Ali and I went to Dollywood this past week. Like I reported before, Ali is maybe Dolly Parton's biggest (but not most maniacal) fan. Making our pilgrimage to Pigeon Forge, TN was something we had talked about for quite awhile and it seemed like the date we picked came up so quickly. Don't get me wrong, though, we were ready!
We listened to Dolly for much of the 7 hour drive down there, which turned out to be more brutal than we imagined. I think we were both pretty tired and, while the scenery is pretty, I-81 is not. We were very excited to see "Speed Limit 70" once we reached Tennessee. We got to Pigeon Forge in the early afternoon and took note of about 49320432 places we wanted to go to. After getting lunch we went to check into our hotel...
We booked our hotel the night before online and in the comment section I wrote, "WE LOVE DOLLY!" never thinking anyone would see it, but did you know they read that when you check in!? We do now. She read it out loud and kind of giggled. No shame, though, since we do love Dolly.
However, the maintenance man, who was hanging out nearby, took notice and, I guess, took it as an opportunity to talk to us. He was very nice...but very southern. We're still not sure what his impression of us was, but whatever it was, it didn't stop him from using many racial slurs and warning us of certain areas of town. He even offered to hook us up with some construction men in town. (We declined). It's hard for me to properly describe him because he really was a nice man and you could tell he had spent his whole life there and probably even went to school with Dolly herself! It was just a little bit of culture shock coming from PCville of Northern VA.
Once we escaped the front desk area, we settled in and then headed out to Dollywood, which is an amazing park! Not only is it precious and a great tribute to the area and Dolly, but it has some kick-ass rides! That night we mostly just explored and took pictures*, saving our ride-riding for the next day. We also had plans to go to the Brewery that night, which was walking distance from our hotel...and super cheap! It was fun!
Thursday was spent at Dollywood all day. We had so much fun! One thing we noticed about Tennessee is that the majority of the people there walk and talk much slower than we do. We noticed this often, but mostly when driving (left turn yields were brutal) and when we got off the tram from the parking lot to buy our admission tickets. See, we were towards the back of the tram when it stopped so we jumped off in excitement to make our way to the park. We realized, though, as we got closer that no one was in front of us...THEY WERE JUST GETTING OFF OF THE TRAM AND SLOWLY MAKING THEIR WAY TO THE ADMISSION GATES! It was so funny. It happened all day, too. We would get off of a ride, decided to ride it again and make it back to the line before most people had even unhooked their seat harnesses.
We had such a good time and I think we will definitely be going back! The park is fun, the Smoky Mountains are GORGEOUS and the trashiness was just the right amount.
*I haven't put them all up yet, by the way!
+Title from Dolly Parton