travel

First stop – Tennessee

Our special welcome as we arrived in Tennessee…
Special Welcome

Pack Enough?We arrived at our hotel in Pigeon Forge Tennessee about 10:00pm last night. THANKFULLY the kids were not that bad the majority of the drive except for the last hour or so. Unfortunately that is the hour we needed them to be the most quiet because it was dark outside, we were driving through the mountains, and trying the follow the directions to our hotel. We had A LOT to unload from the car…can you believe all of this fit in a luggage carrier a top my Acadia and in the car, plus all 6 of us! I am sure I over packed, but that’s me. After we got everything into our room we went down to the indoor pool for a swim. We knew the kids needed to unwind and relax a little before going to bed.

WonderWorksI didn’t set an alarm and luckily I woke up at 8:30am this morning. We have quite a bit we want to do in Tennessee and we are only here for 2 1/2 days. Today we went to WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge, which was pretty cool. We have visited Cosi in Toledo, Ohio before and it was similar to that, but some different things we have never seen before. Then we ate lunch at Calhoun’s Restaurant (which was yummy!) and then we decided to head to the Smoky Mountains for some site seeing. Our main destination was Clingmans Dome, which is the highest point of the Tennessee. I have to laugh because if you read the Wikipedia page it says :

Clingman’s Dome is the most easily accessible mountain top in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Open from April 1 through November 30 [2], a seven mile road just past Newfound Gap leads up the mountain to a parking area just ½ mile from the observation tower, at the top of the mountain. In addition to this, the short jaunt to the tower is paved, although steep, and provides public restrooms, garbage cans, and numerous benches to the side of the path. Though not quite the outdoor adventure, it does provide the casual visitor with an excellent glimpse of the often hostile environment of highland Appalachia, and the fifty-foot high observation tower allows spectators a 360 degree panorama of the surrounding mountains, on the infrequent occasion of a clear, sunny day.

Clingmans DomeNote the parts that say, “most easily accessible” and “short jaunt”. Granted yes, it was only a half a mile from the parking lot. It does mention the “steep” part, but I am telling you, it was steep. Not steep in the sense that it was hard to walk up without falling, but steep in the fact that my calves were burning!! I wasn’t out of breath really, it was just my legs, oh my gosh! I didn’t think I was going to make it. I know that right now I am out of shape and I still need to do something about the weight that I have gained this year, but there sure isn’t nothing like a short jaunt up a hill to make you face the facts. This girl needs to do something about this problem of mine…. after vacation… LOL!

Smoky MountainsAnyhow, so we stopped at many of the little pull offs along the way to the top off the Smoky Mountains and the kids had a blast playing in the water. I wish we would have thought ahead and brought their bathing suits and towels. Chase actually fell down and got wet up to his waist and at that point I should have just said everyone jump in since we had to come back to the hotel instead of go to dinner somewhere. We ended up going through the drive through at Sonic. My first every Sonic burger! It was pretty tasty. We came back to the room, ate dinner, and then Ken took Andrew and Blake down to the pool for about an hour. I tried to get Chase and Karli to go to sleep early, but that didn’t work out very well. Ken just got back with some ice cream for everyone… time to watch Tori and Dean on Oxygen. Our hotel bed is so comfy…there is something about laying in bed at a hotel and watching TV.

The second day of the trip:
I thought vacation was suppose to be for relaxing? Apparently we will get to that one of these days. Today we got up about 8:45 and went to breakfast at Flatjacks. We then drove to Gatlinburg which was about a 10 minute drive from our hotel. If anyone is considering a trip to this area I highly recommend staying in Pigeon Forge verses Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg is all packed in so close together and it is not nearly as nice and clean looking as Pigeon Forge in my opinion. The traffic is a bit busier in Gatlinburg also

Once we arrived in Gatlinburg we spent about 20 minutes trying to find somewhere to park. We first went to Ripley’s Aquarium, which the kids enjoyed a lot. We read some not so good reviews on the place and debated not going These places get awfully expensive when you have a family of six. I am glad we decided to go though, the kids loved it. Then we decided to play minature golf at this indoor place, which was partly because it was so hot and humid outside. It was Karli and Chase’s first time playing so that was neat. Karli was swinging the putter like a hockey stick. Next we walked towards the Hollywood Wax Museum (I got some really cool pictures that I will upload when I am less tired), but first we stopped to eat a late lunch at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Factory. After the wax musuem we stopped at a homemade candy store and everyone got some treats. I got some taffy. We walked back to our car and then drove back to Pigeon Forge. Of course we couldn’t just drive back to our hotel and rest! First we had to stop and ride some gocarts and bumper boats. Ken and I got the most wet. I think it was because the height of the sprayers were at adult level. The kids never road gocarts before, except for Andrew, so they got a kick out of that. Andrew almost hurt a girl when he pulled in to park his cart at the end. His foot slipped off the brake and he ran into the gocart ahead of him and about 3 carts up a girl was getting out of her cart. Finally we went back to our hotel and swam in the pool for awhile. Ken ran out and picked up Chick-Fil-A for dinner. The kids are asleep and we are watching TV again tonight. I am worn out and feeling awfully old. And now my thumbs are as tired as my body. The stupid internet cord isn’t long enough to reach the bed and I didn’t feel like sitting up at the desk… Good Night! Tomorrow we head to Myrtle Beach!

Now for all the photos!

Music Road Inn in Pigeon Forge, TN
Music Road Inn, Pigeon Forge, TN

Our bedroom

Living Room...and pullout bed

Living Room

Pool, lazy river and play area

Indoor Pool

Indoor Hot Tub

View from our balcony

WaterSlide at our hotel

Wonderworks
WonderWorks

WonderWorks

WonderWorks

WonderWorks

WonderWorks

WonderWorks

WonderWorks

Smoky Mountains
Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Clingmans Dome view

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg
Ripley's Aquarium

Gatlinburg, TN

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium

Other photos around Gatlinburg
Lift going up the mountains...that we did NOT go on

Jam Packed Day

Indoor Minature Golf Course

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Hollywood Wax Museum

Hollywood Wax Museum

Hollywood Wax Museum

Hollywood Wax Museum

Hollywood Wax Museum

Hollywood Wax Museum

Hollywood Wax Museum

Hollywood Wax Museum

Hollywood Wax Museum

Hollywood Wax Museum

Hollywood Wax Museum

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