For anyone who has lived in or around Knoxville, you know what I mean when I say I need to get my occasional Gatlinburg fix. I went to undergraduate school at the University of Tennessee, and spent many days and weekends in the G-burg, which sits at the mouth of the Smoky Mountains. It is definitely a tourist trap, as is its even cheesier sister city Pigeon Forge. But you can't help but love it. The streets are often crowded, both with pedestrian traffic and bumper to bumper cars. Lining the streets are wedding chapels and stores selling airspray T-shirts and little trinkets and the like. But there are also some very nice stores selling local crafts, some good outlet malls, and nice restaurants. And it is good people watching.
What I love best about Gatlinburg is the chance to get away for a few days--to stay in a chalet or cabin and to be up in the mountains smelling the fresh air and hearing the bubbling brooks. Some friends and I did just that last weekend. I have hiked all around there before, so I didn't mind staying in the cabin and studying constitutional law (for my law school final) while my friends took a short hike in the mountains. Dinner that night at the Park Grill was nice. I wish we could have had another night there, but the getaway was good for us. After I get out of school I hope to get back there more. Not to miss: Old Smoky Candy Kitchen caramel apples.