Lunch at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen

During our trip to Pigeon Forge, we made our way over to The Island to have lunch at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen.

The restaurant is close to the entrance so we had no problem finding it. We had walked over from MagiQuest so the boys were excited to see a row of rocking chairs lining the front and they ran over to sit down for a minute.

The restaurant is on the 2nd floor so when we entered we walked into the store and then rode the escalator to the top. We were seated right away and although we weren’t seated next to a window we still had a nice view due to the large windows.

The food here is served family style. For lunch you start off with bread, choose 2 entrees and 4 sides for the table, and then each person chooses their own dessert. For our entrees we chose the fried chicken and catfish and for the sides we chose green beans, mac and cheese, creamed potatoes, and tossed salad. Dessert options are ooey gooey butter cake, banana pudding, and cobbler. JT got the cake, Connor picked the banana pudding, and I got the cobbler.

Nothing really stood out but the food was good and we enjoyed our meal.

Have you been to Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen?

A Full Day of Fun in Pigeon Forge

We spent two nights in Pigeon Forge. We arrived in the evening with just enough time to check into our hotel and get to Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. This left us with one full day to explore. We did so much in that one day though that I feel like we were there longer. We started off our day with breakfast at our hotel, The Inn at Christmas Place.

After breakfast, we walked to MagiQuest which happened to be next door. It was a little too early though and it wasn’t opened yet so we decided to go check out the Christmas Place store. Christmas Place was directly across from our hotel. The outside was the same Bavarian style as our hotel and they had several rooms of full of Christmas decorations and ornaments.

You can see our hotel from the window on the picture to the right.

Once we were done looking around the store, it was time to head back over to MagiQuest.

The boys played MagiQuest for about an hour and then we went downstairs to go through the Odyssey Mirror Maze. After that we walked over to The Island and ate lunch at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen.

After lunch we checked out the fountain for a little bit. The boys were tired of walking by this point so we even though everything is within walking distance we went back to the hotel and got in the car to head to our next destination, The Tomb escape game.

Once we escaped The Tomb, we went back over to MagiQuest so the boys could play for another hour and then we played Pirate Golf.

After Pirate Golf, it was already time for dinner so we went back over to The Island. We ate at Timberwood Grill. Then we took a look at some shops while we waited around for it to get dark so we could see the fountain show when it’s lit up at night. While we waited we went to the 7D Dark Ride for Los Banditos.

After that we went back to the hotel one last time and that was the end of our day. We had so much fun in Pigeon Forge. The boys absolutely loved it and were ready go back before we even left. There are so many fun things to do. We passed by so many other attractions that the boys wanted to do that we didn’t have time for. Everything is really easy to get too. If you don’t want to walk, or have kids that get tired like the boys did, there is a trolley that you can ride.

I’ve been telling everyone that mentions visiting Tennessee all about Pigeon Forge. It’s such a great place for a family vacation. Pigeon Forge is also right by the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, which is where we headed to the next day.

Have you been to Pigeon Forge? What are your Pigeon Forge recommendations?

Dinner Show Fun at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede

We were really excited when we found out that Pigeon Forge has several dinner shows. The boys love them so we knew we had to go to one on our road trip. The dinner show we decided to go with was Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. We made a great choice because it was so much fun!


My intention was to arrive early to see the horses in the stable as well as the pre-show in the Dixie Belle Saloon. Unfortunately, we ran into traffic on the way to Pigeon Forge due to construction; so we missed the pre-show completely. When we walked through the Dixie Belle Saloon, everyone was heading off to their seats.


I had pre-purchased souvenir boot mugs for the boys so we picked those up in the saloon before finding our seats.

I purchased preferred seating which is in the first three rows. We ended up being in the second row and had really great seats.

As is typical with these types of dinner shows, the tables were set before we sat down. Everyone had a plate, bowl, coffee cup, and a mason jar for soda.

The meal is served throughout the show. We were served creamy vegetable soup, bread, chicken, pork loin, a potato, and dessert. We all enjoyed our food. My favorite part was the soup. I really liked the creamy texture and it had a great flavor.

Of course, the main part of Dixie Stampede is the show. We really loved the show. It was so much fun. There were horses, bison, pigs, dancing, and songs. If you’ve ever been to a Medieval Times, this is similar in that you cheer for your side. I also really loved the changing background. You should be able to see it in a few of my pictures.

After the show, the cast lines up around the arena for pictures and autographs. The boys got an autograph with our section’s cowboy and Skeeter.

This is Skeeter. He was the boys’ favorite.

Once we left the arena we went to the gift shop. After that we went outside to see the horses in the stables. We were able to see them but they were all facing the opposite way.

We had so much fun at the Dixie Stampede that Connor was asking to go to one of the other dinner shows the next night.

Have you ever been to the Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede? What was your favorite part?

5 Reasons We Loved The Inn at Christmas Place

I discovered The Inn at Christmas Place while planning our May road trip and we decided that this was somewhere we had to stay. The Inn at Christmas Place is a themed hotel in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains. As you may have guessed, the theme is Christmas. I’m so glad we decided to stay here because it ended up being one of our favorite hotels on our trip.


The hotel does a fantastic job at carrying out the theme. From decorations to movies, here are 5 things we loved about the Inn at Christmas Place.


The decorations are everywhere and they start from the minute you pull up to the front of the hotel.



Once you step into the lobby you’ll find plenty more.

Here's a view of the lobby from the 2nd floor. Sorry about the lights. I had trouble with a lot of my pictures.

Here’s a view of the lobby from the 2nd floor. Sorry about the lights. I had trouble with a lot of my pictures.





The Glockenspiel plays Christmas carols on the hour during the day.

The Glockenspiel plays Christmas carols on the hour during the day.

Each of the floors above the lobby are decorated in a different theme.

Each of the floors above the lobby are decorated in a different theme.

Of course the decorations also continue in each room. Here’s a look at the room we were in.



I loved that even the bathrooms were nicely decorated.

I loved that even the bathrooms were nicely decorated.

I also loved that housekeeping left a Kiss for each of the boy's stuffed animals, including the seagull on the pillow.

I also loved that housekeeping left a Kiss for each of the boy’s stuffed animals, including the seagull on the pillow.


The Inn at Christmas Place provides a complimentary breakfast and I thought they had a really nice setup. Breakfast included an omelet station, a hot station with your typical breakfast items (scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, etc), cereal, pastries, and my favorite part, fruit and cheese.





Besides breakfast, the hotel also provides complimentary cookies and beverages in the evening. There was several different coffees to choose from and I think they also had lemonade.


This was my favorite coffee- Santa's White Christmas.

This was my favorite coffee- Santa’s White Christmas.


Christmas would not be complete without Santa and you’ll be sure to find him at The Inn. We were able to see Santa at breakfast one day but if you visit from summer through December you can also join him for a Christmas concert several evenings a week. Even if you miss Santa during your visit, kids can still write him a letter and drop it in the mailbox. Santa will write them back at Christmas time.



Here are the letters the boys got back from Santa.

Here are the letters the boys got back from Santa.


Another thing that I thought was fun was that you could go to the front desk and rent Christmas movies. There is a DVD in each room and they have a pretty good size list of movies available. It was fun to be able to rent a movie and watch it while we ate our cookies.

The Inn at Christmas Place was such a fun hotel and we really enjoyed celebrating Christmas in May. I highly recommend checking out the pictures on their website. I loved the Bavarian architecture but don’t have a picture that really does it justice.

Have you ever stayed at The Inn at Christmas Place? What was your favorite thing about it? If you haven’t, what other unique hotels have you stayed at?