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-   -   From Austria...to Appalachia (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/from-austria-to-appalachia-1670613/)

fourfortravel Aug 13th, 2019 04:36 AM

From Austria...to Appalachia
 
We're moving to Knoxville!

Brief recap. We served a 20+ year sentence in Washington, D.C. and then were rewarded with 7 years in Vienna, Austria. The powers that be sent us back to D.C. about 6 weeks ago; and now we're heading to Knoxville in early September, where DH will begin work at ORNL.

Last month we spent about two days exploring the area when DH went to give a presentation at the lab, so basically this is an entirely new part of the world for us. With our youngest heading to university later this month, we are budding (relatively) empty-nesters with blank weekend canvases. DDog allows us to live with him; hence the relatively.

Good friends in D.C. who have family living in Knoxville are envious that we too will now be living there; we see this as a good sign. While my research has revealed numerous hiking opportunities, which we love; a growing food/craft beverage scene, which we also love; and Dr. Google's listsicles of other day-trip and long weekend ideas, first-hand experiences and suggestions for outings would be most appreciated.

Both "children" and DS's SO are excited to spend Christmas in Tennessee, and the three of them are rallying for a Dollywood overnight during the season for the lights, the shows and the atmosphere. DH and I are rallying for a post-Christmas week along South Carolina's coast (another area we know nothing about.) So, the questions here are:

1. What is Dollywood like at Christmas?
2. Which cities in South Carolina? For this holiday we'll be all about beach combing, seafood-eating, and perhaps a little sight-seeing.

In advance, thank you.


Gretchen Aug 13th, 2019 05:03 AM

charleston charleston charleston

Good luck on Dollywood. Allow a LOT of time for traffic and kitsch. LOL

J62 Aug 13th, 2019 05:04 AM

Congrats on getting your parole approved...

fourfortravel Aug 13th, 2019 09:04 AM


Originally Posted by Gretchen (Post 16969592)
charleston charleston charleston

Good luck on Dollywood. Allow a LOT of time for traffic and kitsch. LOL

Charleston is on the long, long list. I think I might prefer to save this for a long weekend without the "children," however. For the week between Christmas and New Year we are all about lazy days, board games and beach combing.

Your words on Dollywood confirm my suspicions. An overnight (or perhaps two) might be in order.

Thank you.

fourfortravel Aug 13th, 2019 09:08 AM


Originally Posted by J62 (Post 16969593)
Congrats on getting your parole approved...

I know, right? As our time in Vienna was winding down we had brief moments of panic at the thought of having to live in the D.C. area again. It's a great place; we're just so happy we don't have to live here. :)

thursdaysd Aug 13th, 2019 11:01 AM

Back when I had step-kids, and the mother-in-law-from-hell lived in Savannah, we used to go to Kiawah Island, offshore from Charleston. But it has been a looong time and I am sure it is more developed now. Still, I would investigate the islands. Pawleys used to be quieter, and has Brookgreen Gardens.

obxgirl Aug 13th, 2019 05:19 PM

Great news you're moving to Tennessee.

I love living in DC.

Gretchen Aug 14th, 2019 03:27 AM

Well, as pointed out, charleston has the beaches too. You said beach combing, seafood-eating, and perhaps a little sight-seeing. Stay on the beach, exploore the coast, eat in the city. It's all right there.

Pawley's Island was mentioned. That is the Litchfield area and lots of beautiful beaches, as good a selection of sea food you'll get outside charleston, shopping. Brookgreen Gardens, Hobcaw Barony. For your teens there are places to rent kayaks and stand up paddle boards and take surf lessons. BUT the surf is VERY small but good for learning.
Myrtle Beach is close (we NEVER go--a lot like Dollywood) but will have christmas shows. look at the Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort for a rental. For the most fun, rent oceanfront.

fourfortravel Aug 14th, 2019 08:04 AM

thursdaysd, thank you for the suggestions of Kiawah and Pawleys. This part of the U.S. is as "foreign" to us as Austria and its neighboring countries were. Looking forward to the exploration.

Gretchen, thank you for your suggestions, as well. For some reason I think of Charleston as a place DH and I should investigate together, without the Teen, the 20-somethings, and the dog; however, I will now start exploring the city as a post-Christmas destination. :)

thursdaysd Aug 14th, 2019 09:11 AM



Looks like Charleston is already planning Christmas. https://www.christmasincharleston.com/

The whole SE coast, from Virginia to Florida, has quite a lot of interest, just avoid Myrtle Beach. (If you can't, at least stay in North Myrtle). Highly recommend some guide books to the area. (Look up Gullah.) The scenery is going to be very different! Keep going south and St. Augustine is the oldest city in the US.

If you are going to do plantation visits you might want to select for the ones that don't gloss over slavery.

And now I think about it, if you want somewhere putting on a show for Christmas, in your general area, why not Biltmore in Asheville instead of Dollywood? It will be a lot less kitschy, even though I was disappointed that the candles were all electric. https://biltmore.com/events/christma...-celebration-1

Gretchen Aug 14th, 2019 10:19 AM

Electric candles! By the time you got them all lit it would be time to blow them out! LOL

Gretchen Aug 14th, 2019 10:24 AM

To make the distinction between "Pawley's" and say Wild Dunes/Kiawah--Pawley's is an hour and a holf north of Chareston--and is actually where the Charleston rice planters came in summer to escape the malarial mosquitoes.
There is a lot to do, as I posted. AND I forgot Georgetown which is an absolute jewel of a Revolutionary War town--great waterfront, shops, beautiful homes.

Charleston is a place to return to a number of times and explore more of the coast. The entire SC coast is wonderful.

rncheryl Aug 15th, 2019 05:23 AM

St. Augustine is beautiful at Christmas, very welcoming. Choirs everywhere, lots of lights. There are numerous Bed and Breakfasts including our favorite, https://www.44spanishstreetinn.com/.

Be sure to consider a sunset cruise on the Schooner Freedom to see the city lights. Schooner Freedom Charters ? Tall Ship Sailing Daily from Saint Augustine

The Lightner museum may have something interesting; it was the Downton Abbey show when we were there. Lots of history, good places to eat.

gmoney Aug 15th, 2019 11:40 AM

We love Dollywood, don't let anyone scare you away. Some people just love to put down places they don't like. We've been to Pigeon Forge/Sevierville during all seasons and it was never not enjoyable. There is a back road to get to Dollywood to avoid the parkway. We stay in cabins in Sevierville that are absolutely beautiful at Christmas away from the crowds but only 20 minutes from Dollywood.

jhk3rd Aug 15th, 2019 11:47 AM

If you're in the Pawleys area around Christmas, try to get tickets to the Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens. It is fabulous. There are some great restaurants in the area, but of course nothing to compare with Charleston. However, if it's strictly beachcombing you're after, I'd save Charleston for another trip.

Gretchen Aug 15th, 2019 11:56 AM

I will nit pick. There are restaurants in Pawley's/Litchfield?murrell's Inlet that can be as enjoyable as Charleston--some in a different way and some head to head gourmet. They are two different experiences.

Melnq8 Aug 15th, 2019 01:43 PM

I know absolutely nothing about Knoxville, but can relate to this bit:

We served a 20+ year sentence in Washington, D.C. and then were rewarded with 7 years in Vienna, Austria.

We served a five year sentence in Houston, a four year sentence on Sumatra and then were rewarded with seven years in Perth, Australia!

I wish you the very best fourfortravel. I, for one, will sadly miss your expat adventures.

swandav2000 Aug 15th, 2019 09:06 PM

Hi fourfor,

Huh, small/ish world, as always. I lived 10 years in Knoxville, in the suburb of Farragut. I think you'll enjoy it there. Sorry, so ideas of fun things to do....I was caring for my disabled sister until she passed, then for each of my parents as each got sick and passed, and then I was consumed with the logistics and planning for the move to Germany. I was also teaching part time at PSTCC, a small 2-year college. But, yes, lots of nice hiking in the low-ish mountains there.

I never went to Dollywood or Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, but my parents did...my mom was not impressed, calling it "Neon Gultch." Not even sure what that means...

Some cousins still live there, and their favorite holidays are at Hilton Head Island. I'll also suggest Asheville NC -- though I haven't been, I'm researching a trip for a wedding in May, and everything I've heard sounds delightful. Maybe especially the Biltmore House for Christmas??

Anyway, hope you enjoy your new hometown!

s

jhk3rd Aug 16th, 2019 07:13 AM


Originally Posted by Gretchen (Post 16970784)
I will nit pick. There are restaurants in Pawley's/Litchfield?murrell's Inlet that can be as enjoyable as Charleston--some in a different way and some head to head gourmet. They are two different experiences.

Gretchen, I don't disagree, but for fine dining there is a far, far wider choice in Charleston. That was my point, not that you can't get a great meal in the Pawleys area.

fourfortravel Aug 22nd, 2019 05:17 AM

Gretchen, Georgetown looks adorable. If not for this particular holiday, then certain as part of a longer tour of South Carolina’s coast. After seven years of life in a land-locked country and missing our beloved annual Cape Cod holiday we naturally gravitate toward the coast whenever possible.

rncheryl, St. Augustine might be a bit far for this year, though I have now added it to the ever-growing list of places to explore.

gmoney, have you any particular cabin recommendations for Pigeon Forge or Sevierville?


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