rayvyn2k: cute icon (Smiley Rhino)
Hubby and I had a fantastic holiday in the Smoky Mountains last week.

We took everything slow and easy...no real set plan time-wise...we knew we wanted to go to the Fall Arts and Crafts Fair which is awesome and where we hoped to find a bunch of Xmas gifts...since we're going to Florida for Thanksgiving next month we want to bring the gifts with us and we figured we could find some interesting things there. The other planned thing was to go to Cherokee, NC and visit the recreated Oconalufee native village. And that was it.

So we picked up the rental car on Wednesday and drove over. It takes about 3.5 to 4 hours to get there, depending on which route you take. We always avoid Pigeon Forge because the traffic (especially at this time of the year, being fall, which is VERY busy there) is a nightmare. Our preferred route takes us through Townsend, TN which takes us partially through the Smoky Mountains National Park and is a beautiful drive.

We arrived at our hotel, changed our clothes and then headed out to dinner. My husband chose The Melting Pot and it was really good. We had a window seat, so we could look out over the Parkway (when we weren't looking at each other <3) and our waiter, Antony, was amazing. He was funny and provided just the right amount of attention. And he brought out a plate with "Happy Anniversary" written in chocolate with our dessert. If you ever get the chance to go to the Melting Pot, take it. We really enjoyed it. (However, it was the most expensive meal we've ever paid for for just two people. Totally worth it.)

After dinner, I was worn out so I got a to-go coffee and went back to the room. Hubby went on a walk-about, which he likes to do when we're there. At least one night, every time, he walks down to the Aquarium and feeds the ducks who live in the river there. I worked on my [livejournal.com profile] sshg_giftfest story while watching the baseball game. After hubby got back, we went to sleep.

Oh my god, I had a rough night. I have a (then undiagnosed) skin infection under and around my left breast which is very painful. Not to mention the a/c in our room didn't work well--which didn't matter as far as cooling the room since it is fall and cool outside--but to get the outside air in you have to run the machine on the fan/air in setting which makes a noise like a jet engine. Needless to say that, hubby and I had trouble sleeping--waking up every couple of hours or so. Ugh.

Thursday, we rose, morning ablutions, dressed and headed out to breakfast. After that, we went next door to the Convention Center where the Arts and Crafts fair was being held.

It was amazing. There were so many artists...and (except for the fine art painters) not one duplication. Any and everything you could think of was on display. For example, one person uses old typewriter keys like these to make custom jewelry. Loads of handmade things like quilts, rag rugs, Christmas ornaments, bird houses, leather goods, hammered copper...just so much. We walked the entire floor (there was a glass blower there, demonstrating his art!) and we managed to find gifts for just about everyone. I think we have like 3 more people (not counting the grandkids) to buy for. WIN!

Now I just have to wrap it all. Hee.

After we finished there, we went to our traditional meal at The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. We just really love their food. And since I had joined the points club and had a 25.00 credit for joining and a 14.00 credit for my birthday, we only had to pay for our drinks, which rocked. So, we gave our waiter a tip equal to the cost of our meals. :) I would have liked to have seen his face when he got it.

After that, I was exhausted, so I again went back to the hotel (stopping first for some homemade ice cream to take with me) and hubby went to a micro-brewery he'd heard about. For me, it was more writing and baseball (and ice cream!). Then when hubby came back, bed again.

Another awful night. I had told the front desk about the a/c--they sent the maintenance man who said "it's an old unit so if you run it on high it'll freeze up" and put it on a setting that "wouldn't freeze up". (It did.)

Friday, we had our traditional breakfast at Pancake Pantry, bought our Halloween candy at Unbearably Sweet, a nostalgic candy store. Of course, not all of the candy we bought is for the kids. Ahem. ;)

After we finished there, we checked out of the hotel and headed into the mountains for our trip over to Cherokee. Along the way, we saw some beautiful fall colors (won't bore you with pics, check out older October entries and you'll see the pretty). At one of the pull offs, we saw some bear cubs in a tree! (No pics, alas, as I hadn't yet remembered that I can take pics with my tablet, duh.) That was sooo cool...they talk about bears all the time there, but we had never seen one before. :)

We also diverted to check out an old mill (also pictured) and generally took our time driving over.

We got to the village in time to see some Native dances, and then our guide took us around, explaining the way his people did things before, and even for some time after, the settlers came. It was really interesting and a bit sad, too.

After our time there, we went back over the mountain and headed home. We were really late leaving, so there was a bit of debate about staying over another night...but since hubby was driving, he decided we should stick to plan A and get back home that night. We stopped for dinner and then made the drive home. We arrived around 9 or 10 that night. Exhausted. The kitties were happy to see us, tho.

And it was a good thing we came home that night because it meant we could both return the rental car and get me to the doctor Saturday morning. That's when I found out that my "rash" was an infection of my skin. Painful and ugly. Not to mention there's some other kind of thing happening on the left side of my nose which makes it hard to keep my glasses on for longer than a couple of hours at a time. I've tried band-aids, but the adhesive is really irritating and it just doesn't work well. It's taken me three hours to type this entry. *sigh*

So, that's our trip for this year. It was perfect. Only the stuff afterwards was ugly, with my infection and, oh yes, my bank account was hacked, too. That's another entry as I've got to get my glasses off.

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