We had a wonderful trip! Some of you know we were concerned about the weather as we headed up since we come up 441 and come across the Smokies. Early reports said Newfound Gap Rd was open, but once we made it into NC we could see heavy clouds ahead. We encountered rain soon after and made the decision to detour up to I-40 and come into Tennessee that way. We did go through some snowy areas, but it turned back into rain before we reached the Tenn. line.
We were glad to find our cabin to be clean and comfortable, much better than expected for a budget-friendly choice. Everything worked properly, and the location in the Trappers Ridge area was convenient to Pigeon Forge.
Our original plans were to spend most of our time in the Park doing some light hiking, but the storm changed all that. Many of the roads in the Park were closed, so we ended up riding around areas that were open, such as Little River Rd, and going to Sugarlands Visitors Center. We didn't go to Cades Cove this time as it was just too crowded. We also did more shopping than we usually do. On Tuesday, we went to Bass Pro Shops and the Smoky Mountain Knife Works. Then back to Pigeon Forge and Old Time Pottery.
Wednesday we tried to go to Roaring Fork, but only the loop road that goes past Bud Ogle's place was open. There was nowhere to park. The snow was not heavy here, but it was still beautiful to us as we rarely see snow in south Georgia. Next we went out to the Arts & Crafts area for a little while. Then we drove over to Cosby for a late lunch. We explored some back roads before heading to the Incredible Christmas Place, always a favorite.
Thursday was a nice sunny day. We finally did a short hike along Little River Trail in Elkmont. Afterwards, we went to check out locations of some cabins in hopes of another trip next year. Then we joined the crowds at Tanger Five Oaks. Not many bargains were seen, but still we had fun.
This trip we ate at Cracker Barrel - always reliable and we had no wait and very good service; Applewood Farmhouse restaurant - a short wait, very good food, but our server was just okay; Carver's Apple House in Cosby - wonderful chicken and dumplings and good service too; Mel's Diner - good food and a terrific waitress, plus it was Halloween and all employees were in costume. Finally we took the drive out to Taste of Tennesee, which has received some great reviews. It was farther out than expected. The fried chicken and salisbury steak were delicious but the service was not so good. i doubt we will return there.
All in all, we had a great trip and can't wait to return next year. We are thinking about going in September then if it's really less crowded.
Sorry to be so long-winded!