I should forward this with a note that this was a trip…not a vacation…because let’s be real…if the kids are going, it’s a trip! 😉 Haha! We were told that from a friend a few years ago and it always stuck with us because it is so true!! You can’t fully relax with kids in tow but it is ok! I absolutely love taking them on trips and experiencing new things through their eyes! The memories made are so worth every moment and I will cherish this trip forever! I will take trips with them anyway! 🙂 And we all absolutely LOVED visiting Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains stole our hearts!
Day 1: Travel Day
Saturday, September 26, 2020
We left our home in Texas bright and early at 4:45am! Obviously the boys were ready!
I packed breakfast, lunch and snacks for all of us, along with all the movies, games, coloring books and a little bit of homeschool work to work on during the drive. We managed really well and only stopped a couple of times.
One of our stops was in Nashville to visit the Parthenon. It was crowded and we didn’t go in, but it was a nice stopping point to stretch our legs and walk around outside. The grounds at the Parthenon are beautiful and the boys liked viewing the building.
We got back on the road and drove all the way to our cabin in the mountains, but picked up pizza for the boys for dinner at Geppettos Italian Restaurant on our way.
Our cabin did not disappoint!! The drive is something to remember and our little minivan made the step vertical trek quite well!
We arrived just before sunset and enjoyed the view before eating and taking showers…then we all climbed into bed and got some rest after the long day of driving!
Day 2: Spruce Flat Falls & Cades Cove
Sunday, September 28, 2020
The next morning we woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to tackle our first day in Tennessee!
I placed a Kroger pickup order and after breakfast (I packed pancake mix since I knew we wouldn’t have groceries yet), the hubs trekked down the mountain to grab our groceries for the week. Once he returned, we loaded up and hit our first trail: Spruce Flat Falls.
Spruce Flats Falls Trail is a 1.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Townsend, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Although short, this route includes some steep rocky sections that may require a bit of climbing.
A lot of comment on AllTrails states that Spruce Flat Falls is “a very hard trail and should be considered hard not moderate,” as well as “shorter trail and was more challenging but the end of the trail is totally worth it…the waterfall at the end is beautiful!”
I have to agree…this trail was definitely the hardest one we did as it was more of an incline, lots of slippery rocks and roots and very narrow trail in some spots.
We did purchase good hiking boots for all of us…kids included! I got the boys these cute boots from Carter’s and these for myself and so glad we did! We could not imagine hiking in regular sneakers as the arches of our feet were sore (even in tough hiking boots!) on some trails because of all of the rocks. We kept our hiking shoes in the car and swapped out our sneakers and boots whenever we needed.
Spruce Flat Falls was a gorgeous hike and we loved it! The boys even got in the freezing water and swam for a bit!
I packed lunches for us and so glad we did! We hiked to the waterfall, boys swam then dried them off and got them warm again and ate lunch on a rock overlooking the mountain.
After lunch, we hiked the remainder of the way back to the car and then drove to Cades Cove and drove the loop, stopping a couple of times to get out and check out the old, historic homes. Here is some info about Cades Cove:
The valley has a rich history. For hundreds of years Cherokee Indians hunted in Cades Cove but archeologists have found no evidence of major settlements. The first Europeans settled in the cove sometime between 1818 and 1821. By 1830 the population of the area had already swelled to 271. Cades Cove offers the widest variety of historic buildings of any area in the national park. Scattered along the loop road are three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other faithfully restored eighteenth and nineteenth century structures. Pick up the self-guiding tour booklet available at the entrance to the loop road for information about the buildings you’ll see in the cove and the people who lived here.https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/cadescove.htm
On our way home, Stephen picked up some moonshine cherries from Tennessee Shine Co. in Sevierville. One night he mixed it with sprite and he said that was delicious! I have to take his word for it! 😉
The sunsets at our cabin are incredible! We have so many pictures from the same exact spot…but we couldn’t help it!
Well, that is it for Day 1 and 2 of our Smoky Mountain Tennessee Trip! Check back Wednesday for days 4-6 recap, including our hike to Grotto Falls and a very unique one-of-a-kind experience…
See you all back here then! Have a wonderful Monday, friends!