long delayed Gatlinburg trip report

Old Aug 3rd, 2003, 11:26 PM
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long delayed Gatlinburg trip report

Hi everyone! I have gained so much from using this website, I thought it was time I give back a little. Sorry it's taken so long to post.

My husband and I (24 and 23 years old at the time) needed to get away for a while in March 2003, but we didn't have much extra money at the time. We went to Gatlinburg and stayed four nights. (The drive took about 9 hours.)

We stayed at the Glenstone Lodge hotel. Let me start by what we liked about the hotel. The location wasn't bad, only a block or two to the main road, close to traffic light #8. The lobby was beautiful, very impressive. The breakfast buffet was good, and not too expensive. The hotel was kept very clean. They have a manager present 24 hours a day. They have a great swimming pool, actually two indoor swimming pools. One is on the main level, this is the shallow pool. The one up a layer is the deep pool, I believe it was 9 feet deep, and these two swimming pools had a waterfall flowing from the deep to the shallow. (Parents PLEASE don't let your children jump from above into the shallow pool, they could get hurt so easily.) In between these two pools tucked into a corner is the hot tub.

Now onto my complaints for this hotel. We are nonsmokers and requested a nonsmoking room, which we received. (We were booked in the poolview room category.) The problem was that to get to our room, we had to walk through clouds of smoke. Right in front of our rooms and those other nonsmoking rooms right by us were little tables and chairs with ashtrays and people smoking. I don't want to offend anyone, but I have allergies that are greatly aggravated by smoke, and I don't think that smoking should be permitted, let alone encouraged, right in front of nonsmoking rooms. This alone is a big enough issue for me that I will stay somewhere else when I return to Gatlinburg. The other major problem we had while we were there was the broken hot tub. For three days numerous people complained to the manager about the hot tub being broken (it was very cool, about the temperature of the pool water, and it was shooting out COLD water from the vents), yet nothing was done to fix it. Finally, on our last day there, he must have had someone come out and fix it, because we actually were able to enjoy it on our last day. There were other smaller things that we didn't like at the hotel, the towels being one. Their towels were like sandpaper, actually so painful to use that we used our beach towels brought from home after showering. Taking a shower was an experience in itself, due to the constantly changing water temperatures. It went from warm to very hot to ice cold over and over and over. A couple of other things that my husband noticed right away (he used to work in a hotel when he was much younger, so he notices some things that I would normally not pay attention to), he noticed that the small fridge in the room was very rusted and there was a rip in the bedspread. Like I said, nitpicky things that you would normally never notice.

Final thoughts on the Glenstone Lodge...we won't be staying there again. The only reason that we won't is due to the smoking in front of nonsmoking rooms. That alone does it for us. The other stuff wasn't that important. We'll try a different hotel next time.

The weather was nice for us, not cold, not too hot, probably 75 degrees all week long. It rained our last day there, but was sunny the rest of the time. It wasn't very crowded, although there were a number of families who had taken their kids there for spring break. Everyone was very friendly everywhere we went, other visitors included.

Now for what all we did while we were there. There were so many tourist attractions that we just had to try out. (Hey, we were tourists, we're allowed!) We bought a package which included all of Ripleys attractions. We went to Ripley's Aquarium, which we really enjoyed. I'm not an expert at aquariums, but I thought it was nice. We did Ripley's Moving Theater and were not impressed at all. Ripley's Haunted Adventure I found hokey, but my husband liked it. Ripley's Believe It Or Not surprised me, in that I found it interesting. I expected it to be ridiculous, but I was very amused, as was my husband. The last Ripley's atrraction was Ripley's Davy Crockett Mini Golf, which was very original. I am not good at mini golf in the first place, and when chipmunks are singing row row row your boat while I try to take a swing and a bear is popping up, I just couldn't concentrate. For our other activities, we went on the Sky Lift, once in the day and once at night. Looks quite different each time. We purchased our picture on the sky lift in a keychain for a souvenir. We went up in the Space Needle, once in the day and once at night. The only reason we went up at night was the one ticket was good for another admittance within 24 hours. It was okay. We did Venturer Motion Theater, neither of us felt well after that. Kids might like it, we both felt sick for about an hour afterwards. Must be getting too old for that stuff! We went to Ober Gatlinburg, rode the tram up the mountain, the alpine slide down, the sky lift up even farther and back down. Unfortunately, the black bear habitat wasn't open for the year yet, it was to open back up the day after we left. We played all sorts of mini golf. One mini golf course was the Old Gatlinburg Golf & Games, where I for the first and only time, beat my husband at a game of mini golf! Whoo hoo! We also played Hillbilly Golf. At Hillbilly Golf you ride a little tram up the side of a small mountain, then you mini golf your way down the mountain. While it was raining on our last day, we went to Treasure Island Mini Golf, which is an indoor mini golf course. I wasn't impressed, it seemed really cramped in there. The biggest waste of money we found in all of Gatlinburg would have to be Earthquake, The Ride. Save your money! It was horrible, just the worst waste of money I saw. Even the kids were commenting on how lame it was.

While we were in Gatinburg, we took the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which was scenic. I really wanted to hike to Grotto Falls off the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, but it was already packed with cars and people at 10am and we couldn't park anywhere.

We went into the Smoky Mountain National Park one day. Very nice, and FREE to get into. (I believe I read somewhere while I was there that it is the only national park in the country that is free to enter.) While in the Smoky Mountains, we hiked the Laurel Falls Trail, which took us to a nicely flowing waterfall. This is paved, so strollers with young children won't be a problem. Just be careful on this trail, there are numerous signs that say to use caution, that there have been falling deaths from the trail. Also these signs are at the actual falls by the drop off. Not trying to scare anyone, just be careful is all. We saw several children playing and running near the edges, about scared me to death.

Now for the food section of my trip report. This won't be very long. We are not big eaters, and didn't really care much about what we were having. We ate breakfast in our hotel most of the time, a couple of meals at Shoney's, and one meal at TGI Fridays. I had never been to TGI Fridays before, but our bill came to $60 for just the two of us! YIKES! (Thank heavens we tried them again after we came home and the bill came to around $25-$30 for the same food.) Not very much I can say about the restaurants there, they seemed to have just about everything you could want.

As for how we got around while we were in Gatlinburg, we walked. We only got in the car for the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and to go into the Smoky Mountain National Park. Everything else we just walked to. It wasn't too far for anything.

Well, that's about all I can think of to let everyone know. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. Sorry if this is somewhat unorganized, this is my first trip report posting.

Best wishes,
loverly7 is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2003, 05:35 AM
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Nice trip report loverly7. I've only been to Gatlinburg once and that one trip did it for me. Wild horses couldn't get me back in those crowds, but the area around the town IS beautiful. Glad you got out and found the hikes. We did the Laurel Falls hike--you can continue on past the paved section and eventually end up in an area of virgin forest with trees just an incredible size. It was the best part of the trip, although I must say at that point we were very much by ourselves and I kept looking over my shoulder for bears!!

I wanted to comment on the issue you had with smoking. As a non-smoker, I empathize with your postion, but because of my husband's job running a hotel I can also empathize with the hotel's. I'm guessing your rooms opened onto the pool deck? The hotel wasn't really trying to encourage smoking in that area, but they know from experience that people are going to smoke around the pool no matter what, and if the ashtrays aren't there, they will merely throw their butts on the deck and stub them out--how yuck would that be. Unfortunately sometimes even if the ashtrays are there the butts go on the deck. We have a deck area with standing ashtrays all around that is used often during meeting breaks, and there will be butts several feet away from them anyway. It's a strange mindset and I must ocnfess, I was one of them until 15 years ago. My husband and I participated in a Clean-Up America volunteer day this spring and I felt I did a bit of due penance that day, picking up literally hundreds of those things.

Question: were kids actually jumping from the higher pool into the shallow lower one? What a terrific liability situation they've got going there. Talk about the hazardous nuisance doctrine--that's a a lawsuit just waiting to happen!
Old Aug 4th, 2003, 07:17 AM
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Were the kids jumping off the water fall also smoking cigarettes?
Or just chewing tobacco?
TedTurner is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2003, 07:22 AM
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GSMNP is not the only free national park
BigRed is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2003, 07:30 AM
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Yes, the kids were actually jumping from the upper pool into the shallow pool. There were signs posted in several locations indicating this was not permitted and dangerous. I don't know where their parents were. I didn't see anyone get hurt, but I would imagine that it has happened in the past for those signs to be there.

Intersting point on the smoking in the pool area. I had never thought of it that way before.
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Old Aug 4th, 2003, 07:39 AM
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Great trip report, loverly7 !

I'm no longer a smoker, but could never figure why some people who would NEVER toss a gum wrapper on the ground don't think twice about cig. butts, which if a filtered on never disintegrates. OliveOyl's explanation is exactly on target.
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