Me and the little lady decided to get away for Presidents Day weekend by heading to what is referred to as the 'Redneck Riviera', Gatlinburg, TN!
We left out early Saturday morning because I was judging a Battle of the Bands at Chapman High School on Friday night. We checked into our hotel just before one then hit some outlet stores in Pigeon Forge (which is where we were staying since everyone and their grandmothers decided to go that weekend) then went into Gatlinburg. We grabbed some dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and we would have had to wait over an hour for a table but Tessa has a Hard Rock All Access card so we only waited for about FIVE MINUTES! Needless to say, being a cardholder certainly has its perks! We picked up the card about a year ago down in Orlando.
After dinner, we walked the strip and then viewed it from the observation deck on the Space Needle. This didn't set too well with me as the tower swayed a bit in the wind and I found the gate surrounding the deck to be a bit minimal for my taste! However, it did provide a fantastic view of the strip and a great photo opp!
By the time we got down, we were getting tired and decided to head back to the car and to the room. However, we got up all the earlier the next morning and hit a Flapjack's Pancake Cabin for some breakfast then went back into Gatlinburg.
The first place we hit was the Nantahala Outdoor Center so Tessa could finally get herself a North Face jacket. We then went on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway and scoped Ober out a bit. It was a bit too cold and wet to take the scenic chair lift (the Sky Lift back on the strip was closed entirely) so we went back down the tram and got some tickets for 3 Ripley's attractions and started with the Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium. We then stopped by Dick's Last Resort for some late lunch. I had always wanted to go to a Dick's since it's always sounded interesting to intentionally get rude service. Our waitress was fun but there was another waitress who was a ginger like me who was a real pistol and even told me that we should have got her as our waitress because of that common fair skin trait! And, of course, I got a hat!
After lunch, we hit Ripley's Guinness World Record Museum then Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. By this time, the rain had started mixing with snow so we started working our way back to the car stopping by the Village on the way to grab a doughnut and some hot chocolate at the Donut Friar.
We had made reservations that afternoon to take in the 8:30 dinner showing at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede. Tessa had been before and loved it and wanted me to experience it. This was my first time at any sort of dinner show although I've always wanted to do a Medieval Times or Pirate Adventure however Dixie Stampede was not a bad start! Even though it wasn't really my type of show, it was a heckuva show nonetheless!
After the Stampede, we called it a night so we could checkout and make our way home the next day. On our way home, we made several stops throughout the day including the Bush's Family Cafe at the Bush's Beans Visitor Center in Chestnut Hill, TN. The food was a great Southern style meal and the visitor center was pretty neat. A very unique out-of-the-way place to stop!
We even took a couple of pieces of pie on the road with us - one of which to give her grandfather in the nursing home where we made our last stop before heading home. Now if only I can survive a few more days, I can make it to the beach with Tessa's grandmother this weekend!