We decided to take two days to get down there. The first day was about 6 hours. We picked up pizza in the town we stopped in and had a hotel pizza party. Then, Ellie hit the pool with Jeremy. Madison was left out due to the un-waterproof nature of her splint. Although it was a difficult thing, she handled it pretty well.
It was a big day, and by the time they got showered and ready for bed, they didn't last long.
The next morning we ate a tasty hotel breakfast before hitting the road for the next 3 hours or so. We arrived in Gatlinburg earlier than we could check in at our hotel, so we had lunch at the Pancake Pantry. It was a tasty breakfast meal. Then, we briefly checked out some of the shops in the downtown area.
From there, we took the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It was really pretty. We could get out and explore at a number of places. There was a lookout point (which Ellie slept through).
There were pioneer cabins to check out. The difference between them was neat to see. The first two were very rustic with very little room. It was hard to imagine people actually living here and trying to farm.
The third one had wood boards and even paint! I love the close-up at this house; it looks like an album cover!
From there, we headed to our hotel for a little rest before hitting the town again. It was a nice place with adjoining rooms. Each room had a bedroom, kitchen, dining area, living room area, laundry, and bath. Our room had a nice balcony off the bedroom.
That night, we went to The Island at Pigeon Forge. It is a shopping, dining, entertainment space. It was okay; it kept us busy! While Jeremy waited for our table at Margaritaville, we girls checked out everything. Ellie decided she wanted to take a carousel ride; Madison decided on "mining" for rocks. We had time for Ellie's then and did Madison's later in the evening.
At dinner, we were visited (after a long wait for it to finally happen) by a balloon guy on stilts. He made Ellie a monkey swinging from a palm tree hat and Madison a parrot in a heart hat. I picked up an abandoned shark hat.
We did a little shopping - an outfit for Ellie's build-a-bear dog, and a penguin keychain for Madison's backpack. Then, Jeremy, Grandma, and the girls rode the Ferris wheel. It was the first Ferris wheel I've ever seen with air conditioned pods to go around in.
Then, we left... very tired.
The next morning, I gave Madison her first bath with her splint on. It was a whirlpool tub, and Ellie wanted to join in with her swimsuit for the fun. They probably spent almost an hour in there!
We got to enjoy the outdoors and nature today when we took a hike to Laurel Falls. It was 2.6 miles round trip. Everyone did really well... and made it!
The girls both wanted to hold my hand, and although I know I should treasure all these moments, it is not enjoyable to hike for 2.6 miles holding a little person's hand. So, I suggested they hold each other's hands. It worked.
We took a few rests along the way.
And then we enjoyed the falls, our destination, for a longer snack break.
The trek down went pretty quickly and with little complaining. I was proud of our town little hikers!
We had a lunch at a BBQ place before stopping at the hotel to clean ourselves up a bit before the Dixie Stampede dinner theatre. Jeremy and I had been there before and really enjoyed it. The girls had been to a similar show (Pirate themed) in Myrtle Beach. It was fun for all of us.
We fell into bed a little earlier than the night before. I had pretty much packed everything up, so in the morning, we had little to do. We hit the road by 9am Monday morning and made it home by 7pm with a few stops in there. Again, the girls traveled much better than I anticipated; makes me excited to take some more trips!
Thank you, Grandma Yoh, for inviting us along and helping us have such a great time! You were a trooper on the hike and had more energy than Jeremy and I for all the shopping!