Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Break in the Smokies

Guess who's back?  No, it's not Shady - it's me.  ;)  I'm moving at a snail's pace and trying to come to grips with the fact that my week of sleeping in and eating whatever I want is over.  Some of you guessed where we were going when I gave the clue that our spring break adventures would involve Dolly Parton, black bears, and pancakes.  All of you hillbillies can give yourselves a pat on the back because you were right; we spent last week in the Smoky Mountains.  More specifically we stayed in this sweet little cabin in Pigeon Forge, TN just a few miles from Gatlinburg.

For those of you non-hillbilly types Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are right in the heart of the Smoky Mountains.  The best way I can describe it is to say it's just good old fashioned southern style family fun.  Our little cabin in the woods kind of reminded me of the one in Cheaper by the Dozen 2 - you've seen that movie right?  The inside was very cabin-y - lots of pine.  

My favorite part was the view.

We spent the week hiking.

Someone had to turn her foot out so you would know which boots are girl boots.

Yes, even I hiked.  Shut your mouth.  Don't act so shocked.

I was surprised myself at how much I enjoyed hiking in the great outdoors.  My version of enjoying nature usually involves a beach towel and Hawaiian Tropic, so this was a change for me.

These three are good hiking company.

Oh yeah, and our team won!  We may have scared some black bears with all the screaming and jumping up and down going on in our cabin last Monday night.  ;)

All the hiking we did made me feel a little less guilty about all the food I ate.

The Pancake Pantry in Gatlinburg, TN has the best pancakes!

If you've never had a Peach Nehi I feel sorry for you.  Oh my.......once it hits your lips.  ;)

Besides hiking and eating, we also visited Dollywood.  Yes, Dolly Parton has her own amusement park.

The kids had fun!

There are lots of things to do in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.  We did all sorts of things from go carts and bumper boats to visiting a few of the other attractions like Wonder Works (which was too crowded to enjoy) and Ripley's Believe it or Not.  My personal favorite was visiting Parrot Mountain.

It was a beautiful garden-like bird park.  My mom has 2 parrots so my kids are very interested in birds and are completely fearless when it comes to handling them.

The hub made two new friends.

The most popular person in the place was my little guy.  I love everything about this picture - the birds, the guitar tattoo, the sunglasses on the head, the smirk with cutie little dimple showing.......these are the moments I'll remember all my life.

The gardens at Parrot Mountain were just beautiful.

I had lots of fun playing with my camera.

This was one of my favorite spots in the park.

All in all we had a great spring break.  What we enjoyed most was just spending time together.

We make it a priority to take vacations with our kids.  It doesn't have to be an expensive, exotic vacation to be memorable.  Childhood is temporary; I want to make the most of the time I've been given.  I really believe that if you don't make it a priority to spend time with your kids when they're young they won't make it a priority to spend time with you when you're old. 

We got back Saturday night before Easter.  

The girl is really in to posing right now.  Cracks me up!

 The boy wants nothing to do with picture time.  He runs when he sees my "big black camera" coming towards him.

I know this was a long one.  If I could, I'd give you a peach Nehi for making it to the end.  ;)   I just figured you wouldn't want me to drag out the trip recap.  You're probably so sick of my family at this point!  Tomorrow we'll be back to the regularly scheduled show.  How was your Easter?  Did you just get back from spring break or did your spring break just start?  I kind of wish ours was after Easter rather than before.  Maybe I just wish it was 2 weeks long like Christmas break.  Now that would be awesome!


  1. Looks like you had a great vacation with your kids! I actually enjoy the posts where bloggers share about their kids/family, makes the blogger seem more real and like you know more about them than just there pretty house and projects. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh my *FUNNESS*!!! That view from the cabin is fantastic...I'm one that will take the mountains over the beach any ol' day, so I'm drooling! (c: And I love the cute pics of the fam...your little princess' hair is *darling*!! Love them!

  3. Sounds like an ideal family vacation, Carmel! (Wait - please tell me there was no wi-fi there? That would make that cabin just perfect seeing as I have a 13 year old who needs to be texting in all waking moments.) Hiking, eating, Dollywooding - all sounds fabulous to me! So glad you had a great time with your fam, and your kiddos are so adorable!

  4. I've never tried (or even heard of) a peach Nehi but it looks delish! I wonder if I could rustle one up here in Seattle....

  5. What a fun family looks like everyone had a great time! Your family is adorable!

  6. That looks like sooo much fun. Our Easter was very blah. I spent most of the weekend scrambling over projects for tomorrow's post.

  7. it looks amazing! your family is gorgeous, too. and i LOVE to hike! i can't wait til my kids are old enough for that. well, technically they are old enough, but i mean so that emmy won't whine too much. ;)
    it looks like an amazing time. :)

  8. I so agree about family trips! I love getting away with my people where all we have to do is enjoy each other. No homework, chores or have to's. Just good, quality family time! It looks like a wonderful trip!

  9. Aww what a wonderful vacation!! Love the pictures. haha we went to Dollywood when I was younger too. Such great memories for your kiddos!

  10. Dollywood surprised me so much when we went was really awesome! My brother owns cabins just past Parrot Mtn (hanging off the mountain straight up!) so we were just there last summer. I highly recommend the zipling tour at Wahoo tours if anyone goes back....everyone enjoyed it, from my 8yo to a 70yo to a 10yo boy with Downs to a frightened mom (that would be me!) They were great there!

  11. I love Gatlinburg! I have never tried the Pancake place or peach nehi, but next visit I will!

  12. They still make Nehi Peach? My sister and I used to drink those all the time when we were little- 30 years ago!

  13. Looks like a wonderful trip! Your kiddos are too cute -- love your daughter's poses!

  14. Yep - they still make peach Nehi and lots of other flavors too but peach is my favorite I've only ever found it in the south - in select stores- like little country stores. LOVE it!

  15. Looks like you guys had a great time!! You have a beautiful family & I loved all of your photos!! Welcome back!!

  16. What great photos! Your family is beautiful, and your comments are hilarious..."Once it hits your lips..." Haha!!!

  17. Carmel, that looks like the perfect vacation. Run, but relaxing too. I'm with you on the making memories for our kids part. I sure hope they remember these great times. You look like you're 21 in that picture with your hubby!

  18. I don't know how you could think we'd tire of looking at that blog, Carmel! What amazing pictures and you have two of the most gorgeous children on the planet. I think I may have had grape or orange Nehis when I was very little, but I haven't seen a Nehi here in South Florida in decades. Looked yummy (like those pancakes)! Thank you for sharing your spring break---makes me want to go rent a cabin! :)

  19. Andrea -you're so sweet! It's the black and white - makes you look younger. ;)

    FlaTav- thanks so much! The peach flavor is the hardest to find!

  20. The closest I have been to the Smokies is seeing them in the distance as we drove in 2001 from NY to TN. I have always wanted to visit. Looks like a perfect getaway with something for everyone and those pancakes look absolutely delicious!


Be nice or I'll tell your mom! xoxo -C


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