Patriot Park and Old Mill area (Heritage Days, Sept. 22)

Patriot Park and the Old Mill are two of the many attractions visitors in Pigeon Forge can take in away from the Parkway.

the-old-mill-pigeon-forge-tennesseeIn the center of Pigeon Forge is an area dominated not by Go-Cart Tracks and Mini-Golf but by lush green grass and quaint little specialty shops. Patriot Park and the Old Mill area are remarkable in their diversity, known for the scenery and a stop that everyone should add to their itinerary. The Old Mill restaurant boasts some of the best home-style food to be had in the county. The shops at the Old Mill range from toys to candy to pottery. Patriot Park is home to the main location for the Fun Time Trolley and is also a great walking track right in the middle of town. This area of Pigeon Forge has become a destination for some, and not just a stop on their visit to Pigeon Forge.

The area also holds its annual Heritage Days celebration (this year, September 22) where guests can see quilt demonstrations, a petting zoo, kid’s train rides, basket making, a farmers market and much more! You’ll get to experience life in the 18th century first hand as you learn to make such early American staples as lye soap and apple butter. People young and old enjoy Old Mill Heritage Days. It’s a festival not to be missed if you’re in Pigeon Forge.

In addition, the Old Mill Restaurant is one of the best known restaurants on the Tennessee-side of the Smokies. It’s a popular spot for photographs and just watching. This three-story building dominates the middle of town and sits beside the Pigeon River. Part of the charm of the restaurant is in fact its location. You can hear the river bubbling as it passes outside and of course you can walk down and snap a quick picture of the waterfall next to the water-wheel, one of the most photographed sights in the area. And though the location is beautiful, it pales in comparison to the food inside. Most restaurants have a dish that they are famous for, in the case of the Old Mill it is their corn chowder and corn fritters. The chowder is more than a soup it is a meal and the fritters are so good you will keep asking for more.

The shops at the Old Mill are as unique and varied as they come. The Toy Bin that faces Patriot Park carries those toys from by-gone years. Items that you may have grown up with in the 50s, 60s and 70s are back on the shelves and promise to fascinate a new generation. The Candy Kitchen also enjoys nostalgia with everything from Mary Jane’s to wax lips. Of course the main reason for going to the candy shop is their selection of salt water taffy. Every flavor under the sun plus some sugar free options in bins so that you can get the assortment that suits you best. Around the corner from the candy store is the pottery shop. The pieces they offer range from the usable to the beautiful. The salt and pepper shaker bears you will see in the Old Mill restaurant are available for purchase along with many other Smoky Mountains themed objects.

Patriot Park, which is home to many special events throughout the year, is also one of the best walking tracks in the county. Part of the trail follows the shore of the Pigeon River. The park itself is dedicated to the memory of the veterans that served wartime from Sevier County. One of the focal points of this exhibit is a Patriot Missile which of course was made famous during the first Gulf War. Around the track there are also flags from the 50 states and from the various branches of the armed forces. The parking area of Patriot Park is the hub of the Fun Time Trolley that services Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. You can park your car for free and catch a trolley to Dollywood or any point in Pigeon Forge. Whether you are jumping on a trolley headed for Splash Country or going to eat at the Old Mill the patriot park area of Pigeon forge is something to be enjoyed. Make sure you take time to take it in.

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