Traveling During COVID-19 to Pigeon Forge, TN

The Island at Pigeon Forge, TN

Can you believe it; it has been since March since we last took a vacation due to the pandemic.

In March, we enjoyed the white sandy beaches, touring around the city in Myrtle Beach when everything was normal; then boom, everyone had to quarantine to slow the virus's spread once we returned home.

This year, I told myself I would slow down on my travels anyway, virus or not, since my daughters are in the critical stages of their academic life, and I don't want to keep pulling them out of school interrupting their studies. Plus, we have our little furbabies now to take care of, and it's not easy to get up and go anymore.

Guinea Pig Paulanka

Guinea Pig Lumi

Right before Labor Day, Mr. M came to me with the idea of going on a quick trip to Pigeon Forge for a family vacation. And when I say right before Labor Day, he brought this up to me the Thursday before the holiday weekend.

I was down for it, but what are we going to do with these guinea pigs? Bring them with us? And what about traveling during COVID-19? Will we have to wear a mask the whole time there? Pigeon Forge is hot during this time of year, and both Michelle and I can suffer from heat exhaustion when we're in the sun too long.

I hopped on Priceline to see what hotels were available, and during my search, there wasn't much. All the good hotels were sold out on Saturday, but some vacancies on Sunday. So that means a speedy trip to the mountains for a day of fun.

But you know us, we make things work last minute, and we're only 3 1/2 hours away from the Smoky Mountains. I laid out a plan of what we were going to do.

  • Get there Sunday afternoon
  • Check into hotel
  • Eat dinner
  • Do some activities on the strip Sunday night
  • Monday, check out of hotel
  • Have breakfast
  • Go to the outlets to do some shopping
  • Head home in the afternoon

Oh yeah, and with such a short trip, the guinea pigs would stay home. They can be by themselves for up to 24hrs to 2 days; however, two days is pushing it.

Back to my hotel shopping...

While browsing Priceline, I found a new Holiday Inn & Suites Pigeon Forge Convention Center that just opened a couple of months ago that's centrally located in the heart of Pigeon Forge, on the strip where all the family-friendly attractions are. Easy to walk everywhere or hop on a trolley to get to places. I quickly booked it before they sold out.

Sunday, we packed our bags, waved goodbye to our little piggies, and headed up to my home, away from home, Pigeon Forge.

With COVID, rules are different in each state. Tennessee rules are to wear a mask in public places where there are people around, and entering all establishments, you must wear a mask as well.

Pigeon Forge was packed with people, and I noticed many people were not wearing their masks. And masks weren't strictly enforced either. I guess people are over the virus and want to get back to life as usual.

As for us, we wore our mask when people were around, except at restaurants since we can't eat with them on, and we kept our distance.

For those that are cautious, it's best to visit Pigeon Forge during their slow season. So, right after Labor Day, and before the leaves start changing during autumn.

Holiday Inn & Suites in Pigeon Forge, TN

The Holiday Inn & Suites Pigeon Forge Convention Center we stayed in was nice, modern, clean. I upgraded to a suite for added space, so we had a living room with a couch that converts to a bed and two queen-sized beds.

Holiday Inn & Suites Pigeon Forge Convention Center

Holiday Inn & Suites Pigeon Forge Convention Center

Holiday Inn & Suites Pigeon Forge Convention Center

My only complaint about our stay was the beds, too stiff for my liking and the size seemed smaller than a queen, more like a full-size bed.

Holiday Inn & Suites Pigeon Forge Convention Center

The Holiday Inn has amenities for guests like an indoor swimming pool and hot tub, gym, meeting rooms, roof patio, free WiFi, a restaurant, and plenty of lounge areas.

Holiday Inn & Suites Pigeon Forge Convention Center

Holiday Inn & Suites Pigeon Forge Convention Center

Holiday Inn & Suites Pigeon Forge Convention Center

I would stay at this Holiday Inn again, for sure! A relaxing, budget-friendly hotel with plenty of stuff to keep my family entertained.

Racetracks in Pigeon Forge

Racetracks in Pigeon Forge, TN

I didn't take many pictures during our trip since it was short; we lived in the moment, enjoying our family time together.

Paul Dean's Restaurant in Pigeon Forge, TN

Too bad we didn't have enough time to visit Dollywood. Right now, they are getting ready to celebrate the Harvest Festival.

The Great Pumpkin LumiNights at Dollywood is a fascinating experience for all ages, as visitors can stroll through thousands of pumpkins, including immersive and larger-than-life specialty displays. The event continues its expansion into the park’s newest section, Wildwood Grove, with additional theming elements and displays added this year.

Among the new displays is a “sunflower field” with dozens of stacked pumpkins cut sequentially to feature sunflowers. The stacked pumpkin “sunflowers” range in size from 6 ft. to 9 1/2 ft. Tall. Carving each stalk takes up to two hours, with additional build time needed to stack the pumpkins and lights to complete the “flower.” Check out the time when we visited the Harvest Festival.

I hate that our trip was so quick, but it was much needed. It's like the trip helped me to renew and gave me a happiness boost. I have spent a lot more time at home lately, and having a change of scenery was needed.

Sawyer's Farmhouse Restaurant in Pigeon Forge, TN

Sawyer's Farmhouse Restaurant in Pigeon Forge, TN

Hopefully, COVID will pass soon, and our lives will return to what it once was. Our next trip maybe our annual end of the year/ beginning of the year trip. We shall see...

Have you been traveling during the pandemic?  If so, how was your experience?

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  1. Our trip to Chateau Elan was great! They had very elaborate COVID protocols that made our time there very much comfortable in these uncertain times.

    1. I'm so happy you had a great time at Chateau Elan! Mr. M and I use to go on Day Dates there while the girls were at school. We need to go back.

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