Just a small break in Gatlinburg

Sometime in the not too distant, yet still somewhat hazy future, Randy and I are taking a short trip to Gatlinburg, TN.

We are meeting our mountain friends there. Mountain girl and the Bass player will arrive hours before we do, but that is  because they live 40 minutes away.

They have lived in Tennessee for a number of years now and have visited Gatlinburg one time. We’re about to remedy this.

Randy and I are from the part of the midwest where you go one of two places for vacation.

When the tax refund is big enough, one goes to Destin, FL. In the leaner years, it’s a long weekend in Gatlinburg.

It has been quite a while since we’ve been to Gatlinburg.

The last time Randy and I went, we went over his birthday. He got a wicked stomach flu and spent the whole time in bed.

Anyway, Mountain Girl has avoided going to Gatlinburg due to it’s reputation for cheesy attractions.

I have since convinced her that she must experience Gatlinburg and embrace the attractions. Hillbilly golf! Ripley’s Believe it or Not! And the opportunity to buy fudge and little souvenir outhouses.

Our cabin sounds amazing. I can’t wait to get there. I did the research and settled on the cabin with a 17 foot shower because who the fuck doesn’t want a 17 foot shower?

We decided to play a game while we are there.

Each one of us has to surreptitiously buy the tackiest souvenir we can find forgatlinburg smokey mountains under twenty bucks.

On our last night there, we are going to make a case for why our tacky souvenir should win. We’ll  vote the next morning and the winner has to display the souvenirs for a year in their house. Or the loser. That can really go either way.

Mountain girl thinks she can out-tacky me, but I have to say, in this case? I’ve been training for years.

Randy and I even got matching lounge pants and black t-shirts. That’s just cabin wear, though. We have not given up enough yet to go out in public dressed alike.

Besides, I grew up on taco dip and 7 layer salad. I’ve played corn hole, for fuck’s sake. For those of you who know “corn hole” to mean something other than tossing bean bags through holes in a slanted board, get your mind out of the gutter. I am not talking about that kind of “corn hole.” 

I’ve played thousands and thousands of hands of Euchre and planned whole vacations around time share presentations for free deep sea fishing tickets or free go cart rides. One of my favorite things to eat is anything deep fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Mountain girl is trying, you guys, she really is. It’s adorable.

Friday night, we discussed our upcoming trip.

Mountain girl: I’m just saying, you don’t have the corner on the redneck experience.

Me: Uh huh.

Mountain girl: This one time? I went to a party where the hostess made tiramisu out of twinkies.



Me: You just referenced “tiramisu” in an attempt to out redneck me.

Mountain girl: Oh. yeah.

Me: Twinkies or no, just referencing tiramisu invalidates the whole story.

Mountain girl:…

Me: You even pronounced “tiramisu” all fancy.

Mountain girl: Goddammit, Michelle.

Me: You are toast.

Mountain girl is super excited that I was able to score seats for the Hatfield and McCoy dinner feud. By super excited, I mean she’s terribly skeptical. We’re also going to see a reproduction of the Titanic.

We’ll spend a little time in nature. But not much, I mean, it’s just a long weekend and that ski-lift isn’t going to ride itself.

Now, excuse me, I have to go decide where in my dining room I will be showcasing my winnings.


Add your comments below. Profanity is encouraged, but not required. ;)
  1. MC says:

    That sounds like a fantastic weekend!
    Have fun and please share pictures of the souvenirs!

  2. Spiked Lee says:

    Have fun! I can’t wait to see the winning souvenir! (I bet you and Randy win.)

  3. Janice says:

    She has no idea what’s coming…. Twinkie tiramisu indeed!

  4. Troll says:

    Yeah, my mind immediately went into the gutter. Disappointed now.

  5. Use Your Thinkball says:

    We own a cabin in Pigeon Forge, and it has a cornhole set in it. Just saying. It also points toward the view you have above.

    Things I have bought in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg: 1. The World’s Largest Gummy Bear, and 2. A wooden scene that says “Hillbilly Babysitter” that has a baby duct taped to the wall while the babysitter makes moonshine. Can’t wait to see yours! ~Linda (Half a 1000 Miles)

  6. Christine says:

    We’ve been to Gaitlinburg a couple of times too. This should be on your list as well…


  7. Paula says:

    I am so incredibly jealous. I want to go to Arrowmont in Gatlinburg for arts and craft classes. I have heard it is beautiful. Probably the leaves have turned. Anyway, I love the contest. There is going to be hillbilly this and hillbilly that, a corn cob – hillbilly toilet paper….I probably can out hillbilly both of you, I am from Texas. I know you are going to have a blast and after just this last week we all need to disappear in the hills and woods for a while, I sure do. Enjoy!!

  8. Jennifer says:

    Gatlinburg is awesome. Even more awesome is the Hatfield & McCoy dinner show. Best food and show in town.

  9. Haralee says:

    Too funny! Sounds like a perfect escape weekend

  10. Kate Budacki says:

    I have you all beat. I attended a wedding in Gatlinburg in a wedding chapel with a rented minister and rented tux for the groom and best man, and rented dress for the bride.

  11. Doug in Oakland says:

    Seventeen foot in which direction?

  12. Dara says:

    Have a great time!

  13. Phillip says:

    I’m born and raised in Gatlinburg and if your coming to go see the Titanic and go to a.show and buy soviners then your no doubt missing out . The national park and wildlife and fishing camping and hiking is all that is worth coming here for . All the other tourist crap is just that .

    • Michelle says:

      Ohhhh…I know. I’ve hiked all around there. My friends own a lot of land in the Smoky mountains and we’ve spent a lot of time there. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL country. They are so happy there. It’s just that they’ve never experienced the more…well…cheesy, touristy side of Gatlinburg and I think it will be fun to show them around.

  14. Laura says:

    This was so fucking hilarious to read!!! Where did you find a 17ft shower?!?! Definitely check out artists row, and go to Three Jimmy’s to eat. You will NOT be disappointed!!! I’ve only been to Gatlinburg for the first time this summer. We loved it so much we are looking to buy a house on ski mountain to rent out. Have an amazing time!!

  15. Terry L says:

    Try the Ruben sandwich upstairs at the cheese cubard. Or the garlic knots at the best Italian restaurant. Don’t forget the donut fryer

  16. Laurel W says:

    We go up there every other year and we just live here in South Knoxville. But you have to go through Wears Valley to get to Townsend. That is where there are some of the best hillbilly souvenirs. First eat at Hillbillies because they have the best breakfast. I think this is one of those places that have bacon in the waffles Then go to find the place where they carve everything out of wood. It’s hilarious and amazing at the same time. They have a carving of a man with his head in his ass holding a cell phone and some amazing totem poles. It’s just about at the light where Wears Valley hits the main drag in Townsend. We stay in a really secluded cabin right off of Wears Valley halfway between Townsend and Pigeon Forge. Love love love it! Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge Townsend it’s all amazing and fun. And for one last tip my husband really loves Ripley’s Haunted Mansion. He’s a haunted house fanatic and says it’s a really good one

  17. Jimmy says:

    I’m sure you will have fun. We went the first week of October. Everything there is great. Love Cades Cove.

  18. MF says:

    My husband & I love to go to Gatlinburg. We just got back on Oct. 20th, after a week long stay. The leaves were just starting to change, but there’s still a lot of green leaves too. We always go horseback riding & to Dollywood. The Ripley’s Aquarium is also really cool; it was so much more than what we expected. Also, for a super cheesy souvenir, we saw a salt and pepper museum. We obviously didn’t go in but what could be more corny than that? (Btw, eat at Big Daddy’s Pizzeria & Bennett’s BBQ!) Have fun y’all!

    • Michelle says:

      Okay. We really might have to do the salt and pepper museum.

      • Sheila says:

        My family (and my husband’s family) ancestors arrived in Tennessee prior to the Revolutionary War – so we know a bit about the area.

        Salt and Pepper museum is a must IF it’s raining. It’s fun and cheesey (and there are souvenirs, but not necessarily from Gatlinburg) but don’t plan a day around it.

        Plan on 4+ hours for Cade’s Cove loop this time of year (just the loop, not the drive there and back. Add 50 minutes drive time each way if coming from Gatlinburg).

        For the best in cheesy pictures, go to Old Town Photos (across the street from Kilwin’s Chocolates) and get your hillbilly pic taken on their front porch set, complete with a moonshine jug.

        Do go see a non-cheesy attraction: Emert’s Cove Covered Bridge about 6 miles east of Gatlinburg on hwy. 321.

        Enjoy – looking forward to the contest entries!

        • Michelle says:

          THANK YOU!! Great information! I had no idea Cade’s cove would take so long…..really re-thinking that now. But the covered bridge sounds promising. Again, thanks for the insider information!

  19. Charlotte Lecroy says:

    Gatlinburg is home. We have the most wild flowers east of the Mississippi. The beauty is wonderful. The mountain people are real-no fronts.

  20. Jonie Brooks says:

    I just stumbled across your blog and I fucking love it! 1. I love that profanity is encouraged because I need all the chances I can get to swear and 2. I have lived about around the Knoxville area my whole life and I am always tickled when people outside the Southeast love Gatlinburg.
    We love to go and be cheesy tourist. As a matter of fact we just went to Wonderworks and Hard Rock cafe for my daughters birthday. We even bought the overpriced Hard Rock photo for her to have as a souvenir.
    You picked a great time to come the leaves are hitting their peak and are breathtaking this year. Have a great time.

  21. Bryce J says:

    I have absolutely NO idea why a link to this was in my Google feed. It was the #1 selection, too.

    But as a hardcore follower of instructions:


  22. Carol says:

    I’m taking my friends from Wisconsin next month, I think I’m going to steal your idea of the tacky souvenir!! My husband and I camp at Greenbrier camp groundat least 3 times a year. Gorgeous area.

  23. Terrl says:

    Yes! The salt pepper museum is awesome!
    I lived in the Burg for 8 years and worked at the Sky Lift selling photos.
    Best. Job. Ever. If you have time check out the haunted graveyard tour.
    Dammit to hell man, I really miss that place…

  24. Is it weird that I’m looking forward to your vacation? And I know you’ll win.
    My father has said that he’s afraid that when he dies he won’t go to Heaven, but that he’ll go to Gatlinburg in August and have to wear Bermuda shorts and wander in and out of all the tacky stores.
    Yes, that is my father’s idea of Hell.
    He needs to learn from you–the absolute master–how to make it fun.

  25. Friday says:

    Hatfield McCoy dinner?! Just when I thought the Medieval Times show was “the worst”.