Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gatlinburg Vacay 2013: Thursday

Thursday morning Shawn went golfing at the Sevierville Golf Club, so I dropped him off early again and had the car for a few hours to do some things.

First stop was breakfast.  I went to the Applewood Farmhouse and it was yummy.  Ham, eggs, fried potatoes and those yummy apple fritters with apple butter. 

When I was planning our vacation, I planned on going to Parrot Mountain on one of the days that Shawn golfed.  I love taking pictures of these birds when we see them at zoos, so I thought it would be fun to do.  The night before I got on Trip Advisor to go through the reviews again.  I noticed that a lot of people talked about how it's really steep and really hilly to walk around and that stood out with me, so I was hesitate about going.  But I thought, just go, if you don't like it, you can leave and it's only $15 to get in. So I decided to go.  As I'm on my way there, I notice the big sign on the top of the mountain.  Oh my!  I'm gonna have to drive up that?!?!  It brought back all of the memories of driving up Ski Mountain Road last time we were in Gatlinburg!  I made it up to the top, but was concerned about walking around it.  It is on a hill on a mountain.  After seeing a family of four older people, one in a wheel chair, shove themselves up the hill to the entrance and then immediately come back down and get into their car to leave because it was too steep, I somewhat talked myself out of it.  I decided to just give it a try and just from walking to my car up the hill to the entrance, I thought I was going to croak.  I decided to get back in the car and go shopping instead!  Maybe next time Parrot Mountain :(

I did snap this picture of some of the birds from the parking lot.

I love, love, loved driving around Pigeon Forge and seeing the new big ferris wheel in the sky!

After I picked Shawn up from golfing, we had lunch at Fuddruckers and then it was time to officially start our day.
First stop, the start of our annual picture at the GSMNP sign.  We've been to Gatlinburg 6 or 7 times and have NEVER stopped at the signs to take pictures at.  This year I was determined to do it!  In fact, we stopped at two different areas to take pictures at that in PF going into Gatlinburg, and one actually in the GSMNP.  Taking the pictures at the first stop was a chore!  I was going to use the tripod, but instead just sat the camera on the car and set the timer for 10 consecutive pics.  However, chubby girl here needs more than 10 seconds to run from the car to the sign.  This took two tries with me, and then eventually led to Shawn doing the running!  LOL!  At the second sign, they had a camera stand set up near the sign!  They should do this at all roadside photo ops!  LOL!

After that, we headed into Roaring Fork Motor Trail to drive around.  Roaring Fork is a 6-mile, one-way loop road in the GSMNP.  There is lots of beautiful scenery, streams, old cabins, and a chance to see bear and other wildlife!

After we came out of Roaring Fork, we drove around Gatlinburg for a few minutes and then headed into Pigeon Forge to shop some before heading to the Lumberjack Feud dinner show.  There is always so much to do and see and lots of people watching in Gatlinburg!

We stopped in at the Taste of Tennessee so I could use their bathroom.  We also bought some of the most delicious caramel corn ever!  And I got a smashed penny from the machine out front!  I didn't even realize they had one!  It's always fun finding an unexpecting smashed penny machine!

We attended the Lumberjack Feud dinner show this year.  We've done the Dixie Stampede and the one at the Wonderworks.  You can read more about the show here from their website.   We had a great time rootin' for our team The McGraws!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gatlinburg Vacay 2013: Wednesday

Our vacation is half over by now :(   We are spending today doing alot of driving.  It's days like today that I wish I would of gotten a cortisone injection in my knee before leaving!  By the end of the day, my knee was killing me!

We got up early this morning and got on the road.  We were heading to Cades Cove to drive through it again and I wanted to get there early like last time so that there wouldn't be much traffic.  On the way there, we took the Gatlinburg By-Pass around to avoid all of the traffic that would of been in Gatlinburg.  There is a couple pull-offs with amazing views of the city, so we stopped at them.  Then we drove down Little River Road and turned at the Townsend Wye and were on our way to Cades Cove.

We loved our rental car!  It was a Toyota Avalon and was fully loaded.  It had leather seats, heated seats (which I totally loved, esp. for my jacked up hip!), climate control heat/air, push button start, keyless entry, and had some power.  When I punched it, it punched and flew down the road!  LOL! 

We are back in Cades Cove again!  It was a little bit chillier today than my first trip though and a bit more cloudier.  We didn't encounter much traffic until we headed back through for the second time.  We also didn't see any bears :(  We saw a buck, a couple does, and some horses.

This time through, we stopped at the Visitor's Center to potty, look around the shop, and then walked out by the mill and looked around.  I also got three souvenir coins for my smashed penny book.  They aren't smashed pennies, but I thought they would be fun in my book.   

Right before we exited the cove, I took Sparks Lane back to the beginning of the cove and we saw some pretty horses out in the field.

From Sparks Lane you had to get back onto the road to do the loop again.  By this time it was the middle of the afternoon and there was alot more traffic!

This time through the cove, we turned on Rich Mountain Road and took it.  It's a one way unpaved, rough in some spots, primitive 8 mile road that goes out of the cove and brings you out in Townsend.  I had read about this road and Parsons Branch Road (another one way primitive road out of the cove) on the Internet and wanted to drive them.

There was beautiful scenery, colorful trees, and lots of turns and hills!

There was a couple pull-offs and one of them gives you this amazing view of the Baptist Church in the background overlooking the cove!

Once we were out of the cove, we were starving and my knee was killing me, so I had Shawn drive and we headed into Pigeon Forge for a late lunch.  But not before stopping at our favorite little fudge shop.  We didn't get any fudge this time, but I did get a cute handmade wiener dog key chain, and a cute little handmade bag for my camera lens.  We also sampled some fudge. :) 

For lunch, we headed to Mama's Farmhouse.  It's a fairly new restaurant and we saw it advertised on the information channel in the hotel.  They only have one menu a day and serve everything all you can eat and family style.  It was yummy!  We'll definitely be back for dinner the next time we are in the area!

On the day we were there, they were serving fried chicken, honey ham, country fried steak, broccoli & cheese casserole, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, gravy, mac & cheese, chicken and dumplings, soup and salad, biscuits and cornbread, banana pudding, peach cobbler and ice cream, and chocolate chip cookies and milk.  Everything was delicious and we were stuffed!  In fact, I went and laid down in the car to take a nap and Shawn did some work stuff.  LOL!!

After all that food, we needed to walk it off so we went to the Hollywood Wax Museum.  I heard good things about it, but I wasn't a fan.  I mean, it was alright, but we won't be back.  And I definitely didn't like the fact that the timeshare sales people were inside the museum and hounded you to sit through a presentation. 

After the Hollywood Wax Museum, we headed to the outlet mall to do a little shopping and then dinner later that night consisted of drinks from Sonic and hot dogs from the gas station.  Blah!