It took us a while to get there mind you. We left after I finished off at work (Fri. 17th – the day after Jake turned 2!) and drove until the kids were cranky, which was about 5 or so hours later… Slept over in Findlay, Ohio (where the massive floods occurred just a few days ago) and then headed bright and earlier the next morning onto Kentucky where we spent a few hours at the brand new Creation Museum – built by the folks from Answers in Genesis. What an incredible place to see but way way too busy!!! Don’t go so close to opening on Group Discount day *actual day doesn’t exist but sure felt that way*!!!
We arrived in Pigeon Forge late and looked from hotel to hotel – another side note… don’t arrive on a Saturday night in an extreme touristy place without a hotel booking!! We finally found one in a hotel where the mattresses were older than me and cost a small fortune!! The next day we checked into the coolest hotel I’ve been to in a long while. A theme hotel at that! We stayed from Sunday to Thursday at the Inn at Christmas Place. A Christmas hotel – total and completely Christmas. It was just built, everything was brand new. Pillow top beds, flat screen TV’s, hot breakfasts, an awesome 24 hr pool with a water slide and Christmas music 24/7. It was a steal through the week although it was still a little bit on the spoiling side. My hubby and I felt like kids again! I’d recommend a stay there anytime!! (side note – weekends are double the price and usually booked solid) My hubby thought it was a sign from God that we stay there because of the brand new Starbucks right across the parking lot!! He even got free stuff from that one – he has “the gift” for freebies from Starbucks!!!!
While we stayed in what appears at first to be Las Vegas of the Smoky Mountains… with dinner shows on every street corner, flashy lights and neon signs!!… we managed to do a few touristy things… like visit DOLLYWOOD!! Yup, the best amusement park tucked deep into the woods with the most visible figure head known in Country music history! My kids had no clue who she was until last week. Working 9-5 has a whole new meaning to them now! It was actually a very nice place – we spent two days in intense heat (110F) going through this huge place. We’d go back, that’s for sure. (I wish you could hear the words in my head, they have a Dolly accent)
We bought a three day pass for the park which we could use between Dollywood and the Splash Park across the street. That was a massive water park!! We spent an entire day in the sun this past Thursday – we had to literally drag our carcases out of there we were sooooo drained!! The kids had a blast – they could have slept there overnight, in the water – and the entire next day as well!! Our bathing suits faded from one day there…
We were so exhausted leaving that place at 5pm but we didn’t feel like heading back to the hotel, we had another “no-tell motel” for Thursday night, our nights of pure pleasure were over… no more Christmas for us. We decided to take the advice of some of my Pastor’s Wives friends who lived in ‘dem parts and took a drive into the hills – leaving Dollar-sucking Dolly behind. We drove for quite a while – until there was silence in the van… through the Smoky Mountain National Park and into Cades Cove. Incredible valleys and forests! We saw deer in the trees – some ahead of us saw a black bear. And then there nestled in the woods are these incredibly preserved pieces of history. Churches and houses dating back to as far as the early 1800’s. And of course just as we get half way through this wonderful 11 miles loop… my camera dies.
Friday morning we got up bright and early and headed east, leaving Tennessee behind. We couldn’t go north through Ohio and enter our homeland through Detroit anymore because of the floods so we went up to my hubby’s sister’s place for the weekend. They live 6 hours east of Pigeon Forge – in West Virginia. My hubby golfed all day on Saturday and I did some shopping!! School supplies are a quarter of the cost in the US than in Canada – it’s crazy the HUGE difference. Not to mention the sales!!!! OH MY! I’m heading back down in 3 weeks for my 35th birthday and I – can’t – wait!!
We got home just after midnight this morning (Monday) just in time to catch some zee’s before heading into work. YUCK! That’s always the most sucky part about a vacation coming to an end!!
I’ve been busy tonight in between typing this post up and uploading pictures to my Facebook page… it may be a while before I get them on here…. uploading is going soooo slow!!!