By Guest Blogger Dennette Bailey

Just a few weeks ago my family and I visited the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge areas of Tennessee. If you read my last blog you know I plan these trips with great detail and so our theme this trip was sing along. Only, besides my husband’s jazz c.d.’s, we, or maybe just me, sang along only to the Annie soundtrack the whole time.

We stayed at a beautiful resort, which was in the heart of everything we wanted to visit. Mountain Loft Resort in Gatlinburg Tennesse became our home for three nights. The views were absolutely beautiful.

20150525_154240We arrived on a Friday evening and when I stepped on the deck of our condo I was greeted by dancing fireflies amongst the trees and huge stars that literally twinkled in the sky. I thought to myself – if I could just get to the next mountaintop I could reach up and grab a perfect one -maybe stuff it in my pocket for one of those not so favorite Monday mornings. I also tried to stick out my tongue and taste the fresh air. It doesn’t quite work that way but it was worth the try because the air was so fresh and crisp. I really couldn’t believe we were just four hours away from North Carolina.

We visited the Dollywood Amusement Park. This amusement park is Tweetsie Railroad and Carowinds mixed in together with a dollop of Disney World. Like Tweetsie it is very relaxing with plenty of shade areas. The diverse amount of activities for children and adults remind me of Carowinds and the beautiful scenery and attention to detail is definitely reminiscent of Disney, minus the exuberant cost and long lines. There is a waterpark within Dollywood, but we chose to skip it on this trip since the regular part kept us so busy! This park is a great value and the food is top notch for an amusement park.

20150524_180025We also visited Cades Cove, part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This particular park was right up our alley as you can bike or drive through it and see all types of wildlife, and it is free! After walking the amusement park, being able to drive and see was a welcome outing. This is a great destination for all ages. We saw beautiful mountain views during the 11 mile drive-thru, as well as, historic buildings, deer, bears and turkeys to name a few. If you visit this park please note that there is a restroom towards the end of the trail. I discovered that while shaking like a puppy whose master won’t take her out but I digress.

2015052495211732(1)I have to say one of my favorite things about the trip was the visitors’ information channel. It is hosted by Mike Abernathy and Brittany Swain. Yes, I know their names because I was so impressed with the channel I reached out to them. If you visit Tennessee, Cherokee, Maggie Valley or the Georgia areas, you have to look for their visitors’ information channel. They tell you all the best places to visit but it is not done in that normal boring visitors’ channel format. Instead, it is informative while entertaining. That channel was the only thing my 9- year old and I watched when we were in our condo.

The area was laid back and we had lots of fun. You know you’re having fun when your teenager enters the room wearing the matching colors you packed for yourself and your youngest and when you ask her if she’ll save the outfit for the next day so we can all look – she obliges. I tried not to display my shock face when she said “o.k.”

If you are looking for a place to zip by for a couple of days or take a week trip, I am suggesting the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge Tennessee area. I think your gonna’ like it there! (My favorite song from the Annie C.D.)