To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gatlinburg 2010- Part II


Click here to read Part I of the travel log from our family vacation to Gatlinburg, TN.

After our trip to Wonderworks on Day Two, we decided to explore more of the area's natural attractions. We took a drive and enjoyed some beautiful Smoky mountain vistas. It was super hot, so strenuous hiking didn't sound like a great idea, but we did take a short nature walk to a small waterfall at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Mary Beth worked at her rock skipping skills in the little creek that ran along the trail. We had intended to drive to Cade's Cove, but in keeping with our relaxed vacation attitude, failed to check the gas gauge before we left. When we realize that we wouldn't make it there and back, we decided to just enjoy a shorter drive and the views we saw along the way.




Short Hikes Close To Gatlinburg

At the visitor's center, the friendly guide gave us good information about short hikes suitable for out-of-shape adults with a 7-year-old child in tow. Laurel Falls Trail is paved (suitable for strollers) and the round-trip distance to the falls and back is about 2.6 miles. The Alum Cave Bluff Trail is 4.6 miles round-trip, but you don't have to hike the whole trail to see cool sights. It runs along a mountain stream, and there is a natural rock arch at 1.5 miles. If you can make it .3 miles farther, there's a beautiful view. Both of these are accessible off of Little River Road.

Afterwards, we drove back into Gatlinburg where I bought myself a pair of Teva's at the Nantahala Outpost Center store. Cool place. By this time, the heat had sparked a summer storm so we browsed a bit 'til it passed. Then we headed off to look for a grocery store. We grilled at the cabin and ate supper on the porch. If it hadn't been so hot, it would have been the perfect opportunity to enjoy the hot tub. Instead, we enjoyed the ceiling fans!

On Day Three, we went white water rafting! We have pictures coming, but it will take a couple of weeks to get them, so stay tuned!

Gatlinburg 2010 - Part I

We've just returned from a summer adventure to Gatlinburg, TN.

We spent a couple of hours at the Biltmore on the way. I've visited several times, but Kevin and MB had never seen it. Since I was there last, they've cranked the ticket prices way up. They've also added a whole shopping village, a plant shop at the gardens, and more shops at the stables. The house itself is mostly the same, so I guess those increased ticket prices buy you the privilege of spending more money at the shops. At any rate, we enjoyed seeing it - it's still as grand as ever. Mary Beth was wowed.

We arrived at our cabin that evening. More on the cabin in another post. We enjoyed supper at the Alamo Steakhouse. We had very tasty food and a short wait made more bearable by the ducks playing in the stream out front. Online reviews of this place seem to be at one extreme or the other, but our experience was quite good, I'm happy to say!


Day Two started with a trip to WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge. Okay, it really started with sleeping late - we didn't want to hurry anywhere! By late morning, we finally tore ourselves away from our comfy cabin and drove into PF. Mary Beth had a blast at Wonderworks!


The rock wall was a big hit. She climbed it twice! There were lots more fun attractions including a bed of nails and an unusual game where you control the movement of a ball with your brain waves. Mary Beth soundly beat Daddy at that game!



Stay tuned for Part II!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Beach Trip

We were smart this year and went to the beach during the week BEFORE July 4th weekend. There were still crowds of people, but not so many that it looked like St. Simons Island would sink into the ocean. The munchkin got in plenty of good daddy/daughter time.

The ducks are always happy to see us!

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