August 17, 2008

Home again, home again - jiggity jig

Our seven days at Dollywood are now over. We gathered our things, packed the car and headed out of Dodge, er ... headed out of Pigeon Forge in our Dodge on Friday. But before we left we had one last visit to Dollywood. This time we rode just a few rides that David really wanted to ride one last time. We went to a couple of food vendors that looked like they had really good food but that we had not been able to visit earlier in the week, and we took the time to just look around and enjoy the beauty of Dollywood.

We found it interesting to compare the visitors to Dollywood to the folks we saw at Disneyworld. Dollywood seems to draw a much more family-oriented crowd. There are many more grandparents at Dollywood than we saw at Disneyworld and there are fewer teenagers, which is interesting since Disney is known as having a target demographic of the very young children.

Thunder Head roller coaster

We still love Disneyworld, but were quite surprised at how well Dollywood stacked up against the giant that Disney has become. The rides at Dollywood are at least as good and we think they are significantly better than the rides at Disneyworld. This is especially true if you prefer cutting-edge, high intensity roller coasters. Dollywood's coasters are amazing. But Dollywood also has many rides that are geared for those who prefer a less intense experience and many rides that are intended for the very young children. So even toddlers can enjoy this amusement park. They even have a Veggietales roller coaster ride for the kiddies.

We stopped at the Blacksmith's shop and dropped off a few photos I took of him working. It's hard to photograph something that is in darkness (the inside of the blacksmith's shop is very dark) with bright light all around (there aren't very many walls around the shop—most sides being open to the public so everyone can see the blacksmith at work). But I enjoy the challenge of photographing in unusual lighting conditions. And I'm glad that we stopped to drop off those photos because the blacksmith was a delightful man and we really enjoyed talking with him.

We like for David to see workers who do things that are out of the norm—especially artisans. David is blessed with an abundance of creativity and these are his type of people, so we like for him to see them in action. But there was an added bonus to getting to know this blacksmith. He is also adopted, just like David.

So we have now left the paths of Dollywood with their gorgeous overhanging vegetation and beautiful fountains and streams and returned to Lynchburg. David realizes that Tennessee is a wonderful state. David has told us that he wants to go back to Dollywood for every vacation from now on. But we're glad to be back home. We could use some more rain here in Lynchburg. And a few more trees and other vegetation would be nice as well (Lynchburg is growing rapidly). But we love it here too.

God is good!

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