Monday, June 23, 2014

Knox Life: When Visitors Are in Town

How much time can pass before the window of "Let me tell you about this thing I did/trip I took" closes? One week? Ten days? A month? I hope you didn't scoff at one month, because that's what I'm going to do. We're going to pretend that my MIL's baked treats are still sitting on our kitchen counter and that I just sent my parents on their merry way after a ten-day visit. Yup. That's what is going down right now, people. In brief, here are four things we did with my parents during their visit to Knoxville.

It's a given. If you visit Knoxville, you visit Dollywood. Being from Southern Californian family and being married to a man who has worked at three major theme parks, our standards are high. We want to be wow'ed, and we want to have a smooth, enjoyable visit. While Dollywood is much smaller than other theme parks, there were definite perks. First of all, we attended on what employees called "the busiest day of the year, because Dolly is visiting today," but it was still less crowded than Disneyland on a rainy Wednesday in February. It was amazing! The wide open paths and short lines made for a wonderfully leisure day. We have a new appreciation for smaller theme parks. (The parking situation was ridiculous, but I'm attempting to forget how inefficient that mess was.) Second, the park was easily navigable. Good flow for rides, restaurants, shops, and exhibits. And third, the food -- namely Dollywood's Famous Cinnamon Bread! I'm salivating just looking at the picture below. It's the perfect pick-me-up after one too many loops on a rollercoaster. ;)

It looks like he has butterfly ears! ;)

 The Great Smoky Mountains make Knoxville for me. We had a relatively quick morning/afternoon driving through Cades Cove, but I'm looking forward to a longer visit this fall when my MIL and BIL are in town. The sights are breathtaking and expansive, and I enjoyed the churches and historical buildings along the drive. We came upon a church service in an old, white chapel. With no modern conveniences, it was like stepping back in time with the pastor's voice filling the space over a cappella hymns. For anyone who enjoys the outdoors or a good picnic, Cades Cove will undoubtedly feed your soul.

Dixie Stampede is at the heart of Knoxville's major tourist attractions. This was my second time going to the show, and I loved it just as much. This show features horse riding stunts, country music, and singin' and dancin'. Its interactive nature keeps the energy high, and it is appropriate for all ages. There is a pre-show with a musical trio, and once inside the arena for the show, dinner starts! The audience eats a four-course meal during the show. Yum! It's a great night for the whole family!

My mom is an avid traveler, and she had her heart set on visiting this place. Every vacation with my family is more like a "field trip," so I've grown accustomed to going along with whatever itinerary my mom whips up. To call this a museum is an understatement. True, there are buildings with artifacts, but land is designed like a village of Southern Appalachia. I love "immersive" museums like this one. For as technologically advanced as the world is today, it is fascinating to get a glimpse into how resourceful and creative people were in the old days. This museum could easily invite a 4- or 5-hour visit. Take your time in each building, down each path, and with each little animal (goats, chickens, peacocks!).

It was a great time had by all. Make sure to hit up these spots if you're ever in Knoxville!


Kate said...

So much fun!

I couldn't tell you the last time I went to the Museum of Appalachia! That was always a big field trip for us during elementary school. :) Loved it though!

Cades Cove will ALWAYS be one of my favorite places. It's just so, so pretty.

Whitney H said...

Oh man, Cade's Cove? Dollywood? You're reliving my childhood right now! These photos are totally taking me back. And my mouth is totally watering...