Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My first trip to Gatlinburg: Dream Cabin and Essential Cabin Activities

As a native Tennessean, when I used to tell people I had never been to Gatlinburg- it was usually met with slacked jaws and incredulous expression. [Tangent: They probably thought I fell into a crevace as a child and was monitored solely by woodland creatures, therefore not going on many vacations. I mean...I'm assuming. Either that or my parents always thought it was too expensive to take 4 children to anywhere with too many touristy-type destinations...that may not even be accessible...knowing we would shape-shift into intolerable brats once we got anywhere with video games. I guess the latter is more likely, right? Oh and while we are on topic- I've also never been to Disney World and didn't go to Florida until I was an adult, and I turned out just fine. I've been to tons of beaches and Disney Land though before you call Child Protective Services retroactively.] To be fair I have been to all the areas surrounding and have driven through the Smokies on at least an anuual basis since I was born, so I get the majestic beauty aspect, but never had I gotten to experience the other part: The chalet/hot tub in every cabin/airbrushed/bears emblazoned on everything/redneck riviera aspect...until a couple weeks ago!

I'm so glad my friends invited me to tag along [Tangent: We went with Rae, Crystal and Aubrey and their fellas. I am thankful that we all get along so well. Boys and girls alike. That doesn't always happen. The fact that we were all content to keep the cabin TV on CNN all weekend so we could discuss the primaries speaks volumes! Oh and since Rae is a blogger, she of course, took a million pictures that are way better than my iPhone snaps so check them out here and here. ] so I could cross "Go to Gatlinburg" off my list of things every Tennesseean has to do. Of course, I was instantly concerned that the facilities would not be Kimmie-friendly. I know cabins generally mean ridiculous steep stairs and if they are "accessible"- it generally takes away every ounce of charm.

Well, somehow Aubrey found the unicorn of a cabin on AirBNB in nearby Sevierville that was seriously the cutest/creepiest/kitchiest residence I had ever laid my peepers on. So many quirky antiques and likely mountain ghosts hidden in every corner.

[Tangent: Feel free to ogle it here! It was actually two 100-year-old cabins that were connected with a middle living area by people that helped build up Gatlinburg. There was history and old articles hung in the kitchen that revealed the original owners built the space needle downtown!] Sure, the main stone walkway had some unevenness and would be hard for a power chair and the hot tub was down some stairs, but it was fully ramped and I was in heaven. I mean look at that amazing house...

Since our cabin was so adorable, we spent a lot of time just enjoying it and hanging out. [Tangent: I mean that kitchen...why would you not want to just live in there?!?!] Everyone was in full vacation mode, so we had brought or bought ridiculous ways to spend our time while hanging out. Here are some of my recommendations for essential cabin activities:

1. Ridiculous and Comfy clothes
We had no idea that we were gonna have gorgeous weather during the day. High 60's in February was an awesome surprise, and I was ill-prepared with my bag full of sweaters and boots. However, it got REALLY cold at night...especially in my room that was the "old part" and not at all air tight so thank goodness we decided beforehand to wear animal onesies! I am semi-angry we didn't get a group shot of 5/8 of us looking like low-rent furries!

2. Board Games

Ever since I bought HeartThrob at a goodwill several years ago, it has become an institution at any and all gatherings where people aren't afraid to embrace their inner 12 year-old girl. [Tangent: You can read all about its merits here in this older blog.] Even though it is geared towards young 80's girls, we have found that guys win almost 100% of the time.  Rae loved it so much, she bought her own copy on eBay and brought it to Gatlinburg. If we hadn't remembered games, I likely would have dug into some of the homeowners because there were some gems from the 70s and 80s in my bedroom. [Tangent: I find that on vacation if we rent a house from someone I like to embrace that person's spirit. I have been known to read their books (usually weird harlequin romances) and play their games. I remember learning to play dominoes at a NC beach house as a kid, because that was all there was to do around the house!]

3. Drinks!

Of course if you like an adult beverage, vacation is a time you go full throttle and invent a "vacation bev!" [Tangent: When Jamie and I went to the beach with my family last year, he became quite fond of Mountain Dew Dew Shine and Whiskey. This is a drink he hasn't had since, but will always be his Holden Beach 2015 drink.] For the ladies, our Gatlinburg 2016 drink was St. Germain, Vodka, Grenadine, vodka soaked gummies, marachino cherries, sliced strawberries- served in a mason jar with a giant straw. Yes, it was loaded with flair and so delightfully refreshing!

4. Odd Beauty Treatments

Ever since I  first tried Korean sheet masks [Tangent: You can read about it here when I animorphed into a tiger!], I knew that my travel-mates would appreciate them. [Tangent: You can buy the assortment on amazon here although now I kinda wanna try these!] Plus it was really fun to look down into the hot tub and see a heated conversation about women's issues taking place while those involved with wearing dragon faces on their own. Oh, and in case you're wondering in the photo above- I'm an otter. Isn't it obvious? 

Oh, don't worry- I have more silly photos and stories to share from my weekend! Be on the lookout...because this is gonna be a multi-parter like any good vacation episode of a sitcom! Isn't a photo of me in otter face the ultimate cliff-hanger? I thought so!

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