Over many years Michael and I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel near and far across our great land... we have seen many a sight and witnessed a few spectacles ...
yet, all this time Michael had never been to the
Now, I had been... although it was many, many moons ago.
If you had had the occasion to ask me my age on my first visit there I more than likely would have answered your query in the following fashion
"I am eight going on nine"
That was the summer my Mama & Daddy moved us from Birmingham back to
Albertville, on top of
I was fortunate enough at the beginning of the summer to have spent some time in the home of one of my older sisters.
It was during this time the luggage and children
were loaded into the car.
I was beside myself with anticipation!
I knew not what to expect...
the only family vacations we had ever taken were to Claremont Springs...
where the highlight of the trip was to catch tadpoles in a jar and ring the large dinner bell in the yard..
but, that is a story for another time...
In the Smoky's that summer...
I learned of taffy candy and saw it being pulled in a store front...
Saw mountain streams, experienced narrow roads and steep cliffs...
and left nose smudges on the back seat window while looking all along our route for Bear and Indians !
On a whim this past Saturday,
Michael and I threw a change of clothes in our duffels and headed north east...
For a view out the window
(for those of you that feel like a road trip up the interstate, take a gander at the slide below...)
Michael had made reservations for our lodging in Pigeon Forge
(now this was new to me..
40 some odd years ago I don't remember there being such a place...)
The closer we got the more the excitement was building .
Maybe this time...
I'd see my bear.
We passed through several small communities scattered along the way...
then we turned left onto
after less than a mile or so
my heart began to get a queasy sinking feeling...
over the last forty some odd years...
Men, with big dreams of the all mighty dollar, had descended on this place of beauty with their bulldozers, wheelbarrows, concrete and asphalt.
No matter how you craned your neck or strained your eyes the beauty of the land was hard to find for all the billboards and neon flashing signs of this hideous concrete monstrosity , called a tourist destination.
I tried to look on the bright side...
had we children with us
they would have loved the dragons and castles..
the penny arcades and zipper cars...
the roller coasters, bungee jumps , miniature golf courses, The Magic shows , the Elvis Extravaganzas
t-shirt trinket stores
Our lodgings were exceptionally nice...
and my room mate,
(Note the Moose , next to Michael, in the picture above!!!)
Had to leave NH
and go to the southern mountains to see my moose.
I was very tickled to see behind our lodge a mountain stream!
With some wild life, too.
That evening we ventured out
in search of sustenance
We found ourselves sitting
in the "Alamo"
Our young waitress came to take our drink orders clad in a crimson t-shirt sporting a white A.
Michael tickled himself by greeting her with a hardy
She almost jumped out of her skin.
Our meal was delicious
and I was as full as a tick.
Sunday morning rolled around and found us leaving town with some of the crowds.
As we rolled out of town
my spirits began to soar...
maybe just maybe
all the neon,
concrete and plastic of
a Hollywood hillbillies dream
Gatlinburg had grown
the commercialization of the mountain side was evident in
even with the additions of
all the t-shirt stores, old time photo shops, and ice cream stands
it still had a bit of a quaintness about it.
And I actually saw "the"
Taffy pulling machine through the window !!!
And finally the park
and the colorful beauty
I had been anticipating since
our departure from
A slide show of some pictures from the window
as we drove through the mountains...
We meandered through the mountains
stopping on a whim...
taking our time
drinking in mother natures beauty
while enjoying the quiet solitude of each others company.
Below a beautiful mountain stream
Mingus Grist Mill
Way over "somewhere" in the mountains we finally
pulled out the
after she told us to turn around and drive back the way we had just come some twenty miles or so
and we said "no"
she took a deep breath ,
sighed and told us
"Then hold on... cause I'm shutting my eyes and my mouth!"
For the next 16 or 20 miles or so we turned "almost" in tight little circles going up, up and yet further up a very steep incline to find ourselves on top of a magnificent mountain.
On the other side coming down I let out a squeal as we approached a sign for
Looking Glass Waterfall
Michael pulled over...
in the waning light
we were engulfed by the grandeur of the falls.
This past week end was wonderful!
I am so glad we took a little time...
to slow down,
and not worry about
a speed limit...
to take our time and enjoy life ,
the beauty around us
and each other...
Life is definitely Good.