I’ve spent the past ten days traveling through the Great Smoky Mountains and adjacent tourist traps, including Cherokee, North Carolina, where you can “pan fer gold” and buy a variety of real/faux Cherokee Indian products, and Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, where you can drop $250 in admission costs for a family of five, entitling you to throw up on any number of tumbling, spinning, looping, scream-like-a-baby rides, or to stare in wonder at the proportions of her glittering costumes in the Dolly Museum.
My advice, though, is to forget about all these tourist traps and check in at the national park’s visitor center, which includes a free tour of a sprawling 18th century farm. At the far end of this farm—and isolated for a very good reason—you’ll find the pig pen, where two enormous hogs wallow in mud and their own excrement. If you’re lucky, you’ll see what we saw: 20 or so Monarch butterflies clustered together on some fresh droppings, having a grand old time.
The Grizwalds would have loved my vacation.