Sunday, September 8, 2013

More Photos from the Smokies

I promise this is the last (ok, maybe one before the last) post from the Smoky Mountains Road Trip! We had taken tons of photos, and I wanted to share some of those. Creating collages was almost as much fun as the trip itself, it totally took me back to Smokies. We had a great time traveling together, sometimes little bumpy, but we survived. And definitely need to do another road trip like this one in 2014.





[waiting for the sunset at Clingmans Dome]
























Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Day by Day Appalachian and GSM Road Trip, October 2011

October 2011 - Appalachian and Great Smoky Mountains

1. From Chicago to North Carolina and Tennessee  (Part 1)
My husband and I love road trips. We try to do one or two road trips per year, it depends on the destination and time. This fall we decided to take a nice long drive from Chicago to North Carolina and Tennessee to visit southern parts of Appalachian. I spent countless hours of my time trying to plan this trip, to make sure we get to do and see the most we can in one short week, and that’s including the driving time. Read more...


2. Road Trip Recap - Day 2 - Blue Ridge Parkway (Part 2)
Day 1 was just a 12 hour drive from Chicago to Johnson City, TN. We stopped a lot, on all the rest stops, so I could get a map of the state we were driving through. With today’s technology the actual paper maps are kind of forgotten, but it happened that we were in the no reception/no satellite signal area and that’s when the paper map comes handy. Read more...


3. Road Trip Recap - Day 3 - Chimney Rock State Park (P. 3) 
So it was between staying in Asheville, NC, or some kind of mountain adventure. We decided on a mountains! Of course! Don’t get me wrong Asheville is beautiful, but we were looking for more like a outdoorsy/nature stuff to do. The final decision was to take a short drive to Chimney Rock State Park, NC. Read more...



4. Appalachian Bear Rescue
We were lucky enough to see a black bear on the side of the road, while driving to Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The bear was beautiful, had the blackest coat I've ever seen, so fluffy and shiny. You're probably wondering how does she know that the bear was fluffy, well, we did see the bear from about 10-15 feet, and believe me it looked amazing. Read more...



5. Road Trip Recap - Day 4 - GSM - Newfound Gap Road
Finally we arrived to our main destination - Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Even though Gatlinburg, TN is a huge tourist destination, I wanted to be right in the foothills of the Smoky's and we decided to stay at Riverfront Terrace Resort . It is located in the heart of the city, walking distance to everything! Read more...


6. Road Trip Recap - Day 4 - GSM - Clingmans Dome
From Newfound Gap overlook, short 7 mile drive up lead us to the highest peak of the Smoky Mountains, and the third highest summit east of Mississippi River - the Clingmans Dome - 6,643 feet above the sea level. Half mile hiking trail from the parking lot concludes with a spiral ramp to the observation tower Read more...


7. Road Trip Recap - Day 5 - GSM - Chimney Tops
Day five of our Great Smoky Mountains trip. We are hiking the Chimney Tops Trail, which climbs up to a height of 4,840 feet and 360 degrees views of the park. Short, only 2 miles but somewhat strenuous hike leads up to a huge metamorphic rock that characterizes the capstones of the Chimney Tops Read more...


8. Road Trip Recap - Day 6 - GSM - Cades Cove
Ok, I really need to finish recapping the GSM road trip before I forget everything. Today, as I was thinking about this post I started to wonder what we did on the sixth day... was it still Smokies or did we get to Nashville by then. Day six was our last day in The Great Smoky Mountains. The sky was little overcast Read more..


9. Road Trip Recap - Day 7 - Nashville
After several days in the Smoky Mountains, and lots of driving, we planned to stop by Nashville, TN, to relax and listen to some live music, before we head back to Chicago. I have a soft spot for Nashville, so there was no way we could miss it Read more..




10. More Photos from The Smokies
I promise this is the last (ok, maybe one before the last) post from the Smoky Mountains Road Trip! We had taken tons of photos, and a good share of picture of us doing stuff, like eating, hiking, walking, driving, sitting, and... you name it... I wanted to include some of those on the blog, but I didn't want to have a neverending post of people shots. So I decides to create bunch of collages. I's still going to be a super long post, but what's one to do? Read more..


******************************************************************************
 
GSM - Newfound Gap OverlookGSM - Campbell OverlookGSM - Clingmans DomeGSM - Clingmans DomePeaking ThroughAlong the Newfound Gap Road
Along the Newfound Gap RoadCreekGoldenPrice Lake, Blue Ridge ParkwayPrice Lake, along Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
Blue Ridge Parkway, NCThe Grandfather Mountain, NCMile High Swinging Bridge, Grandfather Mtn, NCIMG_1230-1IMG_1242-1Blue Ridge Mountains, on the top of Grandfather Mountain, NC
Lone Pine, Grandfather Mountain, NCChimney Rock, NCIMG_1422-1IMG_1424-1IMG_1442-1
Great Smoky Mountains 2011, check out my set on Flickr.

Final Day/Night of the GSM Road Trip - Nashville

After several days in the Smoky Mountains, and lots of driving, we planned to stop by Nashville, TN, to relax and listen to some live music, before we head back to Chicago. I have a soft spot for Nashville, so there was no way we could miss it.

We stayed at our usual hotel downtown, The Renaissance on Commerce Street. Our room was on the 36th floor with amazing views of the city. It's a shame we didn't spend too much time in the room, Broadway Street was calling. Quickly we changed, and head over to town for an evening of fun...


[group picture at The Second Fiddle, it's only appropriate to post one photo from that evening :) ]

We did some honky tonk hopping, visited the usual suspects - The Legend's Corner, The Second Fiddle and The Stage. I don't remember exactly, but I think after the third place I was ready to head back to the hotel and go to bed. We had a long drive home in only few hours, and I believe I was driving first couple hundred of miles... Perfect ending to a wonderful and fun road trip!

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