Best Things to Do in Great Smoky Mountains and Nearby Cities

In this episode we share the best things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains including hikes, scenic viewpoints, and experiences in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN.

We went to Gatlinburg on two different occasions: Mid-fall to see the fall foliage and get cozy mountain vibes, and in spring to see the lush green foliage. Both are amazing and both should be experiences. After experiencing both we would definitely recommend Fall late October as the best time to visit Great Smoky Mountains, but you really can’t go wrong any time of year. 

Great Smoky Mountains is one of those places we all agreed we could return to year and year and never grow tired of. It’s down right gorgeous and the small towns intertwined with the national park actually have an overwhelming amount of options for fun things to do.

We recommend Crossroads Inn and Suites in Gatlinburg, TN for where to stay in Gatlinburg. It’s an amazing lodge with one bedroom suites with full size jacuzzi tubs and wood burning fireplaces in the front room! This was perfect for a fall visit when its cold outside and you want to be cozy inside. The price is right and it’s at the end of the main road so you can walk the full thing and back.

The Great Smoky Mountains is in Tennessee and therefore southern food is very much a part of this experience. We recommend places to eat in Gatlinburg and places to eat in Pigeon Forge for dinner and brunch that we ate at and would recommend to you.

We share the best hikes in Great Smoky Mountains for short and longer hikes, In this episode we recommend Clingmans Dome Lookout (1 mile), Alum Cave Bluffs to Myrtle Point (11.4 miles), and Laurel Falls Trail (2.6 miles). 

We also share what to do in Gatlinburg from our experiences on the skylift and nearby Tuckaleechee Caverns. And if you have time or are staging in Pigeon Forge, do not miss the Old Mill Restaurant, it has an amazing dinner deal, great service, and is a great price for this delicious southern cuisine!
If you’re looking for a longer trip in Tennessee, also consider going to Nashville and Mammoth Caves National Park which are just a few hours away and can easily be added on.

Episode Transcript

3 (58s):
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad Podcast. To date, we are taking you to the great state of Tennessee and I guess we should give a little credit to North Carolina also because we are going to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles both states, but most of it being in Tennessee,

2 (1m 16s):
I absolutely love The Great, Smoky Mountains, National Park. I went here last year for my birthday, which is in November and it was the most amazing time to visit this area. There were fall colors everywhere. It had that nice chill that you wanna be by a fire or in a hot tub. The food was amazing. The people are really nice. There are views for days like I am dying to go back. I absolutely love this place.

1 (1m 41s):
You know, I have the same sentiment. I loved this national park so much. I can’t stop thinking about when I’ll be back to visit it next.

2 (1m 48s):
I have been thinking about it ever since too.

3 (1m 50s):
Well, I’ll tell you what, then we’re gonna have to take a Squad trip because if you didn’t catch it, you know, Kim went on a birthday trip. She didn’t invite us. Hello. So we had to go ourselves this time. So Kim’s experienced it in fall for her birthday. Brittanie and I were in May, so let’s make a Squad trip of it, no doubt. But would you see it again in fall or would you wanna see it when it’s lush and green? Because I wanna see it in fall and I’ve seen it in green.

2 (2m 14s):
Well, I haven’t heard about your trip yet, so this is gonna be my first time hearing about it. So I wanna see what you guys think about it. But I would go back fall every year.

1 (2m 22s):
Yeah, I’m definitely wanting to go in the fall. We saw it when it was nice, lush green, I’m ready to see it for some fall foliage. I think that would be very, very beautiful. I once met a photographer who said he sets his fall standards to the great smokey Mountains. Ooh. That’s what he envisions when he sees fall colors and landscapes. And so that’s what I really wanna do. And I think we have agreed that October would probably be the perfect time to visit.

2 (2m 50s):

3 (2m 51s):
Let’s make it happen. I’m ready to go back to the smokes. We loved it a lot and like I said, the great Smokey Mountains is located in eastern Tennessee. And again, some of the smokey Mountains is in North Carolina, but the majority of the park is going to be in Tennessee. So

1 (3m 8s):
The great smokey Mountains are actually called the smokes since they’re home to millions and millions of trees, bushes and other plants. And so the collective vapor that they exhale create a blanket of fog above them that gives them their Smoky

2 (3m 24s):
Look. Oh I did not realize that’s what was causing that fog in smokiness. It’s

3 (3m 30s):
Literally the earth and the trees breathing and that’s what’s coming out of it. Yeah, really intense, right? Just to literally see the earth alive in some sort of way. Like you saw it but you didn’t know now you know. But it’s really, really intense. And I’ve said this on a previous episode, I think it was more so when we were talking about another eastern trip that Brittanie and I had gone on when we went to Shenandoah National Park, which is in Virginia, which is again very mountainous forested area. But I really love to see the forests of the east coast versus the west coast because they’re just completely different. The Mountains aren’t as high as here on the west coast, but our Mountains here are like jagged granite peaks and then you know snow caps.

3 (4m 12s):
So they’re barring at the top. And here these are just Mountains and they’re just lush with like rolling, rolling hills trees, covering the entire landscape. And because the Mountains aren’t necessarily very high, a lot of the trees, they’re not evergreens, they’re actually leave trees. So they will fall and wilt and have the color change. Whereas here we don’t have that. They’re like pine trees. So really, really unique if you are from the west coast and never experienced forests in that type of capacity. Really, really awesome. The smokes are great. I loved it.

2 (4m 44s):
I also love the smokes because fuck ’em hard. It’s a free national park.

3 (4m 48s):
I love me a free national park. Fuck ’em hard. Get yourself to the Smokeys. Really, really cool. I

2 (4m 53s):
Can’t believe it. One of the most amazing national parks in the country and it’s free.

3 (4m 56s):
I think I know why though. And we’re gonna touch upon this is because there’s so many towns that are within the area, more particularly like Gatlinburg Tennessee, which is gonna be the main town within the smokes, but it’s on like a US highway. So they can’t really enforce an entrance fee because you could only get to the town and the city. And this was here well before it was a national park, you know, from the 18, 17 hundreds even. So that has a lot to do with it. So thank you Gatlinburg. Cuz you’re probably the only reason why the Smokeys is free to get into.

2 (5m 27s):
I think that’s part of the charming of this area is that it’s a town carved into the middle of just trees, a national park everywhere. We’re gonna talk about some of the viewpoints that you can get and you can actually see it from above just a town carved into the middle of forest.

3 (5m 46s):
So I’m really excited to get in this episode. Let’s tease ’em as we always do with the tip tips first, let’s get those out of the way and we’ll dive right in. Well

1 (5m 55s):
My favorite tip as always is to download the offline maps. Make sure you do that in advance. We actually drove from South Carolina to Gatlinburg and so we drove the entire width of the national park from south to north. And so we did need offline maps because we did lose self reception and it was just nice to have it to get around.

2 (6m 16s):
I drove from Nashville to Gatlinburg to this area and I did lose cell service and I did not have offline maps. That’s why I’d use my old Christopher Columbus and navigate my way with signs.

3 (6m 27s):
The signs. I thought you were gonna say the stars. The

2 (6m 30s):
Stars and the signs there. You, you go

3 (6m 32s):
When mom isn’t here. I feel like I’ve heard you say a million times. You never have the offline maps Kim so kept with the theme on that one. Yep.

2 (6m 40s):
You know that’s what you’re gonna have to do but you don’t want to do that.

3 (6m 43s):
Another good tip pack and dress and layers. You’re gonna wake up in the morning, it’s gonna be cold, you’re in the mountain town, the evening is gonna be just the same when you’re out in the forest itself, it’s gonna be warm. So you wanna have those layers because the transitions are definitely real.

2 (6m 59s):
When you were there in May, it was cold in the mornings.

3 (7m 2s):
I felt like when we were in the forest it was kind of having a little bit of chill. But when we woke up because we stayed in Gatlinburg, I mean the highs that day was supposed to be like 85 wasn’t it? And it was actually, you know, quite warm but in the forest in the morning, yeah I would say it was definitely, I don’t wanna say like cold, cold, but we started off with our jackets that is for sure. And took them off at some point.

1 (7m 24s):
Okay. Another tip we have for you is to be bear aware. I believe I read aside saying that there’s about two bears per square mile of the park. And so you also really wanna be just respectful of wildlife, not get too close, respect their distance and give them their space.

3 (7m 41s):
Yeah, definitely be bear aware, respect the wildlife And with that theme, the last little tip here, pack out what you pack in. You’re gonna bring in food to snack on during your hikes or while you’re exploring stuff. You know, don’t be a litterbug. Respect the beautiful environment that’s you’re in. Take it out with

2 (7m 57s):
You. Okay. Where to stay in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. My favorite place since I went before we ended up booking at the Crossroads in in suites and it was so amazing that you all booked there as well, right?

3 (8m 10s):
Kim Highly recommended by you Kim And we loved it just as well. I will say to some extent, I don’t want to say the room was bad cuz it wasn’t. We loved it. That’s why we’re recommending it slightly dated in the sense, but with the charm that goes with kind of the the mountain town area that we were in. So I liked it for that but it’s not like super, super modern

2 (8m 30s):
And no it’s not like a five star hotel. Right? But what it does have is a big ass jacuzzi in the living room. Yep. Private jacuzzi. And you guys had a two story one, I had a one story, one bedroom suite and the jacuzzi was right next to the fireplace, it was right next to the tv. So we were just like posted up drinking wine in the jacuzzi next to the fire watching our favorite show. It was fucking amazing. And

3 (8m 55s):
If you go during the fall time like you did, you know you’re gonna have that cold chill, you’re gonna wanna warm up with the hot tub, the fireplace. That was so good. So another reason why I do want to go back, I do wanna say I don’t think every room at Crossroad in actually has the tub. So if you’re gonna be booking, make sure you book one that actually has the tub. So don’t take a a bad tip and think every room has it and go and be disappointed. We don’t want that for you guys.

2 (9m 20s):
And Squad tip, bring yourself a bath bomb to put into the jacuzzi tub while you’re there.

1 (9m 25s):
Oh wow. That would’ve been amazing. Yes, I got in the tub both nights, it was very relaxing, very spacious, loved it. So I had a great time

2 (9m 35s):
And now I’m like a big fan of jacuzzi’s in the room and everywhere I go I’m searching for one. That’s

1 (9m 41s):
Something you would do definitely 100%. But we didn’t go to Gatlinburg for the bath bombs and the jacuzzi tubs. We went there to see the great scenic beauty of the Smoky Mountains. And so we’re gonna dive into some of the hikes that we did.

3 (9m 56s):
So for Brittanie and I, again this is the a continuation of our south road trip that we had with Kim. You know previous episodes you heard us talking about Savannah, Charleston Congre National Park where we dropped Kim off after Congre and Brittanie and I from that point continued on here to Gatlinburg and the great Smokey. So again we missed this portion with you Kim you had been before. And so we drove from South Carolina and one of the first things that we did was actually go to Clingmans Dome. And Clings Man’s Dome is actually really, really unique aspect. It is in the great Smoky Mountains Brittanie did not tell me this. She said we’re gonna take a little hour detour to go out of the way for like a scenic overlook.

3 (10m 39s):
She didn’t tell me it was part of the park or anything like that. And I was kind of like irritated cuz I was like god damn it’s a long drive already taken out. I was already long drive as it is. I was at the start of developing a cold, wasn’t feeling well after we had dropped you off. So I was like ah, I don’t really wanna do it. Then she finally said that, well it’s part of the national park and I really got like geared up for it

1 (10m 59s):
But before that he was like, so can you show me pictures of Clingmans Dome because I just really need to see what it actually looked like to see if it’s worth it.

3 (11m 8s):
Well yeah, you didn’t tell him it was part of the National Park. If I knew it was part of the National Park I would’ve been all about it. So you didn’t do a good job in telling, but that’s neither here nor there. Let’s get to what Cleans Men Dome is. It’s actually really fucking cool. Like I said, the Smoky Mountains straddles the state line between North Carolina and Tennessee. Kingman’s Dome is literally right on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. The dome is an overlooked point that gives you great 360 degree views of the smokes. It’s a dome tower that they’ve built right there on the state line on the Appalachia Trail for that matter. So literally a beautiful overlook two places at once, two great states, North Carolina, Tennessee, giving you great views and Lookouts 360.

3 (11m 51s):
We did go kind of during golden hour and sunset so it was a little bit more beautiful than I think if we went during the day, right? Because we didn’t get to see it in fall like you did Kim. But during those sundown hours you really got like a just different coloration that comes naturally like in the sky from the sun setting. But I feel like that resonated and translated onto the trees and the leave colors and it was just so, so beautiful.

1 (12m 16s):
Clingmans Dome is the highest peak in great Smokey Mountains National Park. It’s 6,643 feet at the top of the dome. It’s the highest point in Tennessee and it’s the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi.

3 (12m 32s):
And like I said, it really gives you those spectacular 360 degree views. I will say this, basically you get to a parking lot area and then there is a steep half mile hike to the top of it. It is a paved hike but a steep hike nonetheless. Half a mile, one way to get there. So do keep that in mind. Kim, did you go to Kingsman Dome when you were there?

2 (12m 54s):
We did not make it there.

3 (12m 55s):
Was it on your radar at least?

2 (12m 57s):
No, it wasn’t actually.

3 (12m 58s):
Okay. Any particular reason why you just didn’t do the research? Didn’t know

2 (13m 1s):
About it out of the way since we were coming from Nashville, we only had one day, one night there. So we had limited things that we could see and do. Sure. And we did a couple things that you did not do.

1 (13m 12s):
So on clear days when you’re at the top you can see views up to a hundred miles in the distance, pretty crazy. And at the top they have a lot of the boards where you can see what you’re looking at. So we actually saw another peak called Mount Laconte, which is where we were gonna be hiking the following day. So that was pretty cool to see. And then the temperature at the top is like 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the surrounding like lower areas. So as we said in the tips, make sure you pack layers, it’s gonna be cooler up here for sure. I did trick Jamal a little bit cause I was like, Oh we’re going to beautiful lookout. I didn’t tell him that there was a half mile hike to get to the top.

1 (13m 53s):
So really it was a mile hike, round trip. But when he got to the top and saw the beautiful views and the sunset, he was like, All right, this is definitely

3 (14m 1s):
Worth it. Well she deceived me number one, but again, I think she just didn’t wanna tell me because I was starting to feel really sick and I just wanna throw this out here. That cold really took it outta me and I was a trooper on this trip, handling it with a cold. So I feel like my experience in Great smokes could have even been better if I wasn’t feeling sick for that matter.

1 (14m 20s):
And to get to Clingmans Dome, you have to go down a seven mile road leading to the tower and it’s closed seasonally so you can’t go all year round. It closes in early December and then doesn’t open again until like late March, early April. So when the weather conditions allow for it to reopen again. So just keep that in mind that you can only visit it in April through November.

3 (14m 42s):
I do wanna say, so I know we’re in the section here where we’re talking to you guys about the hikes that we did, but again, this was our first day and experience in the Smokeys, just the overlook here at Clingmans Dome. But basically from here we drove into Gatlinburg. So once you’re down from the top of the mountain, you’re literally driving the highway that’s kind of like on the forest floor, it’s just still lush, so green and we gotta see a little bit of that. You know, as we said, we were there during golden hour kind of sunset. So the sun and natural light eventually went away and it became dark. So we’re driving in the middle of like nothingness darkness. The only lights are obviously like our headlights. And what I thought was like really, really cool is then all of a sudden you’re driving in the forest and then bam there’s a big tree clearing and then in the middle of nowhere is Gatlinburg.

3 (15m 29s):
Like I thought that was so fucking cool. Like I’m in the middle of the forest, I feel like I’m in the middle of nowhere and then all of a sudden here’s a stoplight and a clearing and then there’s the town. So that was a really cool way to kind of get in there cause I wasn’t expecting that thought it was really awesome.

1 (15m 44s):
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1 (17m 58s):
So on Wednesday we woke up, Jamal was not feeling well at all and that was the day I had planned to do a very specific hike called Alum Cave Bluffs to Myrtle Point. And actually on all trails it lists it to Mount La Conte. And I wanna say that’s kind of quite deceiving, but that’s the hike I wanted to do. And the research I had done stated that if you do one hike in the great smoking Mountains, this is the two do hike. We always talk about if you go to the Grand Canyon, the South Kiba trails, the hike to do this is the hike to do in the smoke.

2 (18m 33s):
You know what’s funny, Brittanie in your research, the hike to do always happens to be the longest, hardest hike. Really? How does that happen? Well,

1 (18m 42s):
You know, you gotta see it all right? So mm.

3 (18m 45s):
So I mean the trail being as long as it was lends itself to be seen at all. But I don’t think you said how long it is. It’s 11.4 miles round trip from the alum cave bluffs to Myrtle Point

2 (18m 56s):
And what kind of difficulty?

1 (18m 58s):
So it said that it had an elevation gain of like 3,200 feet. So

2 (19m 4s):
I wish you could see my face right now.

1 (19m 6s):
So you made that face

2 (19m 8s):
I’d be faking sick too. Jamal.

3 (19m 9s):
Well I wasn’t faking sick because of that. And I mean I guess that’s Kim over 30. No doubt he

1 (19m 14s):
Really wasn’t that bad. Like the elevation change was so gradual that it didn’t feel like it was super strenuous. And I think that’s one of the reasons why Jamal was able to make it. But he woke up and he was literally like, you’re gonna have to hike alone or pick a different hike. And I was gearing up to hike this alone. Actually

3 (19m 33s):
It goes to show she didn’t wanna spend time with me and move it out. Pick another one. Well yeah, but we’re here in the smokes together and she’s gonna go do the hike selfishly that she wants to do alone and not pick something that we can do together. But I’ll tell you what, I got up, I trou it out. I did feel better when I was up versus kind of laying down, you know when you wake up when you’re sick you kind of like congested. I still had that and was congested. But let me tell you something. Even being sick, the hardest part was that it was just difficult for me to breathe. And so you’re hiking so you had covid? No, I did not have covid. I mean I’m stuffed up. It’s difficult to breathe, you know what I mean? So anyway, it was definitely a lot easier to do than I really, really thought.

3 (20m 17s):
Basically the first portion of it, like I would say mile and a half, two miles is actually flat in the forest floor and then you start the incline. But the incline is relatively gradual, it’s not too bad. You know a lot of times when you do hikes they’ll have like big steps that you have to take that they carve out. This was just a nice honest, steady incline. So it made it a lot more doable. And then once you get to the top point when you get to the Camp la Kante that they, they have up there this lodge and that’s where they say really should be the ending point. But you shouldn’t, doesn’t give you good views, you need to continue another like 0.7 miles on to Myrtle Point then you know, it gets a little bit more inclined but relatively flat in those areas.

3 (21m 2s):
So I would say definitely doable. If you have like moderate stamina you can do this. I don’t think it’s that strenuous.

1 (21m 8s):
Yeah and there was so much beauty to this hike. Like Jamal said, the first mile, mile and a half, it was pretty flat. It was going alongside of a creek so you had really nice views of that. And then we got to Arch Rock, which is one of the trails, prominent landmarks. And so the arch has like really cool geological features and you go across a wooden bridge and then you go into like the cave and there’s a whole bunch of steps carved out to it. So that was really cool to see seeing that natural arch with the stairs and then it has a really good vantage point for photo. So that’s a Squad tip.

3 (21m 44s):
It really did. Like how on this trail, you’re right, I forgot about that. All the little natural wooden bridges that they built from the carved out logs, how you had to go over it, cross the creeks and everything like that. But no doubt the view at the end of Myrtle Point was obviously just a general highlight to go see it from the top. But the main highlight is as we mentioned earlier, two black bears per square mile will guess what Brittanie and I happened to come across three black bears altogether. We saw on our way up a mama bear and her two cubs. The mama was just kind of like relaxing at the base of a tree while her cubs were sleeping in the tree.

2 (22m 24s):
How far away were you?

3 (22m 25s):
We were about 20 feet away. They were 20 feet off the trail, just chilling right there. And

2 (22m 30s):
Okay so you saw them to the side of the trail, you didn’t like walk up

3 (22m 33s):
On them? Oh no because the tr we were on the trail and then they were at a lower portion. Like literally it’s a cliff’s edge if you will. Not like a steep cliff but I mean you’re gonna go down right? But they were really, really close to us. Wow.

2 (22m 44s):
Were you scared?

1 (22m 45s):
No, we weren’t scared because we heard someone say that there was a mama bear and two cubs and so then when we were approaching there was a couple looking at them and they were like giving us signals that there was a bear there and so it was actually really hard to even find them at first so you to look really hard. But then once we saw them, the mama bear is like slumped over her head’s just on a log. She sleep sleeping and so were the baby bears in the trees. What you could see was their little ears flickering. So that

3 (23m 15s):
Was, it was really hard. Yeah, like honestly, if the person hadn’t told us and the other people weren’t there watching it, we could have easily passed them without even knowing that they were there. Cuz the Cubs you really couldn’t see. They were in like a dead tree and just the way the sun was, they were kind of like washed out. You could really only see their shadows and again they were napping so not very much movement. But when you saw the mama you could actually tell like oh shit, this is a bear. Here’s something big and furry. But if you’re not really looking for it you would’ve missed it. So we watched them for like a little bit of time. I mean obviously you’re seeing seeing bear sightings, the Smoky Mountains are known for the bears, you wanna spend time watching it. But there was very, very minimal activity. So at that point we continued on the top and made it to Myrtle point.

3 (23m 57s):
But I do want to talk about ante lodge a little bit. We obviously passed it because it’s a main focal point in that area. It is a lodge where hikers can go up and actually spend the night they have food service and things up there. But it’s very, very rustic. So I don’t wanna say like it’s a hotel, but you do have to make reservations.

1 (24m 16s):
It’s more of like a primitive lodge. So they don’t provide much, but you can stay there in the cabins and you do have to make reservations months in advance as

3 (24m 26s):
Well, right? So the viewpoint from there wasn’t great and again continued on the 0.7 to Myrtle point and you know you’re at another summit seeing these beautiful Mountains and it’s just the colors of the trees so lush, so green and I don’t wanna compare it again to like Clingmans dome but just really good payoff at the very, very end of it. But the whole hike in general takes you through a lot of unique landscapes within the smokes that makes it probably that to do hike cuz you’re gonna see it all along the way.

1 (24m 56s):
Yeah, and I had downloaded all trails. I have like the membership so you can see where you are on the trail and it listed this trail as alum caves to Mount Lae. And so when we got to Mount Laconte we’re like, well there’s not really the views, there was a bathroom there so that was great. But then Jamal saw that we have to go another 0.7 to Myrtle point and at that point he was like, I don’t know if I wanna do it. And I’m like, but we don’t really see any views. So I am really thankful that he,

3 (25m 24s):
I trooped it out,

1 (25m 25s):
T trooped it out, made it there but can’t forget this. So we decided that because we were previously in South Carolina, we had picked up some public sandwiches to go for our hike.

2 (25m 37s):
I’ve heard about a freak out with a public sandwiches and I’m dying to know what happened. Well

3 (25m 42s):
I forgot what it was. I think when we were in that Congre episode, Brittanie teased it and now that she’s about to talk about it, it’s ringing a bell. It’s honestly ringing a bell.

2 (25m 53s):
So you agree it was a freak

3 (25m 54s):
Out. No, but I know exactly what she’s gonna say. That’s okay.

1 (25m 57s):
So we drove, you know, from South Carolina essentially to Gatlinburg.

2 (26m 2s):
You were adamant about getting the sandwiches there.

3 (26m 5s):
Yeah, so basically we picked up Publix with you. If you remember in the Hungary episode you still weren’t necessarily too impressed but Brittanie and I picked up a public sandwich to eat after Con and then we each got a sandwich cuz we knew we were gonna be doing an 11 mile hike each. So we put it in our collapsible cooler but I didn’t necessarily want to get it there. I wanted to find a Publix that was closer to Gatlinburg that way it’s not sitting as long and it’s more fresh. We ended up getting it same time that we got it with you. So they were sitting there a little bit longer, took very good care to make sure that it stayed on the top so that it wouldn’t get wet.

1 (26m 44s):
And it got wet still like yeah in our bag there was definitely water when we got to our hotel at Cross four Roads and in suites. And so as we’re unpacking it, the sandwiches Jamal was like, oh no, oh no. He’s like, we’re gonna have to throw these in the trash, we’re gonna have to throw them in the trash. And so I unwrap them and I patted them and then I actually ended up wrapping them in Kleenex.

2 (27m 7s):
And you used the air dryer on them?

3 (27m 10s):
I, well I really thought to myself, shit should we get the blow dryer and like put it on it? But we did not. Now it was like maybe one third of the sandwich, like bottom side that was wet, one side stayed, you know like dry on it. But I thought to myself, well shit this is soaking through, it’s doing this, it’s doing that. I was kind of already like frustrated cause Brittanie dece me about the half mile hike cuz I wasn’t starting to feel good at Clings men’s dome. And so all that kind of like played into it, what I call it a freak out. No am I disappointed Cause we had no food for an 11 mile hike and I thought the sandwiches were ruined. Sure

1 (27m 43s):
You had a little fruit but I saved the day pretty

3 (27m 46s):
Salvaged the fuck out

1 (27m 47s):
Of them. Yeah, I salvaged the fuck out of those sandwiches and I wrapped them so good. I wrapped them actually like once that night and then in the morning I rewrap them and it soaked up some of that moisture. My bread was still pretty crunchy the next day. I was very pleased with the job that

3 (28m 4s):
I did. So we had our public sandwiches, it was definitely saved and we ate them at Myrtle Point just again overlooking the beautiful scenery of the great smokes. But another point of highlight on this hike and we have so much to talk about it cuz hello, it was fucking close to 12 miles on it, coming back down. I make the comment to Brittanie, you know, do you think the bears are still gonna be there? And she said yes. And I said you know, I don’t know like you know, I know Bears to some extent are, you know, if they’re not forging for food, they are lazy animals, they like to just kind of sit and chill and do this and that. But I was like they’ve had to move on by now. It’s been like three hours. They can’t still just be napping. And sure enough, you know we cross some people as we know we’re kind of getting close to that point and Brittanie asks them, Have you guys seen any bears?

3 (28m 51s):
And then they say, Oh yeah just like around the corner. And then they start telling us it’s a mom and her comes like oh no we already saw them like but you saw the same ones, they’re still there. Yes they were. And we’re like, fuck yeah we gotta watch ’em again. And this was a major highlight.

2 (29m 4s):
You should always tell fellow hikers about the animals. You see that’s like hiking etiquette

3 (29m 11s):
Right there. Of course you have to. You have to.

1 (29m 13s):
So we get back to where the bears are and they’re a little bit more active because it’s later in the day. Mama Bear is no longer has her head on a log. She is up, she is active, baby bears are in the tree, they’re also active, you can actually hear them whining for mama.

3 (29m 30s):
And the mama bear started to get active because a good group of people started to really kind of like watch her. So we’re still of debate like did she and we haven’t said what she did yet. Did they get up and leave and do what they did because there was too many people around. But she started like looking at all of us and not in an aggressive way. And I know you asked Kim, are you scared or were we scared? And I’ve said in previous episodes like black bears don’t scare me now a bear in her cubs regardless Black bear or grizzly bear cuz grizzly bears, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere like close to a mama in her cubs cuz they’ll fuck with you black bears possibly. It’s like no, you know like we’re fine. But I think she was ready to get them out because there was too many people there for her liking at that point.

1 (30m 12s):
So you could hear the babies whining And so mama bear decides to climb up the tree, which was super cool to watch. You can hear her like grunting to get up the tree. Oh gosh, she climbs up, she like kind of nuzzles with her, her babies, she climbs down the tree and then one by one each baby like came scooting down and it was literally the cutest thing to watch ever. That is so

3 (30m 35s):
Cute. And like these are like literally like baby cubs. I mean they were just born this year, you know they’re like little freshies coming outta winter in the den and everything like that. So it was really, really awesome. But you know we’ve seen Bear sidings together as the Squad and Yellow Stone and Grand Tetons, you know the Grizzlies, they were just kind of like eating and foraging along the side of the road. But this was a really cool like interaction. I’ve never seen like one a mama bear in her cubs but two climb up in the tree to go get them, have the cubs come down. It was a really, really awesome experience and we spent a good bit more time just like obviously chilling and watching that, I mean that was clearly the highlight of the trip and of the smokeys was seeing that.

1 (31m 13s):
Yeah, there was actually in group that got there before us and they were kind of loud and I, I was actually a little disappointed in like their behavior cause I felt like that’s when mama bear got a little bit more active as well. Like what were

3 (31m 26s):
They doing? They were kind of like whistling at it trying to get its attention to look because again earlier and I can’t attest to what she was doing before we got there on our way back down but on the way up they weren’t doing anything at all. But as we were getting close to them, we clearly heard them kind of try to grab her attention in some sort of way. Which that has already fucked up in general. Let the wildlife be like why would you be hollering at it? You should only holler at it if it’s like coming to you and trying to be aggressive, you know, not to get its attention. So

1 (31m 56s):
But really cool experience. I’m so glad that this trail paid offer us. It definitely was the trail to do even though it was probably the longest trail. But Myrtle Point had beautiful views. Kim, I know you said you saw it in fall but in May it was so beautiful, super green, super lush, everywhere you look, trees everywhere, kind of those rolling hills. We were actually able to see what we think was cling men’s dome from Myrtle Point, which was really cool. And you know sometimes when you’re at the top of a hike you can look down and see like, oh that’s where we parked, that’s where our car is, this is how far we’ve come. We couldn’t even see the highway that runs through the park and like where our car would be.

1 (32m 36s):
It was

3 (32m 37s):
Just sucks dense foliage.

1 (32m 38s):
Yeah it was just so dense in the forest that you, you can’t see like all you see is trees. It’s super

2 (32m 44s):
Beautiful. That is so cool. I love this park.

1 (32m 46s):
Me too. So that was the hike that we did. But I know Kim, you did some hiking while you were here

2 (32m 51s):
As well. I just did one hike actually. And like I said we were coming from Nashville so it was a long drive. We got in, I wanna say later in the afternoon, maybe around three ish or so. And we did Laurel Falls trail. This is not 12 miles, this is a 2.6 mile out and back trail.

3 (33m 9s):
Well Kim did this after 30, you know I gotta rub that in right. It is after 30. So we chose the short one but I think it was a timing issue too. Also

2 (33m 16s):
Timing issue. Yes. And this is one of the most popular trails in the park. So if you were to do this earlier in the day, it would probably be very busy. We actually saw a lot of people coming down, not a lot of people going up at the time that we did. So you get that 1.3 miles, two laurel falls and you see it, it’s beautiful. You cross over this beautiful bridge, you can keep going, the trail keeps going up, there’s switchbacks as it’s climbing. We wanted to find a spot to sit down and just, you know like have a drink and just enjoy the views cuz it was starting to be dusk. There’s gorgeous fall trees everywhere. The views were amazing that like haze of the Smoky Mountains was coming out.

2 (33m 55s):
It was really pretty. There really wasn’t anywhere like specific you could sit past the falls. So we did find a little spot and we sat down for a while and by the time we hiked out and got back to the car it was dark. And I think that time of day for hiking brings a totally different charm than an early morning or midday hike. It’s more private, it’s just got this different look to it, this different feel to it. I recommend dusk time

3 (34m 22s):
Hikes. Well so let me ask you a question. That hike in general just sounds amazing and the fact that you did it at night, but you were there in fall and at night. So what was the weather situation temperature wise when you did that? It

2 (34m 34s):
Was pretty cold. It wasn’t too cold. Like I started with gloves and ended up taking them off because you’re gaining elevations so you’re getting a little warm. But I had a warm jacket on, I had a beanie on, I had boots on and I was fine with just that. I was also there mid-November. So if you went any later probably would’ve been much colder. Mid-November is a good time. You kind of get the coolness but you also, when it is sunny during the day, it’s not bad at all.

1 (34m 58s):
Yeah you know I did see that hike. We just unfortunately didn’t have the time to do it. I also had some backup hikes in the event that Jamal refused to do the 11 mile hike. So one backup hike that I saw was the Charles bunion via the Appalachian Trail. That one was about 8.6

3 (35m 17s):
Miles. Look at her backup hike from 11 to eight miles. Crazy. What a joke. This hike when you read it is very, very intriguing and would be a good one. But I love how that’s a backup hike. It was a backup hike. Let me shave three miles off and it’s still over five and let me put it at 8.6 miles.

1 (35m 32s):
And then my last choice was called the Chimney Tops Trail. That one was only 3.6 miles. This would be perfect for Kim over 30.

2 (35m 42s):
You could have combined that one with the Laurel Falls trail.

1 (35m 44s):
Oh that’s

3 (35m 45s):
Cool. That would be a good one to do. And combine them. I honestly like I would love to go back as we were talking about, spend more time here, do a lot of these other hikes obviously be here when I’m not sick and do a lot of these trails that are 11.6 miles. Not that I don’t mind a big hike, but you know when you do the big hikes it really takes up a majority of your day when there’s lots of very scenic ones that are shorter ones and you’re right, put multiple in the day and kind of, you know, do that, spread it out, get back into town, maybe do one in the morning, do one in the evening and just really made kind of a whole day of it. I remember when we were driving the first day from Clingmans Dome and again you know it was sunset but you know when the sunset’s light is still up but there’s overlook areas even along the major highway that where there’s a mountain clearing that faces west in the perfect way for you to actually see the sunset.

3 (36m 39s):
I don’t remember what those lookout points were, but even doing something like that would be really cool within the park.

2 (36m 45s):
The reason why I didn’t do a whole lot of hiking on this trip was because in Gatlinburg there’s actually a lot of stuff to do. So we had a choice to do a couple more hikes that we were looking at or do a couple of the things in Gatlinburg and in the Caverns that also looked really cool. And since Louis’s never been in a cavern, we went with the caverns. So a couple of things that I did, and I don’t know if you guys did any of these but let me know if you did. The first one was the Gatlinburg Skylift.

3 (37m 16s):
It was on our radar, came highly recommended by you. We wanted to go up. It looks really awesome to do but I think like the fire pits or like the restaurant and thing that they have up there was actually closed. So you would just go up and it be kind of an overlook. And since I wasn’t feeling too well, I was just like eh. But if they had the fire pits open and the restaurant area like I think we would’ve been sold at that time. Oh

2 (37m 37s):
That’s such a bummer. And that’s another reason you should go in the fall because the fire pits up there with a drink and just the views, it is like a place you’ll wanna spend hours. So the Skylift, you take some chairs up, it is a ticketed experience so it’s about 32 bucks a ticket. When we went, you take these chairs up, you go up like 1800 feet to get up to the sky lift park, there is this cable bridge that’s all enclosed. And during this time that we went in November, they were starting to put up holiday lights. So the whole thing is like a tunnel of Christmas lights. It’s really, really cool. They have the fire pits restaurants bars up there and so you can literally just chill in some chairs and look at these gorgeous views of the fall trees, this tiny town carved out in the middle of all of this nature.

2 (38m 24s):
Like I would’ve spent all day up there if I had it. And that’s why I really wish we had more than the time that we did have in Gatlinburg. Like I wanna spend a whole week there

3 (38m 33s):
And something really cool. I mean you said you could have spent all day up there. What’s really cool is these tickets are good for 24 hours from once you buy it. So you can actually buy it, go up and then the next day before your 24 hours is up or maybe even twice in the day, go up again and utilize it. So it’s really cool in that respect

2 (38m 51s):
And during that time you’ll wanna go during the day and at night. Cuz if you do wanna see the Christmas lights and everything at night, that’s really cool. But then you do wanna see it during the day with the fall colors and get the views of the town. I highly recommend that. Sorry you weren’t feeling well cuz. Cuz that’s pretty cool.

3 (39m 7s):
Well it, it was that but I really think the major decision was, I mean it’s 32 bucks a person. Again, not necessarily the end of the world for the views, but I do really think when Brittanie and I found out like well we can’t really get a drink or utilize the fire pits up there because they were doing renovation or fixing something up. Like we’re like, I don’t think it’ll be worth it to just kind of like look cuz we had an overlooked view already at two different points. Granted would be more unique to see down into Gatlinburg. But that was more so the deciding factor for us.

2 (39m 36s):
The other thing I wish that we would’ve planned to fly out of maybe like Knoxville because it’s a long drive back to Nashville and we knew we had to get back for a flight home. So on the way back there are these Tuck, Aachi Caverns in Townson, Tennessee, we passed them when we were coming in and we looked it up, it looked really cool. It’s only 22 bucks a ticket and Louis’s never seen caves. And caves are really cool. Like they’re just a wonder of the world and you, it’s right below you.

3 (40m 6s):
I love caves,

2 (40m 7s):
They’re so cool. And this one was really, really cool. It’s got a ton of stalagmites stag tights. It’s a guided tour. And the guide that we got was really funny. He was like cracking jokes the whole time. It’s about like 1.25 miles and you go one way, you see all this beautiful stuff, you go to the end of it and you sit down, he turns the lights off and then he turns them back on and he’s over here by this person. And then so he’s like playing with you too and telling jokes and it’s really funny. And then he, we go back the way we came and then hit the other side of the big room and there’s this huge underground waterfall inside the cave. That’s really cool. That sounds amazing.

2 (40m 47s):
Yeah, I would love to see that. It was really, really cool. I’m really glad that we did it. We had to choose between more hiking and that and I don’t regret the decision, but I would’ve loved to do more height.

3 (40m 57s):
Well how far is this outside of Gatlinburg? I know you said this was back on your way to Nashville, but in terms of distance from Gatlinburg, do you remember?

2 (41m 5s):
It wasn’t that far but too far to go back. Maybe an hour

3 (41m 9s):
Not too bad. So if you’re going in that general direction, it’s worth doing it. Or if you’re coming in in that area, go check it

2 (41m 15s):
Out. I would definitely recommend it. And they do guided tours like every hour on the hour.

3 (41m 20s):
That sounds really, really cool. And you know, one of the most unique things about the Smokeys, I mean we’re talking just about how beautiful the nature and the Mountains are and everything like that. But what I really think adds to the entire ambiance is what Gatlinburg is. And right by Gatlinburg is another city, Pigeon Forge, very famous mountain towns, Smokey mountain towns. But Gatlinburg is not what I had expected. I know you went and you said it had like this charm to it and you compared it to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Cause we all really loved Hot Springs.

2 (41m 52s):
Did you think that it had that vibe?

3 (41m 53s):
I did not actually. As a matter of fact we, I didn’t dislike it, but what I find to be about Gatlinburg is I thought it was gonna be like quaint mountain town. It’s very, very touristy. But that’s

2 (42m 4s):
Well also is Arkansas.

3 (42m 6s):
Yeah, but it’s a little bit more classed up. And what I mean by that is that again, the Smoky Mountains, I think it is the most visited national park, is it not? Or maybe like one of the top five for sure. But that’s because so many families come, it’s a free park. It’s in the middle of the country in the sense that, you know, like highways running through, it’s free. It’s the

1 (42m 26s):

3 (42m 26s):
Of the smokey. So you have the nature and this town. So it’s very touristy. They have a lot of like Ripley’s, believe it or not, museums, the Ripley like aquarium. And

2 (42m 37s):
I would’ve liked to actually do some of that touristy. Yeah,

3 (42m 39s):
No, no. And I, I didn’t hate it, believe me. I think it makes it unique and fun. But did I think it had an elegant charm that when you described it potentially as hot springs, I didn’t think it had,

2 (42m 51s):
Well you weren’t feeling good. So how much did you really explore?

3 (42m 54s):
We actually did a good bit of walking in the sense that from our hotel the morning that we were actually leaving, which is, you know, on the complete opposite side of the town because Gatlinburg really, the area you’re gonna see is one big main stretch of the highway. But you know, integrated with stoplights and everything like that, it’s at the very end. We walked all the way to, what’s it called for breakfast? Ruby Sunshine. And that’s at the very beginning of the city on coming in on the highway too, on the complete opposite side. So we gotta see all the mom and pop shops that have like the suites, the prings, the caramel apples, all the tourist attractions, the mini minigolf, they have two sky lifts.

3 (43m 36s):
I mean you talked about specifically the, I don’t know if it’s just called Skylift, but there’s two on, I actually think three. There’s three. But

2 (43m 44s):
Yeah, there was one you could go up and go to a restaurant up there and we really wanted to go up there, but I think it was about to close for dinner and that’s why

3 (43m 52s):
We didn’t and, and then I saw another one that wasn’t like a skylift like the ski chairs, but it was something that lifted you up in a machine that took you to play mini golf at the top of the hill. Oh, that’s cool. And then you told us about this like the little bobsled, rollercoaster toboggan thing like through there. So it’s geared up for like families with mom and pop. But I don’t say that in a bad way. One, it’s just not what I expected. But I think that’s what makes it unique. You have this kind of conglomerate of a city geared towards tourism yet small and quaint and then the nature around. So it made it really cool. I loved it actually, but it, that’s not what I expected of Gatlinburg.

1 (44m 28s):
Yeah, Jamal actually said later, and I know Kim, you haven’t been, been to Ocean City, Maryland. He said this is like a mountain town, Ocean city, Maryland with like the mini golf and like the tourist attractions and all of that. And we actually met another couple who were from Maryland and when Jamal said that to him, he goes, that’s exactly what I said. Like he completely agreed with Jamal. So we think it was a little bit bigger than Hot Springs. And I can see where you see some of that charm. And I loved it. Like I would definitely spend a week in Gatlinburg or the surrounding area. I wanna

2 (45m 0s):
Do that rollercoaster through the

3 (45m 1s):
Forest. I think it would be really, really fun. Another thing about Gatlinburg that we have to mention is there is no street parking whatsoever. There’s parking lots and they range from 10 to $20. So if you’re gonna be going around, like I wouldn’t recommend really like taking your car anywhere. You really have to invest in just kind of really walking, you know, I think there’s about 12 stoplights throughout the town. The stoplights, funny enough, are actually labeled with numbers because if you’re going to a certain spot, like they have the brochures in the town, they’ll tell you, Oh, at stoplight eight, you know there’s this at stoplight four, there’s that. So not very far. It is walkable, but not like everything compact.

3 (45m 42s):
So, so close. Definitely doable. But the parking I think is for just people driving through who want to stop. But if you’re staying there, don’t do it because you’ll pay a lot for parking.

1 (45m 53s):
Yeah, I mean if you’re staying in Gatlinburg and your hotel is somewhat close, just keep your car at the hotel and then walk the town.

3 (46m 0s):
But I also did mention Pigeon Forge, it’s a little bit outside of Gatlinburg. And again, another thing that’s so unique, you’re in the smokes, you’re in the Mountains, I told you, you come through that stoplight and all of a sudden there’s a clearing and then there’s Gatlinburg. Well when you get to the opposite side of Gatlinburg, you’re back in the thick forested area of the smokes and the Mountains and trees. And then, oh here’s another clearing. And there’s Pigeon Forge about 10 minutes away. Did you go to Pigeon Forge or anything like that? Well, it’s home to the famous Dollywood dolly part and she has her amusement park out there. I wanted to go. We didn’t have enough time. So another reason why I do want to go back, but I enjoyed Pigeon Forge more because we went out there to go to dinner one night and we’ll talk about that restaurant.

3 (46m 43s):
But I thought Pigeon Forge had a little bit more, if you wanna say charm, that I would equate more to Hot springs. But again, not disappointed with Gatlinburg, just not what I expected. But I like Pigeon Forge more for adult oriented stuff.

1 (46m 58s):
So I kept asking Jamal cuz he was not feeling well, what do you want for dinner? And he was like, soup. And of course, you know in these parts there’s no ramen, there’s no fa, there’s like no soups. I was even looking at like in Gatlinburg, they have like a TGI Friday and I was looking at like what soup options they

3 (47m 15s):
Have. Probably broccoli, cheddar, potato chowder, something like that. Nothing that’ll really be like soothing. Right,

1 (47m 21s):
Right. So then in Pigeon Forge I found a restaurant called The Old Mill Restaurant. And what sold Jamal on this was they had a chicken pot pie. Ooh. And I was like, well that’s like homey Comforty. Like soupy, so maybe he’ll want that. We went there and it did not disappoint one. The old mill restaurant And the old mill is very historic. It was used during the Civil War in that restaurant they actually used to sew uniforms for the union.

3 (47m 52s):
And Tennessee was a Confederate state. And so in the attic of that restaurant, they were actually allies, but they were just in a Confederate state. So they used it to support the union at that point in time. Also,

1 (48m 5s):
Old Mill is listed on Tennessee Civil War Trail, but everything at the restaurant was so good. Everything costs about 20 to $22. And then when you order your entree, you get corn chowder, soup, corn, fritters bread, mashed potatoes and green beans. And then you pick your entree. So Jamal got the chicken pop pie along with all of that. And I got Southern fried chicken. Hmm.

3 (48m 27s):
But they have all sorts of southern food like chicken and dumplings and everything else that you can imagine. Go back for that really, really good southern cuisine here at the old mill and a historic building. Loved it. And

1 (48m 39s):
It include in dessert for that price too.

2 (48m 40s):
Oh my God. What was the price again?

1 (48m 42s):
20 to $22. Wow.

3 (48m 44s):
Yeah, I, We got banana pudding. Oh. Brittanie wanted to get, it was a raspberry or blackberry cobbler and we were just so full and they were like, Well, do you want the dessert to go? And then were like, Yeah. And I knew I wanted to get the banana pudding, you know, something a little bit more southern Brittanie wanted the cobbler. And she asked our waitress like, Do you think the cobbler will be good to go? And she says, Well, we serve it with like ice cream on top so the ice cream’s not gonna sit. And it’s better like obviously like when it’s hot and warm. And so Brittanie ended up getting it too. But they had a good repertoire of like four or five desserts that were included that you could choose from. That

1 (49m 24s):
Was so good. And service was so fast. Like immediately got your drinks, Got you refills. Brought out the bread, Brought out the soup. Oh, it even included a salad too. Oh

3 (49m 34s):
My God. Expect a weight though.

1 (49m 36s):
Yeah, there’s definitely a weight. But like when you’re actually in the restaurant, it’s not one where you’re like lagging and waiting for the food to come. Like they were on point. They had their service down to a science.

3 (49m 47s):
So if you are going to be in the great Smoky Mountains, whether you’re staying in Pigeon, Forge or even in Gatlinburg, I would highly recommend coming out here specifically to the old mill. The mill itself is famous, but it created a community around it, you know, in the 18 hundreds. So around it they have like different shops of suites and things like that. But what’s really famous is they have the old Forge distillery right next door where they actually make Moon shine. And guess what? Kim free moon shine samples. All you can drink. Did you go, Oh fuck yeah, we went in there. Oh

2 (50m 20s):
Yeah. Not feeling too bad for that.

3 (50m 21s):
I mean I only had a couple. I, if I was feeling better, believe me, I would’ve drank more. Brittanie had more samples than me. And when does Brittanie usually drink more than Jamal? Not very often, but I was proud of Brittanie number one. But they had all sorts of different flavors. Like their original, they had like an oatmeal cookie, which was like their most popular flavor. Good, really good. Like a coffee flavored one, all sorts of different things. And then they would take two different flavors that they had, mix ’em together because they’re good combinations. So even going to the old Porch Distillery, I mean moonshine is something that’s very unique to Tennessee and the smokes and it, that tradition is still alive and well. And you could get samples out there and I would recommend doing that.

1 (51m 1s):
When we went to the tasting counter, she handed us probably about 10 tasting cups each. So she was like ready to service whatever we wanted. And they had all of their flavors out. I mean they had Apple Pie, peach, elderberry, coffee flavor, Blackberry. They even had a Banana Fosters one. My favorite was definitely the oatmeal cookie. She said that was like their second biggest seller. Coffee was their number one seller.

2 (51m 27s):
Nice. We actually did do a little wine tasting at one of the little shops in Gatlinburg. Oh, that’s nice. Similar kind of situation. As many tastings as you want. The wine there is very sweet. But it was good. We actually bought a bottle and had it in the hot tub in the hotel.

3 (51m 42s):
Oh, there you go. Yeah. And see maybe, and again we did explore and walk, but if we came across some of those more adult oriented places in Gatlinburg, I could see how you made that jump to Hot Springs. Cause we did the wine tasting and hot springs walk in the city. Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Very nice.

2 (51m 59s):
I ate at a really good dinner place in Gatlinburg when I was there, cuz we got in kind of later. We did that afternoon dust hike. A lot of the places were closed for dinner and it was November. So I mean I guess I get it. It was like it was a Sunday night also. I will say that. But we’re looking for dinner around nine o’clock and there weren’t many options. But I am really glad that we went into Howard’s restaurant because the food was amazing. Didn’t really look like much, but the service was really good. We got ribs and mac and cheese. The mac and cheese was so good, it was fresh, Delicious. We got Tierra Massou for dessert. I highly recommend this place. I wish I could have remembered the name of it when you guys went because it was worth going to.

3 (52m 41s):
Well, a place that you did remember the name was Ruby Sunshine, which is a breakfast joint, Southern cuisine and Brittanie. And I did take your recommendation and go there. We thought it was really, really good. I got some biscuits and gravy.

2 (52m 54s):
Biscuits and gravy was amazing.

3 (52m 55s):
Brittanie got a Bayou Shrimp Benedict or Benny, whatever you wanna really call it. And that was unique because they served it on biscuits. But I did tell you this, you know, off air, but I’ll don’t even say it. I’ll say it for the listeners. They gotta know. No, they gotta know the biscuits weren’t as soft as they could.

2 (53m 12s):
You must’ve had a bad day. I said my biscuits were amazing

3 (53m 15s):
And I said that to you. I said, we probably went on an off day cause my biscuits weren’t as soft as they were soft. I would’ve given it a 10 out 10 with the biscuits, not, I would just give it a seven. Whoa.

2 (53m 25s):

3 (53m 26s):

2 (53m 26s):
The biscuits you knock at three

3 (53m 28s):
I The biscuit softness is important.

2 (53m 30s):
I gave it a 10. I had great biscuits. The service was amazing.

3 (53m 33s):
I would go back there again, don’t get me wrong, like at seven is not a bad score. But just because like of that I’m giving it and it is what it is. But I would still go there. That’s why we’re recommending it. Really good southern cuisine. The first night coming in for dinner, you know, you had just, as we mentioned earlier, left us that day when you were done at Con and had flown out of Columbia and Brittanie was like, I’m ready for seafood. Kim’s gone. And you would think in the middle of Gatlinburg Tennessee, who wants to like their seafood. They have it. It was really good. We went to Crawl Daddy’s restaurant and Oyster Bar. We ended up getting a shrimp boil where they boil the shrimp in the bag with like the old bay seasoning and all this good stuff.

3 (54m 14s):
We ended up getting a soup salad combo, but the soup was like a seafood gumbo. Oh, it was so good. Delicious. So we really, really did enjoy that. So if you like seafood, you know, cra daddies in Gatlinburg was really good also. But I would say hop from both Gatlinburg to pitch and Forge. And again, closing out this episode, that’s one of the most unique things about it, is that there’s two really cool cities in the midst of this nature. And so you get the best of both worlds in that sense. Really good food, good charm atmosphere. And then the beauty of the nature that is the smokes.

2 (54m 50s):
I absolutely love the great Smoky Mountains and I cannot wait to go back.

1 (54m 53s):
Yeah, I’m, I literally cannot wait to go back. I feel like you can easily spend a week in great Smokey Mountains and the surrounding area, exploring the towns, doing more hikes, just relaxing by fire pits and just enjoying the fall foliage. So I really am excited to, to go back and fall.

2 (55m 10s):
All right, we have one question of the week. Okay. This question coming in is saying, I’ve heard you mention your hack for getting upgraded for free on an airline. What is that hack?

3 (55m 28s):
Well, that’s a really good question. I’m glad you’re actually listening. But at the same time, I won’t lie to you, we cannot give that to you over the air. We’d love, love, love, love hearing, written review feedback from you. And we’ve said if you give us a five star written review, screenshot it, send it to us. We will tell you what that hack is and respond to you. It is so precious that we can’t just give it out because if everybody knows it, then you know people probably won’t do the upgrade cuz then everybody would be doing it at the same time.

2 (56m 0s):
It is an amazing hack. It will guarantee you always get some kind of an upgrade, whether that’s a seat upgrade, a service upgrade, it works every single

3 (56m 10s):
Domestic flight free booze or anything like that. And ideally, you know, like, and we mentioned this before when we did our Lebanon 2020, right before Covid in January, right there, we did this hack, the flight attendant. And it, just so you know this, here’s a travel piece of info for you. The person who’s called the purser is the head flight attendant. They came to us on the plane and said, if we actually had more space in business class would be putting you in business class right now. They just didn’t have space on that one to actually do it, but that’s how good the tip is. They ended up bringing us etched glassware from business class, the first class sleeping kits and everything like that. So you will get treated like a rock star, even if for whatever reason, the flight’s full and there’s nowhere to actually put you.

3 (56m 53s):
So give us that five star written review, send it to us. We will go ahead and tell it to you. And any five star review you gives helps us actually rank positively because our goal is to be the best travel podcast out there for you guys. And those reviews help us reach new listeners so that we can achieve that goal.

2 (57m 12s):
All right, Scotties, thank you so much for listening to our great Smokey Mountains National Park episode. Hope we inspired you to go on your own trip here. Keep the adventures going with us by following us on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast. And send us in your questions for next week’s episode.

3 (57m 30s):
If you found the information in this episode to be useful or if you thought we were just played funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that you know would enjoy it to. And as always, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes.

1 (57m 44s):
And stay tuned for next week’s episode. We have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for

3 (57m 49s):
You. Bye everybody.

2 (57m 50s):
Bye Squadies.

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