Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Smokey Mountain House

No way we could live in TN for 2 years and not see the mountains!  We had been toying with the idea of either Gatlinburg or Chattanooga for a weekend getaway as a family.  This one was just perfect for us.  
We bid on and won a 2 nights stay at a Pigeon Forge Chalet back in September at Jackson's school's silent auction.   Finding time to go proved to be a little harder.  I wanted to go during Christmas but of course it was booked.  Just after New Years seemed perfect, still decorated for Christmas but not yet back to school.  We were going over our agenda online when I realized that the trip I had planned to Dollywood the following day wasn't going to happen because they had closed for the season.(planning fail!)  Jason, who's good at making diversions, quickly changed our plans and they couldn't have turned out better for the deFoor boys.  We arrived at the house after a short trip to the peak of the mountain.  We started up the wrong driveway and you don't go back down.  I'll admit, there was a time I thought the truck was going to start rolling backward!  As we backed out of the driveway and the gravel under the truck crumbled a little, I squealed and Jason laughed nervously.  They boys thought it was grande but it wasn't something I was willing to do again!  You can see the(giant)  house we first visited in one of the photos above our house.  

Just being out on the porch was a little scary for us.  Again, the kids had no fear but we made strict rules about them not being out there without one of us because I don't know if you can see it but that porch was nearly 70 feet off the ground!

Before dinner that night, we took a spin through downtown Gatlinburg.  I had been here MANY, many times as a teenager for Youth trips so it was a total stroll down memory lane for me.  I can rememeber so much about it back then.  It was nearly the same!  Jason had been with his parents as a kid and ours never having been were enthralled by every single tourist attraction we passed!  They get it honest.  Jason is a bit of a sucker for touristy traps himself.  

We had maybe the largest dinner I have ever had at Old Mill House in Pigeon Forge.  Wow, that was a lot of food!  Afterward, we couldn't get back to the chalet fast enough for these two to get in the hot pool on the porch.  What is it that's so much fun about a hot tub when it's freezing outside?  

I woke up the next morning with Lincoln beside me.  His first words were "Wow, I love this!" as he looked at this view out the window.  You just can't beat it!
Lucy made the trip with us.  She was still too small to leave with a boarder and I couldn't stand to be away from her that long either.  I love that girl!
We made good use of the fireplace at the house.  It was a great heat source but the ambiance it provided made it worth it to me.  I love a real fireplace!
After our Dollywood trip failed, we headed into Gatlinburg to do some of the things the boys were squealing about the night before.  Ok, ok, we might have been a little excited too!  It was a COLD day but the sky was clear and blue.  We jumped on the next chair up the mountain on the sky lift!  It made me wish there was snow on the ground and skis on my feet but I was happy to be sitting beside my little as we headed up the mountain.

I know, you can't see it all here but this is the panoramic shot from my fancy iphone 5.  I don't use this feature often but it's so cool when I do.
Can you really believe that Lincoln could find something to be grumpy about from this high up?  Well, I can assure you if his name is Lincoln, he can!  
After a BBQ lunch, we began our "tour de Gatlinburg" adventure.  They boys played an arcade shooting game, with Daddy's help of course.
Next, Jason and Jackson embarked on a short lived visit to Ripley's haunted house tour.  Lincoln wasn't big enough to go yet so we went on a search for coffee.  Not even 3 minutes later, Jason is texting that they didn't quite make it through the haunted house before he had to call it.  Jackson was loosing his mind with fright and asking him to leave and he couldn't take the torture. 
Next we were all excited about the Ripley's Believe it or Not museum.  I had never been in all the years I visitied Gatlinburg.  I can honestly say it didn't dissappoint.  We all really enjoyed it.  Some of the things were, well, unbelieveable but then there was a spinning bridge that thrilled us all and kept us laughing.

This is one of Jason's ex-girlfriends before he met me.  See boys, this could have been your mother!

Next up was the Ripley's house of Mirrors.  It too was more fun than we anticipated.   We had eaten and eaten and eaten all day and then we got into the house of mirrors and had a ball.  You have to wear plastic gloves so that when you touch the walls to find your way, it doesn't leave marks.  We did pretty good until we got to the disco room.  Then the oldest two knuckleheads decided it would be fun to run through the rest.  That was all fine until Lincoln chased them RIGHT SMACK INTO a mirror.  I heard him hit so I know it was hard.  The mirror maze wasn't too long so we made it last a little longer by taking pictures and dancing in the disco room.

I might have mentioned it was COLD.  Our hands were frozen on the way back to the car and we actually stopped to warm up for a minute.  That's when we found this fabulous mirror to take a family photo in.  How cute are we as "little people".

Then next day we cashed in on the "early bird" go cart racing and took it for a spin.  These cars were FAST but I'll tell you right now, my hands were hurting by the time I was done, they were so cold.  It wasn't something I'd do twice this time of year.

Jackson really wanted to drive by himself.  He's not much of an aggressive driver.  Now, please remind him and me of that when he turns 16.

Lincoln took his turn on a quarter machine because he wasn't old enough to drive just yet.  Gotta be fair!

Taking turns like a good little family, they let me spend an hour shopping at the outlet mall on our way out of town!  
This was a really great and relaxing trip for us.  Just what we needed.  It was one of those trips that the boys won't soon forget!

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