I took a long weekend trip up to Gatlinburg Tennessee last Thursday. For years I went annually and at times more than that, but I hadn’t been up there in several years. It’s my mothers most favorite place to go, aside from the beach at least, so we went a lot when I was growing up. Her 60th birthday was a couple of weeks ago and she really wanted to take a trip up to see the fall foliage. Since I haven’t traveled any this year and don’t have plans to travel the rest of the year I said YES.
We started our trip as we always have, by stopping at Cracker Barrel for breakfast. I don’t know what started that little tradition but we’ve been doing it as far back as I can remember. We have a local CB but never go so this is a treat. I love breakfast but probably only ever eat out for that meal when I’m on the road. I had scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, a fruit and yogurt parfait with granola and a blueberry muffin the size of my hand. It was yummy!
Since we started our trip up a little later in the morning than we usually do it was late when we arrived and traffic was terrible. We each agreed we would pick a restaurant to eat at for dinner each night and my step-dad chose T.F.I. Friday’s for Thursday night. It’s his most favorite place because of Jack Daniel’s glazed chicken and he was devastated when they closed our location in Huntsville. I’d have preferred to check out somewhere local and not a chain but it’s hard to do that when you have to please every palate in your group. I’m not really a fan of “country” or “southern” food so that makes it really hard for me haha.
We got ourselves settled in our hotel room and ventured out into downtown Gatlinburg for a little while but since we arrived so late and my mother was tired we didn’t stay out too late. It was also a lot colder than we expected on that particular night.
On Friday we went into Pigeon Forge to take a gander around Tanger Outlet. We always make sure we put that on our list of things to do when we go to Gatlinburg. It’s so easy to find something great with the variety of stores they have. My first stop is usually Cosmetics Company Store but this time our first stop was Michael Kors since my mother was looking for a handbag. We both ended up finding cute bags and walked out a little poorer. I think the largest shopping adventure for my mom was Kirkland’s though. It’s so funny since we have a local store but she had to go in. They had such cute Christmas decorations!! I didn’t take any pictures of them but there was so much stuff. I may have to let mom drag me to our store at home.
There’s a really cool little place in Pigeon Forge called The Island and it really reminds me of a theme park. The stores are tiny and short, there’s a ferris wheel and other little things scattered around. We mostly went just to check it out but ended up having dinner at Margaritaville because we were all starving and since it was my turn to choose where we ate and I thought the menu looked pretty good. I had chicken kabobs with ‘island rice’ and it was really tasty. Mom had a simple club sandwich and fries (I snagged one and they were great) and step dad had a burger.
On Saturday we sort of wandered around and went back to Tanger Outlet to return something that we didn’t mean to purchase. The day just flew by and I have no idea where it went! We had dinner at Mellow Mushroom. It’s so funny that all of the places we ate at are places we could easily eat at anytime, but we just don’t go out to eat and wanted to go to the places we don’t get often but love. The pizza I had was so good. I ordered a small and only ate half and didn’t take the rest back to the hotel room. I kept thinking about it the rest of the night and wished I’d kept the other half for Sunday morning breakfast!
The only disappointing part was the leaves hadn’t started turning yet and we were anticipating seeing those fall colors. Sunday morning on our way out of town we noticed they’d started turning a little since there’s been a bit of rain and the nights were cool. Of course! I’m willing to bet this coming weekend it will be gorgeous and golden there! Here’s one more picture from our wanderings so you don’t think all we did was eat and shop because I swear we didn’t!
An interesting link: Ask a Dietician on A Beautiful Mess
Music I can’t stop listening to: Niall Horan ‘Flicker’