Gatlinburg in the off season.

This past weekend Bradley and I took a three day weekend and drove up to Gatlinburg. The occasion was my birthday....that was back in August...but football season and the holidays left us no free weekends to do this trip, so we postponed it until we knew we could relax and really enjoy it. And I'm so glad we waited.

It was the off season for Gatlinburg, so the town was dead. And since people generally get on my nerves, I couldn't be happier! Bradley and I pretty much had the town to ourselves! Gatlinburg was so cool. I had never been before. It's so quaint and touristy, and I love cold weather and being in the mountains. The drive wasn't bad because the majority of the time you're driving in north North Carolina and then the mountains of Tennessee, so there is so much to look at you forget about your drive.

We stayed in a hotel right downtown Gatlinburg, so we could walk everywhere. Friday we hit up Ripley's believe it or not museum. That was quirky and fun. We walked up and down the main strip of Gatlinburg and toured the shops. A local recommended the best Italian restaurant Bradley and I have eaten in. It was right outside of Gatlinburg in a stip mall. It was called Gondoliers. You walk in and you're thinking, "Um...ok, this is a hole in the wall." But the food was awesome. We got two...not one...two large baskets of bread sticks, and our food took no time at all. Afterwards, we went to a Brewery that our waitress had recommended. We bought the sampler beer 'platter' and tried miniature pints of each beer the brewery made. It was pretty good, but the darkest beer was gross... of course it was Bradley's favorite.

Saturday we woke up early, ate a free breakfast at our hotel, and then headed to Pigeon Forge for the day. We drove up and down Pigeon Forge, and finally decided to race some go-karts at the Nascar SpeedWay. Bradley and I were the only ones racing, and I had a go-kart's length head start. I wasn't going very fast, so Bradley yelled from behind me, "Push the petal to the medal." So I did. And that was the last Bradley saw of me. I took off and he never could catch up. He blames his go-kart...riiiight. Next we decided to play some putt putt. Putt putt was probably the best part of the trip... Ripley's putt putt was so fun! Try putting underneath outhouses, around bunny rabbits popping out of the green, over creeks, in secret passage ways..... Bradley kicked my butt the first game (maybe by three strokes), but we tied the second game...and I got a hole in one on the last hole and won a free game. Go me!

We continued to drive around Pigeon Forge...stopping at the ginormous Christmas store where we helped ourselves to some chocolate turtles, chocolate peanuts, chocolate pretzels...do you see a trend here? :)

Next stop... Dixie Stampede! Basically Dixie Stampede is a North vs. South version of Medieval Times, where you eat a dinner and watch a show. At this show, you sit on the North or South side of the arena. Of course we sat on the South side. I would have taken more pictures, but cameras weren't allowed. I did get a picture of us right before the show, and of the big plantation house front in the arena. The food was so good. We ate with our hands of course, but definitely worth it. The show consisted of horse tricks and stunts, racing pigs and ostriches, and other crazy things. It was really a great show. They had different competitions throughout the show where they pulled people out of the audience from the North and form the South side. The winner of the event would bring back a medal and a flag for their side. By the end of the show, the North and the South were basically tied. The last challenge? Each row had to pass a flag from one side of the arena to the other before the opposite side completed passing the flag. Who won? Well the North of course.... Southerners do everything slow...so we couldn't even get our flags half way across before the North had finished. However, I think there might be some sort of conspiracy... I need to ask Dolly... everyone I've talked to who has gone before says the North has won when they were there. Has anyone ever been when the South wins? Hmm.

Sunday, our last day, we woke up and walked the strip of Gatlinburg one final time...did a little shopping and site seeing, then hit the road. However, on our way out, we stopped by our new fave restaurant, Gondoliers, for some pizza. It was amazing...as we expected. :) The drive back wasn't too bad, and we made it back in time to relax and chill in Columbia the rest of the day.

I was pretty depressed on Monday because such a fun weekend was over... I bowled pretty decent Monday night though, so that cheered me up a little. Tuesday I surprised Bradley by coming down to Charleston after work for his birthday. I emailed with his work buddies, and they convinced him to go to a Happy Hour after work for his b-day. I plotted and had J-tay, Beth, Brooks, and Matt show up as well. He was surprised. :) It was a short-lived good time, but it gave me a taste of what it would be like to live in a city with not only my boyfriend, but my friends. I thought to myself, "So this is what it's like to live in Charleston... have access to all of my best friends and actually have a social life after work when I want it." I guess time will tell....

I'm exhausted today...driving back from Chucktown this morning, working non-stop all day, and then going to two hours of ballet... I'm beat. The next two weekends should be pretty nice. Not this weekend, but next I am open (rare!), so I'm thinking a weekend in Cola with the girls who I never get to see or hang out with anymore (Jess and Brandi) OR a weekend in Charlotte (or here if I can convince her) with Jenny W. OR who knows.....

On another note: I posted Bradley's pictures from Punchfest...all 160+ of them... so... check them out. They are pretty funny...and of course while you're there, check out the pics from Gatlinburg.

1 comment:

Beth G said...

Move to Charleston! pretty please!? :)