Great Smoky Mountains Adventure – 2011

This year’s trek to the Great Smoky Mountains was amazing, as always… a week of relaxing in a cabin overlooking the national park can hardly be beat!

The Odyssey proved once again to be the ultimate comfort machine for our family as we took to the road and hit Atlanta for an overnight pit stop.  We evaded Stone Mountain this time and instead opted to stay at Embassy Suites in Centennial Park.  I’m only sorry that I hadn’t discovered this before, but the hotel and location couldn’t have worked out better!

We opted for a cabin in The Preserve due to its location in Wears Valley.  We’ve stayed in a currently unavailable secluded cabin in this location before and enjoyed the back entrance to the park and more laid back atmosphere of the general area.  We don’t particularly care for the tourist trap that is Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, so this spot is ideal.

The Preserve marked the first time we chose a more “resort” style cabin. In the past, we’ve looked for more isolated locations but were limited this year due to a late start in booking.  The Preserve also seemed like a win because there was a pool… later, we would discover the pool was green and obviously not available for our enjoyment.

As for the cabin itself, Heaven’s View, the layout and view were both fantastic.  But, the cookie cutter rows of cabins and paved streets kind of made the whole “nature” scene lose its luster.  I doubt we would do this again, but the cabin itself was great.  You can really get used to waking up to a sun kissed mountainside.

As for activities, we spent the better part of each day sight seeing and relaxing… Skye and I joined the boys this time for tubing, which was actually pretty fun.  We didn’t spot any bears during our auto-touring adventure through Cades Cove, but we did discover an Elk (including learning what an Elk is).  Aidan discovered a passion for hiking and climbing.  He and Luke took to the Appalachian Trail and vowed to return next time with better shoes and walking sticks.  Aidan couldn’t have been more excited!

Luke hooked up all of the food, which proved to be both convenient and extremely tasty.  Picnics along the river, including entertaining bug encounters, are the best way to enjoy a meal in the mountains.  Oh, and Aidan even helped Luke grill-out this time!

On the way back, we hit Atlanta again and killed some time at Fernbank Natural History Museum.  It was kind of a disappointment, actually.  But, I think that’s because anything is going to fail in comparison to the American Museum of Natural History in New York.  That place is crazy awesome!

So, as we wrap up another year, I say once again that this time was the best…  Check out the pics.

Posted by jenn on 03:08 pm - Wednesday August 10 2011 , , , , , ,

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