Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Presidents' Day in Gatlinburg 2015

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Here is the video from our visit to Cade's Cover

I started the long weekend off the right way....sorta. John and I fished Chickamagua. We didn't catch much, but we did get the lay of the land on our way to a few small catches. You can read the fishing report here:

But, on the way home, I got a text saying the baby was sick with a stomach bug.....GREAT! Stomach bugs suck anyway, but I really wasn't looking forward to heading the Gatlinburg with a kid with the runs. But, we paid for the trip months ago. After a trip to the doctor, they sent his "blood" work off for cultures. It would take 48 hours, so we wouldn't know WHAT he had until we were well on our way.

In the meantime, we tried our best to keep a diaper on him. But, he is 2.5 years old and likes to play. So, poop for everyone. Everywhere. All the time. 

We made a stop to see my sister and brother in law in Chattanooga and spent the afternoon with them. While we were there, we received a phone call from the doctor who told us he had "shigella." They called us in a prescription at the local Walgreens. On the way out of town, we stopped by to pick it up. Even though we called it in 2 hours ago, we were informed it wouldn't be ready for another hour. No thanks. We requested it be moved to downtown Gatlinburg, next to where we were staying. No problem. Right?

Since we weren't going to make it into town until fairly late, Alyse called the Walgreens to make sure it would be ready. Yes, they said. We told them we would be in town at 8. "Oh. That isn't good for us. We close at 7." 7??? On a Friday night? Ok. So Saturday morning? Nope. They are closed. :Facepalm:

We had it moved to Pigeon Forge. 

They came through for us. 

While we were there, we hit up Huck's Catfish Cabin, which Trip Advisor had suggested. I am not much for catfish, but the review said that they had "bottomless vitils" which consisted of slaw, white beans, and onions. It sounded like Cock of the Walk in Auburn, which I LOVE. So, we stopped in. The joint was POPPING at 8pm on a Friday night. I mean, SLAMMED! I was surprised how many families like ours were eating. Additionally, they had live music. I didn't catch the man's name, but he played guitar and harmonica and featured a lot of covers from Waylon to Dylan. He was excellent. 

But, they sat us quickly and had our vitils on the table as soon as we sat. The slaw is some of the best I have had. The beans were terrific. I was hoping for pickled onions, but they weren't. however, they went well with the white beans, which featured smoked ham. Terrific. 

I ordered the fried chicken fingers while Alyse ordered the fried catfish. The food came quickly. The 2 entries fed all 5 of us, with some help of the vitils. The tenders were hand-breaded and delicious, as was the catfish. The price was very comparable. The service was good. 

We finally made it to the condo where the weather was dipping into the teens. We couldn't spot an office to check in, so we assumed we used the elevator located in the parking garage to gain access. Access denied, as it took a code to open. Which we didn't have. We knew nothing of codes. Luckily, some nice people told us about the codes we would need and let us onto the elevator so we could get these kids out of the code. We didn't have the owners contact info...so I was nearly certain that we were screwed...especially since there is no one on site that we could talk to. Luckily, Alyse got someone on the phone and gave them the correct info. We got the codes. Whew. 

After a long soak in the hot tub, we got the kids asleep. 

The next morning, we ate breakfast in the condo before heading to Cade's Cove. It's a LONG drive from Gatlinburg, but it is gorgeous.  The road twists and turns up the mountain with the river running adjacent. Now, I didn't get to see too much cause the road is narrow. And also because tourist do tourist things. 

Like, stopping on a hairpin turn to take pictures of their kids underneath an overhang covered with ice-cycles. So many dangerous things....and I was the one who puckered up. Maybe because I nearly ran over the mommyographer.  

There are many parking spaces that you can pull over and check out gorgeous waterfalls and rapids. The road was in great shape....just REALLY narrow.

We finally got to Cade's Cove. While we didn't see any bears, we saw a plethora of deer. At one point, we were watching 4 bucks chasing a doe (and chasing each other). We watched them spar and frolic. But, again, tourist do tourist things. Like jumping out of their cars and stalking after the deer to get pictures. Hey, don't worry about chasing them away from us people in our cars....where we are supposed to be! Or the mom who decided to parade her 5 year old boy to see 2 sparing bucks up close. Sorry. End rant.

The Cove was awesome! What a pretty drive! Only issue is, you better pack a sack lunch. It's a long drive to get there and a longer drive around the park. No restaurants the whole trip. Just a few snack machines, which weren't working. It's a perfect place to camp, however. 

We headed back to town and stopped to eat at Smoky Mountain Brewery, which we ate at on New Years Eve way back in 2009. 

It's right on the strip and it is simply fantastic. Naturally, they brew their own beer, which you can purchase by the glass....or even to go....with their growlers, mini-kegs, or even full kegs. Their craft beer is awesome. I like the Appalachian Pale Ale. It is a very hoppy brew with a crisp fruit finish. It will definitely wake you up! 

So, we chowed down on their amazing food. While we ate, we watched Auburn beat Georgia in basketball on one of the many TVs located all over the dining room. 

I can't say enough about this place, but I really don't have to. It stays busy ALL DAY. It is a must visit. 

We took it easy on Saturday night, as the trip to Cade's Cove (and all the food we ate) slowed us down.

Sunday morning we ate at the Pancake Pantry with some friends who happened to be in town. After seeing the line out the door, down the sidewalk, and behind the building the morning before, we decided to go EXTRA early. Initially, I was going to drive and park, even though it is less than half a mile from where we stayed, but parking in Gatlinburg sucks. Bad. There is ZERO public parking and they want money EVERYWHERE. So, I dropped Alyse and the kids off at the door and drove BACK to the condo. Then, I hoofed it in the 11 degree/stiff wind weather. Luckily, my H2o XPRESS jacket came through for me. I stayed warm, except for my nose, which froze and fell off. It is currently being sold at one of the tourist trap junk stores. Check out my review of it:

Product Review for H2O XPRESS® Men's Softshell XTREME Fishing Parka and Bib

We got right in the Pancake Pantry, although it was packed to the gills, which is saying something since they have wall to wall tables with little to no room between. Be prepared to have 4 other tables' worth of people knowing what you ordered. 

I had the red raspberry crepes. The kids had pancakes with chocolate chips. Alyse had standard pancakes. We added bacon and sausage. I can't speak for them (though they all destroyed their food) but mine was AWESOME. I only managed to eat 2 of the 3 crepes. I wish I would have taken pictures. Alas, I did not. 

By the time we left, the line was out of the door and down the block. Insane that people would wait out in the cold for an hour. But, I guess it's worth it to them. It was certainly good! It's worth the stop. Go early! And, they only take CASH!

We also hit up the Ripley's Aquarium since we had a couple of free tickets. The price for the 3 kids was $34, which wasn't TOO bad. We check out the Tennessee Aquarium and wanted to find a new one. This one isn't as big, but it has a great salt water tank with SHARKS!

Then we hit the road!