My trip to Tennessee was primarily to see the CMA Music Festival in Nashville for the 3rd year in a row. However as was my 4th visit to Nashville I’d seen all of the Tourist attractions that the city and surrounding area had to offer, so went further a field before driving up to Nashville for the festival. Pigeon Forge is located at the edge of the Smoky Mountains but is more famous for being home to Dolly Parton’s theme park, Dollywood, and outlet shopping malls.
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My hotel was located on the main street in Pigeon Forge which is lined by a mix of discount stores, outlet malls and various themed restaurants and attractions. In short, not somewhere I would return to! Next time I’d stay in nearby Gatlinburg.
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Dollywood was not quite what I was expecting. There were some good country themed shows and some good bluegrass musicians. However, most of the theme park was aimed at very young children – so I didn’t really fit in. There were however some very good Dolly Parton museums, that showed where and how she grew up as well as a collection of memorabilia and awards.
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The Smoky Mountain National Park was much more interesting with some great scenery and nice leisurely drives including Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and Cades Cove Loop Road. Roaring Fork was very quiet and peaceful with few visitors which made for a very relaxing Sunday morning visiting some of the old farm buildings left by early settlers to the area.
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Cades Cove is one of the most popular tours so was a little busier but was still very good. The highlight of the drive was seeing a bear with cubs in a field. I only had a compact camera with me so the photos are not great but can be found in the gallery below: