First of all, I’d like to apologize for not writing about the last part of our winter Gatlinburg trip sooner. It’s been a struggle to get motivated to write as much as I’m used to since I’ve had to deal with some personal issues that involve my Dad’s health. The good news is he’s doing better, and I’m easing back into some normal routines even though it hasn’t been easy. This winter has surprisingly flown by, and it’s starting to hit me now that it’s almost spring, and even though there won’t be a spring break vacation to Gatlinburg this year, it’ll be June before you know it, and we know that means our annual five day full-on Gatlinburg trip with our son. Meanwhile, I’d like to sum up the final day and morning of our weekend in Gatlinburg from January.

Sunday Morning Walk

Sunday was my morning to rise before the sun and make the very chilly trek into The Village for my tasty treats waiting for me at The Donut Friar. I changed the pace of my usual routine by eating my usual Chocolate Chipper and Cruller by devouring them both inside; it was just too cold to enjoy them outside. After enjoying my Shot in the Dark from Coffee and Company, it was time to take the long walk to the end of town where Old Dad’s has the daily local paper that I read when I have some downtime–usually in the evening. Gatlinburg also looks vastly different–and somehow a little more beautiful–in the winter, especially with the hundreds of thousands of lights that illuminate the town at dark. I, of course, didn’t miss out on taking some pics since it was our first time getting the chance to view them with our own eyes instead of online through someone else’s.

I won’t go into much detail about what I did later that morning with my wife since I already wrote a separate piece on our visit to the wonderfully scenic–and still a work in progress–new attraction in Gatlinburg, Anakeesta. Unfortunately, until we return, my memories of it will be how cold the wind felt on my skin, but we still managed to spend almost two hours up there and enjoyed the sights and activities.

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Souvenirs, Shopping, and Music

The afternoons of our final day in Gatlinburg are always bittersweet: we make sure we purchase things to enjoy when we return home and take in as much of the experience as we can possibly manage to do before dreaming of our next trip. I’ll have to check but I believe I said Aunt Mahalia’s was my favorite place to grab some sweets, but that officially changed with this trip. Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen has them beat, and I’ll briefly explain why: their candy is a bit cheaper, but the quality is simply better–the truffles are a to-die-for delight for one; the chocolate covered espresso beans are also very nice; and lastly, their selection is quite impressive offering something for everyone with a high-level satisfaction no matter what your preference.

On the souvenir front, I did something I didn’t think I would ever do in Gatlinburg: I broke down and bought a tourist-friendly hooded sweatshirt with Gatlinburg, TN on the front and “Great Smoky Mountains” stitched on the sleeve. The one tourist thing I did not do was wear it right after I bought it; I saved that for home here in Ohio. Hey, come on, it didn’t feel cheap–and it doesn’t while wearing it, either–and at less than $20 and under the squeeze of a budget, it just had to be done.

On our walk through town in the middle of the afternoon, we found ourselves at the Ole Smoky Holler plopped down on a rocking chair underneath a propane heater enjoying some live music from the local bluegrass band, Monroeville. We recommend Ole Smoky more for their merchandise than their moonshine, but we always go there to take in the atmosphere–and the smells of fermentation filling the air. We don’t normally stay and listen to the music very long, but this time it was nice to take our sweet time and heard some nice tunes from this band that frequents The Holler quite often.

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Dinner at Cherokee Grill

This is our favorite place for the wife and me to have a nice sit-down dinner meal. So far, it is our favorite steak restaurant in Gatlinburg, but we have more on our list to tackle for future visits. Still, it will be hard to top the Prosperity Steak and the similarly prepared Prosperity Pork Chop. Words cannot describe how tender and juicy their pork chops are as I’ve never had better pork chops anywhere than here at this Copper Cellar establishment–and I don’t normally think to order this particular menu item, but here, it’s the first thing on my mind. They changed up the Neva’s Potatoes a bit, leaving off the skin, but I think I like it even more this way with less salt–being that at my age, unfortunately, I’m more concerned with sodium intake. This, normally, is enough to be considered to be the best dinner restaurant in Gatlinburg, but when you throw in the fact that you can still get beer from the Brewery here, that’s just the foam on…uh, yeah, the icing on the cake let’s just say.

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Monday Morning Melancholy

Yes, it was just our time to have to leave. It’s sad to bring our little vacation to an end, but you just have to accept it’s time to leave and step back into reality. That reality was prolonged by a visit to the growing likeability factor of Log Cabin Pancake House where I enjoyed a 3 egg bacon and cheese omelet with 3 buttermilk pancakes, which is quite enough for me, but I finished it like a pro–and like someone who craves and is satisfied by great Gatlinburg pancakes. The final stop was a quick dart inside the Donut Friar because sometimes you just have to bring home a few–or a six-pack–home for the three of us. The trip home went without much of a hitch, and we are already booked and getting prepared for Gatlinburg in June. I’ll have a full run-down of the events we have planned sometime before then, but until then, you can follow me on Twitter as I am Gatlinburg NOW on the Twitterverse as well. I frequently post at a daily clip, so give me a follow or a shout-out, I’d love to talk to you all even though we may not ever meet. So long, and thanks for reading my blog! I appreciate it!

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