We loved Roanoke and have woken with sore heads, food is definitely needed!! Off to the car we go. It is Mr.C’s turn at the wheel. I am still getting ready when he goes off to do a few practise laps in the car park.
As soon as we set off we debate the food options, ihop and Denny’s are the firm favourites so we observe every sign on the highway hoping to spot one of these two restaurants. Then finally we see the Denny’s sign and he pulls off. It is Mr.C’s first experience in this casual diner and I can tell he is unsure what to make of it. But what is there not to like? It’s cheap, the drinks are refillable and the portions more than ample, even with a hangover. So we enjoy a lazy breakfast and grab some treats for the car from the garage, not forgetting to get a Virginia magnet!
We are back on the road, on route to Pigeon Forge, Dollywood. I am super excited and continually sing the only lines I know of each of her songs. Just as we cross over into Tennessee we stop at the visitors centre. Now if you are unsure of what to do or where to go while in Tennessee then I would definitely say stop here. It is super cute, with a full on fireplace. In hindsight that may actually be a hazard due to the number of leaflets and booklets they stock there. I take maps upon maps and booklets about the state, reading them in place of helping with directions. After a long journey with the briefest cross over into the state of Georgia, we make it to Pigeon Forge. This town is spaced out but we pass the Dollywood hotel so we know we are almost there. I make Mr.C slow so I can take photos as we pull into the car park. $12 to park!!!! Mr.C continues to mutter about this being worth it as we queue for the trolley to take us to the entrance.
The thing I realise now, is that they never advertise the cost of the park as you enter the car park. I mean if they had done this then we would be $12 better off. Dollywood is $67 to enter. I love the songs but when I find out this is an amusement park full of rides (that Mr.C will not go on), I agree with him that is not worth it. I attempt to look in the souvenir shop at least, but am swiftly stopped by security declaring you need a ticket for that too. So before you know it we are back on the trolley with the lady in a cowboy hat declaring, “enjoy the rest of your day y’all, thanks for visiting.”
To appease me Mr.C takes me via the Dolly Parton statue in the town so I can take a selfie. Then we are off, next stop Knoxville.
It appears that today will be the day of poor parking choices. After deciding there will be nowhere to park in town, Mr.C parks in a car park $5 for two hours. We then wander towards the sphere, passing multiple free to park, car parks along the way. The entrance to the sphere is somewhat run down, graffiti in the lift and a distinct smell about it, but the view is splendid. The river, bridge and the scene of the town growing busier below is great. Turns out this place was once featured on The Simpsons, who knew. I would love to say that we then proceeded to stroll round the town and enjoy the cuteness of Knoxville, but we didn’t. Mr.C was conscious about the car so we dash back to move it. Finding a free car park to use for the rest of our time here.
Knoxville, wow! What an understated place. I love it here, from the sparkling lights in the garden area, to the brilliantly lit theatre, this place oozes community. There are street performers on every corner playing everything from country to a saw. That’s not a typo, I mean one old man was actually playing a saw, Mr.C gave him $2 then very sweetly asked to take a picture!
We dine in this lush restaurant enjoying a cheese fondue style starter, the mains come and so does my food envy. He senses my disappointment and gives me a huge chunk of his pork chop and it was great!!! Few cocktails later, a wander around the old town (which turns out has an English, Irish and Scottish bar), and we are back on the road.
Visit Knoxville, it was a wonderful place with a lot of charm and character.
We had decided over dinner that Chattanooga would be our place to stop for the night and we make it there in good time. Mr. C has suitably installed the song, ‘The Chattanooga Choo Choo’ in my head. We enjoy a relaxing sleep and are fresh for the morning.
In the morning we head straight for ‘Lookout Mountain’. Start the day with a little hike up and down the rocks and Mr.C points the train track out for me, expelling stories of how it used to be used to connect the south to the north of America. He marvels at the length of the track. You truly can see so much from up here, we are the only ones here as it is so early, making the $5 entry even better value.
We then make our way to Rock City. Now I don’t know why this isn’t common knowledge, but it bloody well should be. In Chattanooga, there is an area called ‘Fairyland’, I kid you not! I had to do a double take of the road names, red riding hood trail, peter pan road, it is when I see Cinderella road that I squeal, much to Mr.C’s annoyance. He then explains he is trying to concentrate and I don’t think he has fully grasped that we are in the mists of a fairy tale. I instantly want to live here, I want to tell people I am Cinderella and I live on Cinderella road. When we get to Starbucks and we see Aladdin road, Mr.C finally gets it and he simply says, “you want to live here don’t you.”
Seriously why is this place not talked about, I have literally never heard of it before. We both enjoy our coffee and muffins with grins on our faces that this place exists. After a long debate about if it is worth it, we finally enter ‘Rock City’ and make our way towards the seven states view.
The journey here is through tight caves and natural rocks. Swing bridges and fun trails, it is actually really enjoyable. There are deer’s in the area below and beautiful red birds all around. We make it to the waterfall and ‘lover’s leap’. I make him go and pose as though he is going to leap due to his love for me, it is clear he just wants to see the seven states. We reach the point surrounded by state flags and now it begins to snow, it’s a wonderful sight and Mr.C points out each of the states to me exclaiming their names, as though he is doing it from memory rather than looking at the same sign as me. It’s cute though so I listen attentively and time my picture request perfectly. Rock City, a good way to spend a morning, the fairy tale stories, views and the twists and turns, I imagine it would be good for a day out with children.
It’s the next destination I am more focused on now……. Lynchburg, Jack Daniel’s here we come!!