Hiking to Abrams Falls

We love to hike on our vacations.  Usually park entrances are low cost or in the case of the Smoke Mountain National Park there is no entrance fee at all.

I had one hike I wanted to do in the Cades Cove area and that was Abrams Fall.  The hike is five miles round trip and will take three to four hours to complete.

There is ample parking at the trail head with primitive bathrooms and a trash container.  The road to the trail head is a small gravel road that veers to the right after the Elijah Oliver Cabin. We took some breaks along the river and it took us a little over three hours round trip.

Cade's Cove

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Abrams Falls

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Visiting Cades Cove

On our trip out to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg I was really looking forward to visiting Cades Cove.  It did not disappoint!

We stayed in Townsend since we wanted an easy and less congested entrance into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  This area is perfect for accessing Cades Cove!

Arriving early is your best bet for wildlife viewing and to avoid other people.  We left at 7:50 for our twenty minute drive to the cove with very little traffic.  This was the least busy park day we would have on our trip!  There were a few light rain showers that I think helped keep the crowds away that day.

I was driving on Laurel Creek road almost half way to the cove when a huge bear darted in front of our car and up the hillside.  He was bigger than I thought local bears would be and he was running faster than I thought they could.  I was very glad I did not hit him with the car and it reconfirmed why the speed limit is so low in the park.  After seeing the size/ speed of him I was rethinking my desire to see a bear in the park.

Cade's Cove

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Once you reach the gate the road through Cades Cove is eleven miles long and while it offers a couple of cut through roads plan on spending at least a couple of hours on it.

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Fair Trade Friday August 2017 Goodies

You know I love my monthly Fair Trade Friday box mailer.  This month it was box instead of a package.

Fair Trade Friday August 2017

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IHG Triple Points On Three Day Stay

Triple Points, Triple Pancakes on the weekend

Triple Points, Triple Pancakes on the Weekend

Be the Readiest™ with a free, hearty breakfast and for a limited time, earn up to triple bonus points when you stay at Holiday Inn Express®.

From August 1 – September 30, on 3+ night stays:

• Earn Triple points Friday-Sunday

• Earn Double points Monday-Thursday

That’s right—more points, more pancakes. More fuel to do what you want.

Get IHG® Rewards Club points for Reward Nights, travel, gifts and a whole lot more. Register now.

Offer is valid for IHG® Rewards Club members in the Americas region only.  Members from Quebec are not eligible for this promotion.  Must be an IHG® Rewards Club member and must register their member number in advance to participate in the Holiday Inn Express Promotion (“Promotion”).  The Promotion stay period is between 1 August 2017 and 30 September 2017 (both dates inclusive) (“Promotion Period”) with the registration period beginning on 18 July 2017 (“Registration”). Double points will be awarded on all Weekday Qualifying Nights within a continuous hotel stay of 3 or more nights.  Weekday Qualifying Nights are defined as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Triple points will be awarded on all Weekend Qualifying Nights within a continuous hotel stay of 3 or more nights.  Weekend Qualifying Nights are defined as Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The average daily rate will be calculated for each Qualifying Stay.  Double and Triple bonus points will be awarded based on the average daily rate.  See example below for reference.

Example Qualifying Stay with Bonus Points Awarded:

Dates: Thursday, August 10, 2017 – Sunday, August 13, 2017

Thursday Night Rate:$100

Friday Night Rate:$150

Saturday Night Rate:$150

Average Daily Rate:$133.33

 

More information here: https://www.ihg.com/rewardsclub/us/en/offers/promoreg/?offerCode=41237&#initial-state&cm_sp=OSMAM-6C-US-EN-HIEX17-register

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Friendly Falls in Wears Valley

If you leave Pigeon Forge via Wears Valley road to Townsend you will have a very picturesque drive.  An alpine coaster, cabins, resorts and little shops line the road. Halfway to Wears Valley on the left is a little stop called Friendly Falls.

Friendly Falls

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Friendly Falls offers their location as a place to stretch your legs, enjoy a cold drink by the falls and you can even get married there.  We stopped on Sunday morning on our way to Townsend just before noon.  Usually I am about vacation on the cheap side, however there is something to be said about paying a small amount for some quiet time along a waterfall with a cold beverage.

Friendly Falls

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Admission is $2 for adults OR you can purchase something from the store and enter for free.  Cold pop is $2 and beer is $3.  They also offer items like hot dogs, chips, ice cream, or sandwiches.

You can wade in the river between the two falls, be careful the rocks are slick.  The water was very refreshing on a hot day!

Friendly Falls

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They offer gem mining for kids in a flume, tables and chairs for relaxing with your food/drink and even a resident chicken. There are areas decorated with gnomes and fairies.  It’s cute and it is prefect for relaxing.  We spent over an hour people watching and enjoying our beverages along the river.

You can find more information here: http://friendlyfalls.com/

2135 Wears Valley RdSevierville, TN 37862
+1 865-429-2139

 

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Cedar Point Christmas in July 2017

From their site ” Plow your way to a good deal – Christmas in July! It’s buy one, get one FREE on single-day Cedar Point admission tickets starting TODAY (7/10) at 5 p.m. through 9 a.m. on 7/12, available online only. For detailed info and to purchase later today, visit cedarpoint.com.

This is usually how I purchase our Cedar Point tickets on the buy 1 get 1 free promo.

Again the link to purchase will activate after 5pm on 7/10/2017. https://www.cedarpoint.com/

rougarou_banner2_20151

 

 

 

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Cider Tasting at Mill Bridge Winery

 

After our very filling dinner at the Old Mill we did some shopping nearby to give our food time to digest before hitting the hotel pool.  We came across the Mill Bridge Winery and decided cider tasting looked funner than the hotel pool.

Cider tasting at Mill Bridge Winery

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Pigeon Forge The Old Mill Dinner

I had read good things about the Old Mill for dinner and knew we had to try it.  For tourist places that do not take reservations we try to arrive a bit earlier than normal for dinner.  I hate to wait an hour so if I have to arrive at 5:20 to eat at a decent time so be it.

A round 5pm I said to husband I know its early but we should head out to dinner soon.  We crossed the very busy 321 at a crosswalk because that road was crazy busy!  Going one block from 321 put us on the very quiet River Road and a nice trail along the river.  People were fishing and wading in the water.

Old Mill Pigeon Forge

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Super 8 Pigeon Forge

We recently spent a week in Tennessee this June.  To try to keep our trip lower cost I used hotel points for many of the nights we were on the road.  The Super 8 Pigeon Forge on Emert had good reviews and is in a good location.

If you have never been to Pigeon Forge I would describe to people as the Wisconsin Dells on steroids.  OMG!  Miles of mini golf, go carts, dinner shows and entertainment.  While there is a cheap/free (depending) trolley system this area is really not that walk able as things are spread out vs Gatlinburg.  I do not like to drive all over, I would rather walk to dinner so I was pleased to see our hotel was within two blocks of the Old Mill Restaurant.

If you do not walk to drive anywhere or really walk the hotel is behind Wendy’s, Arby’s, Ihop, Pizza Hut, Baskin Robbins, etc.  I would recommend you make the short walk to  The Mill and so did the sweet lady who checked us in.

The Super 8 has exterior hall ways and four floors with an elevator.  I had the option of booking a standard king room or a king room with a jacuzzi tub and fireplace.  No thinking needed there, I want the tub!

Super 8 Pigeon Forge

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Our fourth floor room was very spacious.  It offered a sofa pullout bed near the door.

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A Day of Giving

Today May 16th is designated as a day of giving.  Mercy House Global has teamed up with several organizations who work together to give women a brighter future.

“She Is Priceless” is a campaign to make a difference in the lives of oppressed women.

A pearl is a healed wound.  An oyster protects itself from irritation and suffering and the result is a priceless pearl.  The women we support have endured unthinkable suffering in their lives and often feel forgotten.  We are joining together to remind the world that every woman matters.

Fair Trade Friday April

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You can find out more and donate here: http://sheispriceless.org/?utm_source=Pure%20Charity%20Donors&utm_campaign=1529bfe74a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_05_15&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fbf6cf6ce2-1529bfe74a-164978473

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