This is an extremely long blog post, and I realize most of you don't care what I did on my vacation this year, but this is mainly for my family's viewing pleasure.
This year we decided to take a family vacation with my side of the family. We rented a big 4-bedroom cabin in the Smoky Mountains near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We did lots of fun things on the trip, and these are just some of the highlights.
Since we have two little ones, we decided to take our time on the long drive to Tennessee, that way the girls wouldn't have to spend all day in the car. So we did a few fun things along the way.
The first day we drove to Little Rock and watched a minor league baseball game between the Arkansas Travelers and the Tulsa Drillers.
Next, we stopped in Memphis and rode the monorail over the Mississippi River to Mud Island River Park where we toured a museum and strolled down the river walk, which is a replica of the Mississippi River. Each stride you take while walking along the replica is equivalent to about one mile on the actual river. The replica ends at the Gulf of Mexico, which is about an acre of water where you can rent a pedal boat.
The next day we traveled on to Nashville, where we met up with the rest of my family. Several of us went to the Grand Ole Opry where we saw such country music greats as Little Jimmy Dickens, Vince Gill, Rhonda Vincent, Hal Ketchum, Point of Grace, John Conlee, The Whites, Mike Snider, Jim Ed Brown, as well as several other performers. The highlight of the night was getting to hear my favorite female country artist, Alison Krauss. She performed several songs, but the one I enjoyed the most was her rendition of the old hymn "It Is Well". She has the purist voice you will ever hear! My brother-in-law, Mark, made the comment that she could have sang the dictionary and it would have been good.
We had the "Peaceful View" cabin reserved beginning on Sunday, and it definitely lived up to it's name. Here is a picture of the cabin and a few shots I took from the balcony of the cabin (which had a hot tub I might add).
On Monday we went to the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg. This is the best aquarium I have ever been to and would recommend it if you are ever near Gatlinburg.
We also went to the Comedy Barn in Pigeon Forge on Monday evening. This is a family show that sort of reminds me of Hee-Haw. It is definitely worth seeing.
On Tuesday, my wife and I, along with my sisters and their husbands went hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We hiked the Rainbow Falls trail up to the 80-foot tall waterfall and back, which was 5.4 miles roundtrip. This was my favorite part of the whole trip.
On Wednesday morning, we went on a 5-mile whitewater rafting excursion down the Pigeon River. My sister has the CD of pictures we purchased from this trip so I don't have those yet. It was a fun trip and our guide was a really neat fellow.
Wednesday evening we took the girls to an arcade/playland and got them some matching airbrush t-shirts as a souvenir from the trip.
We decided to make the long drive back in one day on Thursday, and believe me, it was a LONG day!
It was a very fun and eventful vacation. It was nice to get away for awhile and enjoy the company of family and take in the beauty of God's creation. I don't want to go back to work on Monday.