On New Year’s Day we were staying in a cabin with friends in Pigeon Forge, TN (where the Great Smoky Mountains are), and after sleeping very late (thanks New Year’s Eve!), eating a large breakfast and debating whether or not we even wanted to leave the cabin, we eventually decided to check out downtown Gatlinburg, which I have never explored.
Downtown Gatlinburg is a very touristy cheesy small town full of souvenir shops, gimmicky shows and over the top attractions. So, basically, it was right up our ally. We started off the day in a little village that offered a ridiculous amount of free moonshine samples (“First legalized moonshine”). There was also crazy amounts of free jams, salsas, sauces, dips, pickled things and hot sauces. I stuffed my face while everyone else got tipsy.
You’d think that everyone would need a chaser for the moonshine more than anything, but turns out there’s one hot sauce that had everyone (well the boys mostly…girls were much tougher) begging for milk or more pretzels.
We ate lunch at Bubba Gumps (I know, I know…but God their seafood hush puppies are SO good), shopped, got more free samples, drank very hot coffee to warm us up and took photos all over town. It was really nice to just be on vacation with friends, which I think is a rare opportunity for most.
Two of our favorite stops were the Jerky Shop and Doc’s Magic Shop. The Jerky Shop had deer, beef, boar, ostrich, alligator AND vegan jerky. Of course, the shop owner offered samples of his jerkys because that’s apparently the rule in Galtinburg. It works by the way, we each left with a bag of jerky. Doc’s Magic Shop doesn’t have free food, but they did offer free magic shows which we soaked up and ooh’d and aww’d over for far too long… and many of us left there with a bag of magic tricks as well.
Right as we decided it was time to go home (i.e. back to the cabin) we passed a whisky shop offering a big round of free whiskey samples. Once again, I had to sit out on the activity, but I made my own fun…
Everyone must have been feeling reeallllyyy good after their round of drinks because this photo session happened minutes later…
It was a really good first day of 2014!