Eastern Standard Time (EST) in Ohio is about six hours off – six hours ahead – of Hawaii Standard Time (HST).
That is how we think of Gatlinburg,TN. That is how we think of the portion of road that starts in Pigeon Forge and goes straight through “downtown” Gatlinburg and into the main entrance of the Smoky Mountain National Park. Even during what you would think of as a slow time of year, it takes forever to drive because there is so much traffic, and there are so many stop signs, and there are so many pedestrians just wandering across the road whenever and where ever they feel like it. And there are so many tourist traps – Ripley’s Believe It Or Not “museums”, knife stores, candy stores, Tshirt stores, the Smokey Mountain Moonshine Distillery (which to our rather bitter disappointment was more of hillbilly-esque shopfront and less of a working distillery… as far as we could tell anyway) and more. Much more.
The traffic pretty much dropped down to nothing once you passed the sign welcoming you to the park. I am willing to bet that most of the people wandering the streets of Gatlinburg never actually made it further into the park then the ranger station, and those that did go further pretty much stayed within about 20 feet of the road at all times.
On our last evening there, just a day or so before Halloween, we took some time to wander around in Gatlinburg, just a little.
A candy store that had an almost century-old taffy-shaping machine that was still in active use drew us in. We ended up buying a bag of candy. To support the fabulous machine.
We also witnessed some interesting reverse trick-or-treating. There was a parade of people in costumes, in their (varying levels of) vintage mini coopers (which were also decorated for the holiday) who kept circling the downtown blocks, tossing handfuls of candy to the folks on the sidewalks. Man, I really wish that I had been able to get some photos of THAT.