Friday, October 19, 2007

Trip #2 - Gatlinburg, etc.

Yesterday I posted about our trip up to Gatlinburg, so today I'll write about the Gatlinburg part of our vacation. I had never been to Gatlinburg, and when we first pulled into the town I was a little taken aback at how touristy it seemed. Swarms of people were everywhere, and cheap souvenier shops and airbrushing shops seemed to be overrunning the place. The next morning when we ventured out, things looked a lot better. Most of the stores were decorated for fall, and the picture below is one of my favorite from the trip. It was in front of one of the pancake houses we tried during our stay. Wendy likes flowers!

The first full day in town, James and Wendy and I went to the Gatlinburg Craftsmen's Fair in the convention center. It was fantastic! There were petit point crafts, sculptures, pottery, leatherworks, quilts, candles, just about anything you could think of. I was a little disappointed that only a few of the people were actively working on their crafts, but all in all, it was a great show. I managed to get out of there with only one purchase, but I could easily have spent a few thousand dollars on gifts for people. I don't have any pictures of the fair, because cameras weren't allowed. I do have a picture of Wendy enjoying the fair.

The next day (Monday) we went to Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. It was fantastic! I've been to several notable aquariums (Monterey Bay, the National Aquarium in Baltimore) and this was right up there. They had just about everything you could want, aside from marine mammals. They didn't have any marine mammals, but I think that was mainly due to limited space. The picture below is from a display in front of the aquarium. It's a little deceptive, because Wendy is really 31 inches tall, 95th percentile for height. :-)

The next picture is of James being silly in the kiddie section of the aquarium. I thought those of you who don't know the silly side of James would appreciate it!

And a picture of Wendy enjoying the aquarium...

Tuesday morning, we had a fantastic breakfast at another pancake house. Then we went to some of the good shops along the main drag in Gatlinburg. As I mentioned before, there are tons of tacky shops, but mixed in along the way are some really nice, upscale shops. I was especially delighted by a wood-engraving store that had very well done scripture- and hymn-based plaques and signs. I got a sign for over a door in our living room that says, "The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you." I love it! Below is a picture of Wendy enjoying the shopping. (Do you see a theme here?)

After shopping, we loaded up the car, said goodbye to the extended family, checked out of the motel, and headed for Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It's an 8-mile long one-way trail up in the mountains north (?) of Gatlinburg. As we started on the trail, we saw a whole bunch of poeple out of their cars, cameras in hand, heading toward a particular hill. We though maybe there was a bear in the trees or something. We drove on, and about half a mile later, James said, "I think maybe I saw a mother and baby bear back there. Maybe." I was skeptical, thinking it was probably a rock or shadows or stumps or something. As I was still thinking this, a young black bear came loping down the hill, crossed the road right in front of us, and went into the woods on the other side. By the time I got the camera ready, he was too obscured to make a picture worthwhile. That's the closest I've ever seen a bear in the wild! He was the only wildlife we saw on the nature trail; below is some of the gorgeous scenery.

As we left Gatlinburg, we headed through the mountains toward Pigeon Forge. The mountains were so beautiful! I think I took about twenty pictures of various mountain views. I think we'll go back to Gatlinburg sometime to see some of the things we had to pass up this time!

1 comment:

peppylady said...

Hi, I found you blog by the way of Rocks in my dryer and every Friday I do a thing which I call "Friendly Friday" and which I post about blogs, free items and just good news.
So I thought your blog look like something Friendly
Your daughter is a doll and I real like the picture you got of her walking "so inquisitive"