Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Anniversary In The Smokies-Part 2

Hello again. I hope that you had a blessed and memorable Christmas holiday. I know it was a special one with my family at our house. 

In this, one of the last posts for 2016, I want to share with you some more of our anniversary getaway from earlier in December. 

On Sunday, we returned to Dollywood with the goal of enjoying the park and all the special Christmas entertainment it had to offer. 

The weather was still chilly but quite a bit warmer than it had been the night before. 

First thing we did was head to Rivertown Junction to enjoy a Philly cheese steak from the Market Square Big Skillet counter service restaurant. We found a table in the sunshine to enjoy our "brunch". 

Next, we headed back to the area where we stood to watch the parade the night before. This time we went inside the Pines Theater to hear the Kingdom Heirs gospel quartet celebrate the season. 

While they didn't sing a lot of the traditional Christmas songs, they did sing some very good southern gospel and a cute one about Christmas Cookies. 

Next, it was back to Show street near the park entrance to the Celebrity Theater. There we saw the show I'd been anxious to see. It was a stage version of the movie "It's A Wonderful Life." 

The show was about 45 minutes long and was a very interesting adaptation. It was a musical and used songs from some well known Broadway shows. Songs like: "Money Makes The World Go Round", "I Wish You Love" and most interesting of all, "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life", from my all time favorite show Spamalot. 

After a quick trip through the nearby candy store, we headed to the Back Porch theater, a covered outdoor venue, to see the show entitled "Appalachian Christmas". 

I took a picture of the empty stage as we waited for the show to start to post on Facebook but then didn't take any during the show. I guess I was too busy being entertained. 

The featured entertainment was the Smoky Mountain String band. The four person group included a base fiddle player, a lead guitarist, a mandolin player and a very funny and talented banjo picker. 

They performed cover versions of "Jingle Bell Rock", "Santa Claus Is Watching You", "Mary Did You Know", and a song I was hearing for the first time called "Mary's Christmas". 

These guys were very entertaining and talented. You could tell they were having a good time and so did their audience. 

Blogger's Note: The group had their 2016 Christmas CD for sale after the show but I didn't buy one. After we got back home I wished I had. I did some research, contacted Dollywood's merchandise department and asked how I could get one sent to me. 
The next day, the lead guitarist of the band, Jerry Butler, called me. I was totally surprised and had a very nice conversation with him about the band. We also completed a transaction that got me the CD I wanted. Just a little interesting side story about our trip after the fact. 

After that show ended we walked up the hill towards the village area to get in line to see the "Christmas In The Smokies" show. When we got to the theater there was a long line and the show didn't start for about 30 minutes. We decided not to wait. 

By this time of the day it was getting cooler and we were a bit tired. We walked up through the Village and browsed through a shop or two. Of course the dominate attraction of that area (and to some extent the entire park) is the locomotive.  

There was a giant wreath set up near the train station giving guests a great photo opp. We decided to take advantage of it. But the park employee I asked to take the pic for us didn't do a very good job. Here's our disappointing souvenir. 
 We decided that we wanted to go see one more show and then head on out of the park. 

We went to the Valley area of the park to the open air theater next to Granny Ogle's restaurant. 

We found a seat on a bench in front of an electric heater hanging down from the roof. With it getting colder, this was a welcome luxury. We 

There were just a few people in the theater because the next show didn't start for about 20 minutes. 

With a few minutes until the show started, Paula decided to go looking for a hot cup of coffee. Instead, she came back with a couple of cups of hot chocolate and a some warm cinnamon bread. I can't tell you how decadently delicious that stuff was. 

She bought them at the Grist Mill that was across from the theater. Next time we go back to the park it will be on our "Must Have" list of snacks. 

The show we saw at the Valley theater was called "O Holy Night". There were two stages and two concurring story lines. One about a father and daughter decorating their tree and the other about the very first Christmas night. It was all brought together with Christmas carols and songs performed by very good guitar playing singer. 

It was a very good show that we both enjoyed. Even though it was in the middle of a theme park the production had a small country church feel to it.

We walked around the valley shops for a few minutes finding a picture frame with our new grandson's name on it in one of the woodcraft stores. That was a pleasant surprise. 

At this point we both decided that it was time to end our day at the park. We were both tired and hungry. We wanted to go have dinner at "The Island" our favorite area in Pigeon Forge. 

We made our way to the front of the park taking a gingerbread snack from the Spotlight Bakery on Show Street. 

We drove to parking lot off of Teaser Road and took the trolley shuttle to the drop off at The Island. We wanted to try a new place to eat so we decided on the Timberwood Grill. 

We split an entree that included an absolutely delicious beef brisket. There was so much food that we had enough leftovers to enjoy it again for lunch the next day. 

Of course, we couldn't spend time at the Island without going into Arcade City and play our favorite game, Harpoon Lagoon. 

The Island was all decked out for Christmas and there were a lot more shops open than the last time we were there. 

With plans to come back the next day, we only looked around a bit before calling it a night. 

The next day was our last full day of our getaway and we had some really fun things planned. I will share what we did on that very special day in part 3 of this series.  

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