Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Anniversary Weekend in Gatlinburg

To celebrate our anniversary, we decided to spend a few days relaxing at the cabin in Gatlinburg.  We arrived late Thursday night, unpacked the car and went to bed.  Mike had a few work meetings in east Tennessee Friday morning so I enjoyed a quiet morning reading on the deck, walking Ellie (on some pretty steep mountain roads), and making our traditional anniversary almond pound cake (my attempt at mimicking our amazing wedding cake).

morning view from the deck

reading on the deck

M made it home pretty early so we ate lunch on the deck and headed out on a hike in the Smokies.  We did the Alum Cave Trail to Arch Rock and the Cave Bluffs. time I'll drag him up Mt. LeConte!
lots of log bridges
The trail was really pretty and followed a stream (river?) for the first mile and a half.  It was a little rainy but ended up being just enough to keep us cool.

The first big landmark is the Arch Rock.  It wasn't what either of us were expecting but it was still very cool.

the arch

climbing through the arch

After the arch, we began the ascent up the mountain.  This part of the trail had pretty views and lots of flowers starting to bloom.  It will probably be even more impressive in a few weeks.

Shortly after, we reached the "cave" which is actually not a cave.  It's more of a GIANT rock wall that leans over the ground. 

too big to get all in one pic (can you spot mike?)

awkward self portrait ;)
On the way back down, Mike somehow happened to spot the "pinhole rock" he read about online.  I seriously have no idea how he noticed it but it was pretty cool.

would you have noticed this?

a little closer

with the big zoom
We made it home and enjoyed a relaxing evening grilling burgers and veggies, playing games, and spending as little time inside as possible.

new brews (I loved the pale ale, M went for the somersault)

chair on picnic table = best views of the mountains

Saturday morning we had reservations for a horseback trail ride at Walden Creek Farms.  We kicked off the morning with our mandatory trip to Pancake Pantry.  It was the first time I switched it up and got french toast... I think I might be in love. 

not whipped cream... butter. yum!
M ordered my usual: pecan pancakes

Walden Creek Farms was a really pretty place.

We had a while to wait before our ride but were entertained by a visiting Golden.  Apparently she'd shown up at the farm yesterday and had no intentions of leaving.  They asked if we wanted to take her home.... hubs said no.

The trail ride consisted of us, one other couple, and our guide.  M and I both got really great horses that actually did what we told them (though Mike's ate every tree he passed).

The trail was pretty awesome- about two hours and we crossed quite a few streams and climbed a pretty wooded trail to the top of a mountain.  We both really loved the ride.

Mike with Larry

me with Domino

Saturday afternoon and evening were again spent grilling, playing Yahtzee and cards on the deck and relaxing as much as possible. 

ellie loves the deck as well
Sunday we went to our favorite local trail (the only one dogs are allowed on) for a run.  Every run here has me falling in love with running all over again.  It's so pretty and peaceful.

the running trail

the stream it follows

We hung out for a few more hours to cram in a little more mountain time before heading back to Nashville.

Both mornings on our way from the cabin we spotted bears crossing the road.  The first had an adorable cub with it but we were too excited to remember to take a pic.  This big guy was seen the next day.  They look so chubby and cuddly.  Too bad they would probably eat us if I tried to get a hug....

A few days in the mountains is really the perfect escape from normal life.  I loved every minute of our little vacation and want to get back as soon as possible!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Three years

Three years ago today, I said "I do" to a man who I am proud to call my husband each and every day.  He is my best friend and I am so lucky to be sharing my life with him.  Happy anniversary sweetie!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Strawberries and Lynchburg

After hearing rumors of strawberry picking locations near Nashville, I decided that it sounded like something I just had to experience.  I asked around at work for advice on the best place to go and was referred to a few different spots.  I did a little googling and settled on Valley Home Farm in Wartrace, Tennessee.  We followed up a morning run with some amazing oatmeal cookie pancakes (thank you pinterest) and made the drive through the beautiful rolling hills and giant horse farms of rural Tennessee to our destination.


We went inside, were given baskets and told that strawberries were all you can pick for $2 a pound.  They sent us out into a giant field with the instructions: just pick the red ones.

instructions found after we were done
Once Mike informed me that the bushes I set after were actually blueberry plants, we picked our perfect row of strawberry plants and got to work.

I was surprised at how many berries there were and enjoyed picking out the perfect ones.  I might have sampled a few fresh off the plant (vine?) and they were incredibly delicious.

We each filled our baskets in less than an hour and decided to call it quits.

After our strawberry picking, we were ready for lunch.  We had planned on eating at a hotel nearby that claimed to hold a BBQ every Saturday.  Unfortunately, after wandering around the deserted hotel (that claims to be haunted) and not finding anyone, we gave up.

We had seen signs on our way in for the Jack Daniels distillery.  I had always been interested in taking a tour so we decided to drive over there for a tour and to hopefully find some food.

We didn't end up sticking around for the tour as we were worried about leaving our berries in a hot car for an hour and a half but we saw enough and drove over to the adorable downtown square in Lynchburg, TN.
historic lynchburg
The Bar-b-que Caboose Cafe filled our lunch bbq cravings.

they had a real train running around the ceiling
We did a quick trip around the shops in the square.  It was interesting the number of touristy stores that centered entirely around Jack Daniels.  I guess they are the claim to fame for the little town.  

It was fun to explore a little bit of Tennessee that we hadn't yet seen.  I signed up to hear when the blueberries are ripe so I hope to make a return trip to Valley Home Farms.