Gatlinburg Tennessee is a strange strange land. It is both fantasy and real. Whereas DisneyWorld is a total make believe land with castles, costumed characters, and rides scattered throughout a huge area, Gatlinburg is a real town with ghost castles, chalets, bizarre characters, and rides entagled throughout the township. It's a funny place. A happy place.
We are not chalet people. We would have to drive down the mountain into town to eat and drink and then drive back up. We always stay at the Edgewater Inn along the banks of the Little Pigeon River. The front side of the hotel overlooks the town and back side overlooks the mountain. We prefer the town view. All the bars, restaurants, and attractions are within walking distance from the hotel. The haunted castle is next door. Christ In The Smokies, a personal favorite, is just a block away and portrays the entire life of Jesus in wax figures, 1960's dioramas, and gently posed silhouettes. Fun! We don't ski, but the ski lift is handy for a leg-dangling ride to the top of the mountain for cocktails before the horrific descent back into town. Nice views. Steep.
The Parkway is the main drag in Gatlinburg. It is the pot o' gold and the tourist G-Spot.. Everything is on the Parkway; the Pancake Pantry for breakfast, the pulled taffy store, Ripley's Believe It Or Not, and Fannie Farkle's. After dining on foot long corn dogs from Fannie Farkles, championship Skee-Ball awaits next door. Who could possibly pass up spending alot of money rolling a wooden ball up a ramp to fall into a hole to score points in the hope of winning a tiny hairy toy donkey? Who? Corn dogs and tiny donkeys?
We Do.It. All. Gatlinburg is not a land of pretension. Dress the part, play the games, and ride the rides.
We tend to turn our trips to Gatlinburg into one gigantic drinking game. We bar hop and explore. We play the game.
Gatlinburg has alot of restaurants. They come and go with the wind. Big corporations have taken a foothold with their chain restaurants and familiar menus. They look the same and taste the same. Familiar.
And then there is the Smokie Mountain Trout House, located on the eastern part of the main drag. We always eat at the Trout House at least once during our Gatlinburg adventures. It is an old restaurant in an old two story building with out dated furniture and stained carpeting overlooking the Parkway. It's not fancy, but they have the most succulent fresh mountain trout in the area. Caught fresh daily, they offer Baked Lemon Rice Stuffed Trout, Broiled Trout with a Creamy Mustard Sauce, Pan-Fried Trout, Trout Almondine, and Green Bean Tomato Stuffed Baked Trout with a White Wine Sauce.
We only order the Trout Almondine. After ordering, an entire whole head-on and tail-on trout is brought to the table on a large platter arranged as if still alive and swimming through a river of curly parsley. The server artfully slices behind the head of the trout.With the use of a fork and spoon in tandem, the server pulls the entire bone structure up and out of the cooked trout allowing each tiny pin bone to release a noiseless vacume behind it. The trout fillet is then sauced with a sea of melted butter and toasted almonds flowing freely from a sauce boat. Meshed halved lemons are provided to cut through the fatty goodness. Old school. Delicious.
Fresh mountain river trout. Perfect and real.