Away From It All – (plus Probar winner)

Hello everyone!

I am finally back after a little over a week of abandoning you. The hubby and I had decided sometime ago that after my graduation we would take a trip together as a way to celebrate. So, we decided to go to Pigeon Forge, TN, which is in the Smoky Mountains for the Memorial Weekend holiday. Pigeon Forge is a great destination for a weekend, or an entire week. Because we live so close to Pigeon Forge (1.5 hrs), I have been countless times since I was a child and there is ALWAYS something new to do. Arcades, swimming, water parks, outlet malls, hot air balloon ride (cool, right?), wineries, mini golf, fishing, hiking, amusement parks, food, dinner shows – the possibilities really are endless!

I did not discuss it on the blog until our return due to safety reasons, but I thought I would share the trip with all of you here now. I know some  blog posts I don’t particularly care for reading are the long, lengthy vacation reviews. So I thought I might give you a few options here. I’m going to recap the trip by sections of things which might be of interest to you, that way you just scroll to whichever section you would like to read about. If you’re not interested in the details, simply scroll down to the photos and enjoy!

Lodging

  • The Hubby and I always love to stay in the cabins when we go to Pigeon Forge. We mainly like to go on vacation as a way to decompress and escape, and a cabin gives lots of privacy. Plus we really like the amenities in the cabins. Almost all the cabins come with a whirlpool tub, Jacuzzi tub, fireplace, and grill.
  • This time, we chose to stay at the Little Valley Resort. The Resort itself had lots of activities and amenities already included. There was mini golf right on the grounds for free. There were also four beautiful ponds for fishing, which was also free. The resort even provides the fishing poles and tackle! There was also hiking trails on the resort, which we took advantage of during our stay.There are other activities such as basketball and volleyball. There’s even a Chapel if you want to get married or renew your vows!
  • Our cabin was called Lucy In The Sky and was within a short walk from the main office building, as well as all the fishing ponds and mini golf. Our cabin was simply wonderful and included the hot-tub, wifi, grill, fireplace, and Jacuzzi tub.

Food

  • There are very few, possibly no photos of food during this recap. Each meal/snack was enjoyed to the fullest and I did not want to spend my vacation yanking out my camera before every single bite.
  • We only ate out twice on the trip. The first dinner was Tony Roma’s (overpriced, overrated) and I had the Mahi Mahi with rice and broccoli. It was delicious, but like I said – expensive and overrated.
  • The second time we ate out was at the Applewood Farmhouse Grill (aka Applebarn). I simply love the Apple Barn. It is an orchard/restaurant where they also have a candy and bake shop on the grounds. We have eaten here before and every time, it never disappoints. Before your meal, they always bring you out a serving of their homemade apple fritters with homemade apple butter. Scrumptious! I had the rotisserie chicken (an entire 1/2 chicken!) with mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. So. Good.
  • We pretty much bought snacks and food for the cabin most of the time. This is the list of items I bought, proof that you CAN eat (mostly) healthy while on vacation: onion, 3 apples, baby carrots, 1/2 lb. deli ham, swiss cheese, Wheat Sandwich Thins, Ground Beef Patties (for hamburgers), ketchup, mustard, bottled water, half and half (for coffee creamer), fage greek yogurt, Pepperjack Cheez It’s, Kashi granola bars, Weight Watchers ice cream bars, and chips (for the hubby).
  • For breakfast I had the yogurt, hubby had the granola bars. For lunches we had the sandwiches as well as carrots and crackers. We grilled out hamburgers for one of the afternoons.
  • There was some random snacking on some candy and fudge we bought from the Apple Barn, as well. Again, so good.

Activities

As I mentioned before, the Hubby and I generally enjoy very low-key, semi-structured vacations. We had a tentative, very loose plan of what we wanted to do before starting our getaway, but we were mostly there to “wing it”.

First Day: Shopping at Knifeworks (hubby loves this store). Checked into cabin. Ate at Tony Roma’s. Shopping at Sunglasses Hut. Shopping at Bass Pro (hubby’s other favorite store). Grocery shopping for cabin. Short walk to explore resort ponds and grounds.

Second Day: Breakfast at the cabin. Lunch at the cabin. Drive to Gatlinburg (10 minutes to next town) to tour Moonshine Steel and Whiskey Steel. Explore small shops at Gatlinburg on “strip”. 6 mile Nature drive at Roaring Fork. Drive back to cabin. Grilled hamburgers with new Vidalia BBQ sauce. Hot Tub time (holla!).

Third Day: Breakfast at the cabin. 4 mile hike at cabin resort. Snack at cabin. Applebarn for lunch. Shopping again, but it was crazy. The Memorial Day crowd had finally arrived. We only went a few places and then called it quits because of the crowd. Headed back to cabin. Snack at cabin. The Hubby had another burger, but I was still too full from the Applebarn. Mini golf at the resort (hubby says he won, but he wasn’t counting the hole that I ended up giving him like 7 freebies on). Hot-tub time again (holla!). Pack for departure in the morning.

Last Day (Departure Day): Breakfast at cabin. Checked out. ONE MORE stop at the Bass Pro (sigh…) and then headed home. Stopped to pickup Chester from my Mom and Dad. And then, Home Sweet Home!

And here are the photos!

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1. Creepy mannequin in the Knifeworks store.

2. Knifeworks is decorated with a ton of various taxidermed (?) animals.

3. The Husband, finding his calling and future retirement gig.

4. And just how creepy are these troll things? Saw them in a boutique store on the Gatlinburg strip. They remind me of the bear from Look Who’s Talking (anyone else scared to death of that scene as a child?)

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1. Little Valley Cabin Resort. AKA, my future retirement home. 🙂

2. A walk with the Hubby around the resort.

3. In front of one of the cabins, but not our cabin.

4. More walking time with Hubby.

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1. One of FOUR fishing ponds at the resort.

2. How beautiful is this gazebo at the resort? It was perfectly positioned right in front of one of the ponds.

3. Hubby got skill with the grill at the cabin.

4. The resort also had a cute General Store on site. However, it was closed for the Memorial holiday.

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1 – 4.We spent one of the days checking the Old Smoky Moonshine steel in Gatlinburg, TN (a short 15 minute drive from Pigeon Forge). I tried 100% proof Moonshine for the first time in a thimble sized container. Let’s just say I now know why they call it “white lightning” and a thimble was MORE than enough. After that one taste I was done with sampling for the day. They had a TON of different flavors for sampling, live music, and tours to demonstrate the Moonshine making process. It was really cool! Hubby walked a way with a jar size of their Apple Pie Moonshine.

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1 – 4. After the Moonshine distillery, we decided to take a brief motor scenic drive just outside of Gatlinburg. The drive, called Roaring Fork motor trail, is known for it’s “roaring” water falls and streams that you can hear all the way on top of the mountain. The trail was only 6 miles long and had many beautiful landscapes, waterfalls, and overlooks.

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1. Dotted along the trail, there were many places to stop and explore various historic, vacant farm homes, some dating all the way back to the early 1900’s.

2. Hubby struck this pose in the doorway which was meant to model the original photo taken with the home owner in 1935. We really enjoyed the history that went along with each cabin and historic photos.

3. This was a fence around one of the properties.

4. Hubby demonstrating how it must have been to live in the small, homes with nothing but  a fireplace. Many of the homes were designed with two identical rooms, each with it’s own fireplace for cold winters.

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1. – 4. We spent the next morning exploring one of the hiking trails at the resort. The resort had 4 trails in all, the longest being about 3 miles long. We were going to take the longest one, which ended at an overlook, but after we discussed the trail directions with the main office, we changed our minds. The lady informed us the trail is straight up, and to hike from our cabin it would be an almost 7 mile hike! We definitely didn’t want to take up our whole day, so we changed our minds to take one of the .5 mile loops, which actually ended up being about 3.5 miles altogether by the time we hiked from our cabin and back.

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1. – 2.After our hike, we got ready and enjoyed an early dinner at the Applebarn. So good!

3. Another photo from the gazebo earlier in the trip.

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1. And what’s a trip without a little shopping? I got Moonshine Raspberry Syrup from the Old Smoky Moonshine. Davy Crockett Whiskey BBQ Cinnamon sauce from the whiskey steel (which I didn’t take any photos of, oops). And Vidalia Onion BBQ sauce from Knifeworks, which we used on the burgers we grilled. Delicious!

2. I also got Pear Butter and Sweet Potato Butter from Knifeworks. I can’t wait to try these!

3. From the Beef Jerky Outlet: Sweet Bourbon Beef Jerkey, Dark Cherry Beef Jerkey, Alligator Jerkey, and Kangaroo Jerkey. The Sweet Bourbon is fantastic, but I have yet to try the others. P.S. I kinda just wanted the gator and kangaroo so that I could OFFICIALLY say I have tried them!

4. And of course, a variety of fudges and candies from the Applebarn candy shop. So delicious and a tradition Hubby and I have started on our trips to Pigeon Forge. We always get a lot of different candies to try and end up eating them all before we come back.

Welp! That was long, but if you hung in there then KUDOS for you! I hope you enjoyed my trip recap and if you go visit Pigeon Forge, please let me know!

 

 

The Probar Giveaway winner is….

#13 Shelby Hoover-Pelley

Congratulations!!

 

Thank you to all those who entered. Remember everyone can use the code “BLOGGER” at checkout on the Probar website to get 40% off one item. 

– Lou

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