In July we took a family vacation to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. David and I went for our honeymoon 2 years ago, and we thought it would be nice to all go back. We rented a cabin to share with my sister and brother in law and their 2 kids, plus my Mom and Mark.
It was a long drive for us, about 10 hours. The kids did really well. They played a few games. Kylee colored and read.
Devin slept in some wacky positions.
The drive was nice though, right down Interstate 81. We passed lots of farms like the one below!
When we got down there we stopped by Smoky Mountain Knifeworks. They've got lots of neat things in their store, like stuffed bears.
Jon, my brother in law, loves campfires. Unfortunately there wasn't much firewood around, so they had to get creative. The guys managed to find a dead tree to use, but the hard part was cutting it up.
We all took turns and used teamwork!
David finally resorted to slamming a rock on the end that we'd partially sawed off. Look out, Jon!
The cabin was pretty nice. It had a kitchen so we all took turns cooking. I think David was multitasking by cooking while deeply involved in conversation in this picture, but I don't remember what he was pointing about.
Nana had some great ideas for entertaining the kids, including the game "mailbox." She brought boxes for each of the kids to paint, then cut a flap in the box. Then she saved up all the envelopes, stickers, and other cool things from junkmail so the kids could write letters back and forth! This was definitely a favorite activity for the week.
Kylee and Charlotte played with a glider, and Mark helped retrieve it from a few hard to reach places like in trees and on hills.
David and I got to relax a bit in the hot tub.
We went to Cades Cove, which is a must-see/must-do thing if you're ever in the Pigeon Forge area.
Just the entrance to the cove is worth the drive.
I love this tunnel picture!
If I had a million billion dollars I'd buy this part of the Cove and build my little farm.
We all decided to go on a hike to Abrams Falls. It was a five mile round trip, but we though it would be easy! Eh, proper footwear and plenty of water. Who needs that?! We were a little unprepared but we all survived. Mom and Mark were the smart ones and stayed back at the cabin. :-)
It started out great. We were all having a great time!
We were all happy and smiley.
The terrain started getting a little tougher, and we had to cross a few of these foot bridges.
We took a break about halfway there. Jon did his "Thinking Man" impression.
Luckily we had a few snacks so we re-energized.
Then we went back to hiking. This is a view from one of the highest parts of the trail. I'm not going to lie. I was thinking, "This better be worth it" on a good part of the trip to the falls. Did I tell you Becky and I wore flip flops? Not our best decision.
But finally we go there and it was worth it!
We all took our shoes off and played in the cold water. It felt so good! We made it back out alive. Looking back it was worth it, but the next time I go hiking you bet I'll be wearing hiking boots!
Then we went to Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg.
It was a lot of fun!
I loved this jellyfish tank!
And this tank was pretty awesome too.
I had to wait for a little boy to get done taking his turn in the "viewing tunnel" before I could try it. He gave me some pointers on how to get in there. It was made for little people.
The shark tunnel was pretty awesome. There were fish on 3 sides of us!
Back at the cabin we entertained the kids with things like waterballoon fights.
I love Devin's face here!
And Kylee turned 6 while we were there!
The kids played so many games!
And Aunt Becky brought all kinds of cool crafts for them. Evan made a wooden car.
And the girls made mosaics.
We did some window shopping.
The girls had fun in the jacuzzi tub.
One day we went to Ober Gatlinburg to try out some of their cool activities. They had an iceskating rink, but we just observed.
We rode the chairlift though. I thought it was pretty fun and only a teensy bit terrifying. My sister wasn't thrilled with this part, but she hid it well!
Then when we got off the chairlift, we went back down the mountain on the Alpine Slide!
It was pretty cool. We sat in these cars and went down the track. We could control the speed pretty easily, so it never felt scary or anything. In fact, I wish we could have gone faster!
Kylee rode in my car with me.
Devin got his own. He was pretty cautious. I hope that carries over to his driving years!
Jon and Charlotte shared a car.
And last but not least, what vacation is complete without good treats to eat?
We had such a blast on this vacation. I loved being able to spend a whole week with my sister (and everyone else) and the kids had a great time with their cousins!