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Donuts & Smokies!

May 31, 2017

Well, time flies when you’re… busy? Having fun? All of the above?!  In all honestly, life HAS been a bit crazy, but with summer right around the corner, I can’t focus on anything but warm weather, sleeping in, and things to SLOWING… at least until “Wedding Season” starts up later in June!

Our family wanted to start relaxing a bit early this year, and decided to take a rather spontaneous trip to Tennessee this spring.  My brother and his family were moving across a few states due to a job transfer, so we, along with my parents, decided to make a trip of it, thanks to my brother's brilliant find (more on that later...).

 

Our first night was spent in their old city, just outside of Fort Campbell, KY.  A quick, casual dinner that night, early to bed, and an early morning the next day started things right.  Our destination was a gorgeous cabin in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, but FIRST….

​DONUTS!

 

I’d only heard of Five Daughters Bakery once before from a good friend who sang its praises.  She did warn me that they were a smidge pricey ($4-5 each), but she swore they were worth it!  Our family, along with my brother and dad, made a quick pit stop in Nashville to see for ourselves if they were really THAT great...

 

You guys.  I can’t even begin to tell you how good these things were.  The key is to buy their 100 layer donuts that take DAYS to make (literally).  They are so, SO worth every single penny.  If you’re a donut person, you HAVE to make it to Five Daughters.  My husband is a donut snob, or is now, after eating a bunch of these bad boys.  Our initial order of 6 donuts total turned into 2+ boxes (we DID have a weekend at a cabin ahead of us, c’mon now!).

After our sweet stop, we were back on our way to the Smokies!  Our family has traveled all over the country, but not exactly THROUGH these gorgeous peaks.  They were breathtaking (though not quite as magnificent as the Rockies we drove through in ’10!).   A thousand thanks and praise to this awesome guy who always drives through the "crazy" patches (bridges, cliffs, anything remotely scary... love you babe!):

When we arrived in Pigeon Forge, I’ll be honest… we panicked just a little.  Nick and I ARE Disney people, but aside from that, we’re not exactly “touristy” travelers.  We don’t mind staying in hotels, but prefer private rentals, or cabins… Downtown Pigeon Forge was NOT what we initially expected.  It’s home to Dollywood, a fun family-centered amusement park, and has the feeling of a southern, amped up Wisconsin Dells.  Thankfully, we were staying just outside of town.

 

I’m not one for driving up big hills, but the crazy roads leading up the small mountain our cabin was located on were SO worth my white-knuckled hands holding onto my armrest - it was SUCH a gorgeous place

4 floors (yes, 4!), 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a pool table on the top floor with floor to ceiling windows, a movie theatre room, hot tub on one of the three balconies (!!!), and so much more.  The place was flawless!  Bonus: they're dog friendly!  Some of the cabins within the area are not, some are but don't list it - when in doubt, just ask!

If your’e looking for a family getaway but want (need) the space, this would be it.  There was something so peaceful about watching the sunrise up over the mountains while drinking a perfect cup of coffee.

True Story: We heard BEARS waking up!  Talk about feeling like you’re IN nature, except, ya know, having “at home comforts” like a shower and a jacuzzi just a few steps away.

Our days were spent hanging out, relaxing, visiting Dollywood, and of course, hiking up the mountains (at least some of us did)!  While my husband and brother were a bit more adventurous (a “3 hour hike” turned into many, MANY hours lol), the rest of us met up with them to check out the views, and they were nothing short of amazing! 

Beautiful, crisp, and clean.  The only sad part was the amount of damage left from all the wildfires, but there were already signs of new growth, which was promising.  My parents and brother's family took a more adventurous route for a hike, while our family played it a bit safe and made stops along our way down the mountain.  There were so many trails and pathways to explore - you could truly spend weeks vacationing and not get tired (or, well, you would, from all the hiking… moving on!).  ​

Our final night was spent in the movie theatre room watching Harry Potter.

 

Yes, we’re that family that loves Disney… and HP… #sorrynotsorry

We were sad to pack up and head home, but so appreciative for not only the place we stayed at, but for my brother coming up with the idea to begin with!  The guy is someone who can take a fleeting thought and build it into something amazing, so I have to give him all the credit for this trip.  Such a great time!

Whelp, that’s all for now folks!  I promise to be back in action more often.  Spring always seems to get the best of me.  Whether it’s the kids school schedule, Nick’s work, or life in general, SOMETHING just makes the months of March-May FLY by!

Until next time…

 

XOXO

 

N.G.

 

Nicole

 

 

PS - If any of you lovely folks are able to not only enjoy coffee in the mountains, but coffee from THIS bad boy, let me know what you think of it!  I've been dying to try it out, and hoping it'd curb my need for "coffee house coffee"... 

  

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