Travel Recap: Gatlinburg, Tennessee

As I stated in my post last week, I have been on vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Gatlinburg is a staple in the world of Mid-American vacation spots and it is fairly easy to see why. In addition to the countless tourist-oriented spots, Gatlinburg and the neighboring Pigeon Forge provide some breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains, as well as various hiking trails and other opportunities to admire the natural beauty of the area. Gatlinburg has all sorts of exciting experiences to offer and in this piece, I will be highlighting some of my favorites.

pancake pantry

Firstly, the food selection in Gatlinburg is absolutely phenomenal. Several premier eating destinations can be found throughout the area. My personal favorite, Pancake Pantry, is located in Downtown Gatlinburg. The Pancake Pantry offers a variety of breakfast and lunch dishes, highlighted by their superb pancakes. Out of the 15+ varieties of pancakes they offer, I recommend the Swiss chocolate chip option. As a firm believer in the idea that pancakes are far superior to their waffle counterpart, I fancy myself as somewhat of a pancake expert. I can say with absolute certainty that these were the very best pancakes I have ever had in my life. They also offer several sandwiches and side dishes that were of great quality. I highly recommend anyone in the area try the Pancake Pantry. Gatlinburg also offers a variety of dinner establishments, such as Paula Deen’s restaurant. I highly recommend it as well. It is worth mentioning, however, that eating out in Gatlinburg can be very pricy, as their taxes are somewhere around 12%. We found that a filet mignon steak dinner prepared at our cabin was more economical than eating at a moderate hamburger place. However, if you are prepared to spend a little more money, Gatlinburg offers a fine selection of eateries.

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A lovely waterfall in Gatlinburg

The natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains can’t be understated. I have a hard time believing there is a more gorgeous landscape to be found anywhere in the country. The Gatlinburg area offers all sorts of opportunities to connect with nature, such as hiking trails, chair lifts which provide excellent views, and guided nature tours. Seeing as how I am not exactly a fan of traditional hiking, I gravitated toward the motor trails offered. These are roads which take you through some of the most beautifully forested parts of the state, offer the chance to see magnificent wildlife, and do it all from the air conditioned comfort of your car. During one of our motor trail experiences, a small bear cub walked right up to our car. It was absolutely adorable and made the experience even more special. Along with the wildlife, several historical structures such as old churches, mills, and cemeteries can be found within walking distance of these trails. Experiences like this are part of what makes Gatlinburg such a great destination.

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The bear we saw on the motor trail
Probably my favorite part of Gatlinburg, the area offers some exemplary shopping destinations. Nearby Sevierville features a substantially sized outlet mall with all of the stores you could ask for, including Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Adidas, several food-oriented stores, Vans, American Eagle, and countless others. Downtown Gatlinburg features all kinds of tourist-targeted shops, such as a plethora of souvenir stores, moonshine and whisky shops, and, my favorite, a high-end clock store. I was dangerously close to buying a luxury mantel clock because it was so beautiful. There is also a shopping hub near Gatlinburg, known as The Island. It has virtually every kind of store imaginable: pop-culture themed stores, cigar shops, food places, a caricature store where my brother and I had a phenomenal caricature done (which can be seen on my Instagram page under the username BigRedAFerg), and much more. Aside from New York City, Gatlinburg offers the best shopping experience of anywhere I’ve ever had the privilege of visiting.

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Some suspect hat options available in Gatlinburg shops

Overall, Gatlinburg is a sensational vacation spot and I urge everyone to travel there if presented with the chance. The sights, shopping, and food are just part of what makes Tennessee, and Gatlinburg in particular, such a great place to visit. The local amusement park, Dollywood, the Ripley’s Aquarium, the theatre dinner shows, and some of the desirable fishing spots are some more great options as well. This vacation was certainly memorable and I hope some of our readers get to experience it as well. Below are a few more pictures from my trip if you are interested. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out some of the other great content on Mid-American Culture.

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My Twitter: @BigRedAFerg

Mid-American Culture Twitter: @M_American_C

2 thoughts on “Travel Recap: Gatlinburg, Tennessee”

  1. Very nice summary of what Gatlinburg is all about. I was surprised at the quality of food here when we first visited. Pancake Pantry does have the best pancakes ever in my opinion too. There’s really good pizza here too; even better than my hometown where there’s no shortage of pizza.

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