Jordan and I hit the road again, this time to Tennessee for a few days of cozy cabin time and a mountain adventure.
The drive up was beautiful but it didn’t go as planned. Some “obstruction in the left lane” left us google mapping back roads, which was visually pleasing but did NOTHING for my anxiety. Jordan quelled me with a huge peach tea from some bodunk Sonic where we actually had to specify if we wanted the tea sweet… Am I spoiled or am I southern? Both. We drove through some places, man. BUT we found a business with our namesake: Must be cool to make gravestones and run a funeral home for a living, you go, Tennesee fam. We actually spent a lot of this trip on back roads which means I spent a lot of this trip being terrified. Show me a person unafraid of cannibal hillbillies! Show me!
A recurring theme with the local diners were these things called cathead biscuits. We had to google that. They’re just biscuits “as big as a cat’s head” – ok y’all but what size cat? I would be real disappointed if I was given a biscuit the size of Jaq’s head. (Jaq is our cat who has a big belly and little tiny head.)
We stayed in the cutest cabin possible. I was floored at its tinyness and efficiency. It was a studio with a king sized bed, a jacuzzi tub, a fireplace and a huge back porch with an equally huge hot tub. We didn’t pack swimsuits. We totally skinny dipped. We stocked the fridge with the essentials: cookies, pizza rolls, chips and salsa and grapes. It was such a dream. Literally the perfect space.
Cool thing: The night we arrived was the first night Gatlinburg turned on the Christmas lights!!! And I’m not talking like little twinkling sissy lights. I’m talking like 15 foot tall 3D interactive lights. RIDICULOUSLY MAGICAL.
We had a blast at Ole Smoky on our first night. We got to taste everything in the store and enjoy a lively banjo… quartet? Group? Band? I have no idea. Our tasting guy’s name was Austin and he was your regular old non cannibal hillbilly that liked to flirt with older ladies and make kardashian jokes. He let us try White Lightning, Apple Pie, Blackberry, Cinnamon, Pumpkin Pie, Nog, Margarita, Blue Flame (168 proof… Whew) and a few others that I kind of don’t remember because we left out of there a little drunk. We bought the Margarita flavor though… Just because it was delicious and I’m a fool for margs and everyone knows it. It was realllly fun.
We took a day to visit the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. (Excitingly, NC was the twelfth state Jordan and I have visited together!) I could write a lot about this place and its extravagance and its enormousness but it’s really something everyone should experience first hand. Reading about it is nothing like wandering through it. We very much recommend this visit! My favorite rooms were Edith’s bedroom and the Louis XV room, where she gave birth to her children. Jordan’s favorite was the whole basement, a neat space with a bowling alley and an indoor pool and the kitchens. Sitting on 8,000 acres, the views were to die for. The entire property was built to be self sustaining so all fruits and veggies and meats were grown right there- yielding the best bleu cheese burger I have had since 2012. Five miles from the house was the dairy-turned-winery … Where we had a pour led by a fabulous and knowledgable 70 year old named Alan that really had the coolest job in the world. We left out of there with a limited release Malbec and a super crisp Riesling.
We are super tourists. Please enjoy these.
Here are some scenic views!!!
Here are some bulleted thoughts that don’t have enough substance for a full paragraph:
- On Friday we found the world’s only Salt and Pepper shaker museum. It’s closed on Fridays.
- You can taste literally everything before you buy it
- You can taste everything even if you don’t buy it
- The mountain mall, the weirdest mall in existence
- There was a dinner show called Lumberjack Feud
- People from Ohio don’t know how to drive in the south
- Military discounts galore
- There was this place in cannibal hillbilly country called Aj’s 3 Way Inn
- Yes, we did have margaritas at Margaritaville
- Pancakes pancakes pancakes!
- We saw 2 turkeys and one single deer and a million idiots at Cade’s Cove
- On our last night, we got a pick six of beer and spent the whole evening watching COPS and eating leftovers
This trip was very special for us. For years, Jordan and I have taken vacations here but not once have we been here together. We had an atmosphere that was filled with familiarity and desire to share family traditions with the other which led to a constant use of the words I’m excited to- I’m excited to do this, I’m excited to show you that, I can’t wait to do this with you- and I am really having trouble finding the right way to express how much we bonded on this trip.
We did a lot in a few days. We ate a lot of delicious food, drank a lot of fantastic alcohol and discovered so much of what is truly the Smoky Mountains – a place for traditions. A place for family.