Smoky Mountains area of TN (Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg), Dollywood and Storms

April 28 – 30 – Smoky Mountains area of TN with friends Jack and Paula K

We had Jack and Paula over to our RV for breakfast this morning. I made Aretha Frankenstein Pancakes with Blueberries, and bacon on the side.

Today was Dollywood day. Jack and Paula used our guest passes. The passes were included in our annual Dollywood membership and we were pleased to be able to find friends that could join us and use the passes.
What a great time to visit Dollywood – gorgeous day and no crowds at all! We’re really becoming fans of visiting attractions around the country during the shoulder seasons. You may need a jacket and not everything may be open/available, but visiting when only 10% of the normal crowds are there is priceless!

We went from show to show and really had a nice time. Here’s what we did/saw today:

  • The Smoky Mountain String Band
  • Dreamland Drive-In
  • Lunch at Red’s Drive-In
  • GemTones
  • Country Crossroads
  • Heartsong Movie
  • We rode the Dollywood Express Train
  • Wings of America Bird Show

My favorite today was the Dreamland Drive-In show. It was a musical with a cast of about 10, backed by an orchestra. They played a medley of musical hits from the 50s and 60s. Great show!

Photo Credit: Unknown
Photo Credit: Unknown
Photo Credit: Unknown
Photo Credit: Unknown

My second favorite show was Country Crossroads. The performers were fantastic as was the warm up act – Miss Lillian’s Chicken Lady.

Miss Lillian's Chicken Lady
Miss Lillian’s Chicken Lady

Dollywood Show 1-2
Click image to play video
Click image to play video

Jack and I were standing in the ordering line for lunch at Red’s Drive-In when the cast of young people from the Dreamland show joined us in line. Really nice kids. Very talented too. Also while at lunch, the GemTones performed a 15 minute a cappella / comedy set inside Red’s Drive-In. We had perfect seats!

During lunch, the Tornado app on my phone started wailing. It was really loud too! Anyway, it was a Tornado Warning notification for Cumberland County where our home is. We got on the phones and called our neighbors to make sure they knew they were under a Tornado Warning.

Storm Radar Image - Crossville is circled in blue.
Storm Radar Image – Crossville is circled in blue.
My neighbors reported no damage – so that’s good.

Another show I thought was pretty cool was the Wings of America Bird Show.
Dollywood Bird Show 1-1

Dollywood Bird Show 2-1


Dollywood Bird Show 4-1

Dollywood Bird Show 5-1

Click image to play video
Click image to play video

During one of our walks between shows, we decided to stop in the Grist Mill shop. They make cookies and cinnamon bread. I decided to get some cinnamon bread to use to make French toast. Paula bought the bread since I was planning on making breakfast with it. Works for me.

Grist Mill - Get the Cinnamon Bread!
Grist Mill – Get the Cinnamon Bread!

Speaking of walking – we walked a lot! Over 9,000 steps. Woot!

Great Fitbit day!
Great Fitbit day!

After Dollywood, we came home to feed Emme and let her out and rested for a short time. Then we went back into town to pickup our tickets for tomorrow night’s show and have dinner. We ate at the Old Mill restaurant. First time for Nancy and I, but Jack and Paula had eaten across the street at the Old Mill Cafe on a previous visit. Food was decent. I’d give my meatloaf an 8. Desserts were the real star. I had Blackberry Cobbler and Nancy had Pecan Pie. Both very good!

As planned, this morning I made Cinnamon Bread French Toast with the cinnamon bread we bought yesterday. Oh my gosh – yum!  I also made some of my dreamy scrambled eggs.  Great breakfast with great friends.

Early this afternoon, we headed into town.  We spent the afternoon having some Retail Therapy.  On today’s retail stops:

  • Tuesday Morning
  • Old Time Pottery
  • Angel’s Dolls & Gifts
  • Lodge Cookware
  • Le Creuset Cookware
  • Merrell Shoes

Old Time Pottery
Tuesday Morning
Le Crueset

I got a pair of shoes at Merrell and we bought a Tagine at the LeCrueset outlet store.

This is a Tagine.  I'm looking forward to some Moroccan cooking :)
This is a Tagine. I’m looking forward to some Moroccan cooking 🙂

We had a really nice dinner at The Chop House in the center of the Tanger Outlet Center.

After dinner, it was time for our show.  We went to the Smoky Mountain Opry to see the Variety Show.  Excellent show.
Rocky Mountain Opry - SignRocky Mountain Opry - BuildingRocky Mountain Opry - Show 1

Rocky Mountain Opry - Show 2

Rocky Mountain Opry - Show 3

Rocky Mountain Opry - Show 5

Rocky Mountain Opry - Show 6

Rocky Mountain Opry - Show 7

Rocky Mountain Opry - Show 8

Rocky Mountain Opry - Show 9

Rocky Mountain Opry - Show 10

Rocky Mountain Opry - Show 11

Rocky Mountain Opry - Show 12

Rocky Mountain Opry - Show 13

Rocky Mountain Opry - Show 14

Rocky Mountain Opry - Show 15

Rocky Mountain Opry - Show 16

Rocky Mountain Opry - Show 17

The plan for today was breakfast out followed by another show.  We did this and more.  We headed out about 9:45 this morning.  First stop was Gatlinburg for breakfast.  I’d researched a restaurant whose theme or signature dish was NOT pancakes and Waffles.  Found one!  We at at Crockett’s 1875 Breakfast Camp.  Wow – what a great place for breakfast.  And they just opened a few weeks ago.  It’s something different for breakfast on the Parkway in Gatlinburg.  The theme is based on an 1875 Saw Mill.  Very rustic decor.  It really fits in with this area of Tennessee.  Nancy and I shared a big skillet breakfast.  It came with everything – including fruit and an “Aretha Frankenstein” pancake.  That’s right, this restaurant serves our favorite pancakes if one desires and while we weren’t looking for pancakes, one Aretha Frankenstein never hurt anyone 🙂

Crocketts 1875 Breakfast Camp
Crocketts 1875 Breakfast Camp
Crocketts 1875 Breakfast Camp - Restaurant
The menu was a newspaper.  I took a dual camera picture of it with one camera pointing at me.  Just being silly.
The menu was a newspaper. I took a dual camera picture of it with one camera pointing at me. Just being silly.
Jack and Paula
Jack and Paula

Jim and Nancy
Jim and Nancy
The skillet breakfast that we split
The skillet breakfast that we split
Aretha Frankenstein Pancake served with our breakfast
Aretha Frankenstein Pancake served with our breakfast

Crocketts 1875 Breakfast Camp - Griddle Cakes Menu

Our entertainment for today was the “Soul of Motown” at the Grand Magestic Theater on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge. It was a really nice show.
Soul of Motown Show 01

Soul of Motown Show 02

Soul of Motown Show 03

Soul of Motown Show 04

Soul of Motown Show 05

Soul of Motown Show 06

Soul of Motown Show 12

Soul of Motown Show 13

After the show, we went back to the Tanger Outlets. The girls looked around in the New Balance store and a kitchen store. Then we all went into Kirklands.

After a small amount of retail therapy, it was time for dinner. We decided on Italian, so I used Yelp and Urbanspoon as my research tool and we ended up at Two Brothers Italian Restaurant on Dolly Parton Parkway in Sevierville. This place was formerly Willie’s and Willie’s had Garlic Knots. Two Brothers kept that and man were they good. We all had Italian dishes and I’d give them a rating of 8.

Later in the evening, Jack and Paula came over for coffee, dessert and conversation. We heated up 2 Fried Pecan Pies from that we’d frozen from our Texas travels this winter/spring. Nice visit with good friends.

Tomorrow is pack and drive day. We’ll head home late morning. We had a great time in the Smoky Mountain area these past few days.

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