We left Asheville and were originally scheduled to head north/east towards Lexington, Kentucky but due to one of our favourites – Jason Isbell – having a show at Knoxville at the Tennessee Theatre we booked these tickets in Melbourne (it was a sell-out show) and fitted in an overnighter for nothing more than to see this show.
And maybe for one other thing – Dollywood …
Dollywood and Dollywood splash and pretty much everything else in Pigeon Forge (between Asheville and Knoxville) are theme parks named after and owned and whatever else it takes by the great Dolly Parton. We’re not really theme park people but thought it would be kind of fun and we had the time for a bit of a detour.
So off we headed only to find ourselves in the same predicament as the Griswold family from National Lampoon’s Vacation who travelled across America to reach Wally World theme park only to find it closed. Who would have thunked that Dollywood would also be closed on the day of our visit? Seems it was shut down for these few days only as they set up the Christmas lights and decorations. Bad timing. But kind of good in one way as there was no charge to drive up to the gates or get through, which we would normally have not been able to get anywhere near without forking out the dollars. So we got a look at Dollywood main street (security stopped us going any further) without the rides and singing and it cost us nothing. Interestingly though there were quite a few people turning up, some like us, others not quite sure what they were there for but they were queuing for something, which we decided against queuing for as everything was closed. And we had Knoxville to reach.
Charming hotel in Knoxville, well suited for rednecks, but it was only for sleeping as we had a show to attend. Headed downtown, found a real nice market square with restaurants kind of across the road from the theatre and had a great Italian meal at which we decided was the worst service ever encountered. I can’t remember the name of the place but when it came time to paying, I gave a minimal tip and wrote on the check that the tip was for the food and we had the worst server ever! Wonder what ever happened to her as I don’t believe we were the only ones who were dissatisfied – but the food was really good.
But not as good as Jason Isbell. Magnificent show with support from Cory Branan who we didn’t know but really enjoyed. The theatre was truly beautiful and what I liked was you could get your beers and snacks and popcorn and take it in with you, then go and get some more, and there were many rednecks who made sure they did just that. First time we saw Jason Isbell was at the Northcote Social Club in Melbourne – this show was something different in such great surroundings. But I think I agree with rednecks – I am not a fan of sitting down listening to music unless I want to go to sleep.
And sleep we did when we hit our redneck hotel ready for our drive north to Kentucky.