We took a 2 week road trip this summer and want to continue sharing about our adventures.
The day after we left the Natural Bridge, we headed toward Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains. For our CC geography, my children have heard terms like the Blue Ridge Mountains or the Great Smoky Mountains. In fact, I think Gideon asked us about every 15 minutes if the mountains we could see were in fact the Smoky Mountains (for a 4 or 5 hour drive).
As we drove toward Gatlinburg, we saw an advertisement for an arts and craft festival at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. We had a blast seeing glass blowers, a woman making clay flowers, live dulcimer music, and many other local artisans. In fact, we had such a good time that none of us took any pictures. The woman making clay flowers made this little flower for Ruthie.
Unfortunately, to go the Convention Center, we had to park in downtown Gatlinburg. The only way I think I can describe it is to imagine the busiest boardwalk you have ever gone to, pack the stores in much tighter, add shops to both sides of the road, and have people dressed up in vampire costumes coming out to “entice” you to visit their locale. Can I say that it would make me happy to never walk through that town again? To be fair, I think we were in the busiest part of the town, but we’re definitely not fans.
For some (absolutely ridiculous) reason, I really wanted our family to go up in the Space Needle in Gatlinburg. The view was decent, but we had to walk through more of the downtown area, it was pretty pricey for what you got (an elevator ride and a little view), and the building wasn’t in the greatest shape. It was a waste of time but made for some good laughs (see below).
We then headed into the Smoky Mountain National Forest to try to get in a hike to a small waterfall. (By the way, we have lots of pictures of Classical Conversations at Home’s flat littles from this trip. I didn’t have any photos without the flat littles at Cataract Falls.) This was our 2nd waterfall of the trip (of 7).
We also took a fun side trail with the kids pretending to be frontiersmen (and Gideon was scared that bears or Indians would attack us). I guess listening to Gone West: Bold Adventures of Amerian Explorers and Pioneers that day really influenced our hike.
Leaving the park to drive to our hotel that night, we stopped at an incredible overlook. In fact, as we looked down on Gatlinburg, we could see the Space Needle far below us. What was I thinking wanting to go to the Space Needle? I think we laughed more looking down at that Space Needle than over anything on our entire trip. I’m glad we had some time seeing the Smoky Mountains but wish we’d spent less time in Gatlinburg and more in the National Park.
The flat littles helped to take scenic Smokies pictures without Gatlinburg in the shot.