Friday morning we decided to eat breakfast at Log Cabin on Airport Road. My husband & I both had the biscuits and gravy. Very Good! After breakfast, we headed into the park. This day we decided to try the Baskins Creek trail and Roaring Fork. We started out on the Baskins Creek trail, and to call this trail easy is very decieving, in my opinion. The majority of the trail is downhill, meaning you will have to climb back up on your return trip! I realized this about halfway through and we decided to turn around. The return trip was very difficult on my lungs. I think it's the cooler air that makes breathing difficult for me. Still, it was very pretty. We decided that if we don't finish trails, it's not the end of the world...we still get to see some beautiful sites! Luckily my husband is very patient and understanding! There are some really great views on this trail. I like when the leaves are gone because you really get to see the mountains very clearly. There was some frost in the higher elevations on this morning, so it was very pretty against the bright blue sky. After we left the trail we decided to do the RFMNT. I think this was our third time on this drive, but I just love it! Well, I could do without the impatient drivers. I can't tell you how many times people were on our bumper throughout this whole trip through the park. What are you in such a hurry for? Especially on a motor trail, there really isn't any point to being in a hurry and pushing people out of the way. If you are in a hurry, you should be on vacation somehwere else. Some of us would like to enjoy what nature has to offer! Getting back to the drive, we did get to see another deer up close. Very beautiful. No bears on this trip. I know I'm in the minority on this one, but I don't really want to see any bears. I'm fine with them being in hiding!! :) After we finished the drive, we stopped at Ely's Mill. They were out of their honey, but I bought some soap for my mom and a beautiful hand woven piece, I think it can be used as a placemat, for my mother-in-law. The weaving had a neat backstory, and my mother-in-law likes those things to put her crystal collection on. This is a really cute store, run by people who really know the mountains. Try and stop there! After that we headed to the cabin to rest (see a pattern here?) before dinner. After we relaxed and cleaned up we decided to head to the Parkway. We walked from the cabin to the Parkway on Tuesday night, and even though it's a pretty close walk, I'm not very comfortable with it. Our cabin was pretty high up on Baskins Creek Road, and it is very, very dark at night. I know Gatlinburg is a safe place, but I AM from the North, so I always have my guard up! Just kidding...I just really wasn't comfortable with the dark walk, so we found a nice $5 parking lot right across from The Village, I think it was a school parking lot. Much better! We went to The Peddler, and they said it was about a 2 hour wait. We were expecting that, so we put our names in and headed to buy some fudge from Aunt Mahalia's (I always have to stop here!). By the time we made our way around the Parkway and back, our table was ready. As always, The Peddler was a fantastic meal. This is hands down my favorite Gatlinburg restaurant. It's beautiful, the servers are very friendly and the food is outstanding. It's the only expensive meal we get in the Smokies. It's always worth it. I had the filet with a baked potato and hubby had rib eye with fries. Both were excellent. After dinner, we walked back down the Parkway, which was much more crowded than Wednesday, and picked up some ice cream to go at Kilwin's. I got the chocolate and hubby got vanilla. Their ice cream is the best!! So creamy! After this busy day we headed back to the cabin, ate our ice cream and called it a night!
Saturday was our last full day. Boo. We got up and headed to Applewood for breakfast. We had to pick up some apple butter for my mother-in-law, and the store was closed Thursday. Well, we might as well stop and eat some breakfast while we are there! We got there and sat down right away. By the time we left there, the place was packed with people trying to get a table. We timed it right! Again we both had the biscuits and gravy and split a side of pancakes. Very good. We went to the Apple Barn, and bought apple butter, pumpkin butter and some flavored coffee. There is way too much good stuff in that store! After that, we headed to the park via the bypass. As usual, people were in a big hurry, and we saw a truck flipped over on the side of the road. Take your time. The mountains aren't going anywhere!! :) Hopefully the driver was ok, I don't know, maybe he swerved to miss hitting an animal. Either way, I hope everyone was ok. We decided to go to the Greenbrier School this day and take the walk to the Walker Sisters cabin. This is really a cool thing to do!! We got there early enough where my husband & I were the only people by the cabin for about 20 minutes. We got to look around and sit & relax. It is really nice back there. I wish I could live there! After the walk back, we stopped and took a look at the school and the cemetary. Both very interesting. I really recommend visiting this area. It is really beautiful. If you hit it at the right time, it is very peaceful.
On a side note, each day as we left the park, I noticed a ridiculous amount of cars parked at the Laurel Falls trailhead. I am amazed at the amount of people who visit this trail everyday! I'm sorry, but if I pulled up to a trailhead and saw that many cars, I'd run as fast as I could in the other direction! I've done this trail (early in the morning), and it's nice but not that nice!! I don't even know where all of the people go! I found it to be crowded up there with just 5 or 6 people by the falls. People, there are other nice areas to see! Save yourself the aggravation! Anyway, maybe that's just my opinion. I had to comment on it, though!
We headed out of the park at the right time again, because it was getting very crowded. We went to the Gatlinburg Winery so I could get some wine to take home. I love their wine, and I think it is much better than the wines at the Applewood. I got four bottles to take home! Ok, maybe I'll give ONE away as a gift. That's it, though! :) After this we went back to the cabin to finish up some laundry and start packing so we could get an early start on Sunday. So sad. :( We headed to the parking lot across from The Village and did a little shopping in that area. Saturday was MUCH more crowded than Friday and Friday was pretty crowded. Insane! It didn't bother us, though. We learned to avoid certain places at certain times and had no problems. I hit the Candle Cottage, where they had a three pack of jar candles on sale for $18. I like their candles, so I found this to be a good deal. We put those in the car and walked back to the Brewery for dinner. I know, we already ate there, but we love it! We sat right down and again got the pretzels and wings. As we were leaving it was PACKED with people waiting for tables. Again, another place we hit at the right time! On our way back to the cabin we stopped at the Donut Friar for donuts for our long ride home the next morning. That place was packed!
We finished up some laundry and headed to bed. We got up to leave around 3am. I wrote in the cabin comment book, and got a little teary eyed as I always do when I have to say good bye to the mountains. :( All in all, it was a wonderful relaxing trip that was needed. Now that we're home and back to work, it's as though we never left! At least we have our memories.
Until next time...