Road Trip to the Smoky Mountains

One of the fabulous things about being homeschoolers is that we can travel when it suits us.  We often homeschool when other kids are not in school (for example, we often start back to school in early August and don’t take the same breaks, holidays or snow days that other kids in traditional schools take). Then, when the opportunity arises we head off for a family holiday. We actually got back last weekend, but it’s taken a number of days to get my/our feet back on the ground and we still have backpacks/bags to put away; toiletries,  piles of clean laundry to deal with. Since we jumped straight back into school, there’s only so much time I have to deal with everything — you know, being ready for lessons, continuing on with activities, those twice a week trips to the doctor’s/allergist for LD and all that.

In this case, LD had a gymnastics competition down in Tennessee.  LD had a successful meet coming out with 2nd place in the All Around in his age group and competition level.  I heard there were teams from 17 states at that meet.

Meanwhile, we enjoyed some quality family time as well.

We drove into the Smoky Mountains for a quick day trip:

Our destination was an aquarium that we heard about in Gatlinburg.  To get there we had to drive through the tourist town of Pigeon Forge, TN.  It was so cute! It was full of all kinds of dinner shows and fun family destinations such as miniature golf, go-karting, laser tag, magic shows, bowling, sky diving, arcades, live music, theaters and on and on! The kids really wanted to do that balloon ride you see below.  Pigeon Forge reminded me a lot of downtown Branson, Missouri where we went this past summer.  We just drove on through Pigeon Forge, but there sure were lots of things to do.

Here are a few pictures as we drove through Pigeon Forge, TN:

Once we got through Pigeon Forge we drove through the Smoky Mountain National Park.  We stopped at a roadside stop (no hiking for us that day) for some posing and pictures! Breaking with my normal blogging tradition, I’ll actually post a couple small pictures of our  family in this beautiful spot.

Then we were off to the really cute town of Gatlinburg.  We were there in mid-January, but I imagine in the summer the traffic is just awful. One person said it can take over an hour to go five miles and with the narrow roads I can believe that.  When we were there, though, it was just wonderful!

Again, there were a lot of things to do there… the kids opted for a Mirror Maze!

I’ll save some pictures of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies for tomorrow. It’s been ranked #1 in the U.S. by TripAdvisor.  The kids liked it better than the Baltimore Aquarium… but then it’s freshest on their mind so I’m not sure that’s entirely partial!  It was a really fabulous place, though. More about that tomorrow!

Here’s a quick picture of LD at his competition which was held the day after we visited the Smoky Mntn area. I was pretty far away so the pictures aren’t the best.

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