Three days have past since Sunday’s “disaster” and my knee still hurts and I’m still a bit bitter. So in an effort to overcome my shortcomings I’m going to focus on the good aspects of my weekend time spent in the mountains.
I’ve mentioned before how J and I often like to hike around the mountains, but take the less touristy route and go to the park via a more rural way. Well due to the race taking place smack dab in the middle of Sevierville, and the fact that my parents were nice enough to rent a condo in the same area (see above), we took the traffic-laden, redneck populated, route that was bursting with out of towners.
There is actually a reason Sevierville is so slammed. One is the shopping. It’s the closest outlet center to Knoxville, so people flock there for the discounted deals – especially around the holiday season. Second is the tourists. For whatever reason (as an uprooted Northerner, I’m still not sure) people from all over the world (yes, world) come to Pigeon Forge/Sevierville/Gatlinburg to get hitched (second only to Las Vegas in number of weddings performed each year!) and see the sites.
Sites include the mountains, the miles and miles of tacky gift stores, and Dollywood. Yes – Ms. Dolly Parton’s fabulous theme park. In reality, Dolly actually does a lot for the community and is a beloved figure in this area.
Each winter, Dollywood teams up with local business in the area for Winterfest – an extensive light display throughout the area. We’re talking miles upon miles of really elaborate displays which include the 12 days of Christmas, in its entirety, assorted nursery rhymes, and a whole bunch of other random things. If you can deal with the uncontrollable traffic, make like we did, crank up the carols, and admire the glow.
Following the race, and rather then sit around and pout all day, I made it a point to spend some quality time with my parents and take advantage of one of my favorite tourist traps – The Rocky Top Wine Trail: Three wineries within three miles of each other. You get a passport, stamp them at each winery, and are gifted with a free wine glass at the last stop. Be warned – the wine is not good. At all. It’s super sweet, borderline grape juice, and even for an uneducated lover of wine like myself, mostly unpalatable in quantities above a sip.
It really doesn’t matter though. I wanted to drink, enjoy the beautiful weather, spend time with my family and peruse the assortment of useless goodies for purchase. One of my favorite delights? This:
I even got a candy apple out of it (my guilty pleasure) while J and my dad got ice cream cones. and ate them outside. In the middle of December. Weird.
It was a lovely weekend, aside from my bum knee, and would recommend a good touristy weekend in Sevierville about twice a year if you live in the area. If not, once will probably do you good.