Thursday, July 18, 2013

Smoky Mountain Rest Stop

It's me.
I've spent the last six weeks doing WAY TOO MUCH.
So I spent the last week doing NOTHING but relaxing....right here. 
And it was frickin' glorious.
You know how every vacation tends to have a theme?
Our recent cruise was a total adventure.
My trip to Seattle with my girlfriends last fall; I would say serene.
For our latest trip out to the Smoky Mountains, Rest Stop is the first thing that came to mind.

Anybody know that feeling of totallyoverloading yourself?
Who am I kidding. You're all bloggers.
That's what we're best at.
Full time jobs, relationships, homes to maintains & some even babies.
And then throw maintaining a blog in there.
If anyone relates, it's all of you.
Well this past week I got some much needed R&R surrounded by the people I love most: my family.

We headed out last Saturday afternoon and on our way to Tennessee, we stopped in Nashville and spent a few hours exploring. With only having a few hours to putt around we decided to check out the Country Music Hall of Fame. 
And for the record, save your money folks. 
Not worth it....which was honestly sad! 

We are MAJOR country music fans so we were expecting to be
blown away, Carrie Underwood style.  Pun fully intended. 

But hey, we had a great time just exploring a new city.  We grabbed a quick bite to eat downtown
and enjoyed some pretty spectacular people watching,
which says a lot considering we ended up on a gay pride cruise last year. 
After lunch we got back on the road only to pull up to this a few hours later.
My older brother and his wife Liza along with their new sweet baby boy Emmett, all live in Raleigh, North Carolina.  A few times a year we try to vacation together so we have a chance to reconnect and be as much a part of their lives as we can even though we live so dang far from each other. 
Matt & Liza had Emmett last November and it's been torturous not getting to meet him until now. 
 I mean, can you blame me?!?!
For those that know me, I am absolutely TERRIBLE at mornings.  But on vaca, I would jump out of bed just to get to feed the little bugger.
See below for some more of my favorite snapshots!

When you enter, you walk into the smell of fresh pine & beautiful views from EVERY angle!
It was three stories with spiral staircases connecting each level.

Smoky Mountain National Park
Dinner at The Dixie Stampede
White Water Rafting
Dinner the day Matt, Liza & Emmett arrived!
Hanging out in downtown Gatlinburg
Uncle Jon & Emmett...two of my favorite guys.
Dollywood wore us out!
Dinner out in downtown Gatlinburg with Matt & Liza
Horseback riding on our last day
 The day we said goodbye was tough. Not that it hasn't been hard to say goodbye before, but something about a new baby brings the family SO much closer!

When I hugged my brother & gave Emmett one last kiss, tears were shed, but the memories made are priceless & I'll forever be thankful for our little Smoky Mountain getaway!

Hope everyone is having a WONDERFUL summer full of lots of sun, lots of relaxation & hopefully a vacation of some sort!  Even a weekend getaway does the body go on and treat yourself.

Even though I haven't spent a lot of time here this summer, I haven't skipped a beat on Instagram. 
If you'd like to follow along, it's @annexenos.