Smokey Mountains 2015

LIFESTYLE | June 30, 2015
Tagged: Family + Friends, Travel

Every summer, my family and I take a weeklong trip to the Smoky Mountains because we just can't get enough of the mountain weather, endless rapids, and the beautiful scenery. I post our adventures every year, but in the past, I've only ever been able to document the non-water events that we do. Therefore, being that the second day of us driving there was Father's Day, my mom, sister, and I decided to get my dad a GoPro just in time for our trip to account for anything involving water and it worked out perfectly! Thank goodness because the week we decided to go, majority of Tennessee was encountering a heat wave so almost everything we did was on the water so here's what we got up to!

Our first stop was for a picnic in Cherokee and to dips our toes (and paws) in the water.

Leave it to us to get sunburned the very first day of vacation because of our tank top and no sunscreen combo. Oops!

Here we are at Newfoundland Gap! It sits along the borders of Tennessee and North Carolina, and never fails to have a breathtaking view!

This is where the GoProreally came in handy! It doesn't look like much, but that last big drop was so intense my sister and were both knocked completely out of our seats and I basically just fell on top of her! Haha.

There's no denying that my family and I are a bunch of hardcore foodies, and half our trips are dedicated to trying new food. We heard about Applewood Grill on the radio back home and couldn't resist!

The meal starts off with the cutest little glass of orange juice and the most delicious homemade apple fritters brougt to you by a waitress dressed from the 1800's. I don't even like jelly normally, but the side of apple jelly that comes with the fritters was pretty darn good!

And if you really can't get enough of that jelly, you can take some home for yourself, along with other jams and different ingredients used in the restaurant!

I just happened to stumble upon a Brook trout (I think that's the species) when we were playing in the stream next to our campground, and I actually got to touch it! He wasn't a very sociable fish though, haha.

Who needs a big ole trout though when you can catch a microscopic minnow?? (His itty bitty body is right in the center of where my hands meet.)

Cades Cove is probably my favorite part of our trip every year. It's an 11-mile road of pure open fields and mountains for miles. It's home to so many beautiful creatures including the plethora of deer and the occasional bear.

Not to mention there are surprise streams everywhere! We found this one last year and it's probably become one of our favorites. This elderly couple has no idea I was creeping on them to be the center of my picture, by the way.

Before the Smokey Mountains was declared a national park in 1934, it was home to not only the animals but many people too. This is one of the homes preserved since the late 1800's! The smaller building behind the main house is the kitchen and is not connected in fear that a kitchen fire could send the entire house up in flames.

Cades Cove also provides hay rides through the park pulled by these lovely horses, who were getting a break between rides.

As we were riding through Cades Cove, we noticed a couple cars pulled over and someone said they saw a bear so we pulled over and told the dogs they had to stay in the truck. They listened so well and couldn't have been any cuter showing interest in what we were doing. :)

Normally we see so many deer (seriously, sometimes close to 100 of them!), but this year we only saw about 8. However I did manage to get pretty close to the ones we saw, including this cute guy!

We took a slightly beaten path off the main road of Cades Cove because there's practically no other people that drive on it and there's a higher chance of seeing bears. And our predictions were right! We saw a mama bear and her 3 cubs just after they crossed the road! It was really dark within the forest though, so sorry the photo quality isn't so good, but one of the cubs is playing with a stick right inthe center of the photo!

In my vacation post from last year, I mentioned that we stopped at a pretty marina and lake front. We made a point to stop there again this year just in time for lunch because the year before we didn't get a chance to eat at the marina restaurant, Calhoun's. Unfortunately, we didn't sit outside like we had planned from the year before because it was so hot being 95 degrees and all, but we still managed to sit at the window with this pretty view!

The fact that these boats are all lined up so perfectly pleases the organizer in me.

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