This trip started out as a surprise for Blair. Our family lied to her and told her it was just going to be a trip with our family to Tennessee like the old days. We used to go every year in the fall and we would meet up with our family from Ohio for the weekend. We have not been able to do this for years. My husband is deployed, Nathan told Blair he was going on a hunting trip with his dad and my brother was single so it really was a perfect excuse to vacation with just our family again. Blair didn’t know that Nathan had already made plans for his family to stay up there that weekend as well so everyone could be there when he asked.
Of course, Blair started guessing and suspecting things, ruining it like most girls do when they think about how and when they will be asked the “Big Question.” Plans changed and Nathan decided to do it the Sunday before after church. That story is a whole different post.
Since we all had planned to stay in TN that weekend anyway, we decided to make a celebration trip out of it. My mom rented this huge van, actually it was kind of embarrassing. haha. We thought SURELY we would have enough room but it still ended up being cramped on the way up there. It was only a 4-5 hour drive so it wasn’t too terrible.
We arrived at our cabin really late. Apparently there were two streets with the same name up there so we drove around these mountain roads, I should say CLIFFS, for like legit 30 minutes. We had no service so we couldn’t use our GPS. It took us forever to turn around because we have this HUGE van and the roads are the size of a bike path up there. We finally made it back to the main road and to the correct street. Our cabin was beautiful. It was two stories, slept at least 15-20 people. The large glass windows backed right up to the best mountain view I have ever seen. I decided to stay upstairs with the kids and Blair. Mom and Dad and Blake had their own rooms.
The next day we went site seeing. Drove around the mountains for a while. Then we decided to go to the outlets. It took an hour to get down the main street because traffic was so bad. Apparently there was this huge convention going on that weekend. I bought a new pair of jeans, and some cute NIKE tennis shoes for Luke. After that we met up with Nathan’s family for dinner in Gatlinburg. We chose to eat at Dick’s. It’s a restaurant where they are mean to you on purpose. The food was okay but I definitely recommend everyone go there at least once for the experience.
After dinner we walked around town and looked in all of the little shops and candy stores. I think Morgan (Nathan’s sister) and I went wine tasting at like 3 different places. Blackberry and Strawberry didn’t disappoint. We walked past the Ripley’s museum and there is this big marble stone out front that floats on a thin layer of water. That thing is still spinning and I remember that was always my favorite thing to touch every year. Luke thought it was cool too. It was just neat to think of all the times that I had touched that rock and now my son, 16 years later, got to see it and touch it too.
We found this mountain rail ride my sister really wanted us to go on. She said I would like it because it had breaks. I HATE roller coasters. I don’t like the feeling you get in your stomach and I don’t like that I can’t stop it when I feel uncomfortable. Some people live for that stuff but I’m boring and I just can’t do it. BITE ME. Anyways my sister swore I would like this one because I could control it. Well my dad and I decided to double up because it was cheaper and he had to ride in the back where the breaks were because he is bigger than me. We fought over who got the back seat for like 5 minutes, I was being kind of ridiculous. HE won. He promised he would stop if I didn’t like it and he did. We only braked a few times but it was fun! I would definitely go back and do it again!
We finished the night by walking through a few of the old candy stores; I always loved watching them make the candy. I bought a caramel apple for my mom and we headed back to the cabins.
The last morning we woke up and had a big breakfast. Blair and I took some pictures after packing up our things and loading the car. After we left the cabin we were on a mission to find “THE WILD WOODY.” The legendary go-kart track of our childhood dreams!
When we got there, we all bought our tickets for one ride and hopped in our cars. I was last to get out of that long line. As I was ascending around the tracks with the wind on my face and car engines drowning out everything else, I was taken back to a time in my life of pure joy. The brief few months I raced real go-karts in HS, came alive and my competitive spirit got the best of me. I was determined to beat my siblings. I lapped Blake, then Blair and Nathan along with everyone else on the track and ended up finishing first.
One would say,” Ah, Who cares? It’s just go-karts…” BUT IT’S NOT. Winning that race meant EVERYTHING!
JK, it did feel pretty good though….And I was a little bit of a sore winner.
After the race we figured there had to be a fun place where little kids could ride some rides. We found a little park and pulled off to let Luke have a little fun.
He really enjoyed the Merry-Go-Round with me.
Then it came time to ride the cars, the ones that bounces up and down in the air and spin in circles. Again, I hate rides like that so I backed out and Aunt Blair took one for the team. Turns out Luke has my likeness for crazy rides and immediately clung to Blair and screamed. He was so scared. It was kind of funny but I also felt bad because I knew exactly how the poor kid felt. You’d think he would have jumped straight out of that car when the ride stopped but he was upset he couldn’t sit there and drive it. He was cute.
I wish my husband could have been there to share those memories with but soon enough we will make memories again as a family. I’m just glad I got to re-live my childhood and spend time with my Mom and Dad and my siblings. It’s not often that it’s just “us” anymore. We all had a great time and it was a very relaxing weekend. I hope we can travel together again soon!
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