The vacation that started it all
Not that we haven’t traveled before, but this is the vacation that spurred us to create Devil’s Hole Ventures. As three Florida girls that grew up in perpetual heat, we needed a break and decided that we actually wanted to freeze our butts off. The sweltering winter heat of Florida begs for icy roads and losing traction on snowy mountains. And so began our venture to explore the holes of the Tennessee Smoky Mountains.
As three broke-ass girls, we decided that we needed to do this trip cheap. And since it was freezing and out of season, we got a great deal on a cabin up a perilous road with a great view. A Place in Time, the cabin was called, looking like a lumberjack threw up all over it, covered in bear decorations and inspirational quotes. Oh, and a red heart shaped tub in the bedroom. Seeing as how none of us were on our honeymoon, it didn’t get much use…
The cabin location was perfectly situated in the very touristy area of Pigeon Forge, which we successfully avoided at all costs. The upside of the location was the close proximity to a grocery store, which FYI had no wine, but a quick drive to a neighboring town remedied that. If you’re in the need for “Sexy Stuf”, the store bearing the same name is right near by too. And don’t forget the 18” dolls you can find next to the grocery store Food City, if you want to invite your friends to a dinner party. We cooked a lot of meals at home, but found plenty of good food holes too.
We did the usual antiquing rounds, which there seemed to be a shop on every corner. Future tip: bring a larger car to haul your finds.
If you wanna have some fun on a dime, buy some Moonshine. Our moonshine purchase resulted in “devilish” activities: making-a-pizza like Drake, twerk-out workout, and hot tub stubble talk (a comparison of leg stubble).
But it wasn’t until our side trip to Knoxville that we got the idea for the blog. On the way we stopped at the Lost Sea Adventures, a cave system used by old moonshiners that houses the largest underground lake in America. Deep in the caves, after an exhausting hike, we saw it. The Hole, THE Devil’s Hole and fell in love. And so, when we finally made it to Knoxville, we had ideas brewing while sipping on some local brews in a downtown pub. Devil’s Hole Ventures was born.
But that wasn’t all we did in Knoxville, we also had some kickass BBQ at a small place called Sweet P’s, bought our weight in candy at Mast General Store, and got lost in 18 degree weather. Overall, Knoxville’s small city charm and scruffy attitude won us all over in the end.
The next stop was a quick jaunt over to the free spirited Asheville, NC. A small city in the mountains that has a sizable artist community. It is also the location of the excellent restaurant, Home Grown, a place that felt like we walked into a hippie commune that Christina, Devil’s Mistress #1, would feel right at home in.
After that it was on to Ober Gatlinburg. A fun park high up in the mountains over, well, Gatlinburg, TN, which was much quainter and prettier than its neighbor Pigeon Forge. After dishing out $20 for 1.5 hours of snow-tubing bliss, we only lasted for 3 slides. Frozen feet and fingers and failed toe warmers tend to put a damper on things. Pro tip: The warmers take a while to actually heat up, but stay hot for hours. We learned this the hard way which resulted in some trash picking for toasty toes later in the evening. Even though they looked like women’s menstrual pads on top of our feet.
Overall, Tennessee was a devilishly good maiden voyage for Devil’s Hole Ventures. The people were friendly, good food was easy to find, and the cities were surprisingly progressive.
♦ Check out the biggest knife store in the world: Smoky Mountain Knife Works in Sevierville, filled with, what else, knives of all sizes, army surplus, and a neat Relic Room in the basement with archaeological finds.
♦ The Lost Sea Adventures, A.K.A. the Motherland. Explore America’s largest underground lake, expansive cave system, and experience a room of complete darkness.
♦ Smoky Mountain Shakes-N-Dawgs for some mean wieners. Tripadvisor’s #1 restaurant for the Gatlinburg area.