Last week we went to Gatlinburg, TN with some good friends of ours. We had a super duper terrific vacation and did lots of fun stuff.
We arrived on Sunday and after checking in, went for a delicious dinner at the Park Grille. Darren and I split a Filet and Trout entree with a side of sweet potato pie and salad from the salad bar. YUM! We then headed to the grocery store to pick up some groceries for the week. Our travel companions had their first encounter with a bear while driving from the restaurant to the grocery store...let the excitement begin!
On Monday we tried to go horse back riding but found that it had been raining for several days and it was not recommended to take the kids on the muddy trails. We petted the goats instead.
On our way home we stopped at the Great Smokey Mountain National Park visitors center. We got information on good hiking trails that a 2 year old could handle.
We decided on a 3 mile (round trip) hike to Laurel Falls. We were told the trail is "paved" and "easy". We decided that since the trail was "paved" that we would put the kids in the stroller. Definitely a good call because I think pushing the stroller on the "paved" trail would've been much easier than carrying them on the "easy" trail. (have you figured out that the trail is not what I would consider paved or easy?)
Anyways...it was a pretty hike and the falls were beautiful. I would show you, but the batteries on the camera were dead. The biggest excitement on this hike was...
A real live wild bear crossed our path!!!
He was about 30-50 feet away just munching on some food and wandering up the hill!
Here are some other highlights from the week...
The Aquarium - nice size aquarium for the little ones. We went on the 1 rainy day (yeah for great vacation weather!).
Parrot Mountain - This place was a blast. It is up a VERY steep hill and the grounds are very hilly. They have some pretty gardens and birds sitting on posts throughout. In the middle there is an area where you can feed the birds. Some of them can talk. It was LOUD! They also had Lorikeets that we fed nectar too. We were all a little skeptical before going, but it was one of our favorite places.
Horseback riding - Darren rode with Ella on Wheezee and I rode Brazil. I didn't have my camera. It was a nice ride.
Shopping at the outlets and quaint (and cheesy) Gatlinburg shops - I got some sweaters and new sunglasses (I broke my pair the day before and stumbled across a sunglass store at the outlets...thank heavens...I can't see in the bright sun!).
Ober Gatlinburg - Neat place with lots of activities.
Clingman's Dome - in the National Park, specatular views. Only Greg did the hike up to the actual dome...it was mid-afternoon and we were all missing our nap. On the drive down, we stumbled across a bear eating on the side of the road. Camera was in the trunk (of course) so we didn't get pictures. Sigh!
Roaring Fork Motor Tour - this is a scenic driving tour in the park. There are about 12 stops along the way that you can get out and see things (waterfalls, historic builidings, overlooks, etc). At the beginning of the tour was a playground so we let the kids play for a bit. Ella was running in the mulch and tripped and landed oddly on her knee. We were quite worried because it seemed to be giving out under her and she was limping horribly. She kept telling us she was fine and wanted to go play and then would limp and say "ouch" with every step. She is one tough cookie!!!! We limited her walking for a bit and when she got up from her nap she was walking fine - Thank God!!!
We did a little swimming, played some games, had date nights. We had the other little girl in our car for most of the week and it was so sweet to listen to the conversations with her and Ella! I wish I could've recorded some of them! We were sad when her carseat was moved back to her car!