Pigeon Forge Favorites

If you have been a reader of Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for any length of time, you know that traditions and creating special family memories play an integral part of our family make up.

For many of you, your fondest childhood memories revolves around the family traditions that you repeated over and over again.

You hear the word traditions, and it stirs ups recollections of good smells, good feelings, and good times.

You might think of reading by a flashlight on your family camping trips and telling stories around the fire (Note that you have already forgotten the times the tents flooded, and you complained the whole weekend about the pouring rain because now it is only about the precious bonding)

Watching the Fireworks lined up like sardines on a blanket, annual trips to the mountains to cut down the Christmas tree farm, or piling in the van to drive to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving –hail, snow or sleet. For some of you, you can’t have Thanksgiving without a specific traditional recipe, since it  just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it.

As our kids have gotten older, I’ve realized that as we spend time together, these simple choices have become the fabric of our family tapestry. I guarantee that if you asked any of them “What are your favorite family family memories?” they will all name simple family traditions which include our annual extended family beach trip, as well as Pigeon Forge.

Do you see these pictures below? (My heart melts. My babies were so small.) This was nearly ten years ago in Pigeon Forge when my siblings and I surprised my parents for their anniversary. It was in the middle of my husband’s year long unemployment, so I wrote all about it on “How to Plan a Cheap Family Vacation – without being cheap)

We shared condos and then spent the week indulging in the beauty of all that Pigeon Forge has to offer. We took advantage of the amazing parks, hiking trails and outdoor activities. There’s really something for everyone of all ages and now with another anniversary milestone here (their 60th wedding anniversary – WOWZA), everyone wants to go back. It will be that much better now because we can enjoy a variety of attractions.

When Pigeon Forge department of tourism approached me about spending a few days with them, it was a no brainer because I’d already offered to do the research for our upcoming reunion.

When we pulled up to our Eagle Ridge Resort log cabin for the weekend, I wish you could have heard the squeals of delight. You’d have thought they were five again with how much they appreciated the beauty of our view.

I’ve had so many messages and questions about these cabins and I’d highly recommend them. Rarely do we ever stay somewhere without a kitchen because with our large family, we save so much on the budget by eating breakfast and lunches in, and then enjoying dinner out. When you’re at Pigeon Forge they have some great dinner shows which are such fun for a special occasion.

This Pigeon Forge site was my lifeline for what to do and where to go. I continually referred back to it as I was planning our days’ activities.

It was so fun to be back exploring the places that stole our heart and to add on some new adventures too. (We were missing a few kids which is the down side of growing up and having new jobs.) Pigeon Forge is a great blend for families because it has the draw for the outdoor, nature lover with so many free options, but also has a more commercialized strip for families who also want the shows, rides, and dining.

Yes, we took advantage of some of them. Don’t miss going to The Island. It’s truly a vacation in itself and I could have walked around here all day. I love people watching, so this was my kind of place.

The funny story behind the rides is that our football player is training right now for his NFL pro-day (long shot, but he’s working hard) and most of the attractions, like the ropes course, have a 300 pound limit. He’s weighing 305 and while I had him take his jacket off, remove his wallet from his pants and even suggested going to the bathroom, nope, they wouldn’t let him on. haha

So he finally found one that would. Do you see him and my husband flying up there? Yikes! It was one of those drop, bungie cord rides, but it held him just fine. 😉

And for historical verification, please note that this mom of five pulled out a few Olympiad type moves (but paid for it then next day. 😂)

Doing life with my people never gets old and spending my birthday weekend in Pigeon Forge, creating more memories, sharing stories with my favorite people, laughing so hard tears ran down my legs – oh, there’s nothing better.

When you prioritize times away like this, dig your heels in and have everyone put their phones away for set times throughout the day. Yep, we routinely required a “check the phones, turn off the TVs and laptop” times so that we’re focused on each other, communicating, laughing, sharing life,  and enjoying the simple pleasures that are often lost since we’re so distracted by technology. (Moms – I’m looking at you and me too.) There will be complaints, but it’s worth it.

The beauty of raising siblings as best friends is that I had a hard time getting them out of the condo. They enjoyed the outdoor deck and hot tub so much. We got lost in telling stories and reminiscing on old family vacations and before we knew it hours had gone by. It was so special and I can’t wait to come back for my parent’s anniversary celebration, so I better get on organizing that!

Thank you to Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism for welcoming us so warmly as their guest and providing such a variety of fun options. We can’t wait to come back again with our extended family.