Hey guys! So I just got back from a weekend off and boy was it needed! I went with my boyfriend and his family down to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Friday we had a slow start and just hung around the cabin we were staying at. We stayed at The Oak Haven Resort and Spa which is in Sevierville, north of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.We decided to head to Pigeon Forge and the Island, which is essentially a huge outlet mall. We had a late lunch/early dinner at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. The serve family style meals, so essentially you pick a few things and have unlimited amounts. We picked the Fried Chicken, Steak Strips and Ribs for our main dishes and then Green Beans, Salad, Mac n’ Cheese, and Potatoes for our sides…it was an insane amount of food not to mention you get cheese biscuits and hoe cakes (cornbread pancakes essentially) as an appetizer!
After your stuffed from all the amazing foods for dinner you get to pick a dessert. I went for the Peach Cobbler and it was amazing but I could only have a few bites because I was so full! HOLY COW! Talk about feeling like a can of busted biscuits afterwards 😂 this would definitely be a cheat meal and not something I could eat more than every once in a while.
The next day we got to get away from the touristy stuff and hike in the Smoky Mountain National Park. We were worried about the rain but it ended just sprinkling and helped keep the temperature down. My boyfriend Austin and I hiked the Rainbow Falls trail while the rest of his family hiked the Grotto Falls trail. I hiked a lot growing up in Colorado so I was so excited to finally be somewhere with good trails! Our trip was 5.6 miles round trip and ranked as moderately strenuous while Grotto Falls is about three and ranked as easy. Austin and I worked up a little sweat but it was much needed after that meal yesterday! The view at the top made the hike worth it and we hung out and snacked at the top while admiring the 80 ft waterfall. If you’re a hiker I would definitely recommend making this trail a part of your plans. We were back at our car after 3 hours but I would say to plan for anywhere from 3-4 hours.
Five things to put in your backpack:
- Mosquito/Bug Spray – this one is my favorite. It’s all natural and smells awesome. After I put it on and walked outside my boyfriend’s mom was like, “Wow did you get a whiff of those flowers?” (no flowers! just me!). It works better than any bug sprays I’ve used and lasts hours. Lastly it keeps you from getting more bites but the oils also help to soothe the itching from the ones you already do have. I’ve linked it above but I got my bottle at Lowe’s!
- A jacket – you’d be surprised how much cooler it gets the higher you hike!
- A water bottle
- Snacks! – when you get to the top it’s nice to just sit, eat and rest before heading back down. I like granola bars and fruit.
- A camera or your phone – take pictures! God is a pretty awesome creator, take pictures and appreciate it! (PSA: please don’t play music on the trails people! I can hear that everyday but the waterfall and birds I can’t!)
xoxo, the blonde