This was a quick trip with our boys before they start back to school next week (too soon- August 5th.)
On this trip was DH, myself and our sons ages 15 and 11. When we visit in the summer we like to stay in a hotel downtown, nothing fancy but must be in a good location and clean. We stayed this time at Oak Square Condos on River Road. We checked in on Sunday after an easy drive in. We came in the back way on 321 from Maryville and Townsend. We noticed tons of folks tubing and swimming in the water especially at the sinks and metcalf bottoms. Last summer we felt we had the park to ourselves due to the extensive rain and swollen creeks/rivers. This visit was way more crowded and hot! We visit every year in November and get a cabin. Sometimes we work in a quick visit to see the leaves in October...
After checking in at Oak Square we unpacked and headed over for lunch at Bennett's BBQ. Lunch was great as usual. I'm pretty picky when it comes to pulled pork and especially ribs. I had the combination sliders lunch (great), hubby had the rib combo lunch and said it was fantastic. The boys had chicken fingers and BBQ pork sandwich with fries- great! After lunch we were off to get an in town fishing license as well as a trout license at the spur welcome center. I just love the spur welcome center. I can always find a new book to add to my collection here. Now that we are legal we are off to fish in the park and enjoy the water. Since it was later in the afternoon we decided to not go out too far. We went to the Elkmont area and let the boys catch and release a few trout. The water felt great and was easy to walk in with river shoes. The trout are in abundance and were swimming right up to us. After stopping at a few places to fish and to cool off we went back to the condo to shower and refresh. Once everyone was ready, we took off walking downtown taking in all the music and cloggers. We had dinner late at The Smokey Mtn. Brewery. Pizza, wings and Pretzels and cheese- YUMMY! Back to the Condo for some late night swimming and then we watched some movies we packed from home. . Off to bed......
Monday morning, up and out at 8am. Drove out near Cades Cove fishing all along the way. I packed snacks and sandwiches and it was so
relaxing to have no real plans and just play everything by ear. Cades Cove was beautiful and the repaving project really made it a less bumpy drive. After a long day of fishing, hiking and exploring we headed back to shower and then off to eat at The Old Mill. Dinner was great! I had Turkey and dressing, DH and oldest son had meatloaf. Youngest son had- guess what??? Chicken fingers. The salads, corn chowder and fritters were tasty. The boys then wanted to pick up some fudge at the Old Mill candy kitchen. Back to the condo to park and then walk the strip until we drop.
Tuesday, up early to be in the park by 7am. Drove up to Newfound Gap and then to Clingman's Dome. Stopping all along the way to fish and explore. Today on our treck back down and over to Elkmont (our favorite) we passed a huge black snake and it reminded me of a post on here a week back or so about snakes in the park. When I walked up to look at this very large black snake it flapped it's trail all around in the leaves and grass and it's upper body and head stood up a few feet as to look aggressive. We watched him for several minutes before he darted in some brush and took off- very fast I might say. We talked to a park ranger in Elkmont and he said that Black snakes will either freeze and not move at all or they will try to mimic a rattlesnake and thrash thier tails like a rattle. The rest of the day was spent in the water at metcalf bottoms, the little greenbrier schoolhouse and the walker sisters cabin. Did I mention that I took a really nice spill on the rocks at metcalf bottoms? Whew it was a rough one! Those rocks are slick:) Nice bruises and many laughs by all. Grabbed a few Ogle dogs at fannie farkles and then went to Mynatt Park. Back to the condo to get cleaned up and rest. Dinner tonight at Calhoun's in PF. Before we could even get to dinner my boys had to fish in the stream near The Old Mill. You would think it would be getting old by now but they love it. Dinner at Calhoun's was really good. DH had Steak Calhoun, I had grilled shrimp, Oldest Son had a Cheeseburger and I know you won't believe it by youngest son had Chicken Fingers and some of my shrimp. Back to the condo to park and then walk our butts off. After people watching, some shopping and taking in the music and just relaxing we were back to the condo to start packing. Just when we thought we were going to bed at 1:30am, our youngest son had a terrible allergic reaction so we drove to walgreens in PF for benedryl. Up and out at 11am to check out. Had a quick lunch and then headed back home. We had a great time and look forward to our November Cabin trip. Until then, I will hang on by reading the reports from everyone else.
*** I did miss the roaring fork motor trail this trip:( I hope it is complete by our November trip.
*** Wildlife report- we spotted 1 black snake, 2 river otters, 2 beavers, countless dear in the cove, countless wild turkey in the cove, 2 bears on a quite walkway near Elkmont and too many trout to count. Almost forgot all the crawfish, salamander, pigeons and grand-daddy-long-leggs:) Forgive any typographical errors- long day.