Monday, May 17, 2010

GREAT Smoky Mountains

Ahh it is effing cold here.  It was never below 80 in Tennessee.  Why do I live in such a cold place?!  Ohmagawd.

I loved this vacation.  It was the best one for me in years.  It was relaxing and it was a great adventure.  I loved to see the beautiful Smoky Mountains which I have been dreaming about getting back to for nine years.  It was just a good time in a pretty place and it was all that I hoped and dreamed it would be. 

We had some moments with the kids and we were very very very glad we hit this area in the off season.  It was quiet with less traffic and the townspeople seemed nicer and happier, more relaxed.  The resort we stayed at was obviously quieter as was the national park.  I was reminded why we do things in off seasons and I was glad we did not wait till July when I was thinking about doing this trip.  It would have been crowded and HOTTER than hell.

It was a much needed reality break away from work, life and all that has been going on with me, my family and my work environment.

We arrived in the afternoon on Wednesday.  These photos are just a few from Wednesday through Thursday.  I love this place.
On the final stretch of road through Pigeon Forge
We got to the hotel, checked out the place and ate dinner at the restaurant in the hotel.
Then we went "home" and got ready for bed.

A Room With A View
Spider-Man Matthew
MOUNTAIN TOP MORNING - Woo HOO!
We took this same photo nine years ago... it looks very different this time!
Me and the kiddos
During our first hike Matthew asked Marisa if he could hold her hand
They walked like this for a good 1/2 mile with Matthew telling her all about the trail...
Our 1st hike led us to Cataract Falls
Later after the pool & a grocery store stop, we took a drive out to Cade's Cove
Along the way we stopped to see this bear!  The first of many...
The drive out to the Cove was a long one but well worth it
I think there are about 40 different photos of scenes from varying parts of Cade's Cove.
This place takes my breath away and makes me breath easier.
I can understand while people made their homes here over a 100 years ago.
This is what Marisa did on the 11 mile loop through the cove!
The boys saw another bear on a hike to see one of the old houses while I waited with sleeping Marisa.
That bear experience was pretty exciting one some brillant dude with a camera kept walking closer and closer to that bear so the bear charged at him as if to say GET OUT OF MY FACE YOU FOOL.  The boys left and took the long way back to the car!!
Why yes that is Momma bear and wee tot in a tree, seen on the drive through the Cove!
(not the charging bear so these were essentially the third and fourth bears the boys saw!!)
We also visited with this deer (there were others in the cove.)

After our day of adventures and animals we went home to make a dinner in our kitchen which kicked ass!
We loved the condo idea.  We will definitely continue to do this in the future.  It was much less expensive and we got to eat foods we liked and having a door to a room so we could hang out after the kiddos went to bed was perfect!  More to follow on the other two days of our trip!

Matthew loved this place.  He told us he did not want to come home.  He loved the mountains and the condo and the pool.  On the last day he almost cried when we told him we had to go home the next day.  Later he tried to talk us into staying for "five days and six days" and so forth!
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