The Smoky Mountains were spectacular. Of all our travels, of all the places we’ve been, of all the cool things we’ve seen, the Smoky Mountains in fall is up there with some of the most beautiful scenery we’ve ever seen. I think the photos turned out well but really didn’t do the area the justice it deserves. Absolutely stunning.
Jac and I have never been big fans of the southern US so we’ve never traveled to the area. My work sent me to Tennessee so I figured I’d bring Jac along and we’d hit up the Smoky Mountains. We spent most of our time in small towns and were pleasantly surprised to a point where it didn’t really feel like we were in the US. For example:
- Walking at my normal speed I found I was the one walking the fastest and it seemed like most everyone deferred to me and moved out of the way. It was weird to see people clearing out of my way while walking on sidewalks, thru doorways, and even in Dollar Generals. It was strange!
- Being called ‘hon’ or seeing my wife called ‘sweetie’ by waitstaff was strange. That type of pleasantry would never be extended in Minnesota and would likely result in very cross-looks if it occurred.
- The general niceness – I pulled into a McDonald’s parking lot early in the morning and the person in the vehicle next to me greeted me and told me, ‘good morning’. Some random guy. Weird!
- The food was fantastic. We had a chance to try some fantastic BBQ, wonderful cajun, and other local specialties. We had great NY style pizza from a pizzaria of a former New Yorker – it was awesome to say the least. Since I don’t really eat meat I was relegated to vegetarian options on the menus which usually contained an immense amount of cheese.
- Things seemed to be cheaper. Whether it was admission prices, food prices, or general activity costs, it seemed to be cheaper in the Smoky Mountains versus elsewhere in our travels.
- We’ve been on a lot of cave tours around the US and the world and there are universal rules: don’t touch stuff, don’t eat stuff, don’t drink stuff. That universal rule didn’t apply at Tuckalechee Caverns where the staff encouraged visitors to touch the formations, swim in the cave water, and even drink the cave water!
- The LTE was the slowest LTE I’ve ever experienced – shockingly slow, unlike everywhere in the US.
- The Smoky Mountains National Park takes the cake for worst labeling of features, trail heads, and other points of interest. I’ve never seen anything else like it at a national park in the US. Normally, park maps are very good, everything is marked out in the park, and it’s super easy to find stuff. Not so with the Smoky Mountains National Park!
I took a ton of photos during our visit. Our Airbnb had a great view over the park and we had some fantastic sunrises. There’s a ton of photos in the album and, like I said, the photos don’t do the park justice. It was incredible to be in and around the park during peak fall colors.
Enjoy the photos!