I'll admit it, I flaked. Here were my options: sit through day full of lectures I wasn't particularly interested in or go and explore a part of the country I don't visit often. If you are an individual who would opt for the former, you are a more dedicated physicist than I.
Being that I am unable to identify any state in this region, I went for door number two. Since I found an equally willing slacker in my coworker, we rented a car and took to the road.
First Stop: A tour of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina and soon thereafter we took up residence in their wine tasting room. They boasted being the most visited winery in the country, but it seemed like a lofty claim to us. However, we were willing to play along because they gave us free wine.
Second Stop: A tour through the Smoky Mountains National Park. I did not realize that the Smoky Mountains are named for the perpetual haze that seems to plague the area (at least, this is what someone told me and I am gullible, so I believe it). Strangely, the place smelled like s'mores. I am not sure if I was just really hungry or if actually smelled like s'mores, but I would kill right now for some marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.
Final Stop: Dollywood. For nothing more than pictures and kitsch value. Not disappointing, I assure you. Could Dolly Parton ever disappoint?
And finally. My favorite:
Move over Virginia, you ain't the only one for lovers. Tennessee is looking for a little action too.