Spring Break 2014 {Tennessee}

by Cate on April 22, 2014

Oh Spring Break, you were awesome.

(And re-entry today was no joke.)

My creation

Armed with a list of attractions and a keen eye on keeping that magical balance of seeing everything, yet being able to bask in the supreme nothingness of a true vacation, last week the kids and I set off for the great green lands of Tennessee. Something completely different for us. My first go-to for a vacation is always a cruise. Because I like the fact that everything is taken care of for you – from where you’ll go to dinner to how you’ll get to your next destination. And as the only grown-up in this traveling crew, that’s a huge help. But this year, we took a cruise off the table and set off to explore someplace we’ve never been.

Tennessee.

My creation

Choosing a destination was ridiculously hard, although my criteria was fairly simple.

A destination that was a few hours by air.

A place that none of us had been to before.

And reasonably priced air fare.

Nevada was in the running for awhile, but the airfare was out of my budget.

And the last criteria? That there be enough kid-friendly activities for us to do, with a balance of things I would like as well.

My creation

And the more I looked at Tennessee, the more we liked it. Although we planned to spend most of our time in the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas, we flew into Nashville, three hours West by car. One, because it saved me $450 on our airfare and two, because it gave us an opportunity to see other parts of the state as well.

My creation

We spent the first night in Nashville, and had the most awesome BBQ ever on Music Row. The next morning, we bummed around downtown Nashville, taking in the sights and some shopping before we headed to our next destination. And also in search of sweatshirts because the city was an unexpected cold of 30 degrees (with snow even, on our drive to Pigeon Forge). Once firmly ensconced in our Pigeon Forge hotel, we spent the next thirty-six hours bouncing between there and Gatlinburg.

My creation

Our last night, I was originally planning to drive back to Nashville and spend the night there, but we ended up staying in Pigeon Forge because we liked it that much more.

Two flights. Two three-hour car rides. No set bedtimes. No morning alarms. No scheduled meals. And it was pure awesomeness. The kids are such fun to travel with, and I have full appreciation for that, because I know that’s not the case with everyone. Nick is such a big help … in reading signs when I’m looking for a place, in doing a last minute hotel check to make sure we’re not leaving everything behind, in looking out for his sister … and in reminding me as I got into our car when we set off for the New Jersey airport that I forgot our luggage in the house.

#yesthathappened

My creation

They were perfect travelers, and I loved the little adventures we had together. Nobody was a stranger, as we asked locals for recommendations of where to eat and what to do, and struck up conversations with everyone we encountered. We came home with a lust for more travel. I, as well as them, would rather have less in the way of material items, but have more opportunity to travel and new opportunities to explore.

My creation

There is so much of the United States (and, of course, beyond) that we haven’t seen, and sometimes we get so set in our ways that we tend to want to visit the same places over and over again. For familiarity’s sake. Although we have plans of summering down the Jersey shore, we’re also hoping to visit Delaware and see a friend in Virginia as well (CC, you’re on notice for early June!). This trip just renewed a giant sense of wanderlust. In all of us. And so it begins.

Coming weeks (and ok, likely months) will highlight some of our specific Tennessee adventures – we covered a lot of ground (and eats!) and can’t wait to share.

My creation

My creation

*If you happen to be on Instagram, we hash tagged our Spring Break photos with #OMalleySpringBreak. It made for a fun and easy way to see all our collective photos together.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Casey April 22, 2014 at 1:26 am

You always eat the yummiest food! Take me with you.
Casey recently posted..My Catholic Confirmation – 39 Years in the Making

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Joanne April 22, 2014 at 6:28 am

I’m so glad you guys had so much fun!! And I can’t wait to hear more about what you did along the way.
Joanne recently posted..Pumpkin-Chipotle Pizza with Kale and Burrata

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Meg April 22, 2014 at 11:18 am

Looks like y’all had a fabulous time! I took a very similar trip to Tennessee with my parents back in ’98, and it was one of the more memorable trips from my youth (especially because we rented a cabin on the side of a mountain — literally, at a severely scary angle — and lost power in the middle of the night, resulting in the blackest black this suburban girl has ever seen). Can’t wait to hear more about your favorite stops!
Meg recently posted..Bespectacled and makeup-less — or, how I got through a Friday

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Sarah Caron (Sarah's Cucina Bella) April 22, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Krispy Kreme, my love! Looks like you had an amazing time. I cannot wait to hear and read more.
Sarah Caron (Sarah’s Cucina Bella) recently posted..Pineapple Ginger Glazed Ham

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