We spent this week in Gatlinburg, TN, enjoying the beautiful colors that autumn painted across the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was gorgeous.
The condominium we rented was just a five minute walk from the main street that winds through town, which gave us easy access to great food and entertainment. The condo also had all the comforts of home, so it made for a nice oasis when we wanted to escape all the tourist-traps that line the downtown area of Gatlinburg.
We arrived on Monday afternoon, so we didn’t do much besides walking around and eating dinner. We did manage a ride on the chairlift that overlooks the town, but I made the mistake of looking at how our “chair” was attached to the cable and spent the remainder of the ride with sweaty palms and a prayer on the lips.
Tuesday morning, we got dressed and went to stand in line at the famous Log Cabin Pancake House. Thankfully, they got us in quickly and we enjoyed an amazing breakfast complete with peanut butter for my pancakes. Yum!
Later in the day, we drove into the mountains and burned off a few calories by taking a half-mile hike to Clingman’s Dome. I had to stop to rest a few times during the steep climb, but I managed to get to the top for the amazing view. Even though it was breathtakingly beautiful, it was also sad to see all of the spruce and fir trees that have died due to pollution and insects.
On Wednesday we traveled to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. It is the largest home in the United States with 35 bedrooms and 43 bathrooms. It was something to see, but it was hard to miss the absurdity of it all. The gardens that surround the home are absolutely gorgeous, and although it was quite windy, the weather afforded us a wonderful opportunity to explore some of them.
Thursday was our last full day in Tennessee, so we decided to take things easy. We visited the Log Cabin Pancake House again for breakfast, then just relaxed until our dinner reservations at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but it was great fun! The evening started off with entertainment from a bluegrass band, then we entered the main arena for dinner and a show. The food was very good, but served without utensils. Thankfully, they provided warm, wet hand towels afterwards. The entertainment was fantastic and funny. Dolly appeared via video at the end to sing a patriotic song, and even though I am not too keen on that sort of thing, I teared up a little at the sentimentality of it all. It was a great way to conclude our vacation.