Saturday, August 26, 2017

Smoky Mountain Vacation - Days 2 and 3

We rented a cabin in a resort, which means we do have neighbors, but also means we have access to a weight room and a pool.  Our first full day at the cabin we slept in, explored the resort, took naps, and the kids worked out in the weight room and then went swimming.  It was a super relaxing day!  Hubby and I had coffee and talked on the deck for a long time.  What a way to start the morning!

Our view from the deck.

The view from the pool!

One of those roofs you see down there is our cabin.

The outside front of our cabin.

We had a family meeting the evening of our first day and gave the kids 3 options of "big" things we could do.  They chose to visit the theme park "Dollywood" in Pigeon Forge.  So off to Dollywood we went!

I have to say, as theme parks go...Dollywood was quite impressive!  This was the first ride the family (minus me) rode called "Lightning Rod."  It was themed as a 1950's car shop, and the ride itself was rated as "high thrill."  Even our roller coaster crazed older boys were impressed with this ride!  I was really thankful for this, as I had been hoping they would not think the rides were lame and regret their choice to go here.

Silly pics!

Every so often we'd come across some type of band giving a concert.  This one had an aMAZing banjo picker!  Another one was country western without the twang.  The impromptu music all over the place was fun!

I do not know the history of this little church, but we wondered if it was one Dolly Parton's family attended when she was growing up?  There were several little historic buildings scattered throughout the park.

And there was even an eagle preserve inside the park!

Old school house.  I *love* old school houses!

The entrance to an eagle-themed ride...

All four of our boys rode the drop line.  200 feet straight down!  You can see them sitting in the far right seats.

A very interesting drinking fountain!

My view from the ferris wheel!

It was a fun, fun day.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Smoky Mountain Vacation - Day 1

Months ago when we planned our vacation, we had no idea there was going to be a solar eclipse on the very day we were headed south to the Smokies (homeschool mom fail).  But since there was, we determined to try and get to a POT spot (Place of Totality) before the eclipse.  Which meant getting up at 6 and getting on the road as quickly as possible.  We did it!  For our night-owl family, this was a major feat!

Little Man made an eclipse viewing box out of a cereal box as we drove.

Couldn't resist!

The drive south was very memorable.  We saw license plates from all over, and everyone was speeding at least 10-15 mph over the speed limit.  After about noon, the speed picked up.  Several police and sheriff cars passed us, so they were speeding too, and not pulling anyone over!  Literally everyone on the highway was racing to get to a POT spot.  It was like sharing something special with hundreds of strangers.  Kindof oddly brought us all together.  The time of total eclipse was slated for 2:27 at the nearest POT spot we could drive to, and we drove until about 2:26, took an exit (there were signs all along the highway not to pull over on the shoulder for eclipse viewing), and pulled over on the side of whatever road that was.  It looked like dusk when we pulled over and hastily got out of our vehicle.

At the time of total eclipse it was dark like night and noticeably cooler in temperature.  Surreal!

When the moon was completely covering the sun, we all looked with our naked eye.  It was amazing!

We then got a very belated lunch, as we did not want to stop to eat on the way and potentially miss the eclipse!

The eclipse viewing took us about 4 hours worth of driving out of our way, but the kids all declared that it was worth it!  This meant that we got to our cabin after dark, and everyone immediately began exploring its amenities.

A set of queen bunk beds!  Where the boys are sleeping..

And above the loft, a crow's nest that daughter G gets all to herself!

King sized bed for me and hubby!

The pool table and the arcade game have seen almost continuous action whenever we are inside the cabin. :)

It was a really fun first day, and we are feeling incredibly blessed to have this opportunity!