We spent last week in Gatlinburg TN. We left home Saturday morning and drove as far as Gasden AL. After checking into our hotel we headed for mass at St. James, which turned out to be a lovely old church in the downtown area. Unfortunately, they didn't have a nursery at that mass, and the baby isn't used to going to mass, so I spent most of the mass in the narthax with her. The little I heard of Father's homily talked about vacation as a time to relax and reflect--kind of appropriate for a family starting vacation.
Sunday morning we got to our house in Gatlinburg. We stayed in Camillia Cottage which was WAY up the mountain. Unfortunately, our only view was of trees--we were across the street from the people with the views off the mountain. It was a comfortable place for the family to relax though. The baby (actually toddler) loved the hot tub and the jacuzzi tub. The big kids loved the cable TV (Mom and Dad don't think we need that at home so gettting to watch it is a favorite part of most vacations).
Monday we went into Smokey Mountain National Park and hiked up to Laurel Falls. It's about a mile each way, and paved, but up is slightly uphill, something this out-of-shape flatlander isn't used to. The falls were pretty, but there were lots of people there and on the path up. After eating lunch in town my oldest daughter and I perused the crafts at the convention center. The whole family then headed for Obergatlinburg in an overhead tram car. Once we got there we did the usual round of rides. There was a large waterslide you went down on a raft. My husband took the baby and she loved it, so I took a turn too. Let's just say we got ired before she did.
Tuesday we went to Dollywood. It was packed with people and we didn't get there until after 10:00 a.m. so we spent a lot of time waiting in line. We did see a couple of shows we liked but mostly what we remembered about Tuesday was the crowds.
Wednesday we went to the affiliated water park--Splash Country. Again, there were too many people there. We didn't get there until almost 2 p.m., since we spent the morning driving up to Newfound Pass and then to the highest point in the park--Klingman's Dome where you take a 1/2 mile hike almost straight up to get to an observation tower. The views were worth it, and once I get a high-speed connection, a cooperative computer and some time, I'll post some since none of those I tried to post via dial up made it.
Thursday we headed back to Dollywood, which because of rain and threatened rain, was much emptier than it was Tuesday. We were able to ride pretty much at will, which made for a much more pleasant day.
Friday we headed for home, but instead of going through Knoxville as we did on the way up, we drove throught the park to Maryville. We drove past a waterfall that was visable from roadside and drove a one lane road back to an old schoolhouse and cemetary. The inside of that schoolhouse was so dark--but I guess in the days before electric lights people must have been used to things being darker. Unfortunately, when we got to Maryville, we realized my purse was back at the cabin. Fortunately, it was still there when we got back. Unfortunately, it meant we spent an extra two hours in the car that day.
We had a great time and I'd recommend Gatlinburg to any family looking for a vacation spot.