A place far removed from the sirens and traffic and busyness of the city. A place that feels like your very own little slice of heaven. A place with beautiful, serene views that you never tire of.
For me, this place is the Smoky Mountains. Every time my tires hit the Sevier county line, I feel like I'm back home. I see that beautiful mountain range come into view and all the worries of life fade away and my only concern is where to focus my attention first.
I can remember the feeling of driving "up the mountain" to get to Gatlinburg proper. The sheer awesomeness (for lack of a better term) of the mountain faces and the flowing creeks and the trees with their beautiful foliage and the longing to actually spot a bear. Even as a kid, I knew this place was magic.
The quaint artisanal shops and hand made candy shops are forever ingrained in my mind and I am so glad that I have a chance to share this amazing, wondrous place with my own children., because about a year ago, that was almost not a possibility when Gatlinburg became the victim of a horrendous wildfire.
The damage was pretty bad, and it looked very bleak, but I'm pleased to report; in the three times we have been to Gatlinburg since the fire, nothing has changed.
The people are still as friendly as ever, the scenery is still just as breath-taking, the homes that were lost are rebuilding bigger and better than ever. If anything, the fire has only strengthened the resolve of this beautiful, close-knit community. Gatlinburg is still open for business.
On our most recent family adventure to the Smokies, we were fortunate enough to be hosted by the amazing folks at Gatlinburg Falls Parkside Resort. Voted #1 family resort in The Smokies, Gatlinburg Falls boasts over 400 cabins scattered throughout the Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville and Wear's Valley areas.
Whether you need a cozy one bedroom cabin or a monster 18 bedroom mountain mansion, Gatlinburg Falls has you covered. Amenities vary from cabin to cabin, but you can be assured no matter where you choose to stay, you will be surrounded by first-class accommodations and the best customer service anywhere.
The entire bottom floor is a kid's dream come true. (The grown-up kids loved it too) With a pool table, air hockey table and several full-sized stand-up game consoles, there was never a cry of "Mooommmmm, I'm bored!" like in years past.
There's also a bunk bed downstairs for late night slumber parties and a deck off the entertainment room with a Jacuzzi tub that would easily fit six people. This floor of the cabin got lots of use, to say the least.
The only other place that got as much use as the game room would probably be the beautiful deck. It sounds so cliche', but watching the sun rise over the mountains is truly an experience one MUST have before they die. Even the kids were in awe of the beautiful show Mother Nature provided for us each morning.
I crossed several things off my bucket list on this trip... Share a blanket with the hubby on the deck of a beautiful cabin in The Smokies while the sun rises, get my obligatory picture in front of the sign at the entrance to the National Park, step out of my comfort zone and explore new places, say "yes" to every adventure, no matter how crazy and the best of all, just be in the moment and enjoy whatever life has to offer.