Refreshed by our complimentary hotel breakfast, but not sufficiently caffeinated by complimentary hotel coffee, we packed up our stuff, and checked out of the hotel. We took a leisurely morning drive through Roanoke, and found it to be a nice small town. Certainly some nice areas (like the downtown area where we had dinner the night before), but also a lot of churches, as well as poorer residential and old industrial areas. Definitely worth another visit in the future.
After a brief stop at a nearby Target to pick up a new iPod wall charger for Lily, and some decent coffee from the nearest Starbucks (inside Target), we were back on our way. Next stop? Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
If you’re not familiar with the grandeur of Pigeon Forge, please let me explain the allure. “P Forge” is this strange Mecca in heart of the South situated within the Great Smoky Mountains. There should be nothing there, but you would be surprised to find this large resort town. Restaurants, attractions, museums, and the most famous attraction of them all? Dollywood. Named after country singer Dolly Parton, it is a full-fledged amusement park.
15 years ago, Namita and I were secretly dating, and we both attended a 4-day Christian conference there. Kinda remembered it as a fun place, so we thought it would a good choice for an overnight pit stop, and maybe even go to Dollywood.
We ultimately decided against spending the $200+ for Dollywood tickets, as we wouldn’t be able to spend a full day on either Sunday or Monday in order to make full use of the tickets. Instead, once we arrived and checked into the The Hampton Inn & Suites, we researched a number of pamplets about various area attractions, and solicited some recommendations from Facebook friends. We decided on a Sunday dinner at Bullfish Grill, and purchased a four ticket package to MagiQuest and this The Tomb attraction, which came out to half the price of what Dollywood woudl have cost us. MagiQuest itself would include four attractions like mini golf, a mirrored maze, etc.
Dinner at Bullfish Grill was nice, and the glasses of wine helped. We only completed one of the attractions at MagiQuest before closing time, but we had one year to use the rest of the tickets. The kids had a blast walking around MagiQuest to find “magical” items on their scavenger hunt . We decided we had time Monday morning to go back to finish The Tomb interactive attraction.
Once we went back to the hotel, Nums had to catch up on some work, so I took the kids down to the hotel’s outdoor pool for an hour.
What a great day!