For Amber and I, it had been 11 years; for Kaitlyn, she had never visited, but that is all behind us now. What an amazing week it was, one that took us from Florida, through Georgia and North Carolina, and into Tennessee. Our first stop was Gatlinburg, with a visit to Pigeon Forge mixed in, and we had a great time!
After spending a majority of the day in the car Saturday, we arrived in Gatlinburg just after 3:00 pm. During our drive from Cherokee, North Carolina through the Smoky Mountains and into Gatlinburg, Kaitlyn was just in awe of everything she saw. We stopped at Newfound Gap at the Tennessee/North Carolina border for some amazing views.
It wasn’t long after arriving in Gatlinburg that we made our way to the Funnel Cake Company for a funnel cake and some fresh squeezed lemonade, and Kaitlyn was covered in powdered sugar by the time we were done (of course!).
For Father’s Day, we walked to the Pancake Pantry (best breakfast in Gatlinburg), and Kaitlyn was extremely impressed with her choice (M&M pancakes). After that, we spent the day just strolling around Gatlinburg, which drove Kaitlyn crazy since we didn’t have a plan or itinerary. We hit the mini-golf courses, of course, and ate dinner on the rooftop patio of a Mexican restaurant.
Kaitlyn and I rode the aerial tram to Ober Gatlinburg, and she got a thrill each time the tram passed a tower because it would dip a little and pick up some speed; as long as that sucker stayed tethered to the steel cable, I was good.
We also enjoyed just lounging around the hotel, and Kaitlyn could not get enough of the hot tub.
On Thursday, it was time to head west to Nashville for a few days. For her birthday present, Kaitlyn wanted to go to the Grand Ole Opry, and Amber and I were more than happy to oblige. We got to our hotel plenty early Thursday, so we had to find something fun to do; it didn’t take long for us to decide to head downtown to Music Row. It was really cool to see all of the Honky Tonks, and each one had an aspiring artist performing. We walked to the Country Music Hall of Fame and also to the Ryman Auditorium (Amber was in heaven).
Sadly, our vacation was quickly coming to an end, and Saturday we left Nashville to drive to Paducah, Kentucky, to meet up with Amber’s mom since Kaitlyn will be spending the next few weeks there; Amber and I will miss her a ton, but this will be a great experience for her and for us, and will hopefully set the table for future years and her spending time away.
Vacations are always fun, and we really cannot wait until next year’s.