Throwback Thursday

Good Thursday afternoon, Friends! I hope your week has been FANTASTIC! 🙂

I’ve spent this week with my mom, roadtrippin’ through the mountains of east Tennessee & western North Carolina. My parents have a cabin in the mountains, & although I don’t spend as much time there as I probably should, it’s a nice little respite from the world (it also forces me to unplug for a few days as they have no cable, internet or cell service). While at the cabin this week, mom & I enjoyed lounging on the back deck in the evenings & watching the sun set on the Appalachian Trail (how cool is it that the Appalachian Trail runs along the mountain ridge in my parents’ backyard?!).

Sun setting on the Appalachian Trail (the trail runs along the top of the mountain ridge)

Sun setting on the Appalachian Trail (the trail runs along the top of the mountain ridge)

During the day, mom & I ventured out into the mountain wilderness (NOTE: mountain wilderness to my mom & me = our favorite ‘off the beaten path’ shops, restaurants & roadside stands 😉 ).  Here are a few of our favorite locations:

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Fred’s General Mercantile at Beach Mountain — http://www.fredsgeneral.com

Orchard at Altapass (on the Blue Ridge Parkway) www.altapassorchard.org

Orchard at Altapass (on the Blue Ridge Parkway) http://www.altapassorchard.org

Mast General Store in Valle Crucis -- www.mastgeneralstore.com

Mast General Store in Valle Crucis — http://www.mastgeneralstore.com

The Old Hampton Store in Linville, NC -- www.oldhamptonstorenc.com

The Old Hampton Store in Linville, NC — http://www.oldhamptonstorenc.com

As wonderful as this week’s trip was, this post is not about our most recent girls’ excursion. As I was lying in bed on the Monday night, thinking about the events of our first day in the mountains & looking forward to the next day’s adventures, my mind began to wander to a much earlier girls only trip–the trip that started our yearly tradition.

During the summer of 2008, my mom, nanny & I decided we should spend a few days in Gatlinburg, TN. Gatlinburg is about an hour & a half east of where we live &, since it’s so close to home, it’s a favorite lil getaway. That was our first trip without the men & we were excited because, Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge + us – men = unlimited shopping without complaining 😀 !!! Also, we we knew we would be able to visit places the hubbies don’t really enjoy (such as the Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum — YES, this really is a thing). So, we loaded up in mom’s Expedition, set the GPS (this was a relativity new thing back then) & threw caution to the wind like Thelma & Louise (& Nanny). 🙂

Packed & ready!

Packed & ready!

This was such a memorable trip for sooooooooooooo many reasons! One of my favorite memories from this trip was my nanny’s reaction to GPS–it absolutely blew her mind!!! This is pretty much how the entire trip to Gatlinburg went…

Nanny: “Who is that?”
Mom: “Nobody, it’s a Garmin.”
Nanny: “But who is talking to us?”
Mom: “Nobody’s talking to us, it’s this machine telling us where to go.”
Nanny: “But it has to be somebody because I can hear her talking.”
Mom: “It’s not a person.”
Nanny: “It has to be a person. How does she know where we’re going?”
Mom: “We programmed in our destination & it’s telling us where to go.”
Nanny: “How does she know what to tell us? Does she have a map she’s reading to us?”
Mom: “No, it has something to do with satellites.”
Nanny: “Well, I know it’s a person & she has to have a map to know where we need to go. I just don’t know how she knows where we are all the time.”

Like I said, my nanny’s mind was blown away by the idea of GPS. We finally quit trying to explain how GPS worked, because nanny was convinced a real person was telling us where to go (by reading a map) & still to this day she refers to GPS as ‘that lady in the box’.

The trip to Gatlinburg was off to a very entertaining start, to say the least 🙂 ! We got settled into our suite & decided to head out to dinner to one of our favorite Gatlinburg restaurants, Calhoun’s.

Nanny, getting settled into the room

Nanny, getting settled into the room

Mom, happy to be there (finally)

Mom, happy to be there (finally)

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Mom & nanny, posing in front of the Calhoun's sign

Mom & nanny, posing in front of the Calhoun’s sign

Waiting on dinner...

Waiting on dinner…

Nanny, sitting under our hotel sign

Nanny, sitting under our hotel sign

The next morning, we stopped for breakfast at my FAVORITE Gatlinburg breakfast stop, The Little House of Pancakes (clearly this was BEFORE my low carb days). My most favorite breakfast there (back then) was blackberry pancakes — oh my goodness are they good — blackberries are cooked in the pancakes, then sweet blackberry topping covers the pancakes, and topped with fresh whipped cream & powered sugar. I think if I ate that for breakfast now, my body would probably go into major sugar shock.

Nanny at The Little House of Pancakes

Nanny at The Little House of Pancakes

Next, we decided we should visit the grocery store for snacks & such. I can honestly say this was my nanny’s most favorite stop of the trip! She spent a couple of hours browsing up & down every.single.aisle (this was the same store she shopped at when at home, however she loved the Gatlinburg version A LOT).

Nanny LOVED the Gatlinburg Food City!!!

Nanny LOVED the Gatlinburg Food City!!!

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Are you wondering why I have so many pictures from the grocery store??? We spent so much time there, I decided it must be documented in pictures. lol 🙂

Nanny with her grocery store loot :)

Nanny with her grocery store loot 🙂

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The next big stop on the agenda was the Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum. I love vintage s & p shakers, as does my mom, so we were excited for this stop…nanny, not so much. 🙂

The World's Only Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum :D

The World’s Only Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum 😀

Mom & I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it!!! :D

Mom & I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it!!! 😀

Nanny found a bench. :)

Nanny found a bench. 🙂

Another one of our favorite places is the Incredible Christmas Place. My mom & I are complete Christmas addicts — we love everything about Christmas, so visiting the Incredible Christmas Place is almost like a religious experience (not really, but you know what I mean) 😉 .

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Nanny was less enthusiastic about the store completely dedicated to Christmas, so mom & I parked her in the ‘man lounge’. The man lounge area is a room filled with couches, sports on TV, etc. — very smart addition for a shop such as this 😀 ! After mom & I perused the store (two or three times), we returned to the lounge to find nanny & a strange man completely asleep on the couch:

Nanny & random stranger, asleep on the couch

Nanny & random stranger, asleep on the couch

This was perhaps one of the funniest moments of the trip! Mom & I still laugh when we think of this memory. We asked nanny about the man, and she said all she remembered was that man’s wife telling him to stay put until she finished shopping. What a fun memory!!! 😀

After the Incredible Christmas Place, nanny was ready for some serious R & R at the hotel. Mom & I dropped her off there & continued our adventure through Gatlinburg.

I don't even remember what this was...

I don’t even remember what this was…

Back in the day when mom & I ate carbs -- seriously the BEST Italian EVER, appropriately named Best Italian

Back in the day when mom & I ate carbs — seriously the BEST Italian EVER, appropriately named Best Italian http://www.bestitalian.com

Just in case you’re ever in Gatlinburg, be sure to stop in at Best Italian–just trust me on this.

I think we were putt-putting here :)

I think we were putt-putting here 🙂

The next day, we left Gatlinburg for home.  Before leaving, however, we cruised through the arts & crafts section & made a pitstop at Alewine Pottery. Nanny enjoyed relaxing in a rocking chair & listening to bluegrass. Mom & I perused the potter & purchased a few pieces for our homes.

Mom & nanny at Alewine Pottery -- www.alewinepottery.net/

Mom & nanny at Alewine Pottery — http://www.alewinepottery.net/

Nanny enjoyed the day

Nanny enjoyed the day

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Whenever I’m traveling back home from a trip, I like to take the quickest route possible. However, mom & nanny are never in a hurry…I mean N.E.V.E.R. Also, they dislike interstate driving — too fast, too many people, etc., etc., etc. So, on the way home from Gatlinburg that day, mom decided to turn off ‘that lady in the box’ & wing it. We ventured on back-roads for what seemed like FOREVA. I was so irritated at that point because I was just ready to be home already–I missed my hubby like crazy! Eventually mom passed an intriguing general store & decided to stop. They served lunch & baked goods, so we made that our lunch stop & had wonderful sandwiches & AAAHHHHMAZING fresh fried apple pies. I stayed irritated during this stop instead of just enjoying the day with two of the most important people in my life–I know, shame on me.

We enjoyed some FABULOUS fresh fried apple pies

We enjoyed some FABULOUS fresh fried apple pies

I can’t remember the name of that little store & I have absolutely no idea where it was located (I do know that it was nowhere near an interstate), but I do remember that they had the most beautiful hollyhocks lining the driveway (I wish I’d taken a picture) & I remember nanny talking about how the hollyhocks reminded her of hollyhocks around a house she lived in as a little girl. I also wish I wasn’t so irritated at that point in the trip & had taken time to truly enjoy the moment shared with mom & nanny. Although mom turned  an 1 1/2 trip home into a 4 hour trek, I  should’ve been more patient & realized how precious those fleeting moments were. I wish I could relive that trip.

Mom, nanny & I never repeated that wonderful trip; we talked about it often, but we never took time to do it again. I began working on my Ph.D in 2009 (the following year) & just never felt like I could take time to get away, even for a few days. Sadly, a trip like that will never happen again because nanny’s unable to travel these days. Since that trip (6 years ago), I’ve learned to be more patient & content & to take time to do the important things (such as trips with mom whenever she wants to go).

We’ve already started planning another trip wandering through the mountains this fall; until then, I have plenty of pictures to tide me over & remind me of the good times we shared this week. 😀

Roan Mountain Sunset

Roan Mountain Sunset

Goodnight, y’all. 🙂

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