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Smoky Mountains - Affordable Family Travel - Itineraries

Road sign outside of Nashville
Road sign outside of Nashville

Join us on our affordable, Pigeon Forge family travel!

This will be a serious of posts during the heart of the COVID outbreak that shook the world and how we chose to handle quarantine. We decided it was time to pack up and get out of town for a week. We decided on Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. This trip was affordable family travel in the Smokey Mountains.

Roughly an 8 hour drive from St. Louis, this is close enough to drive versus fly. There are not a ton of flight options (none direct at least) but Allegiant now flies into Knoxville direct from Belleville, IL. This puts you about an hour away from your Smokey Mountain destination.

Even though my kids were older we still opted to stop halfway in Clarksville, Tennessee at a Marriot. It's a good excuse to swim in their indoor pool and have some quality family time.

We woke up Saturday morning and hit up Shoney's for breakfast. It was a tribute to my Dad. Growing up, we always stopped at a Shoney's for their breakfast on every road trip. I will tell you, I had steak and eggs and that was literally the best sirloin I’ve had in years.

The drive really stressed me out. I drove the entire trip as we took my vehicle. My husband has a Tesla and "forgot" how to drive gas-powered vehicles. That's his story.

We got to Pigeon Forge around 2:30pm, hit up Kroger for groceries and kept our fingers crossed that our cabin would be ready early. It wasn’t, but they recommended a restaurant for us to check out in the interim called “The Old Mill Restaurant” located in downtown PF area.

Dessert at the Old Mill Restaurant
Dessert at the Old Mill Restaurant

It boasted family-style and I’m all about that. Holy moly that was a great meal. I had chicken legs. How many do you think were in an order? Six. Did not finish. Ed ordered chicken breast-there were 3. Lex ordered a slice of sugar-cured ham that was the size of her head. Anni ordered a kid’s grilled cheese but which was not ginormous sized. Ok, this is everything that came with our “meat”: corn chowder, corn fritters, salad, green beans, mashed potatoes, and a choice of dessert. The area on Old Mill Road was super cute with a distillery shop, candy store, general store, etc.

By the time we finished lunch/dinner the cabin was ready. Talk about anxiety up at full volume. Driving up the hills, at night, just ugh. We opted to rent a cabin for the week which was absolutely gorgeous. At the time the cabins were "Dollywood Cabins". They now go under the name of Bear Cove Cabins. This is a very affordable family vacation and family-friendly destination.

Dollywood Cabins
Dollywood Cabins

The cabin did not disappoint. Whatever Dolly Parton puts her name on is super nice, I guess. Two bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms with jacuzzi tubs, hot tub on the deck, pool table, arcade console, 4 TVs, gas fireplace. With its country wood interior I’d say it’s very nice...right down to the “live, laugh, love” art. They even have a Christmas tree!

We hurried up and unpacked so we could get on swimsuits and hit the hot tub. It’s on the upper level. The lower level has a porch swing and rockers. The four of us piled in and let’s just say I’d feel sorry for those sitting on the lower level, just relaxing in their rocking chair.

The girls took their party inside to “vibe in their bathtub” in their swimsuits. I don’t understand either. We watched some tv, played on our phones, and ready to crash as tomorrow it’s early breakfast at the Pancake Pantry. It’s ten miles but will take a good 30 minutes with traffic to travel to Gatlinburg. Go figure.

Affordable family travel.


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