Smoky Mountain Trip Days 1-3: Settling in, Cades Cove, & Abrams Falls

 We spent our first two days of vacation in the car.  On day one we drove from our home to Big Island, Virginia; only stopping for breakfast at Maple's Family Restaurant in Middlebury, CT and dinner at Depot Grill in Stauton, Virginia.  On day two we made it to Pigeon Forge by noon and checked out the nail biting ride up the mountains to our house rental in Sevierville.  

I took these photos were taken later in the week to try and show you what our house was like-- while the first photo is not our house the rental we were staying in was perched on the side of the mountain just like this.


Taken from the driveway of the next house down the mountain; this is the supports holding our rental to the mountain side.  This whole development is filled with cliffside homes and the roads are filled with hairpin turns, dramatic drop offs (with no guard rails) and steep ascents and descents. 



We stopped for lunch at The Old Mill, met up with my sister and her two kids then we hit up the grocery store and spent the rest of our night at the house.  We saw a bear (a BIG bear) right across the street and enjoyed the ever changing views from our balcony until the fireworks show at Dollywood (which we can see from our balcony).  The kids had a great time playing pool and video games and catching up with one another.  
















Monday July 11th was our third day of vacation and our first full day in the Smoky Mountains.  We planned a short morning hike and ended up checking out Cades Cove and hiking Abrams Falls.  It was a short and rather easy 5 mile hike from the parking lot in Cades Cove and while it was busy we didn't feel like it was crowded. We saw deer, a bear, wild turkeys, a jack rabbit, and lots and lots of wildflowers. 










After the hike we drove the rest of the way through Cades Cove and then through a larger portion of Smoky Mountain National park exiting right into Gatlinburg. We went to have lunch and then we rode the Ober Gatlinburg to check out some of the sights. 





We ended our night with another beautiful sunset!








Days 4-5

Days 6-7 

Linking up with: Potpourri, Spread the Kindness, 











Comments

  1. Looks beautiful Joanne- can't wait to keep following along!

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  2. Oh wow! You really are up in the mountains. What a fantastic place to stay. How wonderful to see all of the wildlife, I wouldn't be too keen on the bears though. x

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    1. We really were waay up in the mountains. I was okay with the bears since we really only ever saw them from our porch and they never seemed to care at all that we were standing there (though I was so thankful to not ever see one on any of our hikes/walks!)

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  3. This is only about 4 ish hours from me. The traffic in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg is something else! I think I would be terrified on the way to and from those rentals. Do you remember Lindsay from Lindsay's Sweet World talking about how terrifying the hill to her rental was? This reminds me of her description. There is such beautiful nature there. I am scared of running into a bear so I actually like when there are more people around making noise. I hope you had a wonderful time with your sister and her family!

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    1. We managed to avoid most of the traffic in that area... but yeah, I can see how it could be brutal at times. Our GPS automatically rerouted us around it and I think that's why we got to experience some pretty crazy roads and drives (other than the one up to our rental). I was thinking of Lindsay on our drive up... there were spots when the car window is facing up in the air and you can not see road on the other side of the "bump" where we just had to creep forward and hope the road was in fact there!

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  4. I grew up in east Tennessee and love Cades Cove - beautiful photos #MMBC

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  5. Wow, what stunning views! The sunsets are particularly amazing. I think I may have been a little scared seeing bears though. I'm glad you enjoyed your vacation, and thanks for sharing your amazing photos. #mmbc

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    1. I just kept hoping that we wouldn't see any bears while we were out walking and we were lucky enough not to.

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  6. We saw a bear there too and love those sunsets!

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    1. We saw this mom and her cubs almost every day... thankfully they never caused any problems for us!

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  7. Oh wow you got some beautiful photos. I would love to here right now, exploring :) #MMBC

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    1. It was fun and I feel like we only got to see such a small amount of what was there.

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  8. I loved reading this and look forward to the other posts! Sounds adventurous all ready with the mountain side home and wildlife!

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  9. Wow, those views must've been awesome! It sounds like you had great fun on your hike and the kids enjoyed their time together too. #MMBC

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    1. The views were spectacular! The kids had a great time together.

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  10. Ahhhh what a gorgeous place! You got some great pictures. And girl, those dropoffs look terrifying. We have stayed at some places like that, too, and it always freaked me out a little. My uncle's old mountain house was perched on the side of a mountain like that so the house looked like it was on stilts and I was always praying for them to hold while we were there. Lol. And I'm also cracking up at Amy's comment above... YES, the driveway at our mountain house last year was a NIGHTMARE. We just looked at the Airbnb listing recently, and the owners actually just paved it because every single person who stayed there and left a review complained about it and talked about how terrifying it was. Lol. So it's probably much more manageable now!

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    1. I joked with my husband that if he hadn't gone with us I would still have been at the bottom of the mountain. I should have taken a photo of the warning sign they had posted before driving up it! Once we got up there the first few times it was far less terrifying (other than the day it started to rain.. in the dark!)... at least we knew there was a road beneath us on a few of those turns where we couldn't actually see the road.

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  11. Hi Joanne - the views are amazing - but I'm not so sure about those houses hanging on to the side of the mountain by the skin of their teeth! And all those winding roads and wildlife - exciting and scary and quite an adventure!

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    1. We could not get over how many houses are built like that (and kept marveling at how these crews brought up building supplies too!).

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  12. ..many of your images show why the Smoky Mountains get their name!

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    1. Oh yes, they are very smoky! It was very obvious to see how they got their name. It was neat to see how quickly it moved in and out all the different valleys and elevations too.

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  13. Amazing! That waterfall! All that nature. Very relaxing.

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    1. We saw some really amazing waterfalls and so much nature! It was a very relaxing trip... well other than the hikes at high altitudes that left us exhausted! LOL.

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  14. When I was a kid, we visited Pigeon Forge and had a great time. I prefer mountains to the beach anyday!

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    1. For me it's a toss up between the two! Though I fully admit that this was not my favorite vacation; both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are far too big, crowded, and developed for my taste.

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  15. My sister just visited there the week before you! She was telling me all about the houses on the hillside like that, but seeing pictures really puts it into perspective! It looks like a great trip so far and those views are goregous!

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    1. I wouldn't have pictured houses like this if I hadn't seen it for myself! We did later realize that their winters are nothing like ours but still... I would not want to be in any of these houses when snow hits.

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  16. Now the question is would you stay at that rental again?? I bet it's cool to be up there away from everyone??
    OXOX
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. I would stay there again... but only when the weather is nice and as long as my husband was driving. There is no way I would have driven up there myself. However, the views were incredible and it was pretty peaceful up there.

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  17. The Smokies are on our bucket list!

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    1. It is such a beautiful national park and I feel like we barely saw any of it... Tomorrow's post shows the map versus what we covered highlighted in yellow and while we made sure to see different sections of it we still barely scratched the surface.

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  18. Gatlinburg will always have a spot in my heart. We went there a month after my dad passed. My mom was a widow of 42 with three kids. I always felt like we retreated there (we rented a cabin just off the main street which was far less developed then) to grieve and figure things out. My kids always talk about how much they loved Dollywood. I think we only went a couple of times because Pigeon Forge just seemed to outgrow itself! My oldest son and his family go to Gatlinburg regularly...he always buys me a loaf of cinnamon bread from the Village Friar which is in a little brick cul de sac off the main street. Gorgeous pictures, Joanne!

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

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    1. That cinnamon bread is AMAZING!! We downed a loaf in no time (though we bought ours inside the Dollywood park). I loved it but I don't think I'd want to go back again. Much too crowded and commercialized for me. It's amazing to see the changes to both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg from a trip I took there as a kid.

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  19. What a beautiful place to visit. Wow.

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  20. I have not seen houses built like that before, amazing but scary! The drive was certainly worth it. Gorgeous scenery. Loved seeing your hiking photos from the area.

    -Soma

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    1. We were marveling at all the builders and how they get their supplies up there!

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  21. This brought back memories for me, Joanne. My late hubby and I hiked to Abrams Falls, too.

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    1. It was such a fun hike! I got a bit nervous at the falls though as a few copperheads were around and swimming in the water.

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