Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Volunteer State

I truly believe vacations are absolutely vital to relationships and family bonding...a time to get away from all the routine of life and reconnect.  It doesn't have to be anything fancy or expensive, just a week or more when you spend time focusing on nothing except enjoying being a family and remembering how blessed you are to be alive and have loved ones around you.
Ten years ago my friend Sheryl and I drove across the country and I still remember how beautiful Tennessee was.  So for our vacation this year we rented a cabin in the Smoky Mountains and soaked in all the beauty (as well as the mosquitos and bumble bees the size of a small bird)!  The weather was gorgeous and we couldn't have asked for a better trip.

We spent a lot of time in the pool and hot tub at our cabin...

Hiked in Smoky Mountain National Park...

(Yup, this is the best family pic we got on the whole trip!)

And of course a trip to the Gatlinburg area wouldn't be complete without hitting Dollywood!  (Though Brogan might disagree...)

For some reason Steve was a lot more tired than Colby after this one...

Brogan's first ride!  (I'm not sure if he loved it, or if he was just excited to be out of the stroller!)

They had an actual ropes course where you are tethered in...but it was too high up for me to get a picture, so here's Colby beforehand on the practice course!

Tuckered out....

After a week in the Smoky Mountains, we made our way to Chattanooga.  On the way we stopped at Mayfield Dairy for a tour of their milk and ice cream production.

Unfortunately, this is as far as we got because a certain 3 year old asserted his independence and refused to wear the mandatory hair net.  The fun of traveling with kids!  At least I got to enjoy the amazing ice cream.

Chattanooga is a beautiful city!  I'm not sure I'd ever leave where we are, but if were ever to would definitely be on my list.  Though I'd have to buy a new wardrobe if we did since I think we had ice cream like twice a day while we were there.  I'd be worth it though.  ;)

Going from our huge cabin to this basic hotel!

Playing at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Crossing the Walnut street of the largest pedestrian bridges in the world.

We were able to meet up with my childhood friend Kristin and her beautiful family at Coolidge park.  I haven't seen her since the last time I was in town 10 years ago and it was so great to get to meet her kids!

Colby & Callie (sounds like a singer!) playing in the fountain.

Kristin and Callie (taken by Colby)

Chattanooga also has one of, if not "the" best aquariums in the country.  It was amazing and HUGE!

Is that a real shark?? 

Watch out behind you!

We drove up Lookout Mountain twice while we were there.  The first time we just drove around and enjoyed the amazing views and picked which house we're going to buy when our powerball ticket pays off.  The second time we went to Point Place National Park...and of course as soon as we purchased our tickets it started pouring, not drizzling...pouring!  It was a really cool historic park we didn't want to miss, so we just had fun in the rain (after I promised Colby a dry shirt because he hates wet clothes)!

Imagine the most gorgeous view you've ever seen...that's what was there the night before.

After the park it was time to head to Nashville for our flight back home the next morning.  :(