My little town can be odd at times. I’ve mentioned how much I love living here and I do, but sometimes it drives me a little batty. For instance last week, we celebrated Halloween on Thursday. Yes, I know Halloween was Friday, but the community feels that Friday’s are too busy and that it would be hazardous for the kids walking around on the busy streets with all the traffic. We have roughly twelve thousand people living in the entire county. Not city, county! Big time right? However, I’m not going to complain. The change up actually worked to my advantage. I got to trick or treat with my little scream freak and then head off for a weekend away with my husband.
The plan was to drop the kids off at school Friday morning and hit the road in lieu of The Great Smokey Mountains. A three and a half hour drive, we visit these beautiful mountains of Tennessee a couple times of year. If you’ve never been, look up Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg and you’ll find that there is so much to do that you could never possibly see everything in a week. With our kids in tow, we spend a lot of time driving go-carts. There is literally at least a hundred different tracks to choose from. Our favorite is Nascar Speedpark, which is more like a mini amusement park with roughly ten or more tracks all in one place. You pay one price for unlimited rides on all of them, which is quite a deal. They also like going to museums like the Titanic exhibit, Star Cars, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and the Guiness Book of World Records. But since this was an adult only trip, we decided to do things we don’t get the chance to do with the kids around.
First stop, The Apple Barn. Okay, we’ve actually taken the kids here. It is a winery, but they also make apple cider and have gift, fudge and ice cream shops on site. But no, we weren’t there for the sweets. I like their Raspberry wine and the boys had asked that we pick up some cider.
Wine and cider in arms, we headed off to Old Smokey Moonshine Distillery. This was the husband’s idea, as I do not drink moonshine. I mean, the smell of the stuff burns my nose, why would I want to consume something that taste like rubbing alcohol?
However, my sister in law raved about it after buying some last year, so I thought why not? I gave in and gave it a try. Twelve shots of different flavors of moonshine for my husband and a couple for me, and we ended up buying two quarts. In case your starting to wonder about our sobriety, the shots were a mini version of what you’d normally take and honestly neither of us are big drinkers. This was a kid free weekend, though, so we were making the most of it.
After grabbing a quick dinner, we settled into our cabin to await friends that were joining us for the weekend. My husband is not a picky guy, but he has one request when we visit Tennessee. He wants a secluded cabin with a view of the mountains. Usually, I can find something that suites part of this request. The problem with this area, is that it’s so abundantly overrun with cabin rentals, that it’s hard to find one that’s secluded and if you do, it usually doesn’t come with a view. Most of the time, we take the view, but because I was late with booking a reservation, all I could find, was one that said it was secluded. He was okay with that, especially when we arrived and found that indeed, it was tucked away all by itself down a dead end road. Score one for me!
I mentioned my delay in making reservations. It’s completely out of my nature not to get something done or do my research well in advance. I had about two months notice for this trip and somehow, I just couldn’t seem to make myself plan it. Every time I did, I kept getting this nagging little feeling of dread. I tried chalking it up to guilt over leaving the kids and enjoying a place that I know they like, but I think my lack of gumption was driving my husband crazy. He kept reminding me about the reservation and I kept putting it off and then I’d forget. He’d remind me again and I’d say that I’d do it at lunchtime and then I’d forget. He sent me a couple text and I’d reply saying, we’ll do it when we get home. It wasn’t that I was purposely putting it off, I just think deep down I had some gut instinct that was trying to tell me that something bad was going to happen.
Actually nothing bad happened Friday. We enjoyed a nice evening in the hot tub, sipping a glass of wine, while watching the first snow flakes of the season fall. Later on, I curled up in the recliner and read while he watched TV. It was when we heard the weatherman announce the area was expecting nineteen inches of snow that we realized that maybe our weekend away might be headed for trouble. Let me back up, my first indication was when the recliner I was sitting in began to vibrate and move like a possessed demon. Totally freaked out, I jumped up screaming until I saw that my husband was laughing hysterically and held a remote to the massaging controls to the recliner. Yeah, he likes to be funny like that. Score one for him!
We woke up to a true winter wonderland the next morning, with at least a foot of snow and the trees decorated with white. I’m from Texas, where it rarely snows and even after living in Kentucky for sixteen years, I still get excited for that first snow of the season. To say that I was in heaven when I looked outside, puts it mildly. I was ecstatic. At least until I realized we had no power and that it was pretty darn cold in that cabin.
It looks nice and cozy doesn’t it? It would have been, except that I’m pretty sure the fireplace was designed more for looks than an actual source of heat. It never really knocked much of the chill out of the air. In fact it was pretty cold. I had jeans, a sweater, socks, and two blankets and was still freezing.
Things didn’t get much better when our friends woke up. The cabin had no cell service and the phone line had been knocked out with the power. A tree had fallen blocking our truck in the driveway and the other couple had a car that wasn’t four-wheel drive. Essentially we were stuck until a snow plow came through or the electric company got the power back on. Not so bad if you can deal with the cold, but we also didn’t have food. Let me take that back. We had priorities. Remember where we stopped the day before? And our friends had brought pork rinds! Now I’m not a fan of pork rinds, I find them pretty disgusting, but I was hungry. Not I’m willing to eat bugs and rodents hungry, but those pork rinds were pretty damn good hungry.
After sitting there for about an hour and talking about how terrible the day was going and how we didn’t think a plow would make it to the cabin, the guys decided that they were going to scope out how bad things were. They managed to get the truck around the back side of the cabin and then onto the road leaving us girls to talk.
Fire, pork rinds and snuggled up with blankets my friend, Mandy, starts telling me about the scare she received when they arrived the night before. She was upstairs in bed reading when the door to the room slowly creaked open. She called out her husband’s name and heard nothing, so she got up and looked downstairs and realized the guys were outside smoking. It left her a little spooked, especially when she said she saw all these weird candles in the room. I told her the story of how my husband had scared me and we laughed about how jumpy we were, but then we started looking around and saw that the cabin had some odd decorations.
Maybe these beauties were intended as Halloween decorations or they hold some kind of meaning, but they were a little spooky, especially after hearing her story and then something hitting the window right outside of where we sat. I could not see from where I was sitting, but she said she saw something black hit the window. I definitely heard it, though. But nothing black or brown or red, green, yellow or blue, sat underneath the window, because we investigated and the only thing we found was a blanket of white snow. I know what you’re probably thinking, that a ball of snow or ice probably fell off the roof, but it’s not that type of roof. There is a huge overhang that would prevent this from happening. So not only was our day cold and dreary it was getting weirder, while we grew hungrier. Oh and we were going through wood fast!
When the guys returned, they informed us that the electric company was out, but that they said it would likely be days before they made it to us . Luckily, they did find a route to town. Unluckily, it required a drive over the mountain on roads that hadn’t been plowed.
Now this is where I have to commend my husband. He really is superman in my eyes at times. Not only did he find us a way to town, he did so by clearing the road of fallen trees as we went. Yeah, he’s handy like that. I’m pretty lucky, but then it also helps that he works for the Highway Department and that plowing snow and clearing roads is part of his job 😉 I’m not sure how we made it, but we did. We ended up in Pigeon Forge at Crackle Barrel somewhere around five that evening. Famished, we all pigged out, while getting updates on the weather. We then made the decision to return to the cabin to attempt to get the car out and find a hotel in town, because eighteen plus more inches were expected for that night.
Score number two for the guys, because they did get the car and we did get a cheap, but decent hotel. Finally, our night was looking up. In fact it went pretty well. A ride on a ferris wheel and late dinner at Dicks Last Resort, we returned to the room and drank wine while playing cards into the wee hours of the morning.
Our trip turned out nothing like we planned and a few times felt pretty daunting. I didn’t get to do my early Saturday morning writing like I had hoped and the seculusion part of my husband’s idea didn’t work out so well. The other couple didn’t get to fully enjoy the one full day that they had, but it all turned out okay. We had fun and we laughed about all the silliness when things finally calmed down. However, the one thing we were all looking forward to that weekend, was taking a drive through the mountains to get a glimpse of the fall colors. With the weather being so uncooperative, it didn’t appear that was going to happen this trip, but we gave it a go anyhow and drove up as far as we were allowed. What we saw was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. Fall in all it’s glory with a sprinkling of winter on it’s way.