Smoky Mountains Family Vacation: Arts, Crafts, YARN and...Cataracts?!!

Smoky Mountains Family Vacation 
Day 4: Arts, Crafts, YARN, and…Cataracts???

Grateful for these views every morning and evening.  There is no better place to reflect on the goodness of God.

I read the faces and spirits of my weary travelers very carefully to decipher I had pushed them hard enough.  We took Day 4 nice and easy.  That was the whole point of spending extra on a self-entertaining cabin, right?

We let the kids sleep in, and we spent the extra time relaxing on the deck.  It’s not really a vacation to me, if I don’t take time for peace, rest and reflection…and appreciation.  We definitely had a view worthy of appreciation.

So, we took the time.  And the kids, literally, thanked me.

We waited until they started to stir before Breakfast Man treated them with his speciality.  Then, we took them shopping in Gatlinburg at the arts and crafts community strip.  Afterwards, I FINALLY got to visit the last of my three destination goals: Smoky Mountain Spinnery.

To be honest, I had a couple of main ideas on my mind when brainstorming for this vacation.  1) Fun, RELAXING and private 2) Within 1 day’s driving distance from home.  I narrowed it down to a few, including: Estes Park, Indiana dunes and the Smoky Mountains.

Next, I started searching VRBO for places that would meet my needs on our general dates of availability.  (See Day 1 for more info here!). 

Smoky Mountains won, hands down, in this department.  (You had me at “private pool.”). But my after-booking anxieties were calmed, we were binging “Barnwood Builders” re-runs, and where do you think they happened to be visiting?!!  Not only, Gatlinburg…but Gatlinburg’s own yarn shop, The Smoky Mountain Spinnery.

There was really no need to say it, but I did.  “Oh, I am so going there!”

FOUND IT!  Now, leave me alone!

Matt insisted on, at least, stepping foot in the store with me.  His life’s reward is getting to witness my joys.

We sent the boys with the girls in the opposite direction, hoping to detain them long enough for me to actually enjoy my time in the shop.  It was not without fear and trepidation.  As always, I had a little moment of panic sending off my precious cargo without the eyes of one of us on guard.

But, I’m learning to trust.  I looked Eden straight in the eyes and petitioned her to keep a close eye on my boys.  She agreed.  I headed toward the store, but, then…I took one cautious look back. 

…and I saw my 17-year-old daughter, walking away from me, without hesitation, one arm wrapped tightly around each of my boys.

That’s when I knew I REALLY love my kids…and they, also, love me.

I call these: "MINE."  What a hard-earned privilege.

Oh, my friends.  I had a lovely time in that little yarn shop.  It wasn’t nearly enough, but it was just right.  Of course, I didn’t spend as much (time or money) as I could have…

I heard the door open and the bell ding, and the friendly lady greeted the group of strangers trickling in (which happened to be my children), and I said, “Oh no!!  Don’t be nice to THEM!  Pretend I’m not here.”

Alas, it was time for me to go.  The masses were getting hungry, and at least one kid was obsessed with the Papa John’s below us.  (I stuck to my guns and later served up a delicious, home-made quesadilla meal - another of Matt’s cooking specialties.). I even splurged on “fancy” ice cream.  (Please don’t anyone explain to my children that ice cream shops are actually open to the public.  They consider it a HUGE deal if I buy something other than the cheapest, hugest bucket of vanilla.  So, for example, when I buy a smaller, more expensive treat - say Peanut Butter Chocolate Explosion, or along those lines - they feel we are really going ALL OUT.  True Story: when I recently brought home Budget Savers Twin Popsicles, the kids began excitedly bashing the previous Pop Ice purchase. I actually heard myself say “You are just spoiled!!”  I think that best explains what they are dealing with here.  Yarn over treats, kids.  Yarn. Over. Treats.)

I never did explore the reason behind the title for this particular SMNP attraction.  However...

To their dismay, I threw at them the snacks I had brought, promised said delicious meal, and dragged them to one more (minuscule) hike.  This time, my promises for “quick and easy” really did come true.  I don’t think you can even call it a “hike” - that effortless path to Cataract Falls.  It was, however, worth the stop, and it was the last time (for this trip!) I dragged my kids onto the trail.

I, literally, titled this picture "easy trail falls," because I couldn't remember the name... really?!!!

One more day, and two more sleeps (as we call them), and we are headed to the blessed place we call "home."  We've made it this far...I hope you'll join us to the end.  

Happy Blog-reading!  To Future Vacations - both yours and mine!