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TR 21st-23rd Dec First Timers

Galveston, Texas
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2,134 posts
89 reviews
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TR 21st-23rd Dec First Timers

Hey y’all,

Just to give you a little background, we [Dad & DD21], have just come back from our 26 day roadtrip around the South, had a great time, to give you a round-up we flew into Atlanta, stayed 4 nights in NOLA, Vicksburg 1 night, Memphis 3 nights, Nashville 3 nights, Chattanooga 1 night, Smoky Mountains 2 nights, Asheville 2 nights, Charleston 3 nights, Savannah 2 nights, and back to Atlanta for 2 nights. These were all brand new locations for us.

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Here's my hotel review for the Old Creek Lodge, I submitted on the review section

Nice Hotel, Close to National Park - Stayed here for two nights, to visit Dollywood and of course the Great Smokies Mountains National Park. Free breakfast, free wifi, and free parking. The breakfast was decent, there was biscuits and gravy, a waffle machine, but sadly no hot food, like eggs etc... very small breakfast area, only enough seats for 10 people tops. We arrived at the hotel at 1pm, but there wasn’t a room ready for us and we were going to Dollywood for opening at 2pm, and didn’t really want to left the trunk full of all our stuff, got ready in the lobby bathroom, thankfully when I came out, they had a room ready for us!

Room was 2 queen beds, nice and large, with a fireplace [on a 60min timer, good idea], and a private balcony, facing the stream. Walk-in shower, which was separate from the vanity area, so two people can get ready at once.

Galveston, Texas
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2,134 posts
89 reviews
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1. Re: TR 21st-23rd Dec First Timers

Fri 21st – We were on the road to Gatlinburg at 930am, and checked in the hotel just after 1pm, and then on the road to Dollywood for opening at 2pm. We wrapped ourselves up warm for Dollywood, as we knew it was going to get colder as the day went on, and to be freezing by closing at 9pm.

Parked up the car, got on the tram, no queue for tickets, and we were queuing to get in, just before 2pm. Straight in, and we hit Tennessee Tornado first, good ride, has a great drop in it early on. Over to Wild Eagle, we rode it 3 times, found that the left hand side is the best, another good ride; first drop is good, does feel as if you’re soaring like an eagle.

Back to Tornado, and rode Mystery Mine, I really enjoyed it, but it gave Dad motion sickness so he missed out on Thunderhead, which I rode twice, and again was a good ride.

That was it, done with all the coasters. Dollywood has good rides, but they not exactly high thrill for us. Now it was time for the Christmas activities, we were done with the coasters in 2hrs. We then saw the Christmas on Ice show, Christmas in the Smokies, the carolling trees, rode the Polar Bear Express, had dinner and then watched the 8pm parade.

For dinner was a sausage sandwich at an outdoor booth, sat eating in the freezing cold. After the parade we were finished with Dollywood, and back on the tram by 8:20pm. We were both glad to get into the car, to turn the heat on and get warm!!

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Sat 22nd – Today was Smoky Mountain Day. We got to the Sugarlands VC by 10am, talked to the guides, picked up some maps... and decided our plans for the day. Rather than drive to Cade’s Cove, the guides recommended heading to Cherokee so we did. We stopped at any pull-outs of interest to us, there was snow in the park, and icicles on the side of the road stuck on the mountains which was cool to see.

We attempted to do a little trek, to Arch Rock, on Alum Cave trail. But the trail had a sheet of snow on, and was slippery. We walked so far, and decided to head back...the trail was really quite...and I got a bit scared about bears coming to eat us up for lunch and no one finding us!...there was signs everywhere about bears. If there was more people about, I would have been alright....but just being alone on the trail...worried me!! Overreaction....yeah, I know

Another stop was the TN/NC state line, which was impressive. We where then in Cherokee and had lunch at Hardee’s and headed to Deep Creek to do some waterfall trails there, we got a little lost driving there though, not very easy too find.

We were back at the hotel at 5pm, and Dad wanted to ride the aerial tramway to Ober Gatlinburg, so we did. Not a bad little ride, quick expensive for what it is, we did have a coupon too. I think we then chilled a little in the hotel room before heading out for dinner.

We had a look around the Moonshine store, and decided to head back there after dinner, so we didn’t have to carry any purchases around. Had a few drinks before dinner, can’t remember the name of the place, Hog something. Then to the Cherokee Grill for dinner, which was very nice, and I would recommend. $5 cocktails as well to boot. I had an Asian steak salad, which was a good portion size; Dad had some kind of steak too. Their Mac and cheese is really nice, and they did; it was either blue cheese or goats cheese grits, -- which was really nice, and we’re not fans of grits. We then chilled at their bar with a few Tennessee Honey’s, before making our way back to good ole Smoky Moonshine...sampling a few, and buying some. We also brought a fair bit of merchandise in the store too, their tipping glasses are really cool, and they do guy’s t-shirts for $10 too!

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Sun 23rd – Left Gatlinburg, and headed to Asheville, NC...taking the foothills parkway as it was open.

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We both really enjoyed Gatlinburg, glad we didn't stay in Pigeon Forge as it looked even more full of tacky stores than Gatlinburg was. It's a shame, you have the beautiful Smoky Mountains, and then all the tacky business outside the park, trying to detract your attention away from the park!

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
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2. Re: TR 21st-23rd Dec First Timers

Too bad you did not do the Cades Cove Loop Rd. It is one of my favorite areas in the GSMNP. Yes I too hate all the tacky shops, etc. in Pigeon Forge. We always stay in Townsend.

Louisville, Kentucky
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3. Re: TR 21st-23rd Dec First Timers

Great trip report- thanks for sharing. You went to many of my favorite places in the Southern U.S. We lived in Charleston for many years, it is a great place. Glad you enjoyed the Smokies, you did a lot for a short visit.

Savannah, Georgia
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for Gatlinburg, Maggie Valley, Pigeon Forge
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3,709 posts
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4. Re: TR 21st-23rd Dec First Timers

Thanks for the trip report. It sounds like you had a good time!

There have been many discussions about the tackiness (or lack thereof) in the area, and we've all decided to agree to disagree...LOL. I've never minded the appearance of GB/PF (except for the timeshare guys, grrr), but other people can't stand it.

I'm glad you were able to overlook your distaste for the "tackiness" and enjoy the area!

Galveston, Texas
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2,134 posts
89 reviews
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5. Re: TR 21st-23rd Dec First Timers

Thanks for the replies guys, I hope I get the chance to go back to the Smokies is the warmer summer months, and do Cade's Cove, aswell as Clingman's Dome, and maybe see a few bears from afar!

For anyone interested you can read my full trip report of our trip round the south here;

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g1-i12567-k60442…

6. Re: TR 21st-23rd Dec First Timers

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