Dollywood, Shopping and Lunch in the Brook

We have all been reading about the tragic wildfires in the Southeast during the past few weeks. Here in my part of South Carolina, we were minorly affected by the fires, which were quite a distance away. I would check out the air quality, and on those few days when it rose to orange and then later to red, we minimized our time outdoors. It amazed me how much our air smelled of the smoke, which made me think about how awful it must be to be in the path of those fires. It happens all too often each year and makes me wonder how our country does not worry about our air quality more. I don’t want to live out my life wearing face masks like they do in China.

Well, I have certainly meandered off the path of my intended posting today, which was meant to be about one of our family road trips, not a subtle dig at our nation’s climate policies. Specifically, I was reminiscing about our drive to Memphis and our stop at Dollywood.

Growing up in the Northeast, we always headed to Florida—Disney World and Universal Studios— when we wanted to vacation in a fun spot with lot of rides. I never heard of Dollywood until I began investigating activities along the way. It turned out to be a hidden jewel.


I recall it being very hot, but the park was filled with a combination of rides which would get us slightly wet, but not enough to be considered bathing-suit worthy. There were also misting stations scattered throughout the park, so we never felt hot for long.

Growing up in the North, we were not lovers of country music, so that turned out to be an advantage as you should all recall. Throughout the day, when a show was announced, the lines at the rides would pleasantly decrease so that we were able to get a lot more accomplished.

Traveling with all girls, we of course could not leave without hitting up the shopping scene, so we headed to Gatlinburg and meandered through the arts and crafts shops. You all probably picked up a few of your favorite souvenirs—magnets, postcards, and key chains.

One of the best adventures in that neck of the woods was our picnic in the Great Smoky Mountain Park. I packed a lunch, and off we went. We found a beautiful babbling brook and carefully maneuvered our way to a rock in the middle of the stream. The three of you thought that was the best place.


Now I watch the news and see the fires spreading through that area. While Dollywood has been spared, I don’t know if the area around our special lunch spot is the same. It’s sad to watch, but seeing this on the news brought back some wonderful memories.



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