Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year! Even though it sometimes can be overlooked as one of the “less important” holidays, it’s become especially meaningful and more important to me with each passing year.
Special people, special times, special memories—these are the things that I find myself grateful for on a regular basis. I’m also incredibly thankful for so many wonderful times I’ve had at Dollywood, which is the perfect place to create those special times and memories with those precious people in our lives!
Do you ever need a reminder to have an attitude of gratitude? I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things and scenes at Dollywood that always inspire me to be thankful all through the year:
One of my favorite spots inside the park is the Robert F. Thomas Chapel. Almost every time I come to Dollywood I take at least a few moments to walk inside this lovely, peaceful, and primitive chapel with its gorgeous wood carvings, quilted wall hangings, and stained glass to pause and say a prayer of gratitude. Did you know you can attend a worship service at the chapel on Sundays? Read all about it here.
Just beyond the chapel, I love to stop at Eagle Mountain Sanctuary to catch a glimpse of these impressive birds of prey. This 30,000-square-foot aviary houses the country’s largest presentation of non-releasable bald eagles. Gazing upon the beautiful creatures, I’m always reminded to give thanks for the freedom that I have been given by my Creator, and for those who have sacrificed that I may continue to live free.
Speaking of nature, a ride on the Dollywood Express never fails to inspire awe, wonder, and gratitude in my heart for the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. Recently I had the experience of riding it during sunset for an experience of glimpsing the glory of creation that I’ll never forget.
Craftsman’s Valley is probably my favorite area of the entire park. I could literally spend hours here, walking through the shops and watching the artisans create their wares and beautiful works! So many of the amazing pieces you’ll find there were originally created because of their usefulness in everyday life in Appalachia. And, being the creative, ingenious folks they are, many Appalachians added their own special touches of beauty and uniqueness to their crafts. As I walk through these shops, I am reminded to be grateful for how much easier our lives are today, but also for the beauty and creativity of the artisans who still make these relics of our history for us to enjoy today.
I have to admit, one of my favorite things about visiting Dollywood is the food. There are just too many opportunities to eat throughout the park! Need I say more about how the abundance of the delicious food we get to enjoy at Dollywood inspires thankfulness? The buffet at Miss Lillian’s Smokehouse is full of friendly faces offering all the food you can handle!
And have you ever met Miss Lillian? She is one of Dollywood’s most colorful characters who always greets you with a smile and song. I guarantee you will not be able to walk away from an encounter with Miss Lillian without feeling inspired and thankful for happiness, good cheer, and people like her who share it with us every day!
And finally, I am reminded to give thanks for all of the wonderful ways Dollywood allows us to create fond memories that last with our family and friends. I hope this post inspires you to think of all of the ways you are thankful whenever you visit Dollywood!