We arrived in Pigeon Forge late last night, and made dinner, campfire and headed to bed. On the highway into Pigeon Forge, we noticed many cool restaurants/ amusement rides / country stores. One Rollercoaster type ride built up a mountain looked very cool, and we decided we would check it out the next morning. So first thing this morning, after sleeping in, and a nice long shower (we are staying in a campsite) we headed over to the coaster. It seems this style is very popular in Germany. Cable pulls you to the top of the mountain in a small car, and you ride the rails to the bottom. It was lots of fun, and we might try a different one tomorrow. We have seen at least three of these in this area.
Next stop: We headed into nearby Gatlinburg, but on the way had to stop at a Pancake House. There is literally a pancake house on each block. It was good, but nothing crazy special. So Gatlinburg (and Pigeon Forge actually) can best be described as an entire city geared towards amusements rides, and weird entertainment. Kind of like the whole city is an amusement park. Wherever you look there is some sort of attractions, Aquarium, Space needle, Ferris wheels, go karts, Tram, ski lift up a mountain, etc etc.
We realized we had no photos showing the actual city of Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. They are both very similar, Pigeon Forge has more Vegas style attractions, whereas Gatlinburg is more like a carnival. Here are a few photos of Pigeon Forge.
But….. what really drew us to Gatlinburg is Moonshine. East Tennessee and west North Carolina or the Appalachian Trail is well known for Moonshine. Until 2009, it was all made illegally. Now the State and Federal Government have allowed legal Distillery’s to open. Gatlinburg is the epicenter of these Distilleries, there are at least three that we are aware of. The details here are a little foggy as I am proud to say I sampled every variety at all three distilleries (Aya drank like a champ as well) . For you non-alcoholics, Moonshine is very similar to Whisky or Bourbon, except they use only Corn (no Barley or Rye) and they do not use oak barrels. Moonshine, start to finish takes less than 1 week to make, Whereas Jack Daniels takes minimum 4 years by law, usually more. Flavours available are: White Lightning (55%), Apple Pie, Lemonade, Caramel, Egg Nog, Amaretto, Blackberry, Fruit Punch. Pretty much anything you can imagine. Each Distillery carries about 10 different varieties.