I’m thinking of phasing out Photo Fridays by the end of the year—mainly, because I think they’re getting a bit stale, and freeing up my Fridays would make room for other posts—but until then, I’ve still got a handful of photo essays to share from recent travels, starting with our recent long weekend to the Great Smoky Mountains with SVV’s family.
Now, the Smokies are no new destination for me. I grew up just three hours east of the country’s most visited national park, and both my grandparents grew up in this neck of the woods (in Knoxville, but close). It is, truly, the loveliest place in Tennessee, wouldn’t you agree?
SVV and I were just outside of the park when we visited Blackberry Farm this past summer, but prior to that Jade and I made our base in Gatlinburg on our Smokies sojourn last spring; this time around, the VVs and I booked a three-bedroom cabin off of Highway 321, somewhere halfway between Townsend and Pigeon Forge.
This particular visit was different, though, as we had a toddler in tow—meaning, no late nights out and no visits to moonshine distilleries.
It also meant limiting the time we spent in the car, which proved particularly challenging on a weekend during peak foliage, as everyone had the same idea to head to the Smokies as we did. The drive out to Cades Cove? FORGET ABOUT IT.
So rather than braving the bumper-to-bumper conditions and spending hours in the car, we took my friend Marci’s advice and drove just 15 minutes from our cabin into Wears Valley for a leisurely hike.
And when I say hike, I should actually say a “walk-for-two-minutes-then-sit-for-five-as-Lucy-picks-up-ever-rock-and-stick-on-the-path stroll.”
Who, me? Trouble? Never! Just look at that innocent face.
It was actually a perfect afternoon activity with a toddler. Wide, open spaces for her to explore, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.
And beautiful colors for us adults to enjoy.
On the flip side, mere days after we left, the Smokies had its first snow! Not that I would have minded seeing this vision in white. But still, I’m more of a warm weather kind of gal.
I definitely recommend the Smokies during the fall months, but would advise anyone traveling there in September or October who wants to keep their sanity to go during the week rather than on the weekends if possible.
Lucy said to tell y’all she agrees.