We met up at Cracker Barrel in Fort Payne for a hearty breakfast to get us to Gatlinburg.
Outside Gatlinburg, we stopped at Sugarlands Visitor Center to stretch our legs and get in some quality “rock climbing.” Inside the Center was a pretty neat exhibit featuring all the natural plantlife and wildlife. We were able to identify several plants and wildflowers later thanks to all the info we gathered.
We unloaded the cars at the motel, then headed out to walk Downtown to see what there was to see. Matthew, Vette, and I all had a sample of Ole Smoky Mountain moonshine while Mom, Shiloh, and the boys listened to some local bluegrass artists.
Of course we had to swing by Old Smoky Candy Kitchen while walking Downtown. Elisha also discovered his favorite tourist trap.
We ate dinner at Bubba Gump’s and took complete advantage of the photo-op afterward.
Once back at the motel, we cooled off at the pool where Elisha made some new friends and I taught Jackson how to cannonball. The other girls lounged poolside once Shiloh decided she was finished swimming.
Saturday, we trekked up through the mountains to Cherokee, North Carolina.
We stopped off at the lookout marking the Tennessee-North Carolina state line to take in the view.
Once in Cherokee, we decided against Santa’s Land after finding out they’ve jacked up their prices ridiculously and instead checked out a few of the local shops. Vette scored a pair of Minnetonka moccasins that I’m plotting to steal from her once the opportunity arises.
On our way out of Cherokee, we stopped by the Oconaluftee Island Park for a picnic and to play in the creek. This was definitely my most favorite part of our trip.
After getting back to the motel and taking another quick swim, we cleaned up and drove out to Pigeon Forge for dinner at The Old Mill Restaurant (the best place for dinner hands-down!).
Sunday, we drove back into the National Park to picnic and play out at Chimney Tops. This was a close second for my favorite time during the trip.
Sadly, rain showers were coming on and off, so we decided to pack up and drive back to the motel. But not before stopping back off by another lookout for another view.
The rain cleared out just in time for us to walk down to Calhoun’s Restaurant for dinner. Featured on Food Network: Checked off our eatery bucket list. Awesome, awesome burgers and barbecue.
We kept walking through Downtown and while scoping out the mall we found several more local artists.
Monday, before coming back to sweet home Alabama, we finished off our trip with breakfast at The Apple Barn and Cider Mill (the best place for breakfast hands-down!).
I cannot wait for us to come back, hopefully next summer! Now onto the countdown to our other big family trip to Panama City Beach with Matthew’s family in 28 days! Thankfully, we have three birthdays including Matthew’s to celebrate in between to keep us occupied until then.