August 14, 2008

Beauty in design - at Dollywood

One of the things we really enjoy about Dollywood is the beauty of the place. Although Kim and I think that it is one of the things that Dollywood is trying to establish itself with, perhaps it simply stems from the fact that Dolly Parton loves this land. This is where Dolly grew up and a replica of her childhood home has even been placed in Dollywood so people can appreciate what Dolly calls "the simple beauty of this area of the country." And it is simply beautiful.

Dollywood's grist mill

The park has a wonderful collection of flowers and other vegetation planted along the paths and walkways and even around and interspersed throughout the rides. And even though this is not the Dollywood water park, there is water everywhere. Water runs down wooden sluices with drops here and there to introduce the sound of falling water. Waterfalls and fountains abound. And the constant murmur of the rippling water brings a peaceful sound cover to the typical noise of an amusement park.

Kim and David strolling along one of the paths

When we visited Dollywood 11 years ago, we were struck with the beauty and design of the place. And this visit has reinforced our impression. In the photo above and to the left, you can see a working grist mill. David loved the waterwheel and the fact that this simple form of energy runs the mill machinery. You can purchase grits and cornmeal that have been ground using this simple energy system, which, by the way, does not damage the environment in any way. In fact, while it doesn't damage the environment, it provides beauty in both sight and sound. I'd love to go back to this form of energy.

Enjoying the rocking chairs

Another great design element at Dollywood is that whereas most parks have thematic benches scattered throughout the park for those who get tired of walking, Dollywood has such benches but also has a large rocking chair area. After hours of walking, folks can sit and rock in these chairs, listening to the sound of the waterwheel from the nearby grist mill. It's really a great experience.

David has proclaimed that he doesn't care to go back to Disneyworld again. He wants to come to Dollywood every vacation from now on. He does tend to overstate his emotional responses, but I think that in this case it might actually not be far from the truth.

At the end of the day, as you can see from the picture to the right, you're kind of worn out. Well, Kim and David are acting in that picture. But we really have been worn out, but happy, at the end of each day.

Today we're planning on going back to Splash Country (as long as the weather doesn't turn on us; they're forecasting storms). And then tomorrow will be our last day here and we're planning on going to Dollywood for one last visit before heading back home.

On the way home, we will stop in Greeneville, Tennessee, and visit Kim's relatives there. It's been a great week. But the end is rapidly approaching.

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