After last week's vacation in Pigeon Forge, I was half-way ready to go back to work and half-way trying to figure out how to a professional vacationer. Unlike a Disney World vacation, I did not want to walk 5000 miles and fall into bed exhausted every night. I think we did a fairly good job of balancing fun activities and relaxation. We rented a two bedroom condo at the River Stone Resort and Spa. It was fantastic and I highly recommend it if you are ever in Pigeon Forge. We entered our condo through a screened in front porch that led to the real front door. The condo was super clean and well stocked with towels, kitchen needs (plates, cups, pots, etc.) and we had a back balcony overlooking the golf course. No bowl of fruit awaited our arrival, but E didn't even notice (of course). Dollywood and the Dollywood water park are just two miles up the street past the resort (we did not go) BUT Dollywood set off fireworks every night at 9:30 and we could easily see them from our back balcony. I love fireworks so it is possible I was the most excited and made everyone else sit through it. Every night. The only thing I would say was slightly misleading about the resort's website pictures (in a good way) is it doesn't really show how close it is to the main strip. Just turn left out of the parking lot, go about 50 yards and boom! You are right in all the restaurants, shops and touristy attractions.
I took almost no pictures on this trip. I prefer to think of it as enjoying the moment and capturing memories in my head rather than being a terrible mother who doesn't preserve precious memories. Beyonce just scolded an Atlanta concert-goer for filming her concert instead of experiencing it, so I feel Bey would back me up on this. The pictures I did manage to take were largely eating at Mellow Mushroom. Aren't we adorable?
I don't even know who these people are. How did they end up at my table?
This is what happens when you let a four year old take pictures: you look like a sleepy troll just awoken from your slumber. And you aren't happy about it.
This is what happens when two divas want to record a song and their big sis brings not one, but two berets on vacation. They sang "Trouble" by Taylor Swift. Because obviously a six year old and four year old don't tolerate all that relationship drama.
There is a ton of family fun in Pigeon Forge and nearby Gatlinburg. Hubs, G and S went to MagiQuest, a wizarding adventure game (or as E called it, the Nerd Castle), and we all did some black light minigolf, mirror mazes, Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, Guinness World Records Museum, and lots of candy and ice cream shops. Of all the things we did, the girls liked the resort lazy river and pool the most. Seriously. I drove more than three hours for the girls to beg to swim at the condo. I could have walked the 200 yards to our neighborhood pool, but whatever.
Lest you imagine this was a perfect Norman Rockwell vacation, let's keep it real. The Friday before we left, E came home with suspicion of lice (a kid in her class had full blown lice). Lice treatment kits all around! S suffered throughout the trip with what we hoped and prayed was a nickel allergy reaction to earrings. Once the blisters spread over her face and body we had to accept that it was probably something more serious, and the urgent care place confirmed a type of bacterial infection on Sunday (she's doing a thousand times better now). We can add mirror maze, black light mini-golf, Ripley's anything, and pretend wizarding to the list of things E finds terrifying (i.e., cries and needs to be carried throughout). And to cap it off, the same hairpin turn filled road through the Smoky Mountain National Park that was so breathtakingly beautiful on the way to Tennessee caused three children to feel car sick on the way home. Two barfed. It was not awesome. However, it was overall a great vacation and we really needed a week off. And today I finally received my Pigeon Forge visitor's guide so if you need any info on the area, I'm your girl!