Hey hey Sweet Shoppers!! Today I’m going to share a bit about our vacation that we returned from last weekend. Earlier this year, my in-laws suggested that our family all go to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. They so generously offered to pay for the cabin – all we had to do was pay for our way there. How can you beat that? Unfortunately Nate’s youngest brother and his wife were unable to go, but the rest of us got to. So early Saturday morning we packed up the cars and began our almost 500 mile trip to the Smokies. As far as Tennessee goes, I had never really gone any further east than Nashville. Wow, that a difference there is once you get into the mountains. When we got to the cabin everyone ran around going crazy and completely in awe of how awesome this cabin was!! My hubby and I got super lucky and we were given the very best room in the cabin!! We were on the upper floor and our bedroom had lots of windows and our own private deck with a porch swing and an incredible view of “our mountain” as we started calling it. We didn’t do much the rest of Saturday since we got there around dinner time – it was awesome to just relax and unwind while we waited for Nate’s middle brother and his wife to arrive.
Sunday morning was grocery shopping and after, Nate and Libby went hiking. I stayed behind to help my mother in-law watch my youngest nephew and I watched Claire too. I was sad to miss out on the hiking especially after I heard that a few minutes after they got to the trail they saw a big bear. I would have LOVED to see a big bear like that!! That evening we grilled out and enjoyed the hot tub.
Monday we got up and headed to Gatlinburg and checked out the Ripley’s aquarium. That was a really good time – the kids just loved all of the fish – especially the sharks!! We went to eat at a pancake house and had some of the best chocolate chip pancakes ever!! SOOO yummy!! After me, Nate, Libby, my niece Calista and my father in-law went to Ober Gatlinburg – an aerial tramway. It was pretty cool. There was a little amusement park at the other end of the tramway and Libby and Calista had a lot of fun there. We did a LOT of walking that day and we were more than happy to make our way back to our car to head back to the cabin!!
When we left Gatlinburg, it had just rained and the mountains looked awesome!!
Tuesday we took Libby and Claire to Newfound Gap. Talk about beautiful!! The drive up was absolutely breathtaking!! I could have stared at these mountains forever!! I loved getting a picture of my girls at the Tennessee/North Carolina state line. After Newfound Gap, we travelled a bit further to Clingman’s Dome. It is the second highest point east of the Mississippi River and was also so beautiful!! I didn’t make the steep 1/2 mile trek to the observation tower because I wore flip flops – dumb move, lol. I stayed behind and enjoyed the scenery with Claire and Nate’s mom. Libby, Nate and his dad all went up – Nate said it was quite the walk!! And guess what they saw on their way back down? Yep, a bear. I missed seeing a bear again. *sigh* I am apparently not meant to see one!!
Wednesday came and I spent some time in the morning crafting with all of the kiddos while my brother in-law and sister in-law went on a 2 hour run. They had a blast painting birdhouses. SO cute!! That afternoon we took a drive through Cade’s Cove. Yet more amazing views of the mountains!! And the wildlife!! We saw SO many deer and some of them were so close you could almost touch them!! There were lots of old cabins and churches and it was a nice change of pace for us.
As we were leaving Cade’s Cove there was a traffic jam. We couldn’t figure out why people weren’t moving. Then lots of people started getting out of their cars with their cameras. Guess what it was? Yep, a bear. Did I get a picture of it? Not a chance!! lol. So I finally saw a bear and have no picture to show for it!!
Thursday came and our trip is moving right along. My brother in-law and his wife took their 1 year old and had to go home that day. They did leave their other 2 kiddos with us so they could enjoy the rest of the trip. Nate and I took Libby and Calista on a hike to Grotto Falls. It was an almost 3 mile hike round trip and it was really fun. They water fall at the end of the way there was so beautiful!! It is a waterfall that you can actually walk behind. We were sweating our patootie’s off by then, so the coolness of the water was very welcome!! After that we rewarded ourselves by heading to the Chocolate Monkey in Gatlinburg. Oh sooo yummy!! The girls got ice cream cones and Nate and I picked out some fudge.
And I saw this picture on the way home from the hike and I couldn’t help but giggle…this seems to sum up Pigeon Forge pretty well
Friday was our last day in Tennessee. We were having such a good time, so it was kinda sad to know it was the end of our trip. We took a drive in the mountains on a road that followed a river. We made a coupe of stops so we could all play in the water for a bit. It was amazing to be standing in this river and just be a part of nature. Definitely a great way to end our trip!!
Well, I hope you enjoyed my recap of our trip to the Smoky Mountains. It was fun remembering how much fun we had!! Can’t wait till we go back!!