Gatlinburg is a blossoming town in East Tennessee in the Smoky Mountains just outside of a major tourist attraction city called Pigeon Forge. The border between the two is not always clear to me, but for better or worse, I love it. Obviously patterned after a German settlement, it is a mix of traditional Southern USA and Appalachian culture, German culture, strange monuments, neon colours, and any activity you could dream of, all pushed together unapologetically.
The Howling Moose at the Visitors Center. I have never heard a moose howl, unfortunately. I remain skeptical.
The Island, a theme park in Pigeon Forge that practically stretches along the highway and boasts a large ferris wheel.
Boutique shopping centers and discount outlet malls are common here.
Climbing activities for the energetic.
Endless versions of sausage and potatoes, staples of both German and Southern cultures.
Once again, Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft.
Water flows all around here
Almost everywhere, mountain views.
Small replica of Seattle’s Space Needle looms over a giant arcade
A massive polished marble remains suspended only by water outside Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum, what likely began as a bizarre collection of vaudeville dime museums. Ripley’s also has a dazzling Aquarium, a Haunted House, and other attractions I find much more interesting than my facial expression lets on.
Attractive stone steps create multiple levels around the city. This leads to one of many golf courses, affectionately known as “Putt-Putt” in this region.
The Bear, just like in Germany, is the mascot of the Smokies.
It is common to spot some Bavarian style architecture.
Shopping Center known as The Village with cafes, gift shops, retro memorabilia, clothing, beef jerky, moonshine, hot sauce, wine, cowboy boots, leather goods, adult items, Wild West/Old-Tyme photography studios, smoking accessories, fudge, large portions of meat, souvenirs, and other regional specialties.
A bit of people-watching.
Church on the Hill
Ah, my favourite place of all, the Ober Gatlinburg Lodge & Ski Resort. I can not ski. I do not even trust myself to walk downhill quickly. However in addition to the ski slopes, Ober has a sky lift, small rides, tubing, a skating rink in the center of a shopping mall, snack stands, and the Lodge bar and restaurant. Typically I visit for Oktoberfest or when the heimweh becomes unbearable. I sit and drink bier and eat schnitzel while owner Hal plays the Sousaphone and his polka band leads patrons into the Chicken Dance. Soon I will have more photos, or perhaps a separate entry.
And let’s throw in a Godzilla monument to create balance. Nearby is a Dungeons & Dragons type of Magic mansion, race car tracks, bumper boats, Country music theatre shows, and all you can eat buffets. ‘Merica.