We spent Thanksgiving in the Smoky Mountains this year with Jarrod’s mom’s side of the family. It was a big family reunion with Jarrod’s mom and her three sisters, all but one of the cousins, spouses, and a bunch of kids.
The family started planning this reunion over the summer, and we all went in and booked a cabin outside Gatlinburg for Thanksgiving week.
We had such a great time with all of the family! Because everyone is spread between Texas, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, I had only met some of Jarrod’s family once – at our wedding nearly nine years ago. But everyone made me feel so welcomed. And the kids all became best friends right away.
It was also Evelyn’s first time to meet everyone. Including JJ and Aunt Jennifer.
We spent a lot of time relaxing, playing games, eating, drinking, and having an all around good time at the cabin.
We also did some venturing out.
We spent half a day in the national park. It was gorgeous! We spent our time in the park in Cades Cove. We were short on time and the Cades Cove loop was pretty crowded (the non black friday shopping crowd), but we were able to make a few stops. One was a primitive church and with a cemetery. The other stop was the cable mill historic area. We saw a few deer on our drive and were nearly out of the park on our way back to Gatlinburg when we saw a black bear! We saw a couple black bears in Yellowstone, but this one was much closer!
After we left the park, we went into Gatlinburg for a trolley ride around town to see Christmas lights. The family bought out the whole trolley! What fun!
Jarrod thought it was a good time for a nap!
Trenton has recently become really into the Titanic. And Pigeon Forge has a Titanic museum. Us and a few other family members decided to check the museum out. The kids were bored with some of the exhibits, but I found them all fascinating. The kids did really enjoy climbing the replica grand staircase, touching a real iceberg, feeling 28 degree water (the temperature of the water the Titanic went down in), trying their hand at climbing a steeply sloping deck, and trying to steer away from the iceberg in the Tot Titanic. They also were really interested in the finding of the Titanic on the ocean floor. When we “boarded” the ship/museum, we were all given boarding passes with real passenger names on them. At the end of the museum, we looked up our passenger names on the survivor wall to see if we made it off of the ship. Thankfully we only had one in our party that went down with the ship, and it wasn’t a kid.
We had such a wonderful time in the Smokies. I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend Thanksgiving, and I can’t wait to do it again – hopefully soon!