Smoky Mountain Tennessee: Part 4 (Days 7 & 8)

Day 7: Middle Prong Trail; The Sinks

Just two months behind in posting…that’s totally normal, right?!

Haha! Sorry that I have completely fallen off the blogging wagon BUT I am slowly getting back into it again…but I have to start where I left off and post our FINAL full day in Tennessee. Looking back at these pictures, I miss Tennessee so, so much! It was by far my favorite place.

On this last full day, we hit up the Middle Prong Trail, which wasn’t too far from our cabin. This was our longest hike that we did and spent all day on the trail. We even almost made it to the Appalachian Trail! πŸ˜‰ We debated continuing but we also didn’t want to completely wear out the kids because we had to turn around and hike back πŸ˜‰ We hiked three miles in and three miles out. And the kids made it without much complaining! They were excellent sports and enjoyed the hike as much as we did.

I mean, how could you NOT love this place?!?
I just looks like a fairytale!

After our long hike, we stopped at Wild Bear Tavern for and early dinner and then walked briefly around The Sinks and checked it out. The kids got in for a chilly minute and then we dried off and headed back to the cabin to pack.

Staring contests with sunglasses is not fair! πŸ˜‰

We will miss our cabin in the mountains!

Day 8: Travel Day

Not much exciting today! We woke up at 5:30am, packed the last few things and ate breakfast, and was on the road home at 6:45am (Tennessee time). We didn’t stop anywhere “fun” on the way home but did stretch our legs and made the boys do a few “races” at our stop at ‘Interstate 40 Solar Farm Information and Welcome Center.’

Thank you, Tennessee, for a wonderful time! We WILL be back!

Smoky Mountain Tennessee: Part 3 (Days 5 & 6)

Day 5: Tail of the Dragon; Fontana Dam; Tom Branch Falls Wednesday, September 30, 2020 This, by far, was one of my favorite days! We spent over four hours in the car but it was so much fun! It was one of those drive, stop and see, drive, stop and see kind of days. We … Read More

Smoky Mountain Tennessee: Part 2 (Days 3 & 4)

Day 3: Grotto Falls; Place of a Thousand Drips; Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster Monday, September 28, 2020 Another gorgeous morning in the mountains! Seriously the BEST VRBO we have stayed in! We decided to hike Grotto Falls and it was a much easier hike than the previous day (to see Part 1 of my recap, … Read More

Smoky Mountain Tennessee: Part 1 (Days 1 & 2)

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! πŸ˜‰ 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 … Read More


Smoky Mountain Tennessee: Part 3 (Days 5 & 6)

Day 5: Tail of the Dragon; Fontana Dam; Tom Branch Falls

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

This, by far, was one of my favorite days! We spent over four hours in the car but it was so much fun! It was one of those drive, stop and see, drive, stop and see kind of days. We drove all the way to the North Carolina side of the Smoky Mountains, starting with a drive on the Tail of the Dragon! Y’all. It is no joke! There are 318 curves in 11 miles and it is known as America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road.

After the suspenseful Tail of the Dragon ride, we stumbled upon this gorgeous lake!

We are lake people so finding this beautiful lake was so perfect! The water was insanely clear (nothing like our muddy Lewisville Lake!) and my husband was so tempted to get in! Just needed our boat! πŸ˜‰

After staring at the lake for way too long, we headed to the Fontana Dam in North Carolina.

We even saw a bald eagle flying over us! It was so cool!

After visiting the dam, it was time for lunch so we stopped in Bryson City at a little sandwich shop and we had a picnic lunch on the hay bails!

Of course we had to do some hiking! And it was quite the adventure to get to the hiking spot!! Somehow our phone map took us on the most random, out-of-the-way rode to get to Tom Branch Falls. We had to back up on one road and turn around, and then it lead us alllllll around the side and to the back of the park entrance. It was nuts! When we drove out, it was so easy and we were right back where we started when we grabbed lunch…in like 5 minutes (when it took us 30 to get there!). It was humorous to say the least! πŸ˜‰

But Tom Branch Falls was worth the crazy drive! We LOVED the trail and there were so many falls. It was so pretty and the perfect ending of our long road-trip day!

As we were driving back to our VRBO, we found a bunch of ELK! It was so cool to see and hear them!

Not the best picture…I zoomed in while we were driving πŸ˜‰

Our North Carolina drive was perfect! We love drives like this…where you drive a bit, stop and see things, drive some more, stop and see…so much fun!

And somehow we managed to get back to our VRBO just in time to see the sunset!

Day 6: Hillbilly Golf; Adventure Raceway; Metcalf Bottoms

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Another day, another gorgeous sunrise in Tennessee!

Today we wanted to stay close and not drive too far since we did a LOT of driving the previous day. We wanted to go to Anakeesta Mountaintop Park…but it was PACKED. The line was so long and we just didn’t want to pay to wait in line and go through the park SO we just walked around Gatlinburg, ate lunch and then headed to Hillbilly Golf!

The course was so much fun and we had such a good time! And of course, I started off AH-mazingly but somehow still lost to my husband! I think he fudged his scores πŸ˜‰

After golf, we headed back to the main road and grabbed ice cream!

After our day in Gatlinburg, we headed back towards the cabin but stopped at Adventure Raceway in Pigeon Forge and drove some go-karts! This was the exact same place my husband drove go-karts as a kid!! And I think it probably looks the same πŸ˜‰ Our boys still say that the go-karts was one of their favorites activities that we did in Tennessee. Boys for ya!

I had enough city stuff for the day and needed to get back in the trees! So we stopped at Metcaff Bottoms, which wasn’t that far from our cabin and required no long hikes, and the boys wadded in the freezing water. However we did hike a trail for about a 1/2 mile there and back. We wanted to hike all the way to the school but it was getting late so we turned back and drove there instead πŸ˜‰

Then back to the cabin to count rocks! Haha!

Don’t forget to check out Part 1 and Part 2 from our Tennessee adventures! And my LAST Tennessee post will be coming out soon! Be sure to check it out!

Hope you all have a glorious rest of your week!

Smoky Mountain Tennessee: Part 1 (Days 1 & 2)

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! πŸ˜‰ 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 … Read More

Smoky Mountain Tennessee: Part 2 (Days 3 & 4)

Day 3: Grotto Falls; Place of a Thousand Drips; Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster Monday, September 28, 2020 Another gorgeous morning in the mountains! Seriously the BEST VRBO we have stayed in! We decided to hike Grotto Falls and it was a much easier hike than the previous day (to see Part 1 of my recap, … Read More


Smoky Mountain Tennessee: Part 2 (Days 3 & 4)

Day 3: Grotto Falls; Place of a Thousand Drips; Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster

Monday, September 28, 2020

Another gorgeous morning in the mountains! Seriously the BEST VRBO we have stayed in!

We decided to hike Grotto Falls and it was a much easier hike than the previous day (to see Part 1 of my recap, click here).

The Grotto Falls hike was a bit more crowded than the Spruce Flat Falls hike and we passed quite a few people on the trail. AllTrails states:

Grotto Falls Trail is a 2.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is best used from April until November.

After Spruce Flat Falls, I would say this trail is easy! πŸ˜‰ All of the comments on AllTrails is that the trail is more of a walk than a hike and is crowded, which I agree. Either way, it was still a beautiful hike and can’t beat getting out in the woods and ending with a waterfall!

The longest part of our walk was from the car to the trail! Haha, not really but we had to park so far away!

We made it to the trail! Now 1.4 miles to the falls and then 1.4 back! Plus 10 to the car! Haha! πŸ˜‰

Clark was giddy walking under the waterfall! He was jumping up and down and was so excited!

We walked under the falls and found a little spot to sit and had some snacks before turning around and going back to the car.

Clark was being very dramatic! πŸ˜‰ Anytime we would pick him up he would act like he is asleep! And so many people that we passed commented on how he was asleep and how cute…sneaky kiddo!

We made it out! Now to hike to the car!

The next stop was the Place of a Thousand Drips and you don’t even have to hike to see it! We drove right by and there was a little parking spot off to the side, so we parked and walked over to this gorgeous spot! And perk: no hiking involved! πŸ˜‰

By now we were all hungry for a late lunch! As we drove back to our cabin, we stopped in Gatlinburg and ate at Tom & Earl’s Back Alley Grill. The boys loved watching the cars go by from the patio!

After lunch, the boys got to pick their own ice cream at Kilwin’s Chocolates and I was so envious! Their ice cream and sweet treats looked incredible!! Clark picked the mint chocolate chip and Troy picked the Superman. Looked soooooo yummy!!

After filling up on lunch and ice cream, we drove back towards our cabin but stopped at the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster. Y’all! It was so much fun!! Clark rode with Stephen and Troy rode with me and it was the most expensive 7 minute ride! Haha! BUT it was so much fun and I would highly recommend riding the coaster with your kids! They still talk about it and asked to go on it again and again. We didn’t get any pictures because we didn’t want to loose our phones, but here are a few pictures from their Facebook page:

We walked right up and got on immediately…no wait! We went at around 4pm and there was only a few other groups that arrived as we finished.

After the ride we headed back to our cabin on the mountain and Stephen grilled burgers and we watched another gorgeous, smoky sunset!

Day 4: Loudon & Vonore Drive

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

It was a rainy day in the Pigeon Forge area so we decided to drive out to Loudon and Vonore to see the rivers and eat lunch out on a golf course. We debated renting a boat for the day in Vonore but it was just too chilly so we just enjoyed the drive instead.

Well, that is it for days 3 and 4!

Check back in Friday for Part 3! Until then, have a blessed Wednesday!!


Smoky Mountain Tennessee: Part 1 (Days 1 & 2)

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! πŸ˜‰ 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! πŸ™‚ 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.

AllTrails states:

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 richΒ 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.Β 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! πŸ˜‰

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!