Jun 152012
  • Wax museums where you can marvel at artificial human beings
  • Fireworks stands with stuff that can liven up a quiet vacation
  • Motels competing to see who can have the most unusual names
  • Uncounted businesses calling themselves Smoky Mountain this-or-that
  • Dolly Partin’s “Dixie Stampede,” and, yes, Dolly did grow up nearby
  • Celebrations of cowboys and buffalo, although none were native to these parts
  • A Hooters place, which hopefully the born again will stay out of
  • Huge stores that sell nothing but knives
  • An aquarium where you can watch fish and mammals of the distant seas
  • Stores named for mountains and run by people who never climbed one
  • The Hatfield and McCoy’s dinner show, making fun of hillbillies although this is hillbilly country
  • A replica of the Titanic, minus any recent sightings of icebergs off the starboard bow
  • The “Lumberjack Feud,” disregarding the fact that no lumberjacks ever lived around here
  • Chinese trinketĀ versions of Native American culture, having nothing to do with the amazing Cherokee Indians who once roamed these hills
  • Christian outlet stores with books, Bibles, and other gifts
  • Bungee jumping opportunities
  • Stores with nothing but Christmas stuff, although Christmas is a long time off
  • Billboards inviting you to come enjoy some good oldĀ gospel music
  • Baptist and other churches warning of hell and the judgement
  • Crossings of the Little Pigeon River, barely noticed
  • Pawn shops, welcome centers, check cashing places
  • Places that buy gold, promising the best prices you can find anywhere
  • Fast food – again and again and again
  • Electronic gaming places where you disappear into other realms
  • Outlets for clothes, luggage, jewlery, hats, electronics, sporting goods, anything your heart desires
  • Tattoo shops and comedy barns where laughs are guaranteed

Of course, if you run out of anything to do, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just ahead.

Some tourists run out of time and never get there. Pigeon Forge now has more annual visitors than the park does.

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