Get into the holiday spirit with a visit to this fun destination.
Written by Nancy Meeks
Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is a family-friendly destination that embraces fun and festivity during the holiday season. Although the town itself is small, you’ll find plenty of attractions, activities, and restaurants to stay happily entertained and well fed.
Starting in early November and continuing through the New Year, Pigeon Forge welcomes visitors with its Winterfest Lights Driving Tour. More than 5 million lights are used to decorate historic sights and points of interest along Pigeon Forge Parkway, the main street running through town. Whether you choose to drive the tour yourself or see it on one of the town’s affordable Fun Time Trolley rides, you’ll get a good overview of the surroundings and easily spot the major shopping and gathering areas.
Old Mill Square
This historic area is the heart and soul of Pigeon Forge and where the modern town was founded. A forge was built nearby in 1817, and The Old Mill, situated on the Little Pigeon River, named for the huge population of passenger pigeons that were once in the area, followed in 1830. Residents at the time would bring their wheat, corn, and other grain to the mill to be ground, and the area developed into a community gathering spot, expanding to eventually include a post office, a saw and textile mill, and other local businesses.
The Old Mill has been in continuous operation since it began nearly 200 years ago. Much of the mill’s original equipment is still used to power the wheel and grind the grain; in fact, the mill is on only its second set of grindstones. Nearly 1,000 pounds of flour, cornmeal, grits, and other products are produced daily for use in The Old Mill Restaurant and The Old Mill Pottery House Café & Grille, as well as for retail sales, all of which are weighed, packaged, and tied by hand.