Friday, March 29, 2013

Disappearing Kitsch

Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge has long been known as kind of a Mecca for lovers of kitschy, tacky, roadside Americana. That is why Travis and I have been three times in the last 5 years! But each time we go back more of the great old stuff we love to see is gone, or up for sale, with new lame construction going up in its place. The second day of our trip was cold and rainy, but we drove around and I took some photos of things I love, and hope will still be there next time we go!
The Scenic is for lease, and this cute pink Super 8 isn't open. It looks like they are doing construction so maybe it is just being renovated. I hope they keep the pink exterior.
 I was really sad to see my favorite golf place up for lease! You can see a lot of pictures of it from this post in the fall. It looks much better with the fall leaves and sunshine! I wish I could lease this place out and reopen it! But I think most of the tourists coming in prefer the newer places. There is a BIG new entertainment center right by this one that I'm sure drove Adventure golf out of business.
 I am in LOVE with this octopus! I wish I could transplant him in my backyard.
 Since Adventure Golf was closed I wanted to play here, but it was closed too! Bummer.
We stopped for french fries during our tour. I learned we need to pack snacks when we travel because it is hard to find vegan stuff. Definitely taking that into consideration when we go to Detroit soon.
This cute place was new I think. I'm sure I would have spotted it last time we were here. I love a shop shaped like what they sell.
 Self portrait with the Titanic museum. 
After driving around all day we got dinner at Mellow Mushroom. Yep, again! A different location at least. Their pizza is just so good!
 Look at that cutie! I'm so glad I have a husband who loves to spend the day driving around looking at old signs and going vintage shopping (oh you better believe I have a post about that coming! ha!).

19 comments:

  1. You two are just made for each other. I love that you both like the same things. That can make a marriage WAY more fun! : ) I am going to HAVE to get to Gatlinburg. I haven't been since 1989! It looks like eye candy as far as the eye can see....and wackiness....and lots of places to spend way too much money.

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  2. You should not have a problem finding vegan in the Detroit area. Huge cultural diversity there, largest Arab population outside the middle east, for example. Very urban, very sophisticated, very "old" compared to that upstart Gatlinburg!

    We went to Gatlinburg this week for a couple days, just not our style. Love the Smokies, but Gatlinburg was just too touristy, too expensive, too crowded. We ate at the Pancake Pantry and twice at No Way Jose. We aren't vegan, quite the opposite.

    Enjoy your Detroit trip. We are originally from MI, now in Nashville area, with decade in Austin and decade in Columbus. Almost a decade here. So many places are becoming so homogenous (sp). Same restaurants, same everything. I know you will find the unique in Detroit if you look for it!

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    1. we're staying right outside mexicotown so i'm hoping we'll be close to some good ethnic food!

      yes, gatlinburg is SO EXPENSIVE! we spent most of our time in sevierville actually. we like no way jose's! this was actually the first time we've been there and didn't eat there!

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  3. Just yesterday we were talking about how we needed to go to Pigeon Forge! I better get there while the getting is good! Thanks for the awesome inspiration!!!

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    1. you better! sevierville is fun too, and i haven't even been to the dolly parton statue yet! we're going to check out dollywood sometime later this year. we went years ago and it was so fun! an amusement park (which i can take or leave) with dolly parton's face EVERYWHERE! which i love!

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  4. East Tennessee is the poster child for 'getting rid of what made you famous' and updating and ruining everything. It's crazy how much originality has been sucked out...and the population is fine with it!...in the last 5-10 years or so. It's the way we do things in this neck of the woods. All I can do is go around and take pictures of decaying lovelies before they get turned into boresville dime a dozen crapola.
    If you want to see great kitschy awesomeness, try Helen, Georgia. The boyfriend and I went back in October and it's a hoot! It's got the great kitschy Alpine feel that Gatlinburg used to have in spades!

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    1. that sounds awesome! thanks for the tip!
      every time we go back to gatlinburg more and more things i love are gone. i don't know if we'll be back anytime soon. well, i take that back, i want to go to dollywood sometime this year!

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  5. Don't loose all hope..........some of that stuff isn't all that old.....The big blue dragon is less then five years old and the icecream stand is less then a year old.........Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge evolve, but I feel like they will always exist in some for or another.....Did you see the giant King Kong on top of the wax museum?

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    1. i wondered about the dragon. and i had a feeling about the ice cream cone!
      i did see that king kong! that this was awesome! we talked about going to the wax museum but the reviews i read online weren't good, and i think im' too cheap for most of the stuff in pigeon forge! we wanted to do the jungle boat ride but it was almost 15 bucks each!

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    2. i miss the three bears gift shop. have you seen the monstrosity they put up in it's place? we went in there last time we were in town. ugh.

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  6. I'd pull in to that mini golf! Gatlinburg looks like a real neat spot! Oh, did you get the pins?

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    1. yes! i just emailed you, right before i saw this!

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  7. That mini golf course looks sooooo great. I love the shark. I haven't seen anything like this in Australia. So much fun.

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  8. What a fun place! The gem mine looks super cool- my son would have so much fun! The closest place I've been to something like this South of the Border in South Carolina! You and Travis go on the coolest adventures.

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  9. Save the Gatlinburg kitsch! Things like this are what made me first interested in historic preservation. Diners, drive-ins, hotels, buildings-what-don't-look-like-buildings are all in that really tenuous zone of being too familiar and not-quite-historically-significant enough for (many) people to pause and consider their worth.

    My magical kitsch place was Wildwood, NJ. Block after block of 1960s hotels with all the tiki bars and kidney shaped swimming pools you could ever want. Every year, more were sold to be paved into parking lots or condos or whatever it is the normal people want. Now, I think that it's barely able to scrap together a local historic district to post a sign in front of. So sad.

    I've never heard of Gatlinburg but it sounds and looks rad. Maybe if we all talk about how great it is, we can bring it back to life. (That's the dream, isn't it?)

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  10. Ah I'm so jealous. This kitschy, colorful sort of Americana is just the thing I'd love to see. It's just a shame that upgrades, renovations and construction threatens to the ruin all of the charm.

    <3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!

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  11. Aw it's sad to hear that the more kitsch/rad places are slowly disappearing-- it's great that you're able to document these spots before they're gone though. I hope someone saves the creates from the miniature golf course. What kind of places are popular down there now (ie what's in the new entertainment center?).

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