Anyone who has ever been to Pigeon Forge in Tennessee knows the place is full of outlet malls, restaurants, country music show theatres, etc. I prefer to spend most of my vacation in the National Park and avoid the crowds, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the orignial Eddie Bauer store in the Tanger Outlet mall, which has been converted into a "warehouse" store. This is a good rainy day activity or a stop on the way home.
The reason for my affection is simple. I like a bargain. This store has mostly men's and women's casual clothing., with some children's items.
You will find the same type of overstock items from the catalogue, but the prices are much lower than most of the other outlet stores. Eddie Bauer has another outlet mall store in Seiverville, but the prices are not as good at the more upscale Tanger Five Oaks as this orignal store.
Be warned the Tennessee sales tax is high. You might not save as much money as you hope to save.
Another bonus for this store is when the men and children get tired of hunting for bargains (and anyone who hangs around outlet malls, know most women will keep looking for bargains rather endlessly) they can take refuge at the nearby amusement park called "the Track" which has several go-cart tracks ("the Wild Woody") and a water bumper car type ride. Perfect escapism for the young at heart on a hot day! See photo of my escape from the shopping frenzy.
What to buy: Outlet malls in Tennessee have almost everything imaginable. I tend to shop for clothing and camping and hikeing supplies, while my wife likes to buy back to school clothes and Christmas gifts.
What to pay: I found some great prices on men's dress pants normally sold in retail stores at $85.00 for $15.00 to $20.00.
Sales Tax Holidays begin every year at 12:01 a.m. on the first Friday in August and end at 11:59 p.m. the following Sunday. During this time, Tennesseans (or anyone shopping in Tennessee) can enjoy tax-free purchases on certain clothing (under $100), school and art supplies(under $100) and computers (under $1500).
If you ever find yourself traveling along Interstate 75 on a weekend, about half way between Knoxville and Chattanooga, a great place to stop and shop - or at least stretch your legs - is the Sweetwater Flea Market. More than 500 vendors sell their wares here on Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. till 5 p.m., rain or shine. With over 150,000 square feet under one roof, it is the largest indoor flea market in the state of Tennessee.
There are also outside booths. A small number of vendors, mostly in adjacent buildings, are open for business daily.
What to buy: You can find just about everything here, from cookware to pets to rare coins. Prices can be very good. For example, I saw a travel pillow at Sweetwater Flea Market for $2.00, when the exact same item sells in a travel store in a fancy Mall for $11.95. Still, don't presume everything you buy here will be a bargain. No matter where - always shop with care.
I really enjoyed shopping at the Great Arts and Crafts Community which is located east of Gatlinburg off of US-321.
It's a collection of about one hundred roadside shops of crafts. Now, these are not "tacky tourist trash"; instead, these places offer such items as handcrafted pottery, brooms, candles, quilts, leather goods, and jewelry. Also, there are photographs, wood carvings, stained glass, oil and watercolor paintings, baskets, and furniture.
It was fun talking to the "creators" about their particular craft and quizzing them about their personal procedures.
What to buy: I found the hand-made items to be well made, attractive, and reasonably priced.
Even my reluctant husband enjoyed this shopping excursion.
You'll need plenty of time to relish this unique shopping experience.
This authentic old General Store, with original fixtures from 1923, is a wonderful place to browse. A special feature is an authentic '50's style soda fountain and ice cream parlor in the rear of the store, serving Mayfield's Ice Cream, a regional speciality. They also design and manufacture a large selection of nostalgic flour and feed sacks.
Sunup to Sundown
Cumberland Mountain General Store is usually open Thurs. - Sat. Sometimes they are open on Sunday. Every now and then they open on Monday and once in a while they are open on Tuesday or Wednesday. Call ahead if you are making a special trip.
What to buy: Antique Furniture
and much more....
The “original” Gatlinburg Candy Store started in 1939. Candies are made with Aunt Mahalia's old fashioned recipes. Candy makers still make each confection by hand, in small batches, in the glass enclosed kitchens.
What to buy: They sell Fudge, Chocolate, Crunchy Brittle, Fluffy Divinity, Heavenly Fudge, Homemade Assortment, Pecan Logs, Pecan Nests, Pecan Puffs, Stick Candy, Sugar Free, and Taffy Logs.
Other than the usual tourist items, there is very little shopping in downtown Nashville. The city has an interesting Arcade in this area but you will have to visit the outlying malls if you want to do some serious shopping.
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