I would never normally use the word fabulous to describe something, but my my is it appropriate…
I really, truly had my reservations about staying in Gatlinburg but it was really not as bad as I thought it would be. Yes, it’s pretty tacky and sort of like stepping back in time, but LORD no matter what, its not Pigeon Forge.
We were a world away from Skyland.
Pigeon Forge is a neighbouring town, where Dollywood is located (Dolly Parton’s theme park). I didn’t go to Dollywood, because as fun as it sounds on paper (going by the name there), I’m not a massive fan of theme parks and didn’t feel like spending a day stuck in one, paying through the nose for everything when I was right next to a beautiful (free) national park.
Nonetheless, if I had the choice between Pigeon Forge and Dollywood, I know which one I would have chosen… Anything is better than being in downtown Pigeon Forge itself, which is like a never ending street of rundown, tacky looking buildings that should technically be fun. Aka, hell.
We drove through there before we got to Gatlinburg, and I’ve never done a bigger sigh of relief upon seeing how pleasant it was in our final location in comparison. Imagine if Vegas was a ski resort in the mountains. Now add a few Ripley’s Believe It or Nots, and you’re pretty much there. It’s… Interesting.
Fabulous Chalet Inn
We chose our hotel almost singularly because of the name. And because of the fireplace’s in the pictures. We didn’t get a fireplace, but like flying Wow Air, we did get the opportunity to describe everything as Fabulous so I guess that almost made up for it.
Front desk closed, so you have to go down to a neighbour hotel to check in? Fabulous.
Basement room that smells like someone has died? Fabulous.
Hole in the floor? Fabulous.
Window that falls out if you try to open it? Fabulous.
Swimming pool filled with dirt? Fabulous.
You get the picture.
To be fair, it was crazy cheap and we had two large double beds, free parking, a good view and only a short walk into the town centre, so it could have been worse.
We got there later than expected on the first day, so didn’t have time to fit in a hike. Plus, all of us had terrible colds and hiking wasn’t at the forefront of our heavy heads.
Instead, we decided we’d wander down the main street and explore the many activities / entertainment venues on offer. In all honesty, after walking around for 20 minutes we realised that 90 percent of them were over priced and underwhelming, and decided to get an early dinner instead.
I’d been hankering after Mexican food for days, and lucky for us, Gatlinburg has everything including Mexican . And you know what, Loco Burro was probably some of the best I’ve ever had. I’ve seen online that some people hated it, but we had a great time and really enjoyed the food. Good job Gatlinburg.
My only qualm would be their serving apparatus for sangria because I may or may not have managed to pour a fair amount over the table. We did make friends at this point though. Namely because many people openly laughed at my misfortune, and said not to worry because they were going to put a video up on YouTube. Thanks, new friends.
No, Gatlinburg is not Pigeon Forge, and for that it deserves a round of applause, but I do still agree with Bill Bryson’s description, which was “a community that had evidently dedicated itself to the endless quest of trying to redefine the lower limits of bad taste.” Somehow though, it’s much more charming than you could ever imagine. I wouldn’t have any reason to go back there, but I think I’m glad I’ve been.
Especially because of the real reason we were staying in Gatlinburg and where a big chunk of our time there was spent… Great Smokies National Park, where we hiked the beautiful Charlies Bunion, which I will discuss in tomorrow’s post.
I’m excited already.
Have a lovely Monday!