Thursday, March 15, 2012: Let me just start this off by saying that we picked the best day to go to the Smokies. It was gorgeous weather. (Note: this post will have a sneak peak of pictures and you can find a ton more on my Facebook if you’re curious … I took 370 photos yesterday.) We started our day at approximately the butt crack of dawn and, after nomming some breakfast and making lunch for a picnic somewhere along the way, we hit the road! We drove to the Tail of the Dragon (US 129) – a road (mostly) in Tennessee that is 11 miles long with 318 turns. Scott was in absolute driver’s heaven, having just replaced the shocks in his car, and we drove the road three times. It was awesome!
Then we headed along the Foothills Parkway up and around to Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Did I mention it was gorgeous? Okay, yeah.
We had a lovely picnic lunch at the picnic area in Cades Cove and then did the 11 mile Cades Cove Loop Road Tour (we had a little self-guided tour book). It was really neat to learn more about that area. So much history! And lots of old cabins that look like this. It was very sad to me that previous visitors felt the need to carve their names into the wood in the cabins. Please, folks, appreciate it with your eyes – you don’t have to put your name on it. It changes the experience for others when you deface history. That being said, it was still really incredible to see all the old buildings – mostly houses and churches – that have been preserved and maintained throughout the years.
After Cades Cove we drove toward Newfound Gap Road, which was also beautiful, and down to Waynesville. We went to Tipping Point Tavern for dinner (yum!), and walked down Main Street to find the Mast General Store in Waynesville. So far we’ve been to five of the Mast General Stores – Asheville, Boone, Original, Annex, and Waynesville – we’re on a roll! Four more to go – Knoxville, Hendersonville, Greenville, and Columbia.
It was a really wonderful day trip! We saw so many awesome things and learned so much. Drove on some really terrific roads, happened upon some incredible vistas, witnessed the beauty of nature, and thoroughly enjoyed spending the day together. And got home around 8:30! Not too shabby for a jam-packed day trip! Again, again!
P.S. More pictures on their way to Facebook! Stay tuned!