If you have never been to The Great Smoky Mountains, it is definitely worth the drive. We strapped our luggage to the top of my Jeep to save room for the three anxious kids and our over grown “puppy”, a five month old german shepherd/great pyrennee’s mix. With everyone packed in like sardines in a can, we set out on our much needed first family vacation! We left home on a rainy Wednesday morning, the day after Christmas. With the company of “The Blue Collar Comedy Tour” coming from the speakers, we were in the mountains in no time.
Driving those winding mountainous roads is a challenge, but seeing the foggy mountains out of the rain drop filled windows is a welcoming sight to me. As the rain ceased and the sun tried to creep out of the clouds, the fog looked like smoke wrapping its way around the hills and valleys. We rented a secluded cabin in the Gatlinburg, TN as close to the top of the mountain as we could get for all the remarkable sights. We had never rented a cabin before and was not quite sure what to expect. It was a three story, old looking cabin, which it didn’t look like three stories because it was built into the side of the mountain.
From the outside it didn’t look like much but when we opened the door, it took our breath away. The interior was all hardwood! As you walk through the door, you are in the old, fully furninshed with everything but food, country kitchen and dining area. Looking forward are two sets of stairs, one going up and one going down. The stairs going up went to two beautiful luxury suites, with a full bath including a jaccuzi tub in each and a balcony over looking the mountains. The stairs going down was the living area.
In it included a pool table for the kids to enjoy, and a balcony with a hot tub for the “adults” to enjoy! It also contained a pull out sofa, large flat screen tv, love seat, full bathroom, and laundry room. It was so beautiful on the inside, we had to pinch ourselves to make sure we were not dreaming. When we got all settled in, we went out to eat at The Golden Corral. This place was the mother of all buffet restaurants. It had everything from Chinese to Mexican to just regular old food. It even had a chocolate fountain for desserts which the kids indulged theirselves in.
It was amazingly good food. We can’t wait to go back and eat there some day. We finished up our dinner and completed our evening by riding around Pigeon Forge. They still had their Christmas lights up and they were gorgeous. They had the twelve days of Chrstmas along the center of the road and on the sides they had emaculate structures like, houses and animals, all made up of lights. Very tired though, we made our way back to our cabin, to end our day number one. The very next morning, we woke up to a snow covered ground!
We loved the snow and being from S. C. , we don’t get to see it enough, so it made it that much more special! My two boys had a blast playing in the snow, making snow balls, and trying to make a snow man but of course there wasn’t enough snow for that. My daughter on the other hand, which is only 2, only wanted to eat the snow! Needless to say, day number two and three, was spent relaxing and enjoying the fireplace and pool table. On the fourth day, we went to a Nascar park for the kids to have a little more fun, which we all ended up having fun.
It had go-carts of all sizes and speeds, a rock wall and countless video games, all of which were pay one price for all day fun except the video games of course. About an hour after getting there, it started to rain again so we were upset that we had to leave. But, the attendants anounced that due to the weather, everyone would get a rain check to come back free on any given day! We were delighted to hear that we had not just wasted our money and could come back but it was supposed to snow the next day and that would only leave us with one more chance before we had to leave this beautiful place.
And snow it did, this time double what we got on our first morning. This time we enjoyed the snow covered mountain. Birds chirping in the morning, squirrels dancing in the snow trying to find some food, our dog trying to get the squirrels. It was a very memorable time for our family! Everyone was getting along with each other, no fighting for once. It was as if we were all exploring a different world. Who knew that a small cabin on top of the mountain, exactly between two wonderful towns, would let you feel so far away, but yet right at home also.
We started out day number six going into Gatlinburg to visit the old Moonshine Distillery. We got to see how they make the moonshine and taste all the different flavors they make, adults only! We saw the stills and mash as it was processing the moonshine, which was really cool. While looking around, they a live band playing what I call “hillbilly” music, and of course we had to stop to listen and watch some older people dancing (knee slapping actually)! They also had salsa’s, jellies, hot sauces, and BBQ sauces made with some moonshine out for tasting.
Those were awesome! As we were leaving the distillery we decided to give the go-karts one more try before we had to leave for home the next morning, and that’s where we ended up the rest of the evening. As I said earlier this was a much needed family vacation where all had a wonderful time. As we packed up the luggage on top of the Jeep, and packed the kids and dog back in the sardine can, we all waved good-bye to the marvelous Great Smoky Mountains, anticipating our return next time.
Maybe we will get to go back in the fall to see the leaves changing and explore hiking in the mountains! To anyone thinking if visiting The Great Smoky Mountains, I have been at all times of the year and I can tell you from experience that no matter when you decide to go, you will enjoy something different everytime. Whether you like hiking, shopping, go-karts, eating, shows of all types, or just plain relaxing by the fireplace, you’ll love The Great Smoky Mountains.