What we love most about trips are the surprises they hold. When we went inside the lobby of the Park Vista hotel, what greeted us first was the sign “Welcome Vietnam Veterans.” Apparently a group of Vietnam Veterans were having a reunion while we were staying at the hotel. One of them stayed in the room right next to ours. It is truly a small world!
Gatlinburg is a touristy town and we don’t care for the crowds, shopping venues and arcades. We generally stay away from crowds and attractions.
We love the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! We were in awe of the beauty of the mountains, woods, valleys, waterfalls and streams. On a lazy afternoon, we drove through the park up high in the mountains all the way to North Carolina. We discovered some “quiet walkways” into the woods along the way. This National Park is the kind of place that would take one whole week to explore.
On the way home, we stopped along the highway through the park and walked down to a roaring stream to search for a refreshing moment after the busy party the night before. As we were sitting among the rocks under the magnolia trees listening to the rushing stream, we gradually felt more restored. Our boys occupied themselves with throwing pebbles and rocks in the water. Easy, simple fun! We talked about how humans have always enjoyed such uncomplicated time with one another throughout history.
We walked upstream a little (or downstream) and discovered a stretch of the stream between the rushing parts that was much calmer and deeper. What a relaxing feeling to contemplate calm water! The calm water surface gently reflected the trees and leaves while the beautiful fallen magnolia flowers dotted the shore. Trees, glassy stream, rocks of different sizes and graceful white flowers at that moment created for me an unforgettable mental painting.
I learned that 80 percent of the park is second growth because by the time the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established, most of the forest had been cut down by loggers and farmers.
Jacob and James had a swell time splashing at the 2-level pool inside the hotel complex. Jacob and David loved going down the fast twisting tube slide.