Friday, May 2, 2014

Mommy / Daughter Trip to Pigeon Forge, TN

This past Easter week / Spring break, Lottie and I took a mommy / daughter trip to Pigeon Forge, TN where I have a time share.  We wished Steve and Stella could have joined us, but he had to work 6 days in a row and couldn't get the time off. 
I really wanted to spend some one on one time with Lottie and really give her my full, undivided attention.  It was an incredible bonding experience for the two of us.  She is such a star.  She makes me smile in ways I never knew was possible.  She's smart, witty, sweet and just a ball of fun!  Gosh, I love her!  Can she stay this age forever?????
It has been years (probably since I was 13) since I've visited this part of the country.  It is a pretty easy drive (4 hours) and a beautiful one at that.  Lottie and I took off early Wednesday morning which gave us a lot of time to talk, sing and dance all the way up there.  Lottie is a great companion in the car.  She really doesn't require much - no movies, no books, no toys, nothing.  We literally talked, danced and sang for 3.5 hours straight.  She napped the last 30 minutes.  
Pigeon Forge is seriously like the Myrtle Beach of Tennessee.  Lottie and I definitely did a lot of people watching!  First things first, we checked into the condo.  The resort was great.  They had an outdoor pool, indoor pool, a clubhouse w/ an activity schedule, hot tub, sauna, a playground, etc.  After checking everything out, Lottie and I decided to drive over to the trolley station and walk around the Historic Old Mill area.   

Lunch at Old Mill Restaurant - they serve very southern style dishes!  Lottie had a cup of soup and southern style mac and cheese.  I went with Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and green beans.  It was delicious!

Lottie and I were pretty stuffed, so we took a walk around Liberty Park.  We fed the ducks and enjoyed the chilly, but gorgeous sunshine!

This back pack went everywhere with us.  It is amazing how much stuff you don't need when traveling with a 3 year old. 

We walked around to all the cute mountain shops including this candy kitchen.  Lottie and I were able to watch them make all sorts of candy.

Then we ate ice cream and rocked in rocking chairs!

We decided to head back to the condo and check out the clubhouse for a "bird" show they were having.  It was hilarious.  The bird guy had about 4 birds he was letting people hold and pet.  Lottie was so cute.  When asked which bird she wanted to hold, she said, "the baby".  So, here sits the little bird on Lottie's shoulder.  She said she was a pirate. 

We also enjoyed a lot of outside fun - swinging and playing shuffleboard. 

After a long day of traveling, Lottie and I went to the grocery store to pick up the essentials - Milk, carrots, celery, cheese, cucumber, edamame.......  I love traveling w/ Lottie - we are snackers!  We would much rather snack than sit down to a meal.

The next day Lottie and I headed to Dollywood.  OMG - it was hilarious!  We definitely learned a lot about Dolly Parton!  She was/is pretty awesome!  She has accomplished a lot more than I realized. 
The park was filled with lots of rides, a coal train, shows, etc.  We took the trolley and got there as soon as it opened.  Thankfully Lottie was free to get in!  I just don't know that it would be worth going back again until she is at least 42 inches tall to ride most of the rides.  While she was able to ride all of the kiddy rides, the rides she really wanted to ride, she wasn't able to.  Oh well, I basically gave her a life lesson and told her that the only way to get big and grow tall so that we can ride all the rides is to make sure we eat all of our vegetables at meal time.  :)

The Ferris wheel - I may have almost pooped my pants!  It has been a really, really long time since I've ridden one.  It wouldn't have been so bad, but the guy kept stopping to load more people which meant we were just hanging out and rocking at the very top completely stopped.  Lottie was totally fine and I was eventually - I guess it's just been awhile!

Lottie and I on the Ferris wheel

Lottie and I on the spinning tea cups

Lottie and I took a 20 minute coal train ride through the mountains - she loves a choo choo!

They were having a Festival of Nations while we were there, so of course I had to snap a pic for grandma and grandpa.  Steve's parents LOVE Dolly Parton!  I ended up buying them both a mug for all the tea they drink with a big fat picture of Dolly on it.  :)

Steve loves pork grinds so when I saw them making "homemade" grinds, I had to get him some!  They were actually pretty good - I don't normally like them.  It must have been something about the guy in suspenders making them right in front of us.

Lunch!  The kid was hungry!  She ate a whole foot long hot dog!  I straight wore her out on our trip!  We walked miles and miles and miles!  Such a trooper though, never complained once!

"Remind me to never do my own wigs"
Dolly Parton Museum

One of my all time favorite movies!!!!

Lottie would not take a photo w/ me!!!!  She was done - we walked for probably a solid 5.5 hours before we decided we were tired! 

No rest for the weary!  Late afternoon we headed to the clubhouse for some indoor pool swimming and arts and crafts.  Lottie painted a cupcake and I painted a bunny for Stella.

Lottie was a bit obsessed with the telephone in our condo.  It was pretty old school - every time I turned around she was on it having full blown conversations with no one!  She loved that phone!

She was so tired.  We rented Beauty and Beast from the clubhouse to watch and she passed out about 20 minutes in!

The following day, we headed into Gatlinburg.  It was only 5 miles down the road.  It is such a cute little town!  Lottie and I took the chair lift up the mountain!  This kid has no fear!  That makes this mama so happy!  I can't wait to get her on skies!  I need a little ski buddy since Steve has never skied.

Gatlinburg has about 4 different moonshine distilleries.  I sampled a couple - my favorites were the butterscotch, sweat tea and blackberry!  I brought Steve back a jar of the sweat tea.

After loads of more walking, Lottie decided that she needed a rest.  Again, such a trooper!  She amazes me!

Mirror maze - she was really great at it!  Found her way through very easily!  She loved it.  We must have went through 5 or 6 times.

Lunch - Lottie and I shared a cheeseburger!  It was delicious!!

Back to Pigeon Forge - we went to the Island.  We played in the arcade and watched the water show.  We then headed back to the condo, did some more swimming and rented Snow White to watch.

Lottie I and I headed back home on Saturday.  I really missed Steve and Stella.  Plus, I wanted to be home on Sunday for Easter so that we could go to church and make sure we didn't miss the Easter bunny. 

Overall, this trip was truly one of the best mini vacations I have ever had.  The time spent with Lottie is a time I will forever treasure and hold dear to my heart!  What was life like before this little girl made her way into my world?  I love her so much!  There is just no way possible to describe the love you have for a child, simply put - blessed!

Until next year........................................

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