So, the mystery destination was Gatlinburg, TN. We were right in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. We had a great time. A day in Virginia to see the NRA museum and then on to our final destination. The museum was mostly for hubby and son but it was really interesting. The history and development and all. And did you know that all of the gun manufacturers were in the North during the time of the civil war.
We spent a day and a half at Dollywood. The kids were more interested in the rides than the shows. Youngest rode her first wooden roller coaster. I did make them see the raptor show. The eagle rehabilitation center is linked to Dollywood. So far they have released 101 eagles back into the wild.
The day of record breaking temperatures we spent touring the Smoky Mountains. We drove the Newfound Gap road and stopped at all the pull offs to look and take pictures. We hiked one short trail and the paved trail to the observation tower at Clingmans Dome. It is a half mile trail practically straight up. This is the highest point in the Smokies at 6,643 feet. Being in the mountains we were much cooler than staying in town and the views and scents were amazing.
We did some shopping, took the kids to a wax museum, a car museum and for lots of great food. We went to the Dixie stampede one night. The kids wanted to sit on the side of the South. We won. The horse show was really good, the comic routines funny and the food delicious.
And I read. Before we left I hit the book store. I bought a hubby a few books as an anniversary present and I bought myself a couple of books. I read Annie's review of The Elegance of a Hedgehog and decided to try it out. I'll let you read her review because she can say it so much better than I ever could. While looking for the book I discovered that the author wrote another book Gourmet Rhapsody. It was about a dying food critic going back over his life - the stories and the food. How could I resist. I thoroughly enjoyed them both. I started Angela's Ashes while I was away as well. And when I hit my favorite clothing shop at the outlets (Coldwater Creek) they had two books of poetry by Mary Oliver. I just had to buy them. I love her poetry and already own a few of her books. If you love poetry and nature you really need to check out her work.