Escape the Political Drama with a Well-Timed Vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains
By Shelia Ogle © 2012, All Rights Reserved
Political ads interrupt your favorite television shows. Automated phone calls disturb your meals. Endless coverage on the news makes you almost wish for a playoff game just to have something else to talk about – and the elections are still months away. Tired of the red versus blue debate? Head for the Great Smoky Mountains where everything is green and the only mudslinging happens on the horse ranch.
Take a Wild Ride at Dollywood
In Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, the only ticket you need to worry about is the one that gets you through the gate at Dollywood. You and your family will enjoy disconnecting from the world for a day and just hanging out together, riding the coasters, seeing the shows, and relaxing at the county fair. Turn off your cell phone and ignore the political turmoil for a few hours while you enjoy some down-home country fun, Dollywood style.
First stop for the adventurous is the brand new Wild Eagle. Set to open in March 2012, the first “wing” coaster in the country promises everyone who dares a screaming good time. With plummeting dives and stomach-turning rolls, you’ll feel as if you’ve joined a real bird of prey on the hunt. After you land, head over to Dollywood’s eagle sanctuary to get up close and personal with the real thing. This stately symbol of American pride is just the thing to remind you that our country is still great – even in an election year.
If a heart-stopping flight through the treetops isn’t your thing, perhaps a little magic and music is what you need. The Pines Theatre hosts Dreamland Drive-In, a toe-tapping look back at the era of sock hops and poodle skirts. Life sure seemed a lot simpler then, and when you take off on this musical memory tour, you’re sure to forget all about politics for a while.
The littlest family members will be clamoring for a front-row seat to see Dollywood’s favorite illusionist, Professor Seymour Tricks. You’ll all be mystified by his amazing sleight of hand and delighted by his sense of humor. Like all the other Dollywood attractions, Professor Seymour Tricks has a knack for helping you forget the world outside.
Get Back to Nature
If there’s any question about Tennessee’s political leanings, a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains offers plenty of opportunity to see her true colors. The pink and yellow of spring blooms, the brilliant turquoise sky, and a thousand shades of green cover the landscape from horizon to horizon. And with more than 800 miles of groomed trails, you’ll find ample room to just relax and watch the show.
Hike, bike, or ride a horse deep into the woods to get a glimpse of the wilderness as the early settlers saw it. Crystal clear streams burble and sing as the water cascades over moss-covered rocks, and shallow pools invite thirsty critters to take a drink. You’ll hear tiny woodland creatures scuttling about in the brush, and perhaps even catch a glimpse of a whitetail deer as she bounds across a clearing.
For a truly unique view of the mountains, catch a ride on a zipline. Strap on a harness and helmet, and in minutes you’ll be soaring from tree to tree like a bird in flight. The cool breeze carries the scent of wildflowers in bloom, and everywhere you look is pure, unspoiled wilderness.
Think you can’t possibly listen to another political commercial without losing your mind? Turn off your television, unplug the laptop, and head for the Great Smoky Mountains.