Honey, I Don’t Think This Is A Steakhouse

11 06 2011

Day Four:

     Part Two

After our helicopter ride, it was time to decide on dinner.  We headed to the Apple Barn area where we knew there were a few restaurants to choose from.  We had been to the main Apple Barn with my family in October, but we weren’t all that crazy about it.  The wait was hours, tables and people were crammed together, and the food was just okay.  I wanted to check out the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant this time. 

The menu looked promising so we went inside.  Chris stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the same outfits on the waitresses (strange farmhouse dresses) and the same crammed tables.  He really wasn’t feeling it that day so I told him we’d skip it and try out the steakhouse at the entrance.

I’m sure if I was with my girlfriends, either of these restaurants at the Apple Barn would be a wonderful experience.  I wasn’t with the girlfriends. 

Not being from around the area, we headed to Orvis at the entrance of the Apple Barn thinking we were going to a steakhouse.  It looked like a steakhouse.  It had a huge porch with rockers.  We assumed they were for hanging out while you waited on a table.  The advertisements were combined with the Apple Barn displays so we figured it was another restaurant in their cluster.

As we walked closer to the front door I said “Uh, Honey?  I don’t think this is a steakhouse.  I’m pretty sure this isn’t even a restaurant.”  Guess What!  It is certainly not a restaurant!  It’s an outdoor clothing store!  Orvis

Here’s a picture of another location that looks similar to the one in Pigeon Forge.  Clothing store?  I think not.

After the confusion and let down washed over us, we headed down the strip for another option for dinner.  It wasn’t a very pleasant quest.  I was hot and hungry and cranky.  We got a little snippy with each other and almost went to a number of places but ended up at a place near the outlet mall.  I was much, much better after I got a little hydrated. 

After dinner, we were done with town.  It was certainly time to find ourselves in the hot tub for the evening.


Up, Up and Away

10 06 2011

Day Four:

     Part One

This morning did not start out as we had planned.  You know, it’s not like we actually set an alarm, but we certainly didn’t expect to sleep in until 9am!  So we had to start with a quick dip in the hot tub before getting cleaned up and heading into town. 

It seemed like a nice day for a helicopter ride.  We had talked about taking one on prior trips but Chris was never really that interested.  Daddy and I took a helicopter ride the first time I was with my family in Gatlinburg so I never pushed Chris to do it.  I knew how expensive they were and you never really know how Chris will react to sticker shock!  haha 

For some reason, Chris was ready to take a ride so we went to check it out.  We settled on Scenic Helicopter Tours and took the Mountain Valley Tour.  Everyone at this company was terrific.  They were professional and quick and engaging. 

I tried to snap a picture of one of our pilots, but couldn’t do it without catching the attention of Chris.  He found me out though, while watching the video back he said “you were really trying to get a picture of that pilot, weren’t you?”  Whoops!  Caught red-handed.  Guess I should have asked the hunk-a-hunk-a-tanned pilot for a picture to put on my wall.  haha

It’s so neat to be up in that little vehicle in the sky!  It’s really something.  But I must say that a 15 minute ride at $80 a person goes by really fast.  Like, super fast.  We almost thought they took us on the wrong route when they told us we were heading back in for the landing.  That’s a lot of money for 15 minutes.  Do escorts even get paid that much? 

Favorite Vacation Dining

9 06 2011

Day Three:

     Part Three

If you ever go to the Smokey Mountains, I must recommend our favorite restaurant.  The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe & Grille.  We stumbled upon it during one of our first trips when The Old Mill Restaurant had a 2 hour wait.  It’s in the same Square as The Old Mill Restaurant, but it’s a smaller place with a great atmosphere.  There’s an outside dining area with a small babbling brook, a pretty main dining area and the coolest dishware.  They make all the plates, bowls, table vases and even the bathroom sinks!  The pottery is a nice touch and gives you the inspiration for your own dining room table. 

We (I should say I) have tried a little bit of everything.  The homemade breads and desserts are delicious.  I crave their strawberry salad and potato soup combo every once in a while.  Chris has had terrific sirloin there and even likes their homemade cheese potato chips.  I’ve also had their Rainbow Trout and at least one sandwich that I remember.  I cannot think of one bad experience we’ve had at The Old Mill Pottery House.

Most times that we’ve been, we’ve been seated immediately.  There was one Saturday night that we went during prime time dinner time and had to wait for a while.  They seated us at a table for six.  There was just the two of us!  We felt so bad with other parties waiting, but we were next in line.  We had been waiting with a woman waiting for a table for one so we offered to share our table with her.  She agreed and we had a nice dinner together, separately at the same table with some sporadic conversation.  It was nice.

Before and after we visit The Old Mill Pottery House, we’ll walk around the The Old Mill Square.  I take pictures each time; I love to watch as the seasons change and the place we love stay the same.

Great shot of The Old Mill Restaurant.

Pictures from around The Old Mill Pottery House.

Surprise! There’s a Waterfall!

9 06 2011

Day Three:

     Part Two

We had probably passed this place about a dozen times until I finally saw what the sign said.  There’s a small shack of a thing and a long hitching post, then “WATERFALL” spray painted on a small sign.  So we stopped.  And boy, oh boy, were we surprised!  Since we found it, it’s a must stop during our visit and I take a few pictures.  The shack now has a small store inside and on the landing there’s a sweet little garden area with a picnic table.

Hot Tubbing, Cinnamon Rolls and Jurassic Park

8 06 2011

Day Three:

     Part One

So, day three of our trip in April was a great day!  We woke up pretty early and landed ourselves in the hot tub during the early morning hours.  After a long soak, we got out and I baked cinnamon rolls to enjoy out on the deck.  I had mine with a large cup of coffee.  Ahh, I can almost feel that sense of relaxation and happiness now.

We had big plans for the day so we hopped in the shower and headed into town.

We made it down the mountain without much excitement, but while on the road towards town we picked up a hitch-hiker.  Not the crazy, just from the prison kind, but a large, large bug with a nasty stinger.  I’m not really sure how he managed to do it, but Chris got the bastard under his Mountain Dew bottle.  I was crawling up the side of the door while Chris was not only driving but managing the situation.  As soon as he could, he pulled off the road into a parking lot and I jumped out of the car to safety.  Chris got him out but he was still moving and seemed pretty mad!

We stopped at the Waterfall (requires its own post) and before dinner at our favorite place (also an upcoming post), we made a quick decision to be ripped off tourists.  We had seen this ride – Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride – before on previous trips.  Once when we were with my parents we almost rode it, but Mom chickened out.  We even stopped to see it up close and talk to the kid at the counter, but once we did that Mom was not okay with the idea of the ride.  During other visits we’ve tried to get Mom to agree to it, but she decided it wasn’t for her.  We should have listened to her. 

Do you see those people checking out the place?  I thought they were either workers or enthusiastic guests for the first few times we passed the place.  Then I was like “weren’t those guys there earlier?”.  And wouldn’t you know, these are not real people!  They’re mannequins. 

Yeah, sometimes Chris wonders how I’m supposed to be so smart too.

So, instead of having another almost moment, we decided to just do it.  It cost about $30 for the two of us.  Really??  We were the only ones on the ride and Chris wanted to sit in the very front, but I was feeling creepy so I made him sit in row two.  The ride started and I was excited but a little uneasy since I had no idea what this thing did.  The building was huge and it was not until we were rolling in the boat that I first thought “holy crap, maybe this thing goes up and splashes down somewhere”. 

The doors opened after a suspenseful wait for the large dinosaur above to screech at us.  Little did we know, that was a pretty good prediction of the entire ride.  Most of the time we sat in the dark waiting for something to light up, jump out or squeal.  Oh, please don’t get me wrong – I was terrified!  Sitting in the dark, alone with Chris in that boat, not knowing what was going to happen, visions of CSI/Lifetime/etc. murders and abductions in carnival rides filling my mind.  Ridiculous, really, but can you really get yourself to stop thinking once you’ve started?  I would have done much better if the ride would have worked properly and I could have been startled by mechanical dinosaurs. 

I’m glad we did it, but I sure hope you don’t!  I won’t be a bit surprised if it’s gone the next time we’re in town.

Dinner was fantastic and you guessed it…back to the cabin for an evening spent in the hot tub!

Hanging out and Planning

4 06 2011

Day Two:

Sunday of our trip was spent mostly at the cabin.  And really, mostly in the hot tub.  We love just hanging out in the hot tub.  There’s a beautiful view.  It’s nice to just relax.  We spend long amounts of time just laying there, listening to the sound of the jets.  We should have stayed there, but we convinced ourselves that we should go into town.

We got cleaned up and headed down to civilization.  We drove down the strip in Pigeon Forge to check out show times for a show we wanted to take Scott to when he joined us.  Chris wanted some new shirts, so we hit up the outlet mall.  As we were leaving, I started to feel a bit sick to my stomach so we headed back to the cabin.  I’m pretty sure it was the pasta salad I made the night before.  It was supposed to be awesome but I think the broccoli was hinky. 

We took a nap, had pizza for dinner and watched some of the DVDs we brought with us to end our evening.

Packed and Ready to go

4 06 2011

So it’s finally time to report on our April vacation to Gatlinburg.  I promise I’ve had serious intentions of doing this earlier, but now is the time to get the party started. 

Day One:

We left early on a Saturday morning.  Really early.  7am.  It was still dark out, but we were ready to get to the cabin!  It’s our second home and we had missed it.  I brought a nice trail mix and a new book to help keep me awake this time. 

It worked for a while, but Chris finally saw my heavy eyes and gave the okay to sleep.  Car trips really make me sleepy. 

I was awake to see us reach Tennessee!  The picture turned out okay for me taking it through the window going 80+ miles per hour.

The trip there is pretty predictable.  Chris drives; I sleep.  We get about 30 minutes away and stop for lunch then head to Kroger to get as much as we can possibly remember.  I try to get a rough itinerary together a week or so before the trip to get an idea of what we need at the grocery.  It always feels like we’re missing something important, though.

On our way up the mountain to the cabin there’s mostly a paved road then you make a turn to the gravel road.  I love gravel roads!  Chris is always worried about the damage to the car, but I just enjoy the sound of the tires over the gravel.  We turned one of the corners and found this!

Chris got out of the car to be the hero.  He moved that tree all by himself.  Ten minutes after that we were walking into our favorite place.  We unpacked the car as quickly as we could, settled in and jumped in the hot tub!  Well, we don’t actually jump – neither of us would survive that very well.  We very carefully got into the hot tub for the first of many soaks.

We had delicious steak tacos that night and sighed that great “It’s vacation time” sigh, excited about the week together.