If you haven’t yet, please see the first installment of the Great Smoky Mountains vacation, Part 1: Getting There, and ‘The Cabin’!

Part 2: On the mountainside, and the town of Pigeon Forge

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Walking around the mountain that our cabin was on was sort of a challenge…the mountain was very steep, and you pretty much had to walk on the roads that you drive on.

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Lush ferns were to be seen along the roads

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Magnolia Trees were flowering

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I’m not quite sure what species of tree this is!  Edit: thanks, readers- this is a Mimosa Tree

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An Eastern Box Turtle crossed the road

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Cabins dotted the mountainside

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Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is the gateway to the Smoky Mountains if you are coming there from the north.  At one time quite a few years ago, Pigeon Forge was a small and peaceful town.  No longer!  The town is now a very busy- I mean VERY busy- tourist stop.  Especially in the first half of summer.  The family and I were sort of floored by how busy they were, as in, there are traffic jams at THIS time of day?  We quickly adapted to this, and checked out the area.

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Trolleys ran up and down the busy roads.

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We really liked the Old Mill District.

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The Old Mill Restaurant was our favorite breakfast place in town- excellent southern recipes and cooking!

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There was all sorts of history attached to the Old Mill District- the Old Mill itself was built in 1830.

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As one of the signs points out, Pigeon Forge was named for the Passenger Pigeon, which migrated through the area by the millions- flocks sometimes blotting out the sun- before the 20th century (sadly now extinct), and for an iron forge that formed the beginnings of the town.  The Cherokee Indians named the nearby river the Pigeon River after the same bird.

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The Old Mill is now a gift shop, though the water wheel still works.

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Inside the gift shop was another one of those awesome penny press machines that I saw at the Piatt Castles back in Ohio!

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The Old Mill was a secret manufacturing shop for Union uniforms during the Civil War.  Tennessee was split in support for the Union and the Confederacy, and fielded regiments of soldiers for both sides.

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Rock Pigeons have inherited the Pigeon name from their extinct cousins.

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Geese, Ducks and Pigeons hung out for the corn that people would feed to them.

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The Geese were tough- no dog was going to keep them from food!

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The fishing was good!

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The Incredible Christmas Place was a block of Christmas shops- with a Christmas-themed hotel across the road.  My family loves Christmas, so we had to check this out!

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I want to say that the people of Pigeon Forge- and the tourists who were visiting there- were fine folks.  People were friendly and talkative.  Tennesseans are very polite and well-mannered!

Next Saturday, I’ll wrap up the pictures with a look at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.