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Trip Report Gatlingburg, TN Trip Report

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Thanks to Starrs for great driving advice. The directions were great.

The purpose of the trip was for my side of the family to gather. Two older brother, their wives, their grown sons, the sons' wives, and four grandkids. DH and I drove from Northwest Florida. My stepchildren were not able to join us.

We have vacationed in the Smoky Mountain area many times over the years. Our last trip was in 2008, when we were celebrating our Mother's completion of nine months of chemo for lung cancer. Sadly, she died in August ago after a long struggle with congestive heart failure. Our Dad died one year ago. So, this trip was very special to us all.

DH and I arrived in Gatlingburg around 9:00 pm Thursday night. We stayed at a very nice cabin about 11 miles east of Gatlingburg. The cabin was large, well furnished and spacious. There were 13 adults and 4 children. On Friday, we had a late breakfast at the cabin, then drove to Cades Cove. All of the group but DH and I rode their bikes through the 11 mile loop. DH injured his knee a few weeks ago and although he can hike, he did not want to try bike riding. It was very crowded in Cades Cove, so biking was not easy. Because DH could not ride a bike, we drove our car. However, toward the end, I swapped places with one of the riders. I rode only about a mile, but fell once and hit my knee pretty hard.

After the ride, we left Cades Cove and found a nice spot along a stream to have a picnic. Then part of the group as soon as we waled onto the main street, we saw a Mexican restaurant/bar with rooftop seating. We sat on the rooftop bar, had a few drinks, and eventually everyone joined us for dinner. The food was fine, but nothing memorable. We spent about three hours there, and had a blast being together. We arrived back at the cabin around 10:00 pm. Around 3:00 am, we heard noise and there were bears trying to get into our trash cans.

We had breakfast in the cabin Saturday morning, then drove the Roaring Fork Nature Trail in order to hike to Grotto Falls. DH was actually the first one to make it to the falls, even with his bad knee. The hike is not considered strenous, which was good, as my own knee was slightly sore from my fall. The scenery along the hike was beautiful. I think the colors were reaching their peak. After finishing the hike, we had another picnic and took some family photos. We broke into small groups, and our group went to some arts and crafts stores along an eight mile loop off Highway 321 east of Gatlingburg.. Then it was back to the cabin to grill steaks and watch the Alabama-Tenn football game. (We are Bama fans.)

I was a little sore, and decided to get in the hot tub, which was on the lower deck. However, my nephews spotted bears in the backyard and we decided it would be too dangerous to be on the deck in the hot tub.

We left about 8:00 am today for the 10 hour drive back to Florida. We enjoyed being together as a family and the Smoky Mountains were magnificent.

We did not spend any time walking in downtown Gatlingburg, as we have done that so many times in the past. Once you do it a few times, it just seems sort of touristy.

The family decided we would try to make this trip every other year. The third Saturday in October is always the Alabama-Tennessee college football game, so it will be fun to watch the game together when Bama plays nearby (Knoxville.) It was fun running into Bama and Tenn fans.

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