We took a mini-vacation to the mountains in Tennessee for a few days before Christmas to experience Winterfest in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Winterfest is just what its name suggests... a winter festival. A festival of Christmas-themed shows and events. But the biggest thing about Winterfest is the lights. More than five million of them on displays located throughout the cities. Beautiful, twinkling light displays all over town.
Since our Explorer is still in the body shop, (and we still don't have a rental car to use) we borrowed dh's father's car. It is a Buick Sentry and seats 5. So it was close quarters all the way there and back! Although we were a bit cramped while riding, it provided us some "close to one another" time (hehe). We definitely made memories this trip!
Our hotel had an indoor pool, lazy river and hot tub, and since they were located in the basement level of the building, they didn't close until 2:00 am (compared to your typical 10:00 or 11:00 pm closing)! It was really nice to come back to the hotel and play in the pool or float in the lazy river or relax in the hot tub after being out exploring in the cold all day and half the night!
The hotel was beautifully decorated for Christmas. At the front desk area, there was a gorgeous nativity scene with a beautiful backdrop depicting the village of Bethlehem. I wish I had taken a picture of it...
Here we are in the gift shop area of a local restaurant, taking pictures while waiting for our food!
Will and Kate on the escalator in the mall
Ok, we splurged a bit and went for the aqua massage while in the mall. I think it was like $10 for 7 minutes or something like that.
And here I am, having a turn. I got 5 extra minutes of massage time (without paying for it). The gentleman operating these machines looked just like Santa Claus in disguise. I think he really must be St. Nick, and since I've been such a good girl this year, he gave me some extra time!
A stop at the Fudgery, where we bought 1/2 a pound of chocolate peanut butter fudge, and a 1/2 pound of chocolate and nuts fudge... mmm...mmm.
Will, standing in front of a nutcracker-themed Christmas tree. This is just one of the MANY different trees at The Incredible Christmas Place. Here they celebrate the spirit of Christmas every day of the year! This place is a Bavarian-style village of shops with anything and everything Christmas.
Here is Ryan checking out the motorized hockey players on a frozen pond in the Snow Village. This shop had nothing but village accessories. I am a Christmas village enthusiast. Each year I always add a new piece or two to my collection, so needless to say, I was in Christmas village heaven here!
Kate, standing in front of a North Pole-themed Christmas tree.
The courtyard of this Christmas village was beautifully landscaped, with lots of lighted trees and lovely Christmas decorations.
We attended Christmas at the Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction. We really enjoyed this show.
Here is our family waiting for the show to begin.
Here we are at WonderWorks, a fun and educational experience for all ages. This place was way cool! Here you can experience hurricane force winds and an earthquake. You can simulate flying a spacecraft. You can climb a rock wall and you can walk a ropes course three stories high.
You can play lazer-tag, you can play in the arcade. All in all, this place has over 100 fun-filled, fascinating hands-on activities.
On Christmas Eve, our last day there, we drove through the Smoky Mountains National Park, up the winding road to the top of the snow covered mountain and down the other side.
You can see the snow-covered mountain top (our destination) in the distance.