I have been to, and through, Tennessee several times. It is one of those states that it seems like you have to drive through to get anywhere. And a drive through the Smokey Mountains can be so beautiful. When our boys were young we were on a vacation one summer and we were driving through the Smokey Mountains, when there along the side of the road we found a mama black bear and two cub babies. Not a site you see very often from the car.
One of my favorite places to visit when in Tennesse is Gatlinburg. I love to walk along the streets and visit the loop of shops, galleries, studios, and museums. I visited Gatlinburg long before Branson ever became the tourist trap that it now is. There is just no comparison. If you get tired of shopping just find a bench to sit on and watch the people or gaze into the mountains. Who could ever get tired of that?
I remember that there was a tiny, tiny church in Gatlinburg that I used to wish Richard and I would get married in. But when the time came we chose to be married at San Isabel, Colorado.
|This is the wall that surrounds Graceland and is COVERED in graffitti|
We also paid a visit to Graceland while in Memphis. But once we got there and saw what kind of prices they wanted to charge just to see inside his home, I was just as happy to stroll along the fence in front of Graceland and read all of the things that people have written on the brick wall out front. Let me tell you, those Elvis fans are a bit crazy. Now, don't get me wrong; I loved Elvis. But, I don't think I was ever that crazy.
|Ryman Auditorium *wikipedia*|
We also visited Nashville. Who would pass up a trip to see the Grand Ole Opry? I don't know what I was expecting but I was kind of disappointed. We did not see a show. Maybe that would have made it feel more like the country music capitol that I expected to find. The auditorium at that time sat in the middle of a theme park. I understand that the park is no longer there. Maybe that would help! Just something I expected to be a bigger deal than what it was. Do you ever have expectations like that?
Years after we had been to Gatlinburg with our kids we visited with friends. We rented a house tucked up in the moutains. There was an outdoor hot tub that we sat in during the day and enjoyed the serenity of the Smokies. But it was those cool, crisp moutain-air nights in the hot tub, star-gazing and smelling the burning wood of our fire near by that burns in my memories. Ahhhhh Gatlinburg!