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Tag Archives: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

My 7 Super Travel Shots

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Today, I’m participating in Hostelbooker’s 7 Super Shots game. Here’s how it works: I was tagged by Wandering Educators (thank you!), and now I get the chance to share my seven favorite travel photos for each of the pre-determined categories. Then, I have the opportunity to tag five other bloggers who I think will have some spectacular travel photos to share.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane:

A Photo That Takes My Breath Away:

Hyatt Regency--Maui. Spa

When we went to Maui a couple years ago, I took a little time to myself and went to the spa for a pedicure. The view was incredible from the open-air relaxation room at the Hyatt Regency.

A Photo That Makes Me Dream:

Open Road, West Texas

I love the idea of road trips. I mean, I love the road trips themselves, but it’s the idea of them that really inspires me. This photo was taken in West Texas, on a very lonely road. Many parts of West Texas are so untravelled that you can drive for many miles without seeing another car. Something about all that open space really fascinates me, and I love the memories this photo brings back.

A Photo That Makes Me Think:

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington

My daughter and niece were very respectful as we watched the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. I think they understood that this was a time and place for quiet voices, and I was really proud of them. Because my daughter is a military brat, we’ve had to explain some concepts to her that other kids her age might not be familiar with. We’ve talked about deployment, terrorism, and the people who want to cause others harm. We’ve even talked about death a little, mostly in the context of family members who have passed away. It can be challenging to find a balance between honesty and protection; I hope we’re doing things right.

A Photo That Makes Me Smile:

Two girls at in the Smokies. TN.

We’re fortunate to be able to go on the occasional girls getaway with other mom/daughter friends. Last summer, my daughter and I went to Great Smoky Mountain National Park with our good friends from Ohio. I love this photo of the girls laughing, probably at the expense of their mothers.

A Photo That Makes My Mouth Water:

Ubuntu restaurant. Napa, CA

The vegetarian restaurant Ubuntu in Napa features some very unusual dishes. This beautiful salad, complete with edible flowers, was as delicious as it was beatuiful.

A Photo That Tells a Story:


See those people on the lift in front of me? Those were my friends and I should have been on the lift with them. But somehow I totally messed things up when I was trying to get on the lift, and I ended up on a four-person lift all by myself. Nothing screams “beginner” like the chick in the rented helmet who can’t properly board the lift. Oops.

A Photo I’m Proud of:

Bright (A flower at the SA Botanical Garden)

I love this photo of a vibrant flower at the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

I can’t wait to see seven travel photos from these fantastic bloggers:

Go Explore Nature
Family and Life in Las Vegas
Oh Mah Deehness!
I Backpack Canada

Christmas in July: Our Visit to a Holiday-Themed Hotel in Pigeon Forge

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During our recent girls-only adventure to the Smoky Mountains, we stayed at a Christmas-themed hotel called The Inn at Christmas Place. It was such a blast! Every inch of the hotel is decorated as if it were December, and Santa makes special appearances at the hotel several times per week.

Christmas tree in July. Inn at Christmas Place. Pigeon Forge, TN
My daughter and her friend check-out the beautiful Christmas tree.

Cookie decorating at the Inn at Christmas Place. Pigeon Forge.
Special Christmas-themed activities for kids include cookie decorating. (This picture was clearly taken pre-manicure!)

Our room. The Inn at Christmas Place. Pigeon Forge.
Our room included it’s own little Christmas tree, not to mention a balcony overlooking a pond and the garden.

Glockenspiel. Inn at Christmas Place. Pigeon Forge.
The glockenspiel was hand-carved in Germany and rings at the top of every hour until 9 p.m.

The Inn at Christmas Place. Pigeon Forge, TN
You won’t miss the Inn. It’s located on US 441, the main street through Pigeon Forge. Just look for the sign…and the huge Tudor-style building!

Studying flowers at the Inn at Christmas Place
We ate breakfast outside on the patio, and the girls enjoyed exploring the garden while my friend and I finished our coffee.

We enjoyed our stay, and this was a great location from which to explore the national park and Gatlinburg. I recommend it, especially to families travelling with children.

Note: I was not compensated in exchange for writing this post. All opinions are my own.

Photo Essay: Smoky Mountains of Tennessee

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We recently went on a girls-only adventure into the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The landscape couldn’t be more different than the surroundings we’re used to in Texas: tall trees, lots of green, and cool breezes.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

GSM National Park

GSM National Park

GSM National Park

Ober Gatlinburg entrance.

Gatlinburg: Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway

Gatlinburg trolley stop

We travelled with my friend Jen and her daughter. Check out her Photo Friday post for two more pictures of our Smoky Mountain adventure.


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