Welcome to the first hump day of 2012!
Can’t you tell introductions are my WORST writing skill ever? I’ve been super busy at work writing about year-end procedures and taxes and forms and other stuff, and I’m finally getting a chance to blog again. Yes, I’ve only worked two days this week, but I’ve gotten tons done… and still have a lot of things to move from the “to-do” list to the “To-DONE” list.
If death and taxes are the only two certain things in life, this technical writer for financial accounting software definitely has job security.
Clay and I both had time off of work after Christmas and I had a year-end bonus from work burning a hole in my bank account, so instead of staying around the house and spending hours in the gym, watching trash TV, eating leftovers, or just being pointless around the house, we took a little trip to Pigeon Forge, Tenn. since he had never been and I haven’t been in about three years. It’s in the mountains and a pretty popular vacation destination for those of us who live in South Carolina.
Despite the cold, windy, weather, we had a really good trip. We left South Carolina bright and early on the day after Christmas (and my 3 mile post-Christmas run), and by lunchtime, we were already in Tennessee. We stopped for lunch at Subway and then headed to our hotel and checked in. Since I bought a package, we stayed at a hotel called the Willow Brook Lodge. It was pretty no-frills but not bad for the two nights we were there, although the wireless internet could have worked a little better (and been a little faster).
In keeping with our vacation traditions, this was the first picture I took.
We also took some pics around the hotel. It was decorated pretty cute for Christmas.
After checking in and resting a bit, we walked to the Old Mill, which is a restaurant and shopping area. We bought a few things and just chilled out but didn’t eat.
When we left the Old Mill, we walked over to Taste of India of the Smokies. We bought a $10 gift card from Restaurant.com for 50 cents (yes- they were 90% off!) a few days before because we were planning to eat here. It ended up saving us a lot of money and our bill was only about $30 after tip, and we got tons of food.
The food was *incredible*. Clay and I absolutely love Indian food, and if you’ve never had Indian food, you should definitely try it. A lot of people are scared of ethnic foods, but not us. It’s kind of ironic, because as a vegetarian, people sort of assume I’d be a picky eater, but I love Indian, Thai, etc. I had the Vegetarian Thali, which was basically a sampler of three vegetarian dishes. Clay had a similar meat dish.
Not only was the food delicious, but we also had leftovers to heat up and eat for lunch the next day :). We spent the next morning doing some serious outlet shopping (Under Armor Outlet? Heck yeah!) and then headed to Dollywood.
Yeah, Dollywood is kind of hokey, but they had a really neat Christmas Light display there as well as some rides, shows, shops, and other attractions. It’s basically a country music theme park (and neither of us like country music).
Since it was rainy and cold, Dollywood was pretty much empty. We didn’t have to wait for any rides, and we even did a ropes course. I was pretty much a wuss when it came to the ropes course, but I did a few of them and had fun. I’ve never done anything like that before. Pretty soon, it got dark and the park turned on all the lights, so I took a few pics.
After a few hours, we were tired, cold, and damp, so we left Dollywood on the trolley to go to dinner. Pigeon Forge had really neat public transportation, so that’s how we got around. It was only 50 cents to ride the trolley and it went pretty much everywhere, much less stressful than driving in the crazy traffic or paying for parking at Dollywood.
We decided on a restaurant called Smokey Mountain Brewery for dinner after my coworker Mike recommended it. Mike really knows his stuff about beers, so when he recommended it, I showed it to Clay knowing he’d like it- and we weren’t disappointed :).
Clay got a beer sampler, a meatball grinder, and wings. I had a veggie boca burger and broccoli with “beer cheese”. It was definitely different than regular broccoli and cheese, and I really liked it.
The best thing about the restaurant was that it was warm and toasty, but when we finished dinner, we only had to wait about 5 minutes for the trolley to pick us up and take us back to our hotel. I didn’t drink, and Clay didn’t drink much, but that’s definitely another advantage of good public transportation for those who do like to drink a lot. We came back to our hotel room and pretty much passed out in front of the New Orleans game.
The next morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel again, then headed for South Carolina. On our way home, we stopped at the Bush’s Baked Beans factory and museum. Yep- we love crazy roadside attractions and having Griswold-esque vacations, but this place was actually pretty cool. The museum showed the history of the plant and a lot of the inner workings of how beans are canned. I thought it was really interesting, but I guess I’m a little nerdy when it comes to learning about how things work. It reminded me of those documentaries on the History Channel.
You could also take a picture with the dog from their commercials, and they had a crazy scale that told you your weight in baked beans. Guess there’s at least one cool scale out there, huh?
So, that was our little Christmas Family Vacation :). We had a really great time, but probably won’t be going back to Pigeon Forge anytime soon because we don’t like to visit the same places over and over (so unlike my parents). We got back to South Carolina later Wednesday afternoon, and I enjoyed a nice Thursday off of work- spent working out, cleaning, and de-stressing from the holidays!
Q1.) Where would you like to go on the weekends or on mini-vacations? We don’t get to do many trips with Clay’s schedule, but I know we’d like to visit Savannah, Ga., one day.
Q2.) What’s the goofiest roadside attraction you’ve ever visited or heard of? Mine would definitely be South of the Border, which is a weird sombrero off of I-95 in South Carolina. It’s the kind of place you have to stop at once but won’t ever want to go back!
Q3.) Have you ever tried Indian food? Do you like it? Oh yes, we love it!