Friday, August 19, 2016

Precious Moments Park & Chapel, Carthage, MO

When I was 19(back in 2000) I worked at a Hallmark store in Houston. The Precious Moments figurines were by far our most popular at the time. I always thought they were cute but was never a collector myself.

I had no idea there was a grandiose Precious Moments chapel in Carthage, Missouri until we got here and started researching things to do.

We are not huge Precious Moments fans ourselves but the artwork was gorgeous and we can respect the hard work the artist Samuel J. Butcher put into creating it.

The visitor center, park, and chapel are all free to visit. There is also a cafe and a gift shop on the grounds. They have free tours hourly but we just did a self guided tour.

The fountain in front of the entrance to the visitor center
The visitor center looks like a little village inside. You can get to the gift shop and cafe from here. 

The statues and grounds were beautiful

The walkway to the chapel

The chapel opened in 1989
There are 84 intricate  hand painted murals on the walls
It took 4 years to complete the paintings

So what is Samuel Butcher doing now you ask? Why living in the Phillipines and making sumo wrestler art. This cracked us up. He also has a restaurant and gift shop there.  

If you are ever in or driving through Carthage I think it's definitely worth a visit. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

RV Park Review- Waldens Creek Campground - Pigeon Forge, TN

Check- in- date:  07/23/16
Check-out- date: 07/30/16
Type of Accomodation: Full hook up(50amp) back-in
Price:  $164.50 with Passport America

the spot was pretty tight but we did have  a table & chairs

Amenities:  This is a small campground with 34 RV sites that are pretty close together. They have a bathhouse and a laundry facility but we didn't use them. Cable was included but it didn't work at our site.

The office
The creek & tent camping area

Wifi/Cell Reception:  The cell phone reception was great but the wifi was unusable.

Favorite Restaurants/ things to do in the area:  There are tons of restaurants, music venues, magic shows, dinner theaters, arcades, etc. all over the place. I don't remember ever seeing anything quite like it. You could visit here a long time and never run out of things to do. If you want to check out our post of things we did in Pigeon Forge you can check that out here.

Recommended:  Yes, it was a decent price and so close to the Smoky Mountains.

*You can see all of Waldens Creek Campgrounds amenities, pricing and other information on their website

Our visit to Pigeon Forge, TN

We really weren't expecting much when we decided to stay in Pigeon Forge. We knew it was close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Dollywood but we had no idea it was a giant tourist trap. There are tons of restaurants, museums, hotels, gift shops, dinner theaters, arcades, etc. all over the place.

I don't remember ever seeing anything quite like it. You could visit here a long time and never run out of things to do.

On the way in to town we came in on Parkway and we were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic for about 30 minutes. That pretty much happened any time we had to go down it.

We have already learned going to crowded tourist places really aren't so fun when you aren't on vacation.. Here are a couple of places we visited while we were there.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

This was by far our favorite thing to do in Pigeon Forge and the reason we decided to stay there in the first place. It was free to visit and less than a 30 minute drive from our RV Park.

We previously did a blog post about our trip to the Smoky Mountains. If you are interested you can check it out here.
The Apple Barn and Cider Mill

the store
I'm so glad my friend, Bren, recommended The Apple Barn & Cider Mill. They have a large store that sells all kinds of goodies. We got apples, salsa, apple butter, muffin mix and soap.  I loved everything I got there.

They also have a candy factory, winery, bakery, ice creamery and a restaurant. The wine tasting is free and they had some tasty wines.

The Incredible Christmas Place

 I really LOVE Christmas and Halloween. So, I decided to drag Chris along with me to check out the Incredible Christmas Place. At first, I thought it was a little weird they had this giant Christmas store open all year round, but I enjoyed doing some window shopping. They even have a large Christmas Place Inn across the street.

A Christmas explosion

Chris writing out his Christmas list.

I think Chris ended up having fun too. haha

I was super proud of myself I didn't buy anything!


Where do you go in a tourist town when you are hungry and craving margaritas? Margaritaville of course. It was a little pricey but our food and drinks were good.

Everyone has to go to Margaritaville at least once...right?

This taco salad was super unhealthy but it was also delicious!

Sawyer's Farmhouse Restaurant

Chris in front of the giant rooster outfront
We noticed there were pancake houses everywhere so we decided to see what all the fuss was about. Sawyer's was #5 of top places to eat on Trip Advisor. I ordered the strawberry banana pancakes. They came covered in this super sweet strawberry sauce. It might look good but it wasn't.
Chris got the chicken and waffles. His wasn't so bad but he still said he wouldn't go back.

Three Bears General Store

When we went to Sawyer's they gave us a coupon for 1/4 pound of free fudge at the general store. Who could refuse such a thing? Where is the picture of the fudge you ask? We kind of scarfed it down too quick. It was good.
This store was gigantic and actually had live bears inside. You have to pay to see them and we decided not to do that. 
Chris enjoyed this giant bear seat inside lol
Yeah that's a pretty strange store front

Even though it was a crazy little tourist town we still found it amusing and managed to enjoy our time there. I don't think we will be going back anytime soon, though!