Down at traffic light #2 here in Pigeon Forge lies the mini-empire of The Incredible Christmas Place. If you're really, really into Christmas, you've probably heard of it--but I'm going to assume that you're not.
While they no longer have a proper train store, there are still lots of nods to model railroads.
The main entrance hearkens.
Not simply a warehouse full of decorations, the inside features many different Christmas displays.
I just had to insert myself.
I'm still convinced that, in 500 years, Jesus and Santa will have become the same person. This is just the first step.
The light room, featuring Christmas tree lights shaped like beer mugs, RVs, fishing lures, and just about any other insane redneck items you can think of.
A "Department 56" figurine display (there are several).
Full disclosure time: I know someone who works here.
Mr. Snowman is happy to live in a big Christmas store--so please don't buy him and take him to your sad little house.
A model train chugs along above the displays.
I are Serious Santa.
Speaking of Santa: Yes, there's a Santa meet and greet--but this one sings.
Slightly retro photo from last winter: Me, Smisty, Santa, and my friend Seth (who's made other cameos in this thread, previously).
Crap. Where's the human bathroom?
The check out area.
There's also a candy store, among other specialty shops.
The store in the back used to be the train and toy shop, but now houses Vera Bradley stuff. There's still a toy section in the main store, though.
Another model train. This one is out front. Speaking of which....
For the month of July, they have a special display set up in the parking lot: Santa's Summer Express.
It's an upcharge: $5.00. Probably not worth it unless you're really into model trains--but I have connections. ;)
It's a "garden railroad" (meaning it's outside, really). But this one is in a tent.
It's pretty cool. But, again, I doubt it would be worth $5.00 to see it for most people.
Much of the decor is Christmas-themed, appropriately enough.
A few of the train cars are actually mini-aquariums, complete with live fish.
The dude on the left is the one who built it, Mark W. Fuhrman. (I guess the "W" is so you know he didn't beat Rodney King.)
I just really like this shot.
Across the street from The Incredible Christmas Place is their (relatively new) hotel, The Inn at Christmas Place.
Featuring lots and lots of Christmas decorations...
...a gigantic glockenspiel...
...and magical bellmen who bring you cookies.
Indoor and outdoor pools are a given.
It's a beautiful hotel, no matter how you look at it.
So long from The Christmas Place. Thanks for putting up with a slightly different sort of update. :)
Thanks for posting. We loved that place last year on our first family trip down to Tennessee. We probably spent 2 hours walking around all the stores...and eating some pretty good ice cream if I remember correctly.
Thanks for posting these pics. When I was a kid we use to go to the Christmas Place just to look at all the model trains they had running around. Haven't been in there in years.
I remember they use to have a BIG indoor model train layout set up in the main building (it went through tunnels in the walls to other rooms and everything), but then around '95 or so when they expanded the train store was moved out to the small shop and the big layout was removed.
I really am enjoying your thread. I am trying to convince the wife we need to go to Tennessee in 2010, and this is helping. We are campers (RV not tent) and I have seen some great campgrounds in the area.
We did Lancaster this year and she wants to go Myrtle Beach next year, but I am pulling for TN. Its about the same distance.
Cades Cove is the most visited area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and is renowned both for its beauty and for the relative ease with which one can see the park's native wildlife.
National Parks are big. Cades Cove lies about an hour from the Gatlinburg entrance to the GSMNP.
A nice view on the drive there.
Still not there, but getting closer.
Cades Cove was supposedly named after an Indian chief's wife, "Kate." (Yeah, I know that makes no sense.)
I like how this warning sign keeps piling on the hypotheticals: "If you don't buy your wife flowers, she COULD leave you, which MIGHT cause you to drink, which MAY weaken your immune system enough that you COULD get hepatitis. We're just saying."
I like bridges.
Like much of the GSMNP, Cades Cove was already partially settled when the government suddenly decided that no one was allowed to live there.
A man named John Oliver built this place, but only got to live in it a year or two before he got the boot.
Luckily, the sweat of his brow helps fat tourists visualize life without cars and TV.
Yeah, I know. I'm a buzzkill. :P
Cades Cove is a wide, flat valley.
These folks can't be from too far away: They've got Appalachia written all over them.
Cades Cove Primitive Baptist Church and Cemetery.
Those damned North Carolinians! (They can't drive, either.)
You know what would look good here? A boat ride! :P
The road to the left leads to a visitor's center and several old (settler) buildings.
The main house and...um, a really big dog house.
This where they milled old stuff.
And this where you dropped stuff into your wagon. Or something.
The visitor's center proper (converted from a butter churn repair building, I believe).
Misty, you're not a bear.
If you were a bear...
...you'd be all blurry.
Cades Cove Loop Road.
Misty made fun of me for this shot ("You got a picture of nothing") when I took it out the window of a moving car. So now I'll show her by ending with it. :P
I'm loving these reports. It's fun to check out the touristy spots from one's home town.
One thing I wanted to ask you--have you ever been to Kilwin's? It's a chocolate, fudge and ice cream store and there's one in Pigeon Forge and one in Gatlinburg. Before I moved, I worked at the Kilwin's in Gettysburg, PA and I must say, at the risk of sounding like I'm shamelessly promoting the place (okay, so maybe I am!), it's worth a visit. I know you're an ice cream fan, and their franchise honestly has some of the best ice cream I've ever eaten (it's their own brand). If you have the time, I'd recommend going (and it sure would make a delicious-looking TR, too!).
Ever since I passed through the Gatlinburg area for the first time in 2007 (and had no idea it was there), I've wanted to go back and actually see what it was all about. It's these little attractions, some cheesy, some grand, all adding up to be a great draw in one area that I'd LOVE to experience one of these days. Thanks very much for doing these reports!
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