Gatlinburg: trapping tourists in style

I’ll get back to Europe soon, I promise. But in the meantime, allow me to introduce (to the uninitiated) the town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is easily one of the top 10 kitschiest destinations in America (and we all know how much I love kitsch). The main drag is packed with more novelty shops, restaurants, tourists and attractions than you can shake a stick at.

There’s a Guinness Book of World Records museum, a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum, and at least five haunted houses. The two prevailing restaurant genres are steakhouses and pancake houses, several of which offer all-you-can-eat brunches with live performances by acts whose names include words like “hillbilly” and “revival”. If you don’t have time to sit, you’ll find plenty of street food options, many of which come on sticks. There are about 100 miniature golf courses, and countless shops where you can dress up in old-timey costumes and pose for wild west wanted posters. Yeah, that kind of town. And did I mention it’s right next door to Dollywood?

But really the best part about Gatlinburg, besides the obese people watching, is the t-shirt shops.

You thought airbrush went out in the 80s? Not in Gatlinburg it didn’t.

My husband and I had a hard time deciding which of these two designs to get to commemorate our trip (and express our eternal love for each other in t-shirt form). Which one would you recommend?

More to come…

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9 thoughts on “Gatlinburg: trapping tourists in style

  1. Nooooooo! I’m loving this. Couldn’t read what the COPS shirt stood for? The suspense is killing me…
    And, can I just say: FIVE haunted houses? FIVE?
    It actually looks pretty there, though… all those trees in the background! Among all the kitsch.

  2. I’d go with the second one (the waterfall) because (1) it’s vaguely alpine and so would be perfect for a hike around the Berner Oberland; and (2) because the first one (the rose/confederate flags) would look MUCH better as a tattoo.

  3. You all make excellent points, especially about the tattoo. Hmmm, such a hard choice…

    C.O.P.S. (you’re going to love this…) stands for Christians Obediently Preaching Salvation. Oh yeah.

    Hi there, King. I didn’t realize you were a blogging cat (although of course I have read many stories about you).

  4. Well of course the souvenir t-shirts would be great if your names actually were Mike & Michelle or Rick & Sara.

    I too like the Paddle Faster t-shirt.

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