Last weekend, my family went to a cabin getaway with a big group of other couples and their kids. We visited cabins in Gatlinburg, Tennessee around the Smoky Mountains National Park area. Allison loved this trip because we had a huge group with us (7 couples including us) and there were a lot of babies for her to play with. With both family and friends amongst us, the group as a whole got along very well.
The cabin itself was not in the best shape. Some of the advertised things were not working properly. This included some of the arcade games and the two hot tubs that should have been heated and ready upon arrival. There were a few outdated things that you can expect from any rental property. The kitchen was strangely stocked and it seemed like some of the utensils were missing, while there were more than enough of others. Despite the negatives, the cabin was very spacious and had plenty of bedroom space for the 7 families that stayed there. There was plenty of seating in the kitchen/dining area so that was nice to be able to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner as a whole group. Also, the theater was very nice and spacious, and the older kids enjoyed watching movies there. One thing that would have made the stay better is if they had wood-burning fireplaces in the cabins, but since that would be a major fire hazard, it is not possible.
We enjoyed activities like hiking and board games together. The girls all helped each other in the kitchen. We explored the town as well as the parks. To top it all off, we got to see two black bears hang out by our cabin on our last night there. The kids were all sleeping, of course, but the adults enjoyed seeing the bears and we took pictures to show the kids later. It was such a great experience and one that I will always remember- both the getaway and the seeing of the bears. The food was good, the scenery beautiful, and the company great.
Places we visited:
- Town of Gatlinburg: Here we went on the Gatlinburg trail, which is an easy family friendly place for a stroll. We also went on the tram ride that took us closer to the town’s activities. Here, Allison enjoyed the carousel ride that she was able to go in twice. Some of the adults and older kids went on the ski mountain coaster. This area was fun for everyone and very scenic. Some cabin rental companies give a bunch of free coupons included with the rental, so be sure to check these out and save some money. For instance, the coupons we received included one free adult tram ride, which saves you $12 .
- Clingman’s Dome: In Gatlinburg, we ran into some North Carolina natives -mutual friends- that told us about the beautiful views of Clingman’s Dome, which was about an hour drive from our cabin. We decided to check it out because the trail from the other day was not enough “hiking” for some of the couples. Parking at this popular location up in the mountains was busy and difficult. We had to park on the side of the road and walk a ways to the landmark entrance. Also, getting up the the dome, although paved, was a difficult journey for the adults and kids alike. The views were beautiful, however, and everyone got a good exercise and a heavy appetite from it. I think Allison enjoyed seeing all of the tourists more than she enjoyed the mountain views.
- Pigeon Forge: On our way home -after checkout- Sunday morning, we (all but one couple) decided to stop by the town of Pigeon Forge. The Island of Pigeon Forge is where we stopped because it is a family friendly shopping and entertainment center. The toddlers all enjoyed the rides and activities that The Island had to offer. Unfortunately, Allison is still not old enough for rides. Nonetheless, she still enjoyed seeing people on the rides and in general. There are a lot of cool shops that we went in and it is a perfect place to buy gifts and souvenirs for home. We stopped at the Timberwood Grill for a late lunch and it was family friendly and delicious. After that we all headed home because it was a six hour drive and we did not want to get home late due to work the next morning.
This getaway was much needed and very relaxing. It’s a great option for groups of couples and the the weather at the time we went was also pleasant.
Romans 12:9 (NIV) Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.