Monday, June 30, 2008

Road Trip to Gatlinburg

We made a road trip about a month ago; My Better Half and myself; my Fraughter, her husband and their two children. We drove from just south of Chicago, IL down to Gatlinburg, TN. It’s about 600 miles from point A to point B, which should take at maximum nine hours, but when you factor in two cars ‘caravanning’ it with (2) children, ages 3 and 6, it takes a bit longer.

The drive was long but worth it, it always is. This was the fourth time in the last ten years that we have gone down there. Let me tell you, if you have never been to Gatlinburg/The Smokey Mountains in Tennessee, you must go. The views of the mountains, streams and waterfalls are spectacular. Besides taking in the scenery, there are a plethora of things to do. Hiking nature trails, with varying degrees of difficulty, will lead you to waterfalls, wildlife (this sometimes includes tourists) and photographic opportunities. Shopping in the Arts and Crafts Community and downtown area will offer you treasures like homemade jellies, hand carved trinkets and even those tacky vacation t-shirts. You can visit Ripley’s Aquarium, the underground caverns and even Dollywood. It is the type of place where you have so many things available that it’s hard not to customize this vacation to suit anyone.

Accommodations in the area are both abundant and varied. In addition to all the hotels and motels, there are numerous chalets and log homes for rent; both nightly and weekly. We always rent a house and I think this last one was the best. It had three stories boasting a fully equipped kitchen, large bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms, living room, dining area, family room and game loft. There were two fireplaces, a pool table, foos ball and a sunken in hot tub. And the views from both decks were amazing.

We were unable to do a few things on this visit because of the ages of my grandchildren, but that doesn’t mean we were short on choices. In the past we have hiked some strenuous trails that can take a good part of the day. This time we did a short hike leading up to one of the seven waterfalls in the area. There are places you can rent inner tubes and float down the streams; though the kids were too small for that, my grandson did wade in the water with his dad looking for interesting rocks. While going through Cades Cove (the first white settlement in the area) not only did we walk through some of the cabins, churches and grave yards that still exist; we also saw deer, wild turkeys and bears. For the more ‘touristy’ part of our vacation we went to Ripley’s Aquarium and Ober Gaitlinburg. We played ‘Hill Billy” miniature golf and got dressed up and had one of those old fashioned pictures taken of us. We enjoyed treats at one of the many homemade candy/ice cream places and shopped for souvenirs.

Our only complaint during our a week of family and fun was that eventually we had to come home.

6 comments:

Fraughter said...

Since your bringing it up, Whens the next family trip to Gatlinburg?.....This October you say?........That sounds great!

Employee No. 3699 said...

To my Fraughter, I would love to go back this October...but I'm thinking Florida about then...cold here and warm there. Game?

Selma said...

Sounds like a fantastic trip. I would love to see the Smoky Mountains. Hopefully, one day.....

Anonymous said...

grandma said....
florida sounds the BEST
it would be nice to see all
of you again

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

I've been to Gatlinburg once and I would love to go back because of the wonderful memories I took with me. Glad you had a great time!

John Aydan said...

Hi,

Awesome images, thanks a tonne for sharing this wonderful log home resource...