Ever since I can remember my family has rented cabins up in the Smoky Mountains. These trips have been some of my most cherished memories. It has been a while since I have been able to go with my family and Charles had never gone, so I was thrilled this year when Ma decided to rent a cabin in Gatlinburg, TN for a couple of weeks. I made sure Charles was able to get the time off work so we could take advantage of the opportunity. Gatlinburg was a new area for us to visit, typically we had gone to the Carolina mountains. It was wonderful! We had a beautiful house up in the mountains where we all stayed. We had a lot of family come up, some stayed the entire time, while others came for a few days or a week. Fortunately the house Ma rented was able to hold everyone comfortably. With so much time there we really got a good feel for Gatlinburg and all it has to offer. We took over 700 photos, so I have posted a select few to give you a taste of our wonderful trip.
One of our first days there we packed up a picnic and went to the National Park. We found a nice cozy area by a stream to set up lunch.
Ma and Aunt Louise
While having our picnic, we noticed a ton of butterflies all hanging out. Everyone of course wanted to play with the butterflies, including Isabelle.
Isabelle couldn't get enough of the butterflies
One of the favorite hang-outs at the house was the movie theatre. There was almost always a movie going on when we were home and a full house watching it. I definitely want a room like this when I have my dream home one day!
A tradition during our mountain trips is going horseback riding. This time we went on a beautiful trail through the Smoky Mountain National Park. It was a wonderful ride.
All of the riders ready to saddle up!
Of course we did a lot of hikes while we were there too. You can't go to the mountains without hiking. The first hike we set out for was Laurel Falls. It was about 5.5 miles round trip, the longest of the hikes we did. The other hikes were around 3 miles.
Isabelle loved hiking with Papa. She thought it was the best thing ever.
Cassie and me
One thing Charles wanted to see while we were in TN was a bear. Well we had multiple occasions. This one was during one of our hikes, a momma bear and two cubs crossed the trail right in front of us. Kinda scary if you ask me, Charles thought it was great.
Chloe, Cassie and Jacob
Another tradition is to go whitewater rafting. I stayed home with Isabelle and Ma, but everyone else went and had a wonderful time. Hopefully next time I will get to go.
We took the chair lift from downtown Gatlinburg up to the top of the mountain. It was a beautiful view and Isabelle loved the ride. I think Charles was more nervous than Isa.
In downtown Gatlinburg there was a store called Color Me Mine. You go in and pick out a piece of pottery and you get to paint it. I picked a cookie jar and had a great time painting. It turned out really pretty in my opinion. It has inspired me to explore my creative side a little more and maybe take some classes.
After many attempts we finally made it to the caves. Isabelle was surprisingly scared by the caves so I ended carrying her most of the way through.
Going down into the caves
The whole gang down in the caves
One day we decided to have a picnic, but while we were driving to our destination it started raining. We ended up having our picnic in this little house in the picture below. There was a beautiful stream that ran right below the little house. At one point some of our group was down at the stream while others of us were in the house. A man came up to the house and told us that a family of bears had just crossed the street and they were coming out right in between the house and the stream. Like crazy people we went outside to look and sure enough there they were. We told those down by the stream to stay down there or to find another way back. They rest of us watched the bears for a good half hour as they were eating berries and the cubs were trying to climb trees. It was pretty incredible to see them in their natural habitat.
One day while out shopping in the arts and crafts district we came across a wonderful little restaurant called The Wild Plum. It was very quaint and delicious.
Isa likes to sit indian style like me
Isabelle got her first taste of ice cream and loved it! Like mother like daughter!
Isabelle loves guys, but especially Jessa's boyfriend Corey
Nana bought Isabelle a matching dress with Chloe
Our house in Gatlinburg
There was a beautiful golf course at the base of the mountain the house was on. Charles played a few times and I played once. We had a great time. One day Charles and I walked along the course and streams looking for golf balls. I used to do that with my Pa and he would pay me for every ball I found, I always loved doing that with him. This time we were looking for golf balls to replace all the many golf balls Charles lost while he was playing. We found 31 balls, that should just about do it.
All packed up and ready to go, I hope we aren't forgetting anything!
All in all it was a wonderful trip. We owe a huge thank you to Ma for making the trip possible for us!