A few weeks ago I went on a weekend getaway with my girls Alicia and Lacey to Pigeon Forge for a girls weekend. It had been a couple of months since I’d seen my girls and it was so nice to catch up with them while doing some fun things in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg! Read along on what we did while we were there.
THINGS TO DO IN PIGEON FORGE: WHERE TO EAT
Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant: Did you even visit Pigeon Forge if you didn’t stop at Applewood Farmhouse? This restaurant has cozy southern decor and food to match. We were there for lunch and feasted on fried chicken, grilled cheese, apple fritters, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese and collard greens. Don’t forget the sweet tea!
Applewood doesn’t take reservations for small groups. If there’s a wait you can kill time by sitting on the porch in a rocking chair or walk around the property.
Timberwood Grill: Timberwood Grill brings the genuine taste of the mountains. Inspired by the legendary hospitality of the people who have called the mountains their home for generations, this lodge-themed dining experience is one to experience. We all ordered so much food, we were so stuffed by the time we were done! Timberwood Grill is located in The Island, which is a place you’ll learn more about below. (The nachos were especially amazing.)
Loco Burro: Located off the main parkway in Gatlinburg, we feasted on chips, queso and margaritas! This is a great place to stop and refuel while seeing all the sights in Gatlinburg. If you’re feeling brave strap on a sombrero and ride the Bucking Burro!
THINGS TO DO IN PIGEON FORGE: WHERE TO DRINK
The best part about a girl’s weekend in Pigeon Forge? Moonshine and wineries.
While at The Island, stop by Ole Smoky Moonshine. A tasting was $5 and you got to try all their different moonshines. I’ve never had moonshine before but my favorite was the coffee java flavor. A little in your coffee at dessert is a nice treat! And if you go, get your tasting with Bubba. He was a hoot and had us in stitches the entire time! Ole Smoky has locations all over Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
On our last day we went into Gatlinburg and did a few wine tastings.
Tennessee Homemade Wine: These wines are made in Gatlinburg and is located right off the main parkway. All of the wines are made with local fruit and you can stop in for a free tasting 7 days a week. They also have a wine club you can join!
Sugarland Cellars: Located at the Gatlinburg entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Their wines are made from regionally grown grapes in the foothills of the Smokies and their team members are mostly East Tennessee natives. Sugarland Cellars offers tours and complimentary limited wine tastings 7 days a week.
Bootleggers Homemade Wines: Bootleggers uses all natural ingredients for a superior product. The winery began with two sisters and they make the wines with items you’d find in a southern kitchen. They also bottle each batch my hand! They offer complimentary tastings 7 days a week.
THINGS TO DO IN PIGEON FORGE: WHERE TO SHOP
What’s a girl’s weekend without a little outlet shopping? We hit up Tanger Outlets early on a Saturday morning. While it was busy, it wasn’t overcrowded and we got in some good shopping. Lacey found some great things at Aerie while I had better luck at the Converse and Adidas stores. View a full list of stores and a map here.
The Old Mill Shops: The Old Mill Shops are not typical stores you’d find at an outlet mall. Here you’ll find quaint places like a Candy Kitchen, General Store, Creamery and Distillery. You won’t spend a ton of time here but it’s worth a quick stop!
THINGS TO DO IN PIGEON FORGE: WHAT TO SEE
The Island: The Island is a shopping center/attraction in the center of Pigeon Forge. There’s so much to do there and you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy it. A few activities include:
- Island Show Fountain
- Island Ropes Course
- Alcatraz East Crime Museum
- Island Miner’s Gems
- Island Mirror Maze
- 7D Dark Ride Advenure
- Arcade City
- Escape Game
- Flying Horse Carousel
- The Great Smoky Mountain Wagon Wheel
If you’re a grown up or with your girls, I recommend the Escape Game, Smoky Mountain Wagon Wheel and Carousel. We hijacked the Carousel for a fun and quick photoshoot! We also had a ball blasting music and enjoying the views on the Wagon Wheel.
There’s also a bunch of different food options like Margaritaville, Mellow Mushroom, The Island Creamery, The Fudgery, and any more!
Laurel Falls: | We really wanted to go hike and see the beautiful waterfall in this National Park. The roundtrip distance to the waterfall is 2.6 miles and the hike is considered moderate in difficulty. It takes about 2 hours to hike to the waterfall and back. The day we were planning to go hike it was raining and foggy. Not good for a hike! I’d love to come back in the fall and see the pretty foliage and enjoy the hike on a nice day. (If you go watch out for black bears!)
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies: No matter what age you are the aquarium is always fun! We went to the aquarium on a rainy Sunday and it was the perfect way to spend the morning. We saw the Coral Reef, Stingray Bay, Penguin Playhouse, Shark Lagoon and so much more! Not going to lie, I’m obsessed with Penguins and had so much fun watching them!
Anakeesta: Why wouldn’t we want to go to a theme park in the mountains?! Anakeesta is a Cherokee Indian word referring to high ground, literally meaning “the place of the balsams.” There’s so much to do and see at Anakeesta. Let me give you a quick overview.
If you want activities you can ride the scenic Chondola, walk in the tree canopy, race on a dueling zipline and coming this spring a mountain coaster! If you’re hungry you can treat yourself to a pie at Pearl’s Pie in the Sky or BBQ at the Anakeesta Smokehouse. Make sure you also take some time to enjoy the incredible view!
THINGS TO DO IN PIGEON FORGE: WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at the Dollywood Dreammore Resort and it was such a treat! After the drive up we needed warm showers and a soft bed, and Dreammore did not disappoint. You walk in to a beautiful lobby with huge windows letting in natural light and showcasing mountain views. There are butterflies and inspirational quotes everywhere as well as photos of the queen of country, Dolly!
If you stay you don’t have to go far for anything. There’s the DM Pantry on the 2nd floor with pizza, hot sandwiches, ice cream and coffee. We had breakfast here everyday since it was so easy to grab a pastry and latte on the go. On the ground floor there’s a restaurant called Song & Hearth: A Southern Eatery. Song & Hearth is open to both Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort guests and Non-Resort guests. Complimentary self-parking is available. Valet service is also available for a fee.
Song & Hearth is buffet style with some amazing southern cooking. We ate a ton of fried chicken, mac n cheese, rolls and apple pie. Once dinner was over we headed outside for s’mores hour. I forgot how fun it is to just sit outside and make s’mores!
Once s’mores hour is over, head inside for storytime. Someone sits by the fire on the 2nd floor and reads bedtime stories to kids. It’s so adorable!
If you need a nightcap after a bedtime story, head back down to the first floor and have a drink or bottle of wine at The Lounge. With a unique Mason jar mural and benches made from repurposed Ford pickup trucks, The Lounge offers a place for guests to immerse themselves in Southern ambiance. It brings the outdoors inside with a reclaimed barn wood ceiling and hanging lights made to look like captured fireflies. The Lounge provides guests with a way to enjoy the fine cuisine of the Song & Hearth in an atmosphere perfect for unwinding.
My favorite part of Dreammore was the spa. What’s a girl’s weekend without some pampering? Alicia and I headed for a pedicure while Lacey got a facial. When you walk in, you’re ushered to a side room. You get some cucumber water, slip on a robe and start to decompress. The staff was so incredibly friendly and it was the best pedicure I’ve ever gotten. Ask Alicia, I almost fell asleep while they were rubbing my feet! They used this natural caramel coffee scrub on my legs and feet and it smelled amazing while leaving my skin so soft.
The spa sells many of the products they use which is lucky for us since we loved the scrubs they used!
The spa offers different messages, facial, body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, and cuts and colors. Dreammore’s spa is open Sunday-Monday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.