I could have stayed all weekend at the cabin just looking out at the view.
Buddy had this great idea of renting a cabin in the Smokies and taking all the kids and grandkids to Dollywood. Reservations and plans were made, Dollywood tickets bought, then the wildfires came to the area. We watched the terrible news unfold and our hearts went out to all the families affected. The fires were still being fought, the roads were closed into the area, we heard that some rental cabins were totally destroyed in the area we had reserved, our plans were on hold. But then we heard that our cabin was fine, we saw the Mayor of Gatlinburg in a video on Facebook saying, "We will be back open for business on Friday morning Dec 9th, y'all please come back to see us!" So we did. Miraculously everything opened up that morning right on schedule, the town, the roads, the restaurants. We drove through the mountains and saw the scorched earth, the Smokies were living up to their name, you could smell it in the air.
Friday night the kids were hyped up, trying out all the entertainment at the cabin - foosball, pool, air hockey, arcade games.
They couldn't figure out the arcade game console, with 4 IT specialists and one engineering student and one grandpa puzzling over it. Probably needed an 8-year-old to push the right button or combination of buttons, but there was plenty of other stuff to do.
The call went out for everyone to gather in the living room to play Cards Against Humanity, a game the kids had brought. It was funny watching them getting set up and telling each other hurry and come play because Buddy and Susan are playing, it will be so fun to watch them read these cards out loud. They tried to explain to us the goal of the game and how to win, etc., but apparently they just wanted to hear their mild mannered grandparents say bad words. Well if that is what they like, then they should just ride along with grandpa when he is driving, especially if it is a roundabout or 4 way stop. Or hang with granma when a snake comes crawling across the camper floor. What happened to the fun kid games like Life when we used to snicker about having babies?
Melissa and I were up at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday waiting and watching for the sun rise, it was 17 degrees outside so we were watching through the window. Then a big breakfast of bacon, sausage, biscuits, waffles, before heading to Dollywood.
This cabin has windows on 3 sides, 3 levels, did I mention the awesome view?
The cabin was big enough for everyone to spread out which is good with 12 'adults'. Yes our youngest grandchild is 19 now, so all big folks who can entertain themselves, drive themselves wherever they want to go. The big plan at Dollywood was the kids would all ride rides while us old folks stayed warm in the shows. The first show on our list was the new "It's A Wonderful Life". The show was almost over when I got a text, 'we are right outside waiting for you'. I hoped nothing was wrong, and as we exited with the throng of folks, we found all 10 of them standing there looking like little lost kids, "The rides are all closed because of the cold weather, what do we do now?"
Thankfully the rides started running after the temperature warmed up a little more, and they got to experience the Lightning Rod and Eagle. Aren't you going to ride grandma? I have ridden everything here at least once, so no, not today, wind chill is not my favorite thing to experience.
So a long day of park walking, being entertained by our crew of millennials and their parents, my fitbit says I walked 17,000 steps, what does yours say? and eating good food, drinking lots of hot chocolate, standing in line to buy cinnamon bread, riding the train, and seeing the millions of lights transform the park at night, it was a good day. The sun was out and it warmed up to maybe 40 at one point.
One goal of the weekend was a group family photo, the suggestion was to make it on the deck with the mountains in the background, but construction guru Buddy nixed that plan - we don't want to be on the news…
family falls as deck collapses… so we
opted for an inside shot with the windows in the background. Georgia
Sunday night everyone was back home safe and sound, the kids were posting pictures on Facebook, and Sarah summed it up nicely: The family vacation was a success!
~more pictures HERE