DISCLOSURE: I was provided with a free or discounted press rate for the duration of my stay at the Wilderness at the Smokies resort as well as press passes to some of the attractions mentioned, however all opinions are my own and not biased by any complimentary product or service I may have received.
Today is day one of a 14 day Fall break for the girl's school and the countdown is on. In 11 days, we will be kicked back in a beautiful suite at the Wilderness at the Smokies resort in Sevierville TN., Home of Dolly Parton and world famous Dollywood.
Having lived in middle Tennessee (Nashville) all my life, trips to the mountains were a regular happening, when I was young, since it's only a tank of gas up there and a tank of gas back (231 miles to be exact), it makes for the perfect long weekend getaway spot.
This time of year is amazing in The Smokies, the leaves are beginning to change colors and the air up there is so fresh and clean, it literally has a "feel" to it. I really can't describe it, you have either experienced Fall in The Smokies or you haven't and if the latter is true for you, do yourself a favor and drive up there and see what I am talking about. It really is something you should experience (at least) once in your life and since it's only a day's drive for 2/3 of the country, it's totally "do-able".
As most kids, I thought my parents were kind of "square", wanting to have a "stupid" family vacation every year, but now as an adult, I can see just how hard they tried to make sure I had tons of great childhood memories.
When I told my Mom of our upcoming trip, she relayed the stories of all the quarters my Daddy and I would chunk into those machines at the game rooms and the "waste of money" that it was. I told her, "Yes, the skee-ball games were a bit overpriced and the actual value of the prize vs the amount of money you spend was highly unbalanced, but the amount of money you spent was nothing in relation to the value of the memories we made back then."
She had never thought of it that way, but to this day, I still remember the strip through town, the old miner place where you can pan your own "gold", I remember the Trolley rides through the mountains, the Ripley's museum, I remember the bumper boats, the first time I rode a go cart, the indoor sky diving thingy (that I never mustered up the energy to do), the Taffy place that gave out free samples, the pancake place that served the biggest fluffiest pancakes in the world. I remember all these things, but most importantly, I remember how much fun it was to just get away with my parents and enjoy being a kid.
Making New Memories...
I can't wait until the kids see where we are staying. The Wilderness at the Smokies resort is located in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains, in Sevierville, TN. This facility is the largest of its kind in the area and boastsover fifteen different floor plans for every size family & budget. They offer everything from a quaint room for a young couple spending their first anniversary together, in the mountains to a full scale two story chalet that sleeps up to 16 people.
Some of the suites even feature full kitchens, equipped with everything you need... All kitchen utensils (place settings for up to 12 people), pots, pans, toaster, coffeemaker, full size refrigerator, microwave, stove, and dishwasher.
I plan to grab a few groceries when we get there so we can eat breakfast (and hopefully lunch) in the room, to save a few bucks on our food budget. The resort is home to three water parks, two outdoor, one indoor, all of which are only available to resort guests only...
Wild Water Dome...Located inside a massive building with a see-through roof, it feels like you’re outside, but the weather is never a factor, since it is always warm and perfect for water play!
After you get your fill of water park fun, you can dry off and head toAdventure Forest, the newest addition to Wilderness at the Smokies. This DRY FAMILY ADVENTURE CENTER is full of different activities, rides as well as attractions to keep the youngest to oldest entertained and engaged. This facility features...
The resort provides free wi-fi for all guests, a safe in each room, a special "family Only" area in the water park for nursing Moms and diaper changes and all areas are handicapped accessible. The resort also offers several restaurants, on site paint-your-own pottery,retail shops, arcades, golf and even a fitness center... I'm tired just thinking about all that. If, after allll that water park adventuring, you still need something to do, there are tons of family friendly things, all within a few minutes drive or trolley ride away. TheRipley's family of attractions, located centrally in the heart of Gatlinburg, features everything from two mini golf courses, a haunted house, a candy factory, the world famous Ripley's museum of Oddities and of course theRipley's Aquarium of the Smokies, which features 12 foot sharks, giant sea turtles, thousands of exotic sea creatures and playful penguins and the State-of-the-Art Clear Underwater Tunnels throughout, an Ultimate Underwater Experience without getting wet. You can even pet the rays at certain specified times during the day. I have a few really cool things planned for us to do, but I will keep them under wraps, in the strange event that one of my kids should read this blog post. For moreinfo on the Great Smoky Mountains area (including local attractions and lodging coupons) or to plan your very own weekend getaway, check out their website.
I will be updating with my own pictures when we get there, so be sure to check back...
P.S. If you have any tips for traveling with two teens, a three year old and a husband, please feel free to leave them below.
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