Friday, July 15, 2011

25lb Apple Pie Anyone?

Day 7- Friday, June 17

This was our last full day in the Smokey Mountains. Wendy and her family left shortly after 5am this morning to start he drive home in the mini van. My parents, Mandy and her family and of course Alan, William and I were all still ready to enjoy our last full day.

Mama enjoyed some baby Brynley time! Love those rolls!

On the schedule? Dollywood. My parents passed and decided to go shopping instead, but they dropped us off at Dollywood. We arrived at 10am, thinking we were going to be there at opening, but we made a rookie mistake and didn't check the park hours. I can tell you park hours for Disney anytime, but Dollywood, not so much. The park had opened at 9am so we walked into huge crowds. Jeff and Mandy wanted to see the bubble show, but as we walked in, there was already a huge line for the 10:45 show (and this was at 10am). So we passed.

We headed over to the Mystery Mine ride. I love thrill rides and this one looked cool, so we switched off- one couple rode while the other watched Brynley and William. The ride was very cool- you went straight up vertically into the sky on a track and back down and they mixed in some special effects too. Probably the most fun (and intense) coaster I've done. We then headed around the park, stopping to play here and there.

It was pretty hot and overly crowded with tourist groups, church groups and more. We did the merry go round again and I took Will to drive a car again. He loved it.

By 1pm, we were done. On our way out of the park, we stopped at the bakery to have a look. Alan eyed the 25lb apple pie as featured on the travel channel. He decided to dish out the $10 for a 5lb slice to take home! That thing was gigantic. The rest of us got some yummy treats and headed out to the van.

Back the cabin for lunch and then we headed out again, this time to find a creek for William to throw some rocks in. My dad had found a great handicap accessible park area where the creek runs through so my mom could get down there easily to enjoy it. He had taken her earlier that day, so we went back for William to enjoy.
Next we headed out to do some exploring and shopping. We found some arts and craft shops near Gatlinburg, off the beaten path and did some shopping. We found a really cute old fashioned soda shop where we all got some ice cream, shakes or floats. Just what we need, more sweet treats. One of the stores we went in, the store owner had a baby raccoon that he was nursing back to health. Racoons were Wendy's favorite animal as a kid (don't ask me why), so it was sad she missed seeing a real baby one. After wrapping up our shopping, it was back to the cabin to finish packing and then we headed out to dinner. We found a restaurant called the Alamo Cafe across from the pizza place and owned by the same group. The food was fantastic, one of the best (and biggest) burgers (kobe beef, I think), that I have ever had. We enjoyed a fabulous last meal together and Papa kept William entertained.
The next morning, we were up by 5am to start the long drive back home. We only stopped like 6 times that day, so we made good time. We did the full drive in 15 hours and didn't stop overnight like on the way there. Brynley was so good the entire time. We finally got home that night, unloaded and headed home. I think we were back home after 9pm or so that night.

All in all, we had a wonderful vacation, made new memories with the family and explored some beautiful scenery!

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