Saturday, July 12, 2008

On vacation we will go

For us, vacation is a way of life, to some extent. We live a short 20 minute drive from the beaches in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach. My in-laws live on the river which empties out into Mobile Bay and they're only one road over from us. Needless to say, we're on the water a lot. My 8 yr old just did his first 360 on the wakeboard and we're seriously considering getting him into the kids competitive wakeboarding circuit...he's that good. Today The Main Man, Isaac, Grandpa and some others went deep sea fishing out in the Gulf. They returned with 16 fish...16!!! 10 Red Snapper & 5 King Mackerel & 1 Spanish Mackerel. Isaac, my wakeboarder boy, caught the biggest Snapper weighing in at about 11 pounds. Go Isaac!!

So, of course, we had a seafood feast for supper: shrimp boil (shrimp, new potatoes & corn), shrimp scampi, fried snapper & mackerel and we finished it off with peach & blackberry cobbler topped with homemade vanilla ice cream. ohhhhhhhhhh, yum! Are you drooling yet??

You know how when you go on vacation you don't really worry too awful much about what you want to enjoy yourself and maybe indulge a little and eat what you please. Well - let's just say I'm totally screwed, diet-wise, living here in the land of good & plenty...& fattening!! We eat on a frequent basis what most people only eat while they're on vacation.

Cades Cove, GSMNP

All of the above, and more, is why when we go on vacation we usually go anywhere but the beach. We love going to the mountains of Tennessee. My Grandmother is in Sevierville, TN and The Main Man has relatives just east of Knoxville. So we like to go to an area called Townsend, which is right in between Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg (which all run together) and Knoxville. It's right on the edge of the Smoky Mountain National Forest and an area called Cades Cove. The Little River runs through this area and is such a blast to play in - and free! Freezing cold water but crystal clear. You can tube down the river, too, which we haven't done before, but may try to this year. I swear, I could just take a picnic everyday and play at "The Y" (a little area where the river branches off) or go through the Smoky Mountain National Forest and tour the old cabins, churches, graveyards, etc. Not to mention getting to see all the wildlife - black bears, deer galore, etc. I'd love to have an entire day, sunrise to sunset, to just hang out there with my camera.
The Tipton HomesteadSaving Souls Since 1839great smokey mountain national park cades cove (9)Early Morning Fog on a dirt road in Cades Cove

We stayed with my Grandmother last year but aren't able to do that on this trip, since there's 7 of us going. It was cutting it close for just the 5 of us to stay at her tiny place last summer. After hunting around for a decent hotel room at an affordable price, I started realizing we'd be paying over $100/per night for 1 room. Stuffing a family of 5, plus my friend Amy and her son Luke into a hotel room with two beds and a tiny fridge just didn't seem like it'd be a very fun vacation, to me. I'd pined away at the adorable little cabins dotting the mountainsides on our drives through the area last year, so I thought surely we could find a cabin somewhere in the area for around the same rate as the hotels per night. So I searched the 'net, made some calls and BINGO! Welcome to "Honeybear Haven" . . .

Not a log cabin in the woods, but it'll definitely do. For the same rate as a regular hotel room with two double beds we'll have :
Main Level
Bedroom-Queen Bed & Cable TV
Bathroom (Shower Stall Only)
Kitchen (Fully Equipped w/Dishwasher, Microwave, Toaster & Automatic Drip Coffee Pot)(Note: Kitchen is Stocked with Dish Liquid & Dishwasher Detergent)
Dining Area with Dining Table with Benches
Living Room with Cable TV/VCR/DVD
Access to Deck Areas & Hot Tub **(aaawwww, yeeaaaahhhh!)
Gas Grill on Deck Area
(Note: Bathroom is Stocked with Toilet Tissue & Bar Soap)
Upper Level
Bedroom-Full Bed & Cable TV
Open Loft Area-2 Twin Beds
(Note: Open Loft Area looks down into Main Level Living Area and Foyer)
High Speed Wireless Internet **(yea! I'll get my fix!)
I am so excited!! All those beds and all that room, a full kitchen and all the extras for the same price as a puny hotel room. Woooohooooo!! Now, I'm sure it's probably outdated as far as decor. And let's face it - A-frame houses just scream 70's-80's batchelor pad...but who really cares? It's close to the Little River, Cades Cove, The Y and the National Forest. We're gonna be exploring, in the water or visiting family all day long every day, anyway. We only need a place to feed and bathe the kids/ourselves and sleep. Oh, and kick back in the hot tub while we sip a glass of wine or two after the babes are snoozing, teehee. I just couldn't fathom paying X amount of money for a tiny room when we could at least have some space for the same price. After all, we'll be driving in the van a good bit and could use some breathing room, I'm sure.
So, I'm looking forward to our trip so much that I wish we were leaving tomorrow. We're going the week of July 21st. The only thing I'm worried about is The Main Man and his driving. It tends to drive me a bit batty. But then again, I'm not sure I want to drive all the way there and back myself, soooooooo......better practice holding my tongue. That or I'll just pack the Valium.