Gatlinburg trip

Well, we’re home from Gatlinburg so now it’s time for a recap.  This was my favorite work trip that Michael has had (that I’ve gotten to go on) because 1. I loooovvveee Gatlinburg and 2. I actually got to enjoy this trip rather than having to do school work the whole time.


After church Sunday morning we packed up and hit the road.  We stopped in Cookeville to eat supper with my brother Brendan at the best Mexican restaurant ever, El Tap.  Right before we got to our hotel it started storming.  Our hotel, the Park Vista, was on the top of the hill and it seemed like we were right inside the storm.  I have never heard such loud thunder or seen such close lightening!  What a cool display of God’s awesome power.

the Park Vista

the rooms are all in a circle around the perimeter of the hotel with an open lobby in the middle (this is from the lobby looking up)

elevators – I thought it was really neat how they traveled kind of on the outside of the wall

view from the elevator looking at the rooms

view from the elevator looking down to the lobby

we didn’t use the pool while we were there, but I thought it was really neat – two twisty water slides and two levels!

there was also a display case with live birds in it; this little guy was so cute!

the view from our hotel balcony Monday morning – beautiful!


We fully expected that the days would be very similar to all the other trainings Michael has been to in the past…he would be in training all day and I’d be on my own until he was finished.  However, his training was in our hotel and he frequently had breaks so I got to see him then, plus he usually got an hour and a half for lunch, so we got to go out to lunch everyday.  What fun!

Monday we went to the Best Italian Cafe & Pizzaria (that’s really the name!) for lunch.

big fat garlic rolls

Michael’s pizza

I always ask for extra lemon at restaurants – to some waiters that means one extra slice and to others that means a whole bowl of lemon slices…this waiter got it totally right, plus made a cute lemon arrangement!

While he was in class, I just lazed around the hotel room and blogged, read, watched, tv, etc.

Monday night after classes got out we drove to Sevierville to go to the Lodge Cast Iron store and Smokey Mountain Knife Works.  I didn’t think I would be excited about Knife Works at all, and I’ll admit that parts were boring, but there were some pretty cool things there!  Especially the section of kitchen stuff.

inside Smokey Mountain Knife Works

After we left Knifeworks we were getting quite hungry for supper and we wanted pancakes.  When you drive through Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge you realize that the big “things” in Gatlinburg are pancakes, old timey photos, and fudge.  However, the pancakes places that are so ubiquitous happen to only be open for breakfast and lunch…not supper!  After driving to several with no success we decided to scratch that and try something else.  We finally settled on Bubba Gump’s, which was delicious, just not what we planned.  And then we walked to Ben and Jerry’s – double yum!


When Michael got his break for lunch we went to the Log Cabin Pancake House to get our pancake fix.  The wait was well worth it!

my butterscotch pancakes and Michael’s chocolate chip pancakes – incredible!

 After lunch Michael headed back to class and I headed out to the Tanger Outlet Mall…one of my favorite places to shop!  I racked up on summer clothes…expect to see lots of new pieces/outfits in my What I Wore Wednesday posts.

Tuesday night we went to The Alamo Steakhouse for supper.  We’d heard mixed reviews about The Alamo…some loved it, some thought it wasn’t so great.  We decided to see for ourselves, and our verdict was that we really liked it!

I had filet with asparagus and crab covered in hollandaise sauce (plus baked potato, salad, and rolls)…wow it was good!

these ducks were just hanging out outside The Alamo – not scared of us at all!


As I’ve mentioned before, I attend a Bible study on Wednesday mornings.  It’s called BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and there are groups that meet all over the world, studying the same material.  Since all the BSF classes study the same thing, I was able to find and attend a BSF class in Knoxville.  So Wednesday morning I drove to Knoxville and attended a BSF class there.  Then after Bible study I went out to lunch with my grandparents (my dad’s whole family lives in Knoxville) and then went to see my Aunt Rhonda and Uncle Tim for a while.  It was really great to get to see my family!

We went to McAlister’s for supper – Chris and Erin introduced us to McAlister’s last weekend in Lexington and we loved it so we were excited to find one in Pigeon Forge.  We did a little shopping at some bookstores to look for books I needed for my book-themed graduation party.  Ice cream sounded good to us, but all the places we went were closed!  Gatlinburg must cater to old people, because everything closes really early!  After lots of driving between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge (a la Monday night’s pancake hunt) we finally found a Marble Slab open and were able to get our ice cream fix.


Thursday for lunch we went with some of the other people at Michael’s training back to Log Cabin for more pancakes.  Then I headed back out to the outlet mall for more shopping, but I must have already tapped out all the good stores because I didn’t find anything good.  I should have just stayed at the hotel and watched the Criminal Minds marathon that was on…

Thursday night we decided to stay in and eat supper in our room.  I had packed quite a bit of food for my lunches that wasn’t getting eaten since I ended up going out with Michael for lunch everyday.  So we decided to eat some of that food for our supper.  However, we did have to go get some ice cream after supper :).


Michael just had one class Friday morning; while he was in class I had a quick workout, breakfast, shower, and packed up my stuff.  That way we were able to hit the road as soon as he was done and book it back home so I could get to my graduation!

We had a blast!  Even though Michael had training every day, everything was pretty slow-paced.  He got lots of breaks, I got to sleep in, we got to enjoy cable (very exciting for us non-tv owners…), read, visit family, shop, eat, and relax.  I love Gatlinburg and I’m already ready to go back!


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