Do you have a place that just makes you feel more like you? A place where you feel more connected, at peace, and content? I know that’s the beach for some, being near water for others; for me, it’s being in the mountains. I don’t even know what it is, but gosh the mountains make me feel joyful, and visiting during peak leaf changing season doesn’t hurt either.
After our fun day at Dollywood, we decided to let the kids sleep in a bit. A cold snap came through over night and when we woke up in the morning, it was in the low 30’s! We did our best to bundle up, then walked down to the National Park. One thing I love about The Overlook is it’s proximity. It’s less than 1/2 a mile to the strip, near the entrance to the National Park, so you can access both. The road down from the cabin is windy, so I don’t market the cabin as walkable, but for us during daylight hours, it totally is. It took us about 10 minutes to walk down and hop onto the Gatlinburg Trail, one of the dog-friendly hikes in the Smoky Mountain NP.
We took our time, soaking in the beauty of the fall forest and saying hello to all the other pups we met along the path. The girls checked out the visitor center, but since they already have their Junior Ranger badges for Smoky Mountain NP, it was a quick stop, mostly to just warm up.
Then we were back on the trail. Kaitlyn didn’t have enough layers to stay warm, so she stole my coat, which warmed her up nicely. It was a little brisk after that for me, so we moved more quickly on the return trip home. We paused to take a picture at the sign, then wandered into Old Dad’s General Store once we got back into town for a hot sandwich before heading back to the cabin. Overall we covered about 5.5 miles; a great morning!
We spent the afternoon near the firepit. The girls splashed in the hot tub while the adults fought back the kudzo. We are currently getting bibs to bring in GOATS to take care of all the kudzu, a sight I’d love to see. But y’all, we need to invest in some goats because it’s pricy! Anyone have a herd of goats they are willing to lend out? 😉
We picked up Mellow Mushroom for dinner, played a lot of spades, and all went to bed happily plum tuckered out that night.
Yesterday morning David and I were up early to send him off to work at 4:30 AM. I enjoyed the quiet morning hours by the fire, and was ready to greet Mema with a big birthday hug! It was wonderful getting to spend a couple days with David’s mom in the mountains, and getting to help kick off her birthday was special.
We decided to go out to breakfast at Crockett’s Breakfast Camp, an adorable themed restaurant just down the hill from us. Mema had the brilliant insider tip to join the waitlist on their website before heading down, and it worked out perfectly. We had about a 5 minute wait once we arrived, compared to the hour+ walkups were being quoted. Definitely do that if you go!
Breakfast was great and I giggled that Hailey and I ordered identically (veggie omelets, hash browns, and biscuit) and Kaitlyn and Mema did, too (French toast). It was a delicious kick off to the day.
After breakfast, Mema took Finley on the Gatlinburg Trail again before heading home while I took the girls on one last fun day adventure- WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge! We had never been and had no idea what to expect, which made it exciting. I’d now describe it as a mix between a kid science museum, a carnival funhouse, and an arcade. What’s nice is that everything except the arcade is included in admission, so there is no nickel and diming throughout it.
We were second in line to get in at 10:00 and I highly recommend that tactic. We had no lines for anything, but when we circled back through our second time, there were lines 10-15 people deep for the ropes course and motion simulation rides. Speaking of the ropes course, called “Space Walk,” it’s three levels high and in the dark with black lights. It was SO much fun. Kaitlyn gets nervous around heights so I was really proud of how she conquered the first two levels. Hailey and I went up to the third, which had my knees shaking.
We did the motion simulation ride, the 7D theater, the bubble station, the interactive games, wandered the hall of optical illusions, walked through the spinning tunnel 3 times, played laser tag, and ended spending a few more bucks at the arcade. All in all we spent about three and a half hours there. The kids recommend it!
We left and swung by Lowe’s. Without David, it was on my shoulders to knock out the last little project at the cabin (I am woman, hear me roar). Then we packed up and headed out. We got home at about 8:00 PM. We unloaded, ate bagged salad and leftover pizza, and called it a night. I’m so excited to meal plan today and get back in my kitchen, but gosh we had a really fun few days in the Tennessee mountains!