Sunday, January 5, 2014

Smoky Mountain Christmas Revisited

Last year after we said good-byes to Jolly Old Saint Nicholas the Hubs and I loaded the truck and headed north to visit gorgeous Gatlinburg, TN. We were celebrating our 5 year anniversary (*sidenote-I CANNOT believe we have been married for 6 years now and are working on our 7th. not to mention this makes me realize that we are in fact getting older. Shriek! guess time does fly when you are having fun)  and it was also our first trip to the Mountains together as we usually head south to the Emerald Coast. This year instead, we were both working...insert sad face here. However, my BFF and her Hubs just made the trip for themselves and after looking at all her photos on facebook and instagram and laughing at all her random snapchats I thought I would revisit our trip to Tennessee since we had such a good time. (*tip- marry someone who makes you laugh and that you can call your friend. the hubs and I have so much fun together, fusses and all.)

We stayed at the Doubletree Hotel since it was nestled into the picturesque mountain side (and we had a crap pile of Hilton points- hello money saver) and I have to say climbing the hills up to it each time made me a little nervous, especially after it snowed. You know us south Alabama girls just aren't use to snow and icy roads and all... But the hotel was incredibly inviting and cozy with roaring fires inside the lobby and the breakfasts there were nothing to complain about either- this girl can put away some food. Our bellies were full each day we headed out on our adventures.


The Hubs has amazing picture taking abilities...



View from our room.

The morning after we arrived we woke up to snow. Everything had been beautifully dusted with a frosty white coat of snow. The mountains in the background were breathtaking but unfortunately I couldn't get a picture on my iPhone that would do it justice


While we were climbing up the mountain to Cade's Cove we jumped out to snap a few photos of the skyline. Again you can't really see the snow but the view was incredible.


 

This was a little village inside Cade's Cove and while I have a million awful iphone pics of the place I will not bore you with them but simply tell you this is definitely a place you should visit. The landscape is incredible and the history is remarkable, even if you aren't in to that kind of stuff, go check it out. I was also able to get a video of a monster buck that lives in Cade's Cove. I'm talking he walked within 5 feet in front of me. It was crazy how unfazed he was by all the people standing around snapping photos and videos. I'm not sure we were suppose to be out of our vehicles that close but it was pretty cool none the less. This deer was huge and beautiful and the fact that I was that close was intense. We were limited at how far up the mountain we could go since it was winter and it had just snowed. Several of the roads were closed but we still enjoyed our time in the park and saw plenty. Although, I would recommend bringing food or snacks, especially if you get hungry like I do. I was famished by the time we left.




 We did the touristy thing and had our old time photo made. These shops are every where in TN so we just picked one and went on in. We had very specific ideas of what we wanted and the photographer/owner got a crack out of us. For instance I didn't want cards or money stuffed in my garter, I wanted another gun. And the Hubs had to have a full cowboy ensemble, jeans just wouldn't do-chaps were mandatory. While I was a bit grossed out by putting on a costume that had been worn a hundred times I sucked it up and went with it. We had fun goofing off for the camera and thought the photos turned out nicely.
 
You can't really tell in the photo but Brett is offering me money....gasp!

I sort of felt like Bonnie and Clyde taking this photo. lol


I also purchased some homemade wine while we were there. This was a special white Holiday wine they make and man was it fine! I regret that I only bought one bottle as compared to someone else I know, cough cough yes I'm talking about you AWD, cough cough. It now serves as decor in the dining room and is often used as a vase. Sorry I don't remember the name of the place but it was in downtown Gatlinburg. They have wine & moonshine tasting available as well.

      



We hiked up to a waterfall we discovered while driving through the mountain side. There were so many trails to choose from so we opted for the shorter one. (3 miles) You definitely got your cardio in while making this climb. I came out of my jacket, beanie, scarf, and gloves before I made it to the top. I absolutely plan to bring my hiking shoes and workout clothes next time and tackle one of the longer trails.
(there was a 12 miler I kept eyeing)





Some shots I took of our view on the hike down from the waterfall.

It was a gorgeous morning.


If you don't know much about Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, Tennessee then you should at least know about their live dinner shows. They have several! The most popular being the Dixie Stampede. We knew we couldn't come to Gatlinburg and not go to at least one show so we opted for the Hatfield & McCoy's. It was a Christmas themed show since it was still December and it was quite hilarious and entertaining. Again, the food was not too shabby either. (do we see a trend here?) Now, if you are expecting a fine dinning experience you are in the wrong place my friend, take it somewhere else. However, keeping with the Hatfield & McCoy experience you will receive a bon-a-fide southern meal. It was tasty. Below is the photo they took of everyone entering the theater. You were either seated on the Hatfield or McCoy side for the show. Very fun indeed.




We also had the pleasure of running into several friends while we were on our trip. We even ran into another couple that are good friends of ours and learned they were expecting their first child. How exciting!! We all enjoyed an amazing lunch at The Old Mill Restaurant and caught up with one another. I highly recommend this place and absolutely try the fritters. I'm salivating just thinking about them now. Be aware that you will have to wait. We went for lunch and our wait time was about an hour, but worth it!

Before we knew it we were packing up and heading back home, but not without lots of fun memories and great laughs. We did decide next time we would opt for a cabin rather than a hotel but had no idea that next time would include three of us and not just two. We cannot wait to take little Sawyer to the mountains and watch him experience everything for himself.

Here's to whatever the future may bring. Hope y'all had a Blessed & Happy New Year!!

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