Saturday, April 3, 2010

Granddaughters and Gatlinburg

The Great Smoky Mountains...Gatlinburg....Granddaughters....what could make for a better spring break vacation? God has been very kind to us, and this trip was most definitely ordained by Him!! It was one of the most relaxing vacations we have had in a long time...and we were with our very favorite people in the world...our precious two granddaughters.
We picked up our two special girls in Indianapolis two weeks ago to head to Gatlinburg for spring break...a Grandma and Grandpa get away with the girls. As we arrived in Pigeon Forge, we had to pull over and get this picture of the rainbow...a promise of good times to come!!

The trip started with dropping our two kids off at doggie camp. They love their visits there!! One week with not having to get up and walk the dogs...that's part of my vacation!!

Every good get away week starts at Cracker Barrel!! It's my favorite home away from home. I agree with the girls...the macaroni and cheese is the best!! And we all love shopping the clearance corner. On this trip every time we stopped we gave the girls $1.00 to buy a treat or save. They usually chose instant gratification...candy! The malt balls at Cracker Barrel are pretty good too!

"We are going to the mountains!! I've never been to the mountains. Are we there yet?"

"Oh, look! I see the mountains!"

Our number one photographer getting her first picture of the mountain stream. Have camera, will travel!! (and click, and click, and click!)

"What's with that house? It's upside down!!" Just another tourist trap, don't get too excited. It seems like everything in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg costs at least $80 for a family of four. Be careful of how you spend your time!! Thank goodness we were planning to have a laid-back, low budget, let's make memories together kind of trip that wouldn't break the bank.
First stop is at our resort. One of the best resorts we have ever stayed in...and we've stayed in many nice ones. This is Westgate's Smoky Mountain Resort, and our unit was at the top of the us tremendous mountain views, as well as overlooking the road leading into Gatlinburg. The city lights at night were cool.

This was the view outside our rooms on the balcony. Very relaxing view of the mountains, and a rocking chair just beckoning me to sit a spell! We could ride the "train" shuttle down the mountain to the Indoor Water Park and Craft sessions and restaurants.

This is why they are called the "Smoky Mountains"!

A nice fire to sit by on the cooler days....

And a small rippling brook outside the water park to play in on the nicer days.

We were at the water park every day...not always to get wet. The girls went to craft classes most mornings. Some of them were held in the loft overlooking the water park. But there were a couple of days when we did thoroughly enjoy the water slides, the lazy river, the whirlpool, or just lounging, watching the girls having all the fun!! There was also an arcade room at the water park.

On the nicest weather day of our week, we took the girls horseback riding, a birthday gift to our 11 year old. She loves horses. She's a natural, don't you think?

And of course the four year old wasn't to be left out. She rode with Grandpa. You got it...Grandma stayed behind to take pictures. She's not quite as adventuresome.

We went up to the top of the ski mountain in Gatlinburg, Ober Gatlinburg, where they also had ice skating, snow tubing, and various other activities and shopping.

We took in one show...there were so many to choose from, but the girls chose "The Miracle". It was all about the fallen angel (Lucifer) and the life of Jesus from creation to his resurrection. We wanted the girls to be able to visualize the stories they had heard from the Bible. It was very well done, and I trust it is something they will always remember. They were captivated by the live performances and the music.

The end of most days found the girls in the huge jacuzzi in our bedroom. They would spend two hours in there giggling, playing restaurant (they had dishes), and decorating with the bubbles. We all spent times putting puzzles together, blowing bubbles on the back balcony, playing games, and having family devotions together and reading stories. The girls had various projects to work on, and the oldest downloaded all the pictures onto Grandpa's computer and organized them into four slide shows about the Gatlinburg trip. She's amazing when it comes to creativity!! The youngest one has a smile that melts your heart every time you see her.

Well, the week went by quickly, and all too soon we were heading through the tunnel and out of the mountains to go back home. It was an excellent week, and I can hardly wait until our next trip together!!

Goodbye! See you soon!