Friday, 15 February 2013

The mountains (part 1)

Well we are back!!!  Sorry this has taken so long, getting back in to the swing of things has not been easy, and that is after only 4 days away.  I was only up to feeling social and seeing friends today!!!! Think it is being out here, although there is the usual school run, cooking, cleaning studying to be done, it just seems more pressure

Anyhoo, I witter....

So we went to the mountains last thursday.  Left Greenville in the rain, and it continued to rain all the way to Tennessee.  We stopped here for lunch, it was yummy.  We got to the cabin, after going a bit cross country, 10 minutes before check in time.  We couldn't get in...  Tried the combination for the door lock we had been given, still couldn't get in.  We eventually got hold of the owner, who was able to tell us the correct combination.  The cabin was nice. You could tell we were the first guests of the season, it had a slight musty smell to it, and there were a lot of dead lady bugs about, plus a few dead hornets, just for good measure....  We decided we could not be bothered to go back out again, so the boys had a dinner of cereal, and we settled in to the hard business of drinking.  We put the boys to bed, kept drinking, jumped in the hot tub, kept drinking, played some pool, kept drinking.....  do you see a running theme here????

Needless to say we both felt absolutely awful the next morning.  We had a bacon sandwich to assist with the hangovers, and tried to decide what to do.  We thought it best to hop in the car and have a look around.  First stop, Pigeon Forge.  (I shall explain now, our cabin was quite far off the beaten track, a good 5 miles from the main strip where Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gaitlinburg were.  In hindsight, this was awesome.)

Pigeon Forge is something else.  There are just hotels, restaurants, resorts, attractions and shops as far as the eye can see. The nearest thing we had been to in the Uk would be Southend-on-Sea, but another English friend has since likened it to Blackpool.  Garish, and an assault on the senses.  Admittedly, all you have to do is look over the top of the building, and you can see the gorgeous Smoky Mountains in the back ground.  From there we drove up to Sevierville.  A much smaller town, from what we saw, and not too garish or overbearing.  Might be a good one to check out in the future.  We drove back through Pigeon Forge, took a quick look at the outlet mall we had been told was great.  Not bad, but the shops were laid out like islands, each containing about 10 shops, with loads of parking around them, then you had to walk or drive to the next set of shops.  Not an ideal layout.  We decided not to stop, this time, but we knew it was there when we wanted it.  We drove back through Pigeon Forge, and headed to Gaitlinburg.

By now our tummies were beginning to rumble, and we started thinking about food.  Gaitlinburg was more our kinda town.  It had a 2 lane road in places, rather than a 4, and a large pavement.  It had the slight feel of a European town, quite comforting.  Again, loads of shops, restaurants and attractions.  We drove to the end of the town, then decided to come back and park up, have some lunch and go for a walk.  We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe.  Neither of us had eaten in one of these before, and it was very enjoyable.  Afterwards we walked down to the aquarium.  Our boys have recently started to enjoy aquariums, so we thought this would be a good call.  It was.  Admittedly, it was a bit pricey (the entrance fee cost more than lunch), but it was well worth it.  We then took a walk further down the street, and took in some sights.  We went to the Moonshine factory, I did some tasting, and purchased a few jars of the stuff.  By now the boys were seriously starting to wilt, so we headed back to the car.

We decided, that seeing as we were in the right area, we would take a drive to Cades Cove.  This is a loop road, round part of the Smokeys National park (more info here).  The boys, all 3 of them, fell asleep on the way there.  All I can say about the drive there and the place is WOW!!!! it is so beautiful, with rivers running next to the road, big steep mountains either side of you, twisty winding roads, a motorists dream.  So beautiful.  Once we got to Cades Cove, it was a single track.  First thing we saw were deer, we stopped to have a better look, the boys woke up. It is such a beautiful loop, with so many chances to see wildlife, and mountains all around you.  So beautiful.

We drove back into Pigeon Forge.  The boys were adamant we were having pancakes at IHOP that night.  It was a disaster, three children who don't really like pancakes, was not an enjoyable experience.  We headed back to the cabin shortly before dark.

The boys were all in the same room, Isaac and Oliver sharing a queen bed, and Seb in a travel cot.  We gave them a snack when we got home.  Then it was time to introduce them to the hot tub.  Oliver had been in in the morning with Paul.  Isaac didn't want to, until he saw how happy Oliver looked in there.  So I got him ready, he jumped in while I sorted out Seb.  He also loved it.  I decided, if you cant beat 'em, join 'em.  It was too crowded for me, so I got out shortly after, then got the boys out one by one, and got them ready for bed.  Think it may have helped them sleep as they all went to bed with out much opposition that night...

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