Laurel Falls and Gatlinburg
The second day we were in Tennessee we hiked to a waterfall, Laurel Falls. This waterfall is located in The Great Smoky National Park. If you like hiking but aren’t cut out for a long treacherous journey, this is the hike for you. A paved path guides you along the way, with stunning nature views…you might even see some wildlife along the way! We actually saw a couple of black bears! Yes, more bears, it was crazy! In all of our visits to Tennessee, this was the first time we had the pleasure of seeing so much wildlife. I say pleasure, because they kept their distance and we kept ours; observing one another from a distance (just how I like it, haha!). If you missed part 1, click on the following link to read about another great place to explore nature and possibly see wildlife…3 Days in the Smokies, part 1. We also stopped in a candy shop in Gatlinburg to get a sample or two of freshly made salt water taffy at Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen and then we wandered down some of Gatlinburg’s quaint streets.
While visiting Tennessee, over the years, we have made eating at the AppleWood Restaurant kind of a tradition. This restaurant is located in Sevierville and is just outside of Pigeon Forge. After being seated, you’ll be given a complimentary sample of their delicious apple fritters, apple butter, and apple-julep (made with apples from their own orchard, which you can find right outside). Uhh-mazing! Yum! We like to be seated at one of their porch swing tables (swinging during dinner, why not?! The kids will love it, and when I say kids, I mean ME!! Haha!). You might consider ordering with the shared plate option. So much food! My oldest daughter and I ordered a shared plate and still received separate sides and dessert; we still had leftovers to take back with us. Our waiter said, “When people don’t have food leftover to take with them, we worry!”. So come hungry! Also, pay a visit to the Apple Barn next door if you’d like some apple butter, apple fritter mix, etc. to take home with you.
On our last day in Tennessee, we just relaxed. Being adventurous is great, but never underestimate what a day of resting, taking time to just be still can do for a person. We just sat on the porch, turned off our phones (not like they worked well, anyway;-) and soaked in the view of the Smokies. I finished a book, even tried napping but was woken up by the cutest little raccoon I’ve ever seen! Don’t worry we didn’t feed it, but it was very tempting. I mean look at that face!