The Zarb Homestead

Living natural and healthy on a simple budget

Horseback Riding in the Smoky Mountains February 19, 2013

Back in August of last year, I purchased a few vouchers off the website Half off Depot when they were having a great sale going on. You could get 50% off the already marked-down price, came out to be 75% off most of the deals. In the deals I purchased was an 1 hour, 5 mile, horseback riding for 2 in the mountains complements of Adventure Park in Pigeon Forge, TN. Being hectic around the holidays we did not have a chance to put them to good use but since they were going to expire on 2/25 of this month we decided to brace the cold weather and give it a go.

On Sunday, we layered up in our long underwear putting all our cold weather gear into good use and drove to the mountains. The high in Knoxville that day was 41 degrees and normally in the mountains it is about 10 degrees below that but the sun was shining and it made for a gorgeous day. We arrived about 30 minutes early because we were excepting traffic but there wasn’t any. Our group was to take off at 2:00 so we checked out the stables at 1:30 and walked around the place for 30 minutes until our group was called to meet up at the stables. I was pleased to see that the stables were newer and well kept. All the horses were in good health condition matter-of-fact many could cut back on the sugar cubes.


There were 8 of us total in the riding group and everyone had little to none when it came to riding experience. I was the most knowledgeable of the group and that was frightening because I have not been on a horse since high-school and then I was bucked off and could not walk for days. Thankfully, experience was not required because the horses knew the trail well and all you had to do was hold on their reins and they lead the way. Everyone got their horse handpicked to meet their needs by our trail guy. My horse was named Max and he was a black gelding male that was tame and eager to hit the trial. My husband rode old Josephine. She was slow and wide horse but very tame and super sweet. They were the the caboose of the 8 horse line and I rode just in front of them.

I am sure I was smiling the whole time because I really enjoyed myself. It was so serene and tranquil being outdoors in the mountains horseback. I did not even mind the cold weather. For my birthday my husband and I are planning to go horseback riding in Cades Cove. They have a nice horseback riding trails in the loop but sadly they do not open until March 10th, so I will have to wait a few more weeks.

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If anyone is interested about this trail and would like to try it you can find more information at


Rubbing Elbows with the Stars January 25, 2013

For my friend Maria’s Birthday we decided to hit the town starting in the mountains.  First stop was food. We needed fuel for the night and that fuel was seafood at Joe’s Crab Shack.


Next, we were off to the Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge to rub elbows with the stars. For $18 ($15 if you purchase your tickets online and 24 hours prior to visiting) you get to tour the two-story museum and get close and personal with your favorite celebrities. I’ve never been to a wax museum before so I was not sure what to expect but it turned out to be a lot of fun. Now, if you are prude someone who does not like taking goofy pictures then you may not have as much fun as we did. The place is not crowded so you can go at your own pace and do not forget to bring your camera because there are numerous photo opportunities. I will say that some of the celebrities are hit or miss but for the most part I was able to identify 95% of the wax figures. I mean how often do you get to marry George Clooney, kick butt with Charlie’s Angels or chill with Hugh Heifers in his famous round red velvet bed?

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This is an ideal place to go in the cold winter months or rainy. You can also tour their Maze of Mirrors and the 5D ride at the Castle of Chaos at a discounted price when you purchase your museum tickets. We added on the Castle of Chaos ride. This is combines a ride, video game, and a 3D film all-in- one. You buckle your seat belt and grab your gun to get ready to kill some zombies. You are playing against everyone in the room, close to 20 people. The ride spins you around the room while a 3D film is playing along the walls. There is air that puffs on you your feet and your gun will vibrate if you hit your target. I thought my gun was broken at first because I kept aiming at the zombies but they did not die. It turns out that my index figure was covering up the laser, duh. Of course, at the end of the game my husband had the highest score and Maria came in second. It was an entertaining ride but I wish it lasted longer.

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Our third stop was to Barley’s Taproom to have some drinks and shoot some pool. I had an enjoyable time and hope Maria did as well. On the other hand I forget to bring her gift a long but that just means she gets to expand her birthday celebration a few more days.

Happy Birthday Maria!

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Tennessee Party Bike December 9, 2012


If you are out and about then you may have seen the Tennessee Party Bike pedaling its way down the roads in East Tennessee. The party bike holds up to 15 passengers with 10 peddle seats and 5 stationary seats plus 1 seat for the sober driver. The bike has a few different tours you choose from in 3 different cities. Once a deal for it  popped up on Living Social, we got a group together and purchased tickets to try it out. On Saturday, a group of 9 of us cashed in our vouchers for the Pigeon Forge winery/brewery tour. This tour starts at the Mt. Valley Winery and stops at Salsarita’s, Smoky Mountain Brewery, and Mellow Mushroom. It has very few hills and only about 4-5 miles round trip.  You do however have to be 21 to ride the party bike and sign a waiver that you do not need to wear a helmet. The cost is about $10/per person and will need at least 8 people to peddle.

Here is an image from their Facebook page of the bike. Please note, the seats above the wheels do not have peddles and if you are not at least 5 ft 6” this is where you will be sitting. If you are short, like me, you will not be able to reach peddles and the seats do not adjust.

The tours last about 2 hours with 4-5 stops along the way. You book what time you want to start (9:00 am – 12:00 am) and they will have the bike waiting on you at your first stop. We met around 4:00 pm at winery and started to peddle when the sun was starting to set. The weather was prefect not too hot and not too cold and no rain but traffic was bad.  Next time, I would prefer to do the whole route at night, it was funner in the dark. You start peddling down the main strip in Pigeon Forge for a few blocks to your second destination. Once parked, everyone runs in and grabs a drink and then jumps back on the bike and peddle a few more blocks to your next stop.  TN law does not allow public drinking; therefore, alcohol is not allowed to be consumed on the bike but that wasn’t a problem.

Here we are having fun

It was super fun event. I could not tell you how many people were laughing, taking pictures and hooking their horns to cheer us on as we made our way around. I hope they weren’t hooking because they were mad because the bike has a top speed around 5 mile per hour but if traffic was getting backed up, we would pull to the side to let it pass.

Here we are sitting letting traffic pass still having a good time

If you want to book a tour or for anymore information you can check out their website.

This is a great healthy and  eco-friendly event to book. I would recommend it to everyone who is 18 and up to try.


Cirque de Chine July 19, 2012


Ever seen a Chinese Circus? If not, it is something to see and that is what we did on Wednesday. We have been looking for something to do that was different. Something that we have never done or seen  before and we came across tickets to this show on Living, 2 for the price of one. We purchased a total of 4 tickets and off we went.


Cirque de Chine is an entertaining two hour of music, acrobatics, costumes, and danger. The ages ranged from 10 – 30’s and everyone was very talented. I didn’t know people could bend their bodies that way or jump that high. It was pretty intense 2 hours. The show starts off a bit slow and increases with every act up to the final act which was 4 motorcycle act. I don’t want to go into to too many details for those who want to see it but all I can say is it is worth seeing.

The shows starts everyday at 7:30 pm and on Tuesday and Saturday’s they have a matinee at 2:00. The price is $32.95 per ticket without a coupon, but you can find them online. They have a gift shop, and concessions snacks, and they have a Chinese man that can write your name in animals like pandas or dragons for a small price. You are not allow to take photos due to the danger of the flash on the acrobatics but I pulled these two from their Facebook page.


The Tomb February 8, 2012

What a showery weekend it was in East Tennessee last weekend. What to do, what to do. The guys (my husband and his friends) wanted to go to Bass Pro Shop, blah, to check out some gun stuff. I am sure I get the same feeling as he does when I tell him that Victoria Secrets is having their Semi-Annual Sale and he is going with me. Needless to say, I don’t take pleasure in going and looking at hunting, fishing, and gun stuff for hour’s apron hours. Maria and I decided to go to outlet malls to do some shopping. Let me say that I am not the “shopping type” but I much rather shop than watch the guys look at hunting stuff. They guys dropped us off on their way to Bass Pro. We browsed the in and out of the shops in the outlet for a few hours. We only purchased a few things from Earthbound Trading Co. and American Eagle Outfitters. By the time the guys picked us up, about 3 hours later, we were starving and decided to go to Smokey Mountain Brewery in Pigeon Forge for dinner. After we had a few drinks and grossly full from dinner we wanted to try out The Tomb.

The Tomb was an attraction at the beginning of the shopping center. The building was shaped like a pyramid along with Egyptian themed decorations all over the place. We weren’t sure at first what it was but after reading the large sign posted on the middle of the wall it stated that it was an adventure hunt. We talked the employees at the counter down on the ticket price from $12.99 to $11.99, I know big hustlers, and went inside. We had to wait about 10 minutes on the other group to get started before the adventure began. Our guide lead us into in a small room about 8×8 and informed us about  a  tomb that was discovered on site about 10 years ago and only one person has been able to open the door but that person hasn’t been seen since that day. Our goal was to get inside the tomb and make it out alive.

The tour starts out with trying to figure out how to open the door of the tomb once in the tomb the pharaoh states that you have entered his tomb and you must solve 3 puzzles to get to the other rooms. The same thing occurs as you go from room to room, solve the puzzle and move on. Once you solve the last puzzle you are free to leave.

The whole escapade takes about 45 minutes and I would say it is geared more for children and families. It might be frightening for younger children due to a number of the rooms being quite dark. At times you have to navigate with flashlights. It was entertaining but it was one of the things you can only do once. It was something nice to do on a rainy weekend.


Wondering About WonderWorks December 7, 2011

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Everyone locally has seen this upside down building while driving through Pigeon Forge, I being one of them, but never knew what this place was. Without doing any research Phil and I decided to check it out. This place is like a huge arcade but you only pay one fee, around $25, and you can play all day.

Inside they have arcade games, rock climbing, virtual roller coaster, rope walking (very scary), bubble making, etc.  I did notice that most of the interactive things were broken or did not work. They are also very firm with their weight policy on some of the rides and will make you stand on the scale to make sure you didn’t break the limit. It was a rainy day so there weren’t many people and hardly any lines.

This place does have something for everyone at any age but is better if you have children around the age of 8 and up. Not saying we didn’t have fun, but children would get more out of it then just adults. I did have a kick out of chasing Phil in Laser Tag but learning at the end of the game I am not very good at it.

It was fun acting like a kid again!


Boarding the Titanic February 27, 2011

As a late Valentines day present Phil took me to the Titanic Museum in  Pigeon Forge, TN. This is a new attraction that just opened in 4/8/2010. It is a two-story museum shaped like the RMS Titanic and is built half-scale to the original ship. We have been wanting to go for sometime but never could justify the $25 dollar ticket per person, but it made a great Valentines day gift.

image When you enter, you receive a boarding pass with a name of a crew member or passenger and at the end of the tour, in the Titanic Memorial Room, you find out if you survived or perished.

imageThis who Phil was: Colonel Gracie (1 st class) on a trip without his wife and daughters. He had an interesting  survival story. He was in the water once the Titanic sank and got sucked in one of the smoke stacks that had fallen. However, once the whirlwind started in the ocean due to the suction of the boat, Colonel Gracie was shot out of the smoke stack and landed next to an over-turned life boat. He was the last person to be saved from the Titanic but due to his injuries  he received, he would die a week later.


I was  Augusta Goodwin: Mother of 6 and traveling 3rd class to America to find a new job for my husband who was an electrical engineer.  I thought it was ironic since Phil is also an EE. Mrs Augusta Goodwin, 43,boarded the Titanic with her husband, Frederick, 40 and six children, Lillian, 16; Charles, 14; William, 11; Jessie, 10; Harold, 9; and baby Sidney. The entire family was lost in the sinking. It was odd since most women and children survived and most men perished.

You are not allowed to take pictures inside due to copyright laws but I did find some online.


The grand staircase was designed to be used only by first-class passengers; if you were second or third class you were not allowed in this area. We were told a funny story about this grand staircase. The builder of the Titanic wanted the passengers in the first class to only have the best of the best and when they entered the Titanic he wanted them to be amazed. The grand staircase flooring was going to be marble however the builder sent it back because there was a new material that just came out and was more expensive than tile or marble. When passengers entered they would even bend down to touch it because they had never seen this great materiel before. The mystery flooring was linoleum. lol too funny 🙂 This room was built from the blueprints of  the one on the Titanic.

This was the first class smoking room. This was a male only room no women were allowed. If you notice, this is also the room that Leonardo Dicaprio did his famous  stretch of nude Rose. Also built to scale.

This is a picture of the Third class cabin. Beside this display was the story of me, The Goodwin family, They stated that this was our cabin and we fit 8 people in this small room. Also there was only 2 bath tubs for the third class passengers.

The picture with the girl climbing show the different slopes of the ship while it was sinking. Between the first and the second one is only 15 mins and just a few more mins between the second and the third, the third is a 45 degree angle. I tried to climb it a hold on, it wasn’t easy.

Als0, there was an Ice burg room; there you could touch an ice burg. This room was also were you could feel the temperature of the air and the water the night the ship sank. The air was 32 degree but the saltwater was a blistering 28 degrees. They told us to dip our hands into the water and move our figures around to get a real feel for it. I couldn’t honestly keep my hand in there longer than 20 seconds and once I removed them they hurt.  I couldn’t imagine having my whole body submerged. They said no one drown in the water they froze to death. You could only live in the water for 10 to 15 mins.