Enjoying The Journey · Friday Favorites

Pigeon Forge Family Vacation Recap {9.2022}

Last weekend was the 3rd Ham Fam Pigeon Forge Vacation! We all met up for three nights in Pigeon Forge and had a great time together.

The “Ham Fam” is my side of the family including my parents, my sister and her family.

We (the girls plus my dad) shopped while the rest of the crew dodged rain at the pool.

I’ll take the mountains over the beach any day – it’s hard to beat this view from our condo. Mom’s birthday is this weekend, so we celebrated while we were together. Alli made 3 different varieties of her amazing cookies that we served with mom’s choice of ice cream.

We spent one morning at Dollywood, which was partially decorated for Christmas due to a movie they’re filming at the park. I’m always happy to see Christmas decor!

One of my nephews and I declared ourselves “no-ride buddies” and were happy to watch everyone else ride the River Rampage from the safe (and dry) sidelines. 🙂

I’m a die-hard Disney lover, but Dollywood has one thing Disney doesn’t – a great southern gospel quartet performing daily! The Kingdom Heirs are one of my current favorite groups, so it was fun to hear them sing.

We always bring groceries and eat most of our meals in the condo. I’ll do a separate post about our meals, but we’re always so glad we did this.

A tradition we started last year is a board game tournament that goes through the weekend. We play different games, but the winner of each game earns 10 points and the person in second place earns 5 points. If we play in teams, each person on the winning team earns 10 points.

My sister defended her title from last year and once again won the board game tournament! I am in charge of prizes for this event and always award my nephews with little treats since they’re usually in bed when we’re playing.

The most fun memories from our weekend were the times we were either around the table for a meal or playing games. There’s something about those things that brings us together, helps us connect, and is just so much fun!

Tip: Playing games is a great way to engage the in laws in the family and to create new memories with the group your family has become.

After checking out of our condo on Monday, we headed to Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen at The Island. We arrived a little before noon and only had to wait about 30 minutes for our table.

I was so excited to check this item off my bucket list! I’m a big fan of Paula Deen and her style of cooking. The food was all really good, but our standout favorites were the fried catfish, creamed corn, and banana pudding.

The menu is an all you can eat family style situation, so it’s a flat per person cost depending on how many meats and sides you order. We did 2 meats and 4 sides and had much more than we could eat. It was such a fun experience!

I love this picture of my Dad, Paul, and my nephew – none of them related by blood – walking together. Elisabeth Elliot said “A family is a microcosm of the Family of God, and the same law of love governs them both.”

My family is not perfect, but I’m so thankful that we choose to walk with each other through the different seasons of our lives. We love each other and assume the best in each other, and I think that really makes a difference.

My Dad led us in times of Scripture reading and prayer over the weekend, and one of the passages he read was Ecclesiastes 3: “There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven…He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their heart but no one can discover the work God has done from beginning to end.”

I hope that whatever season of life you’re in, you will find ways to love and support your family. Watching God work as we pray for our family members is such a blessing. He does the work, from beginning to end!

Read more about this topic here: Do This Before Your Next Family Gathering.

I’m already looking forward to the next time we gather in Pigeon Forge! Where is your favorite spot for a big family vacation?


10 thoughts on “Pigeon Forge Family Vacation Recap {9.2022}

  1. I had to laugh – we were in Pigeon Forge last week too! We rented a cabin in Gatlinburg for a whole week and loved it. We went to many of the same Pigeon Forge places that you did – the Island, Dollywood, and the outlet mall. We didn’t do Paula Deen’s restaurant because the all-you-can-eat setup doesn’t work well for just my husband and I (both of us in our 60s) but we have been to her restaurant in Savannah. If you go back to Pigeon Forge I highly recommend the Titanic Museum. It was awesome. You board the ship as an actual passenger and find out your fate at the end after going through the whole experience. Definitely a highlight for us.


    1. Ha! How fun that we both enjoyed those things over the weekend! I have heard from others how fun that museum is – maybe when the kids are a little older we can check it out. I would love to eat at Paula’s restaurant in Savannah, too!


    1. My Dad has a connection with Wyndham, so that’s where we always stay. But Pigeon Forge has lots of options for cabin rentals or condos with several bedrooms. I’ve also stayed in downtown Gatlinburg, and that is fun too.


  2. Gatlinburg is our family choice in the fall. Fort Walton for the summer. Although, this July we went to Disney World for the first time. It was miserably hot at times but we are hoping to return in a couple of years .
    My 4 year old granddaughter and I were the “ no ride buddies”in our family. 😄


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