Several months ago visited Dollywood, however, lacked the time to see other attractions in the area. Decided another Pigeon Forks/Gatlinburg visit was needed. This area has a wealth of things to do. It is the Orlando of Tennessee. For a family vacation is it a wonderful place to bring kids as besides the usual miniature golf, there are a number of other activities such as escape rooms to keep children intrigued. Plan ahead, or stop at the Visitor Center for more information.
As my trek neared Pigeon Forge passed through a section of The Great Smoky Mountains.
Haven’t laughed this much in years! Mr. Huffman is the only individual “allowed” by the Skelton Estate to present his humor. Arriving late, the usher, Mr. Huffman as well, placed me in the front row. Lesson learned – always arrive on time. Waze failed me once again..
And some other artwork
Brian started the show stating audio or video was not allowed, however, hearing aids could continue to be used. And with this joke we were off to the races with 2 hours of constant laughter.
Huffman ended the show reviewing the life of Skelton giving an amazing tribute to him. The Estate picked the right man to continue Skelton’s humor.
What a phenomenal place! And to think I almost bypassed the visit. A must see.
Suggestions for the visit..
Buy tickets on line
Arrive early, they open at 9 a.m.
Get literature on the Park, review it.
Bring a water bottle.
Park in the lot near the venue.
Enjoy, it’s the experience of a lifetime.
Up, Up, and Away……
The visit begins with a trek to the top of the mountain. This is done via an open chair lift, an enclosed chondola, or for those elevation fearful, a bus ride. The chair lift ride takes 20 minutes.
Once off the lift flowers surround and abound. The Park is a Garden of Eden developed as the brainchild of landscape architects. And all these gardens have the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains to enhance the floral beauty even more. I’ve traveled the world but never saw such a beautiful garden.
Continue down the brick path to..
At the top of the garden walk is Anavista Tower. Built in 2020, this 60 foot structure of organic wood and steel was built on the highest point of the mountain. Walking up stop at every level and enjoy the view as each level affords a different vista.
After walking down from the Tower follow the path to enjoy other sites.
And check out the side view of wildflowers and mountains as you sit in the many rocking chairs in open and covered areas.
Don’t miss the wood cutter along this path,
Memorial Forest Walk – At the base of the Garden are signs describing the Smoky Mountain fire of November 28, 2016, when 14 lives were lost as well as thousands of forest acreage. It is a sad tale, however, it also describes the courage and resilience of the Tennessee people. Take some moments to read, reflect, and honor.
The Children’s Area
Let’s look at the obstacle courses here. They are only for the strong, so make sure you are before starting these. In some instances the only way out is through.
The Treetop Skywalk
In closing, other rides and amenities..
The Rail Runner Mountain Coaster – This single rail coaster speeds down the mountain at close to 25 mph. Many were in line signing up for this one. Another fun event.
During Terry Evanswood’s Magic Show he mentioned how he had been converting his 1840 farmhouse into a Magic Mansion for the past 4 years. He also said Magic Mansion was open for tours and space available for the evening tour. The clip of the home at his show intrigued me so having the evening free signed up for the 7 pm tour.
Arriving late as I had lost Waze navigation I quickly snapped this picture knowing no photography was allowed inside the home. Mr. Evanswood greeted me upon arrival and I was escorted into the red Victorian parlor filled with antiques of the period. After he explained much of the furnishings the group of 12 then toured the library, dining room, and upstairs of the home. What extensive renovation talents this man possesses.
The home also serves as a Museum with contemporary items as well as rooms related to the Titanic, a chapel with religious artifacts, and an extensive collection of magic items. It was an amazing tour and post tour our guide even provided a magic show.
Plans are being made for specialty tours during the Halloween and Christmas season. Sounds like great fun.
Ate at this Mexican restaurant in downtown Gatlinburg, and it was yummy. While it was 95 degrees during my visit, enjoyed the upstairs view over the street and the heat tolerable from my perch. Service was impeccable and sangria sublime.
Caught the ambience of the main dining room when departing. Too cute..
And who couldn’t get a laugh from this donkey’s message??
Terry Evanswood has performed his magic in Pigeon Forge for the last 25 years at the Grand Majestic Theater. This was his 8528 show. He has won a Merlin, which is the akin to the Academy Award of Magic. Half of the audience had been to his show before so he has quite a following. And while you’d think the audience would mainly be children, they were adults.
Interesting and intriguing card and coin tricks were performed during the show along with the usual assistant related situations where knives are plummeted into caskets. He also performed unexplainable illusions.
So if you are in Pigeon Forge seeking an afternoon of family fun check out the show. You will certainly be entertained.
Tickets can be obtained at the theater or through Expedia.com.
What a delightful evening of song and dance at the Majestic Theater in Gatlinsburg… This group hit it out of the park with their performances. Everything from Gladys Knight, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and even a Burt Bachrach tune was sung. They performed for close to two hours and what a fun night.
Besides the male ensemble, there were also two women who performed.
My favorite part of the evening was the tribute to The Temptations. Amazing.
What a special night. To see a live performance once again was a joy.
If in the area go.. I got my tickets through Expedia.
What a surprise this area was. Restaurants, shops, and activities galore for one and all.
However, much traffic
and expensive parking. Most lots charged a base rate of $20, OUTRAGEOUS, but I found a deal at a local Catholic Church, St. Mary’s, just down the street from the Conference Center and Space Needle. Five dollars cash using an envelope system and you can park, leave, and return – Mother Mary was watching over me.
On to the visit, there is a trolley in the area for transport. Here’s one of their stops.
Many restaurants with great variety..
And interesting things to do..
There were many freebies and samplings offered.
And for those who don’t want to pay those parking fees, book a room along the retail area.
There were numerous shops of all types in the area. This was my favorite mini mall as it reminded me of Europe..
There are 80 buildings on this site reflecting the early 1800 period. The Bratton family were Scotch-Irish and Colonel Bratton was a patriot who fought in the Revolutionary War. He had a militia and fought a battle on his property. He won the battle and all the highlights of this battle are depicted in signage along the actual battle site.
Harriet Bratton was captured by the British and placed with her 7 children under house arrest in their attic during this siege. She would not divulge her husband’s location and during her arrest managed to write a letter and give it to a young slave, Watt , who left on horse back to deliver the letter. Colonel Bratton returned to the property won the battle.
The Bratton Home – currently under renovation
The McConnell House – this was reconstructed and moved to the property. The McConnell’s were farmers who grew an assortment of crops and had livestock. This is reflected in the outbuildings surrounding the home. Currently this is the only home open on the property as all others are under renovation.
The Bratton family continued to live on the family property. Their son Dr. John Simpson Bratton, senior, had 14 children and became quite wealthy. He was a cotton farmer who also ran a cotton gin. His home..
and cotton gin..
Historic Brattonsville has many events throughout the year.
September – The descendants of the African American slaves who lived on the plantation return to the site and interpret events. This is known as Sweat of Our Brow.
October – Pottery Festival
December – Christmas Candlelight
The site also recently purchased another Bratton home and are in the process of renovating the home for a wedding venue. Here is it, and if looking for a wedding venue it will be available soon, http://www.chmuseums.org, 803-684-2327.