An Island Escape In The Great Smoky Mountains
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Blogger & Parrothead
There’s a bit of tropical paradise in the Smoky Mountains.
It’s Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in Pigeon Forge, TN.
Normally a place for bluegrass and blue haze over the rolling hills of East Tennessee, as well as dozens of entertainment venues that make it the Branson of the East, Pigeon Forge gets a bit of changes in attitudes with Margaritaville.
It’s even located in an area called “The Island.”
The Decor, Food & Music
The Margaritaville here has cool decor. First, you arrive to it via a tram ride from the vast parking lot. Outside, you can sit in big and colorful Adirondack chairs (ideal for your social media selfies) before being greeted by a giant pitcher of “margaritas” just inside the door.
There are two levels with a big hole in the middle in which the Hemisphere Dancer hangs from the ceiling., which is painted with a map of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean islands.
The entire area is open, airy, colorful and does put you in that Margaritaville state of mind.
There are two small sit-down bars, the Licensed To Chill bar downstairs and the Tiki Bar upstairs. Buffett concert videos – one of PubClub.com’s favorite aspects about Margaritavilles – play on TVs.
Here, unlike wilder locations such as Las Vegas, you need to bring your own party if you want to, well, party. Mostly, the crowd here is families.
As we were on the day that PubClub.com visited. Instead of having a couple of Perfect Margaritas, it was iced tea for this blogger. And that was just fine.
We were served by an adorable girl from Dandridge, a mountain town near Pigeon Forge. We knew that if the food didn’t come out hot from the kitchen (which it did, by the way) her smile would warm it up for us.
The food and drinks are like they are at every Margaritaville.
Most of us got the cheeseburger and for a chain restaurant it was surprisingly good; it was not dry at all and with the fries was a full meal. Overall the food at the Margaritaville restaurants is pretty good for what is really a tourist theme restaurant, so don’t be bashful in ordering anything, especially the volcano nachos.
For live music – after all, the place is owned by a singer-songwriter – there’s a big deck overlooking a mountain stream, the Little Pigeon River. This is a combination of the Caribbean and Smoky Mountains if ever there was one. There’s even a large fire pit.
If this and other factors lead you to stay in that state of mind that Margaritavilles can inspire – such as having a few too many Boat Drinks or margaritas – then the Margaritaville Island Hotel is just out the door.
Being in Margaritaville Pigeon Forge won’t make you forget you’re in the Great Smokys – this not something you would want anyway – but it’s a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling of what it’s like to be at a tropical destination.