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Trip report- November 17th- 21st

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Rossville, Ga
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474 posts
5 reviews
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Trip report- November 17th- 21st

Our family (me, husband and 2 sons- 15 and 11) arrived early Wednesday morning and checked into our cabin in Wears Valley through TimberCreek Cabins.

Check-in was easy as always and we proceeded to the cabin and unpacked. After we unpacked we went to Bennett's for lunch and then a quick trek through Elkmont to enjoy peace and nature. Now to the grocery store for all the snacks and staples. Back to the cabin to put up groceries and to relax. After it was dark we went out to see the Christmas lights. This evening we hung at the cabin and played pool and soaked in the hot tub under the moon and the stars. We had a family of racoons at our bedroom door looking in:)

Thursday morning up early. Light breakfast at the cabin and then off to the park. First stop, Metcalf Bottoms area and hike to the Schoolhouse and then the Walker Sister's Cabin. Great walk as always, never get tired of seeing it no matter how many times we do it. Saw a good size bear on this walk in the distance, he noticed us but quickly went back to eating. Next stop, Elkmont again to explore the remains of the old Wonderland Hotel. Loved this walk! Thanks Cherokeegurl and Bob for the great tips. I have been to Elkmont many times but I have never took the time to find the hotel. After Elkmont we hiked a few "quiet walk-ways" and they were very enjoyable. Our oldest son suffers from seizures so we are not able to do long hikes. He would love to keep going and keep going to explore and discover but we can't get very far out. Lunch at the Applebarn at our boys request. To me, The Applebarn is good but not great. I'm a southern girl who knows how to cook up some soul food so I am a bit of a harsh judge. Back to the cabin to wait for some more family to arrive (my sister, her husband and 2 of her children. Oldest son and girlfriend to arrive on Friday) in the evening. Built a roaring fire and enjoyed the popping and cracking and played cards until they arrived. Once they arrived and everyone was settled we took eveyone to The Smokey Mtn. Brewery in Gatlinburg for dinner. Dinner was great as always and we enjoyed the musician- Jordan Beach who was extremely talented. Don't know why but it's a tradition for everyone to sit in the BIG chair and get pictures outside the Brewery. We also like to go back to the bridge over the creek that has Christmas lights and get family pictures as well. Drove around looking at the Christmas lights and then back to the cabin. On the drive back, a bear was standing on the side of the road on the spur. Gosh, we could have hit him. Stayed up playing a great game of pool, charades and cards.

Friday morning up early. Breakfast at the Mountain Lodge which was wonderful. After breakfast we headed to the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. The newly paved trail was really nice and the weather was just beautiful. My sister had never done the Roaring Fork so it was nice to show her around. Next, Alewine's Pottery for a new purchase and to listen to Jerry and Joan sing, enjoy the fire, the rocking chairs and popcorn. Jerry and Joan were great as always and I love to look at the pottery and was happy that Robert was there throwing clay! What a great visit. Jerry and Joan also had our oldest son join the band as a third member on one song. They were nice enough to give our oldest their newest cd and wrote the nicest comments and autographed it just for him. His favorite song is "I'll fly away" and he sings every word with them. He is 15 and autistic, he loves the Lord like nothing else. Jerry and Joan's music has a true mountain feel and when they sing about Jesus it really speaks to Ben. Thanks for a great visit at Alewine's:) Dinner at the Old Mill which was great and never disappoints. I love the corn chowder! After browsing through the stores and making a few purchases we went back to the cabin to wait on our Nephew and girlfriend to arrive. Stayed up late playing pool and games.

Saturday, up early to sip coffee with family on the porch and then all the kids wanted to walk the strip in Gatlinburg. After the strip and all the downtown activities we went for a few short hikes in the park and spotted another bear. This one was just huge! Again, he continued to eat and we backed away even though our boys wanted to stay and watch him. As a mother, I just want to get the kids back to the car ASAP. I absolutely LOVE animals and if he were tranquilized, I would be the first one in line to spoon with him but it is just unnerving to walk up on one of these guys. Back to the cabin for family pictures. You all know the kids just loved this activity! Taking pictures is the hardest thing in the world to do with 11 year olds and teenagers! The pictures turned out great even though we had to wrestle them more than a few times... Dinner to celebrate our Nephews 18th Birthday at Calhoun's. Walked around at all the stores in Walden's Landing. This is where things get odd... Went to The 3 Bears store in Pigeon Forge to shop around. The kids wanted to look around for souviners and such. As I have mentioned, both of our sons are autistic. Our oldest son who also suffers from seizures is severly autistic and always has a camera around his neck. His greatest loves in life are JESUS, photography, music and travel. He photographs everything and then downloads the pictures or video and relives the experience over and over. He first took some pictures of the store outstide because it is decorated for Christmas. When we walked inside, we could see Santa on the upper level of the store and he waves to us and says hi. Ben immediatley tried to snap a picture of him and he yells for him to stop and not to take his picture. He covers his face and with a sharp voice he yells at Ben that he can't take his picture! Ben is crushed because even though he is 15 he believes in Santa and adores Christmas. I tell him that Santa is playing around and then I tell my husband to stay with Ben and the rest of the family while I set things straight with Santa. I can't really say on this site what I said to Santa but let's just say I might make the naught list this year. Needless to say, Santa appologized to Ben and our family and then brought him up for complementary pictures and hugs. The thing Santa did not understand but now understands with perfect clarity is that if he were nice to families and children and is engaging then parents like me will bring their kids over and pay for a picture on his lap. When you act like a jerk and are worried about a buck rather than a childs magical love of Santa then you might not have a job match as Santa. Santa actually said to me that after he yelled at my son he could tell by my sons reaction that something was "wrong with him" and then he felt bad. I explained to him that my son was actually more perfect than he or I could ever be. He asked if he was born "normal". Santa came close to getting his ___ kicked to say the least. I'm pretty sure his ears are still burning... As I look at this picture of my dear son hugging Santa's neck, it warms my heart. Maybe this little experience will change Santa for the better. Now, off to the Christmas Place for a few purchases and pictures. Games of pool, sitting around the fireplace and spending quality time together.

Up early Sunday for Breakfast at the cabin, packing up and then off to the AppleBarn for pies to bring home to friends and other family. What a blessing to have a great trip with family and to make so many memories for our boys. We said many prayers at our favorite spots in the park and high on the mountains (had to say a few extra after the Santa incident). What a wonderful feeling it is to see the beauty HE put on this earth. Our trips to the GSMNP restores my soul and makes me whole again. Looking forward to our next visit. The plan is to visit in January when they are calling for snow... Hope all of you who have upcoming trips have a wonderful trip as we did. Thanks, Rebecca

Hebron, Indiana
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1,442 posts
30 reviews
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1. Re: Trip report- November 17th- 21st

Great trip report, Rebecca!! Sounds like you had a wonderful time. That's a shame about the Santa being so rude (what a stupid thing for him to say about your son). I think that Santa needs to go to some sensitivity classes! ;)

Anyway, glad you could put that incident behind you and enjoy the rest of your trip. I have a birth defect and when I encounter a rude person that makes a rude comment to me about it (and you'd be surprised how many adults do) , I tend to dwell on it and let it ruin my trip. :(

I wish I could have gotten to hike to the Walker Sister's cabin when I was there in Sept. It looks like such a cute little cabin. Wish there was a road to it like the Little Greenbrier School.

Thanks for sharing...I enjoyed reading the report...loved all the details!

Bartlett, Tennessee
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2,439 posts
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2. Re: Trip report- November 17th- 21st

Oh my goodness what a bad santa.Im glad you had a wonderful trip and you got to see the remains of Wonderland Hotel,It is kinda sad going thru Elkmont and seeing everything and all the Goverment signs up at the old homesteads.I love being in the hot tub looking up at the moon and stars too,very relaxing.When I have looked for cabins ive noticed some pictures of racoons peeping thru the windows.Im glad you and your family had such a wonderful time and glad i could help you with some of your planning.We have 30 more days till we come back and I cant wait.

Thanks so much for sharing your trip,Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Bartlett, Tennessee
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3. Re: Trip report- November 17th- 21st

Rebecca,How did the Christmas lights look? When we came up the 1st week of November they had most of them up but none was turned on yet.Some looked very big and I cant wait to see them.

Mississippi
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1,530 posts
21 reviews
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4. Re: Trip report- November 17th- 21st

Thanks so much for sharing your adventure with the rest of us.

I have to say, the incident with Santa has pulled on my heart. It's my belief that the Almighty works through families like yours to make the rest of us think about how our thoughts and actions can effect others. Your children help remind us that every moment is special, as they go through life with their minds and hearts in the right place.

The hikes to the Schoolhouse, the Walker Sister's Cabin, and Elmont are wonderful ways to get into the national park and have your family appreciate the wonders of creation. You picked some good ones.

I agree about the Applebarn. We enjoy the complex, but eating at the restaurant has been a disappointment in the past.

I'm glad ya'll stayed with Timbercreek. They have always been the friendliest and most accommodating of rental companies. If you don't mind my asking, which cabin did you choose? Those Raccoons are probably looking for a handout. If other tenants would deny them treats, the raccoons would be better off, and it would keep many away from the roads.

You've also reminded me that I need to quit driving past the quiet walkways.

Thank you once again.

Kentucky
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742 posts
155 reviews
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5. Re: Trip report- November 17th- 21st

Great report. I felt like I was right there with you. I picked up a few hiking ideas from you. That's what TA is all about.

I am so sorry about the insensitive Santa. I took our oldest dd for a haircut when she was little, and explained to the stylist that dd was hearing impaired and she would have to talk directly to dd's face. She had the insensitivity to ask if that meant dd was "empty minded." Sorry to say that there are ignorant people everywhere you go.

Tennessee
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64 posts
64 reviews
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6. Re: Trip report- November 17th- 21st

Great trip report!

Georgia
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639 posts
49 reviews
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7. Re: Trip report- November 17th- 21st

People can be so insensitive. I'm glad you had a good trip despite the Santa incident.

SE Indiana
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8. Re: Trip report- November 17th- 21st

Thank You for the great trip report.

It sounds like the Santa Shop needs to have a [more] prominent "NO PHOTOS" sign if they don't want folks snapping pics.

Athens, Georgia
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2,736 posts
32 reviews
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9. Re: Trip report- November 17th- 21st

Great trip report, thanks for sharing. I agree there is no better place to feel Gods love than the mountians and beach. It is awesome to be surrounded by His beauty that He created for us.

After this report we will skip the Santa at the three bears.

Pigeon Forge...
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1,818 posts
21 reviews
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10. Re: Trip report- November 17th- 21st

Thank you for sharing your report with us! Sorry to hear about the Santa who doesn't appear to have a clue or any manners for that matter. I guess we all need sometimes to be reminded of our own manners, so hopefully you 'helping' him to see the error of his ways will make for a much nicer Santa.

Sounds like, other than that, that your family had a wonderful trip!