Posts Tagged With: smokies

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

We spent a few weeks around the Smoky mountains, but since it rained for a lot of the time we were on the Tennessee side we did not see much of the park from there.  By the time we moved to the NC side, we were able to do more exploring of the park.



On a Sunday morning while we were in Cherokee, NC my parents drove out to spend the day with us.  I did not tell the boys that they were coming, so it was a great surprise when they showed up and knocked on the door.  We spent most of the day at the national park.

The first place we visited was the Mountain Farm Museum.






Then we went up to Clingman’s Dome.  This was a strenuous uphill hike that I’m afraid had my parents wondering why they had decided to join us for this.  But this was the highest point in the park with beautiful views.  It was quite chilly up there too!



I can see why they call these mountains the Smokies.




After a quick lunch break we went on another hike up to Mingo Falls which was beautiful.

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Later that week we had a day off work for Veteran’s Day so we went back to do some more exploring of the park.  We hiked a small portion of the famous Appalachian Trail.  No, we didn’t make it the whole 1,972 miles to Maine.



Then we visited Mingus Mill.  It was closed for the season but it was still pretty to see from the outside.


We went back to see more of the Mountain Farm Museum so the kids could earn their Junior Ranger badges.  We also saw lots of elk there.






The boys even got to learn about an outhouse!


New Junior Ranger badges!


After that we visited the Cherokee Indian Reservation.  It was really cool to talk to these guys and learn some of their history.


Lastly we drove a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Unfortunately we missed the prettiest time of the year to see the fall colors.  By this time most of the leaves had already fallen off the trees.  But we drove through some cool tunnels.  I was glad we were not towing our house behind us at this point.






We almost adopted a new cat while we were staying in Cherokee.  This little stray cat came to visit us at our campfire each night.  It might have had something to do with the fact that Chris kept feeding it, I don’t know!   🙂    Anyway this cat loved sitting by the fire because the nights were so cold!  Fat Cat and this cat did not get along very well though so we still only have one cat.  For that I am thankful, one is enough!


We really enjoyed visiting the Smoky Mountains.  It is such a huge national park that we were not able to see all of it, so we’ll just have to go back some day and see some more.  Thanks for reading!

Categories: National Parks, North Carolina, Tennessee | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Smokies with a side trip to Minnesota

Tennessee and Minnesota in the same week?  Sure, why not?

After leaving our last TN State Park we moved on to Gatlinburg, but I took a side trip to Minneapolis for some work meetings.  It was my first time in Minnesota but I don’t get to update our travel map since it was just me, not the whole family.  This was a fun trip!  The team that I work with is so spread out with most people in different states including NC, FL, TX, AZ, VA, WI, CA and MN.  And then there’s me; you never know what state I’ll be in.  We all got together for some team meetings and team building.  I had never met most of the people on the team so it was nice to get together and see everyone face to face.

This was in the lobby of the Wells Fargo building.  I thought it was cute.


My manager Mike and his wife took my co-worker and me out for a delicious Italian dinner one night.  After that we went to see the Mall of America.  I am not much of a mall person (I prefer to shop online), but I must say this is one incredible mall.  When our travels take us to Minnesota, my kids are definitely going to want to check out the amusement park inside this mall.  It is now on their bucket list of “must-dos”.


One night we had a make-your-own-pizza night at Mary’s house.  She has an amazing game room downstairs where the Web team competed against the BI team at table-top shuffleboard.  The BI team won 13-0.  I think that’s because I was upstairs and was not down there helping out my Web team.  Sorry guys!


My favorite thing we did was some team-building at Escape.  This was so much fun!  We had to split up into 2 teams since our group was too large.  The team I was on did the Mr. Dupree mystery.  We were locked in a room for one hour and had to find clues in order to escape the room.  We were doing pretty well and I think if we had about 10 more minutes we might have escaped, but we ran out of time.  Below are the pictures of our 2 teams after we failed our escape attempts.  Oh well, it was still really fun and now I would like to find one in another city so our family can do this together sometime.



I am truly blessed to work with such a fabulous group of people!  This is not just a group of people who work together, these are friends.  Working with friends is always more fun.

I stayed at the Loews Minneapolis hotel which was very nice.  It even snowed the last night I was there.  That was exciting to see since I hardly ever see snow.  This was the view from my room.


Some friends on my Facebook page said that this view isn’t quite like the views I have been sharing during our travels this year.  Yes that is true and even though I enjoyed this visit, I must say I am definitely not a city girl.  Getting back to Tennessee and driving on the Foothills Parkway on the way home from the airport, I was greeted by the breathtaking scenes below.  Home sweet home!  (Home is where we park it.)



Meanwhile back in Gatlinburg, the boys enjoyed Great Smoky Jellystone Park.  This was the perfect choice for Halloween week because Jellystone parks are known for having many kid-friendly activities and this one did not disappoint.  The activities included candy bar bingo (always a big hit with my kids), a huge game room, mini golf, and a playground that kept the kids busy for many hours.

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Our campsite backed up to a cute little creek.  Fat Cat didn’t seem to like the creek noise.  I think this must be her least favorite park we have been to because she never wanted to be outside like she usually does.



Since she didn’t spend much time outside, she decided to find some mischief to get into inside instead.  She climbed up on this narrow ledge around the kitchen slide.  Then she had no way to get back down until Chris rescued her.  Crazy cat!


Halloween was packed full of activities for the kids including a scavenger hunt, hay ride with Yogi Bear and trick-or-treating of course.

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We spent another week in Gatlinburg after Halloween and visited Ober Gatlinburg ski resort to ride the alpine slides which was super fun!  Stay tuned for another blog post about that later.

Categories: Minnesota, Tennessee | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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