As a last minute end-of-summer celebration idea (inspired by a Groupon ad), Cindy and I took the kids to the mountains of Tennessee for a weekend. Staying in another location overnight is about the best thing ever in the eyes of our kids. If the location happens to have bunk beds then it quickly turns into a top 5 all-time memory. In this case, the cabin above Vegas of the South had bunk beds, foosball, a pool table, a sauna, a hot tub and a movie theatre complete with reclining tiered seats! Cindy and I felt a bit foolish for picking up a new game (Connect Four!) prior to the trip in case we got bored. It was also a bit of a chore to convince the kids to leave the cabin, even for putt-putt!
Some of our best travel memories come from these spontaneous weekend trips. We didn't exactly do much but what we did do was high quality family time. Putt-putt golf, homemade ice cream sundaes, a hike to Rainbow Falls, Redbox movies and did I mention Connect Four? We laughed a lot and reminded ourselves why we need to get out and do more stuff together as a family.
A couple of cool notes from the trip: 1) Neo Burrito off of I-26 just before you reach Asheville and I-40. Food was great, especially their fish tacos, but the really cool part was they are a zero-waste small business. They even harvest rain water to run their rest rooms! No trash cans, everything is either recycled or composted.
2) Bear cub sighting. Funny thing about National Parks…most traffic slowdowns are due to wildlife. When we reached one of these slowdowns we didn't know what to take a picture of first: the tourists hopping from not-quite-stopped cars running towards a baby bear (!?!?) or the baby bear itself.
3) These kids can hike! A 5.4 mile hike to Rainbow Falls and back where they gained almost 2,000 feet was no problem for the kids. Ok, so Charlie got a shoulder ride or two but his little legs worked hard during these few hours. Stewart got a huge kick out of hiking up into the clouds – fitting for her personality.