Mountain Get-Away

Last weekend our entire family took a little trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. They don't call them smoky for nothing!
More specifically, we went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We had a great time enjoying the wilderness as well as the people watching! If you have never been to Gatlinburg, then you are truly missing out... it is like the Panama City of the mountains, a "Redneck Riviera" of the Hills! If you've never been to Panama City then think airbrushed T-shirts, permed mullets, and trinket shops every ten feet. Not that there's anything wrong with those things, just trying to paint a picture!

We left early Friday morning and took the scenic route through back country roads. It was a gorgeous drive and the leaves were glowing. My dad thought that it would be nice for us to drive up to Clingman's Dome to take in the view. Clingman's dome is the highest point in the Smoky Mountains, half in Tennessee and half in North Carolina. I had the WRONG impression of what this place entailed.

Here we are in the parking area overlooking the mountains... Looks pretty high right? Well apparently that wasn't high enough.

For a "short hike" we could go to the very top. I'm pretty sure the words "hike" and "cowboy boots" are oxymorons, needless to say I was not prepared for this little adventure, but I forged through it. It wasn't a hike per-say, just a paved walk way at a constant steep incline. When we got to the top, we found this.
Which led to this. I guess two sore feet were worth a great view, just wish I had come a little more prepared!A view from the top.

With Shonnie and G-PawAfter our little expedition, we made our way to Gatlinburg which was PACKED! We decided that we would find our cabin and wait for everyone else to arrive.

The next day we drove through Cade's Cove, which is a park that used to be an early mountain community. Brad and I had come here a few years ago, so it was neat to be back with Keating. Many of the families of the community lived in tiny one room houses with 9 children... {and I thought the three of us were crammed in the basement!}

We actually have this same photo of the two of us here years ago. Please just ignore what I am wearing. My outfit looked a lot cuter with my coat on than it does in this photo. Oh well, I was "roughing it."

Brad is dressed in workout attire because he, my dad, and brother-in-law thought it would be a great idea to ride bikes through the park. {10 hilly miles} We knew that sounded like too much work, and lucky for me, I still can't participate in strenuous activities... per Doctors orders! Darn! =)

They were still pretty energetic at this point. 5 Miles later, they were trying to bum a ride from us by holding onto the side mirrors of the car!
Keating wasn't so sure what to think about this mule... I don't think he has ever seen an animal bigger than our family's yellow lab!
A tired baby that skipped his nap.

My sweet Reece that had us rolling laughing the entire car ride. She is a little comedian!

Blue and Auntie

The primitive Methodist Church, one of the historic buildings in the park.

That afternoon we went back to town to eat at the local brewery and watch the UGA vs. AU game.... not even going to go relive that game. By the looks of Keating's pullover, it seems like we converted to Auburn-ism. I can assure you that we did not, he was wearing red and black underneath!!

We enjoyed touring the town, people watching the MANY people there were to watch, and eating way too much salt water taffy.

We also found ways to express our growing Harry Potter excitement! Yes, we are nerds.

I have more photos, but I am sleepy so I believe this is enough for now! Probably only my mom will read this whole post anyways, but if you're still reading... THANKS!!!!