Do you remember when I flew down to Florida to jump out of a plane for my 30th birthday? If you don’t, you’re all caught up. The original plan was for my husband to plan a surprise trip for my 30th and then I took over the planning. What do the kids say these days…? sorry. not sorry.
Well in response to that birthday extravaganza, I felt it appropriate to plan a trip for Fella’s birthday in November. Did he also reach a milestone birthday? Nope. But I’m a loving wife and simultaneously wanted to travel. Yes. I made his birthday a little bit about me, but it was mostly about him. I swear.
The destination: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
The accommodation: a cabin in the mountains complete with a hot tub, a pool table, a darts board, and a button-operated fireplace
The plan: do as many things and eat as many foods as we could in 2ish days
I had previously been to Pigeon Forge once as a kid. Instead of the yearly beach trip, my dad planned our summer vacation to the good ‘ol PF, Tennessee where we… wait for it… stayed in a cabin in the mountains. During the days my brother and I, along with our 1-each friends, were dropped off at either Dollywood (Dolly Parton’s theme park) or the neighboring Splash Country Waterpark and were picked up around dinner time. That was the extent of my memories.
Since we currently live in relatively close proximity to Pigeon Forge, I figured why not check it out as an adult and surprise my English husband with an extremely American getaway. I was able to keep the destination a secret from Fella and had him try and guess where we were headed while we were on the road. The funny thing about that plan is once we turned off the interstate, there was a detour set up directing traffic around a bad accident, so we hopped on a twisting back-country road which caused some concern for the birthday boy. We passed by the Bush’s Baked Beans factory and Visitor Center to which Fella inquired: “Is this the surprise?” He was only slightly relieved when my response was: “No, but what if it was?”
Then we passed by the entrance sign for the Forbidden Caverns. Again the exchange happened: “Is this the surprise?” “No, but what if it was?” We were driving through an industrial area with ramshackle factory buildings and fleets of work trucks when we passed by the little green county sign stating, “Entering Pigeon Forge”. Not exactly the pomp and circumstance in which I wanted to break the news but passing by the larger-than-life Dollywood sign later on helped a bit.
Since our visit was a whirlwind, here’s the breakdown:
Crave Golf Club– indoor putt putt that smelled like cotton candy; the courses were mediocre and since it was raining, it was a very popular destination, but the holiday decorations were nice to look at
Pirate Golf at MagiQuest– indoor black-lit putt putt that shivered our timbers; the wall murals were amazing and made for a great atmosphere to minigolf in
Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que- yummy pulled pork sandwich; the spicy mac & cheese was a surprising standout
Fuddruckers- American sit down burger chain that was my favorite when I was a kid, but couldn’t quite remember if it was because of the arcade in the back of the restaurant or because of the free cookie coupon that came with my kids meal; nevertheless we had some tasty burgers
Smoky Mountain Escape Games– we did the Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland room; quite challenging and had the first scent puzzle we’ve ever experienced
Escapology– we ended up doing 3 rooms here and really enjoyed them all; from favorite to least favorite: Murder on the Orient Express, Lost City, 7 Deadly Sins
WonderWorks– a children’s museum that we as adults had a blast galivanting around in; we almost fell over entering through a kaleidoscope tunnel that played mind tricks on you, raced one another up a rock climbing wall (he beat me to the top, but the moms waiting for their kids said that my repelling was a lot more graceful than his), tightrope walked through a 4 story high ropes course, and rode a couple of simulator rides; glad we decided to brave the crowds
Lee’s Fusion Café- I was craving comfort food as it rained the entire time we were in Pigeon Forge and boy am I glad we landed on Lee’s; best Asian food I’ve had in quite some time! Their veggies were all delicious, the shrimp was fresh, and their dumplings were the perfect comfort food consumed while in bed watching Pretty Woman with the fireplace roaring
Frizzle Chicken Farmhouse Café– run, don’t walk to this gem of an eatery; the entire restaurant displays animatronic chickens around the ceiling perimeter that break out into song every 30 minutes or so and with names like HEN Stefani, Conway TWEETY, Jim HENson, and Justin TimberBEAK, how can you not crack a smile? We visited during breakfast hours and though the options were limited, we both enjoyed our orders
As we were leaving Sunday morning, the mountains were capped with freshly fallen snow from the night before which was the perfect end to a great birthday weekend getaway. If you find yourself looking for a cabin in Tennessee, I would highly recommend the Smokey Trails cabin with Heartland Cabin Rentals (linked above for convenience).
Upon returning home, I had a subpoena from the local Sheriff’s office waiting for me. Turns out it was just a summons for jury duty, but that didn’t stop me from convincing myself (and my spouse as well as my parents) that I was a wanted woman soon to be thrown in the slammer for a crime/crimes that I may or may not have committed. What a homecoming!!