When I lived outside of Boston, my commute into the city for work could be up to four hours total per day. Consequently, I didn’t do much on the weekends, and I definitely did not want to take a road trip anywhere.
Once I moved to Charlotte and began enjoying a 20 minute commute, the idea of a 8-14 hour drive didn’t seem so bad, and wanderlust set in. I have friends who live in Cincinnati, Ohio that had already driven to visit my sister and I in Charlotte twice. We decided we needed to return the favor, and began planning our own trip, along with my husband. It would take about 14 hours to drive through Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky to Cincinnati, my first trip into what most people call middle America.
Beforehand I had only ventured up and down the coasts of the US, but hadn’t ventured into the interior. The drive revealed scenery new and familiar at the same time. I grew up in a rural area in Massachusetts, but the rolling landscapes were a new and beautiful sight.
Cincinnati is a small but vibrant city on the Ohio river. We toured the downtown area with our friends, visited the Cincinnati Zoo, and the neighboring town of Batavia, where they live. I may have captured some shots of the creatures at the zoo, but none of Batavia. I was enjoying myself too much.
For the drive home we had arranged to spend a night in Pidgen Forge. One of my goals is to spend time in all 50 states, and this was the perfect opportunity to see Tennessee, which I hadn’t visited previously. Before we started planning this trip, I had assumed that the only attraction at Pidgeon Forge was Dollywood, but that is not the case at all. There are many quirky attractions to visit, and since we were only there for one night, we opted for a few of the smaller ones.
We solved a mirror maze at Magiquest, explored the history of the Titanic in one of the largest museum attractions, and stayed in a rediculous but adorable Christmas themed hotel (in August), with an over the top gift shop to match. But my favorite part was paying an extra two dollars to enjoy the view at the top of the Hollywood Wax Museum. Seeing the Smokey Mountains stretch behind the howling King Kong was truly epic.