Smoky Mountains Trip Recap

Hey, guys! I hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday. I literally just came back from a trip. (Seriously. The car pulled up an hour ago) After eating some dinner, I decided to get started on a trip recap because I haven’t done one despite the fact that this is my fourth trip since starting this blog.

My family and I went up to Gatlinburg Tennessee, which is where the Smoky Mountains are. I’ve never been, but my parents went like…21-ish years ago and thought it would be a fun trip. So we loaded our car and headed up there.

It’s such a fun and quirky small town. There’s a Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum.  I would’ve gone if I had known about it sooner. Millions of people travel there every year. Unfortunately, they suffered a huge forest fire recently, so parts of it were being rebuilt. We saw rubble and burned trees on the mountains while we were there.


//Day 1 – December 25, 2016//

//Left The House + Road Trip

All of us packed that morning (I’m not joking). The night before we were at my cousins’ house because they were leaving for Bangladesh. We said goodbye for the month and got home pretty late.

We don’t celebrate Christmas, which is why we left today. There would be no traffic. This also meant that there wouldn’t be any restaurants open, so we packed our lunch.

Tennessee is close by, so we left at around Noon.

//Drove And Stopped To Take Pictures On The Way

 It was only a three-hour drive, but we stopped many times. The route was very scenic. The roads zigzagged around the mountain. There were places to park on the side of the road, so people could walk around and take pictures. It was beautiful. I’m a mountain girl, not a beach girl. Just standing outside refreshed all of us after being in the stuffy car for a while.

//Arrive At Hotel + Ate Dinner

After arriving at the hotel, we watched some TV and ate dinner. Elf was on Freeform, so that’s what we watched, while my mom heated up dinner.

//Hollywood Wax Museum

I have never been to one of these, but I swear I see one in most of the touristy areas we visit. Since it was open, we decided to go. There were 4 different attractions included in our ticket, but we only did this one that day. (We’d do the other three the next)

The wax museum was so fun. We took a bunch of silly pictures and laughed a lot. We stayed a long time. Afterward, we were too tired to another attraction, so we stopped at a Chinese restaurant to order soup for Mysoon (he hadn’t eaten much that day) and went back to the hotel. We all relaxed and watched T.V. or scrolled on our tablets until we went to sleep. My parents slept in the sofa bed in the living room, while my brothers and I slept in the two beds in the bedroom.


//Day 2 – December 26, 2016//

//Switched Hotel Rooms

For some reason, we had to switch hotels that day. We knew this beforehand, but it was still a nuisance. My brothers, mom and I woke up at around 8:15. We all hung around our hotel room and grabbed breakfast from the lobby waiting for our dad to wake up.

After all of us were packed and ready, we had to wait for the maids to clean up the other room. That took forever we ended up leaving the hotel at 11:30 after moving our bags to the other room.

//Cades Cove Loop

My cousin and her husband in Nashville happened to have visited the Smokies a few days before us (We couldn’ coordinate times) and told us that this place was a must. It’s an 11-mile loop going through the mountains where you can spot deer, bears, and other wildlife.  We spotted a bunch of deer, but the bears are hibernating, so we couldn’t see any of those (Apparently there is not enough space for all the bears in the National Park, so they go down into the city a lot)

Fun Fact: The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the only national park that has free admission. This is because some guy (I’m 90% it was John D. Rockefeller) donated $5 million to the park. His only condition was for the park to free for the public. The Smoky Mountains had 11 million visitors last year, beaten by the Grand Canyon (which does charge and entrance fee)

We stopped and took a bunch of pictures while driving through the loop. It was a warm day, so there wasn’t any smoke (mist) coming off of the mountain. The mountains were still nice, but the views from the day before gave us high expectations.

//Lunch

We ate in the car. I got a baked potato from Wendy’s. We ended up driving for a long time because there are two Hollywood Wax Museums in that area. (The attractions we had tickets for were near the place we were yesterday). That was exhausting. I felt sorry for my dad because the place we ended up had a lot of traffic.

//3 Mini Attractions

Like I said before, this city is full of weird museums and attractions. You are about to see 3 of them. We got tickets for all four of them for $24. They let us pay $17 for Mysoon’s ticket because of his disability (that’s never happened before). This meant each attraction was around $6, which is a pretty great deal. Here’s a picture of us in front of one of the buildings.

This is the front of the building

//Mirror Maze

I’ve been in a maze before and my friends and I got horribly lost. This maze wasn’t as big, but it seemed huge because of all the mirrors. It would’ve been easy to knock right into one. We had to wear plastic gloves to make sure we didn’t smudge the mirror.

Pro tip: Check to make sure there isn’t a reflection of your foot immediately in front of you. That way you won’t bump into anything.

After getting through the maze, we realized that we would have to do it backward again to get out. There wasn’t an elevator at the end for Mysoon’s wheelchair to get out. He can walk, of course, but we didn’t want to carry the chair down the stairs. We ended up going back to the entrance, which was a whole other feat.

Corny green screen photo they made us take

Here’s the link for the attraction

//Zombie Outbreak Haunted House

This one was my least favorite. I’m not a horror movie person. It’s not that it was that scary. I just didn’t enjoy it. Some of the effects really startled us. My mom was the most freaked out. I pushed Mysoon’s wheelchair in the beginning, so I wasn’t really paying much attention. I had to watch all the twists and turns. When an arm came out of a cage and made a loud sound, I jumped because I wasn’t paying attention.

In the middle of the haunted house, my dad took the wheelchair and my mom started holding onto me for dear life. She was so scared. She started looking for one of the exits (There were a bunch of them) One of the men dressed as zombies came up to me asking if we were looking for an exit. I said yes. When my mom saw him, she screamed bloody murder, grabbed my arm and dragged me to the exit in the middle of our conversation.

The exit led to the back parking lot of the building. We just started laughing hysterically once we were out. She felt sorry that I couldn’t finish the haunted house, but I told her that seeing her reaction was worth it. We were still laughing when we got the entrance after walking around the building. If you like haunted houses, you should go.

We suck at fake running away

Here is the link to the attraction’s website

//Castle Of Chaos 5-D Movie Ride

I had never heard of 5-D movies until this trip. I’ve been to 4-D movies, but I couldn’t tell what else could be done with an extra dimension. I’ll tell you what happens. The chairs move and pinch your butt (I’m not joking. It was painful). This ride spun around and we had to shoot things and we got points. My dad won. I got second place.

Here’s a link to this attraction

//Exploring Downtown Gatlinburg

After doing those three attractions, we went to Downtown Gatlinburg. There were so many pretty Christmas lights and it was such a nice place to walk. We all just walked around, took pictures and shopped.

//Christmas Light Trolley

We took a bus tour of the city. This was recommended to me by Pinterest, so we bought the $5 tickets. I recommend it too. The theme was, of course, the Christmas lights (They were everywhere), but the tour guide also gave us historical information, funny stories, and facts.

Fun Fact: If you ever visit the smoky mountains, you’ll see that there are Pancake Houses everywere. This is because pancakes were easy to transport to the people cutting down trees to make roads and paths on the mountain. Pancakes would also fill them up, so they would have pancakes for lunch every day. There are currently 72 pancake houses along the roads toGatlinburg. 

//Chinese Food For Dinner

We walked to a Chinese restaurant nearby. One thing you should know about my family: We have a second stomach for Chinese food. We’ll never get sick of it.


//Day 3 – December 27, 2016//

//Shopping Downtown

After checking out of our hotel, we went back to a shop in downtown. It’s full of homemade and eclectic jewelry, home decor, art, etc. My parents went a little crazy. We filled up our trunk with stuff they bought. There was a 50% sale and we bought a bunch of neat stuff.

//Cherokee Museum, North Carolina

We drive to Cherokee, North Carolina, after that. It was only an hour drive. It was really interesting and sad to go through the museum. It was nice to relearn things I learned in elementary school. My dad said he wished he had taken classes on this in college because he went from high school in Thailand to college inConnecticutt. This isn’t a topic that is talked about in detail in other countries, so I think he’s the one who got most out of it.

The tickets were $6-$10. It’s a really nice museum.

//Driving Home

After that, we drove home. It was a comfortable drive. It took a while to get home, though.


We just got home. After eating dinner, I got started on this blog post. This was a fun trip and we’re definitely going to visit soon. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and expect a bunch of Instagram posts coming at you.

 

How was your holiday? Did you take any fun trips?

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