has generated a buzz amongst coaster enthusiasts as one of the best wooden coasters in the country.
Year round sports fans will find the area to offer a variety of activities to keep you going. In the warmer months lace up your shoes and grab you camera and enjoy hiking in the lovely mountains and in the fall grab a sweater and come out and capture the beauty of the autumn trees. When the summer sun is bearing down on you, head out to the water and try white water rafting, guaranteed to give you a mega adrenalin rush, or just pop in an intertube and enjoying lazing down the river. In the winter grab your ski mask and hit the slopes at one of the areas premier ski slopes.
If your sporting adventures takes the form of indoor and in a shopping mall…then they have you covered as well. You won’t believe all the malls and shops here. Tangers, Belz, Z Buda, Pigeon Forge Outlet Mall, can all be found here. You can also find an abundance of small and welcoming shops offering everything from local made crafts, sports equipment, to fancy cowboy duds. While we were here I had to make sure I went to Kandlesticks. I always go when in Savannah and they have a location here as well. They make the most wonderful ribbon candles and you can even watch them being made. I also checked out the Mikasa and Pfaltzgraff outlets and found items here for my china patterns that I didn’t see at the store I registered at. My biggest find was a beautiful cocktail dress at the Liz Claiborne outlet that had been $180 for $15.
After you day of running around you will be happy to knows there is no shortage of dining options to be discovered. Everything from down home southern cuisine to new American cuisine and everything in between can be found along the highways, nestled in malls, and off the beaten path. Oh and don’t forget the BBQ. This is the south and we like BBQ here. Gatlinburg is even home to one of the newest Hard Rock Café’s.
If you like country music you will be in bumpkin heaven. Dollywood offers a variety of performances, and on an occasion even by the Queen of Country Music herself. There is also the Lee Greenwood Theater, Ronnie Millsap’s Keyboard Café, and Dolly’s Music Manson, Live from the Smokies, Eddie’s Heart and Soul Café, and Memories Theater. The Comedy Barn will keep you laughing throughout the night.
And don’t forget about the biggest attraction around…the Great Smoky Mountain National Parkway. More than 9 million folks come here every year to take in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Thus making it one of the most visited National Parks. It belongs to the Appalachian Mountain Chain which is the oldest in North America. Of the 520,000 acres, approximately half sits in Tennessee. And the other half sits in my home state of NC. You will find more species of plant life here than anywhere else in North America. There are some 1500 types of plants, 130 types of trees, 30 varieties of orchids and grasses. Wildlife also flourishes in the mountains. 60 different species call this habitat home as do 80 species of reptiles and 70 types of fish. The Smoky Mountain are home to several endangered species and some species can only be found within the park. There are an estimated 400-600 black bears roaming the park and can stop traffic quicker than Johnny Depp can stop females in their track. There are also more than a dozen waterfalls in the area.
So as you can see, the area is suited for starting out a new life as husband and wife. With all the beautiful places to get married and the boundless options for entertainment and dining, you just can’t go wrong. So next time you need a perfect getaway or looking to get married…the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area has it all. One visit and you know why this place is still beating in the heart of Dolly and all those who come to visit.
Charlotte, North Carolina