Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Vacation Getaway

We just got back from a 6 day vacation in Gatlinburg (TN), Pigeon Forge (TN), & Asheville (NC). Steve was the brains behind the operation. He had been researching and preparing for this trip for the past few months. I on the other hand have been living in the moment and was just along for the ride. Our trip was filled with mountains, hiking, driving, eating, and relaxing. We had a great time and really enjoyed being away from the craziness of moving (and work for Steve).

(Smokey Mountains Overlook)

We left Wednesday night and drove 4 hours to Knoxville, TN where we stayed in hotel #1 (of 4). I am not a fan of hotel hopping because you have to lug your stuff in and out with you every night; however, this tripped called for the hotel hopping for a couple reasons. First, it saves money (we need to save all we can since we're purchasing a house right now). Second, we city (and/or state) hopped on this trip. We stayed in 4 different cities -- Knoxville, Pigeon Forge, Hendersonville, & Asheville. Third, there is no third -ha ha. Steve always gets on me for listing off things (using first, second, blah blah) and I never have more than 2 reasons.

But back to the hotels -- because we hopped around and saved money, we splurged a little on the last 2 nights by staying in a bed & breakfast. It was our first experience at a true b&b, I was shocked that there was no tv in our bedroom, but we honestly weren't in the room that much! We did, however, get to enjoy 2 absolutely delicious home cooked breakfasts!

Thursday and Friday were spent hiking and driving through the Smokey Mountain National Park. We also walked through Gatlinburg and visited the Ole Smokey Tennessee Moonshine distillery. There, we got free samples of different moonshine. First, we had the straight up clear tasteless/odorless moonshine (White Lightning). We opted to not to drink the "original" corn (has a distinct taste and we could barely handle the burn and no taste of the White Lightning). We also opted to not eat the moonshine soaked cherries. We did taste the different flavor options -- peach, hunch punch (hooch), and apple pie. Our favorite was apple pie (we even bought a jar!).

Saturday we headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. We hiked that afternoon as well as the next day. We had a total of 3 hikes picked out, but only achieved 2 of them. Part of the Parkway was closed due to "snow" (which Steve and I believe is total malarkey as there was no snow anywhere else on the parkway) and our third hike was blocked off, of course.

(One of the many tunnels we got the joy of going through. And yes, we did hold our breaths through each one)

We saved the "best" for last. On Monday, we headed to the Biltmore Estate. We spent in the entire day touring the house and grounds. The Biltmore is known for its elaborate architecture, 250 rooms, and modern amenities (like an elevator and electricity original to the house in 1895). We even took a specialty Architecture tour. While on the tour, we got to go out on the roof in a couple different locations and a balcony in the back of the house (George Vanderbilt's favorite!). We especially enjoyed being out on the roof because it was a slate roof! We found out that the Biltmore still has 98% of it's original roof. (Steve and I are falling more and more in love with our soon-to-be slate roof home).

I have tons of pictures and many more stories. Over the next few days, I'll be adding more in-depth blog posts. Stay tuned :)

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