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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mountain Madness 2014: I Believe I Can Fly!

Day Two of the jaunt to the Smokies - although I suppose it was really only fully day one, but we did more in Friday afternoon than some people do on a whole day of their vacations, so we'll call Saturday day two. The Summerlins just roll like that, there is too much in this world to see and do to just sit at the room and be idle; the vacation motto for us is undoubtedly "Carpe Vacation" - as in, seize the vacation...and I don't guess there is a Latin word for vacation, so there you have it.

A pink & white dogwood; the two had been grafted together to make a very unique tree!

The little visitor outside the window while having breakfast at the Old Mill.

I very much think I would like some salt & pepper shaker bears...

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast - yes please, it was delicious!
We had some time that needed to be killed before our date with destiny at 3 PM - that date would be zip-lining and let me assure you that I'm fairly dramatic where that's concerned - but lest I get ahead of myself, we went to the outlets (of course) and poked our head into some shops in Pigeon Forge, as well as stopping in at the Christmas Place Inn to see it all decked out for Christmas....in April. It's a lovely hotel and let me be the first to assure you that I love Christmas and the season of Christmas with a fierce and unrelenting love, but I do think that if I worked somewhere that was Christmas 24/7, 365 that there might end up being some love lost. I did love the Inn though and would happily stay there sometime. I just couldn't be there all the time.

The Inn had such gorgeous displays throughout the hotel...

Even the front of the hotel was decorated beautifully.
You guys - I went zip-lining! And this is not your run of the mill, little kid camp, swinging from one tree to the other type zip-ling, this was 500 feet above a gorge, zipping through the trees at sometimes 40 miles per hour with nothing but some blue cord under your butt and a very thin cord holding you to the wires...check out a video here! The picture below was taken right before myself and my parents did the zip line featured in the video; it was a 1/2 mile long and took a little over a minute to do...so basically, you were speeding along at a fairly substantial pace; I think they told us depending on your weight you'd go anywhere from 30 to 40 miles per hour.

Before doing the longest of the lines - the one shown in the video I linked; over 400 feet above the ground, a 1/2 mile long. Hello heights!
The guides were great and very encouraging but I should let you know that I am fairly terrified of heights, so as the van we were on got higher and higher up I was certainly feeling a bit like someone had dropped a pit of live snakes into my stomach but when the guide asked who might be most nervous/want to go first, I immediately threw my hand up because I was determined to not only do this but to enjoy it and I figured I'd better just throw myself out there and get it started. When the first guide hopped off the platform and zipped across the expanse, I felt my insides swirling around...but then the guy said it was my turn to step up and so I hopped forward, let him hook me up and then he said "you're good to go..." and I knew that this was the do or die moment, so I took a deep breath, crossed my legs, grabbed a hold of the equipment the way we'd been shown....and stepped off into nothing!

I immediately started zooming along and for a second, I closed my eyes because I couldn't believe how high up I was - but then I told myself rather sternly to get it together, open my eyes and look around. And I did and the views were amazing and I couldn't believe that I was actually doing what I was doing; I mean, I get anxious when a hike gets too high up and I have to turn my back when I'm in glassed in elevators because I can't handle the view....and yet here I was, hanging 400+ feet out over a stunning vista, cruising along and having no problems. There were seven lines, so I did that seven times and on one of the runs, I somehow managed to spin in circles and while I wasn't wild about that, it was fine and obviously I survived but it somehow earned me some praise among the other people in our group who wanted to know how I'd managed to do that and was it cool because I got 360 degree view - and they couldn't believe that I hadn't been trying to do that. All in all, it was a pretty amazing experience.

I did it! The one person in the family most terrified of heights & I conquered the zip lines!

Only my Dad would order a fried bologna sandwich...

The Smoky Mountain Wheel....

The sun setting over the mountains & turning them pink...
Once we got down out of the mountains from doing our zip-line adventure, we changed clothes and headed to The Island in Pigeon Forge for some supper at the Timberwood Grill - which is new and was also really delicious; they have great food and also had some pretty awesome Ginger Ale! Ha-ha! We admired the Smoky Mountain Wheel for a while and watched the dancing fountains play to some songs before stopping by Cheddars to get some dessert...and coffee for me; even though our waitress tried to dissuade me from getting any by telling my that it came from a box. I mean; sweetie...as the waitress it's your job to encourage people to buy what you're selling...not discourage them. I got the coffee anyway and it was just fine. The day was obviously exhausting...but I'll let you scroll to the end of the post to see why I say that, ha!

Having already conquered my fear of heights earlier in the day, riding the Smoky Mountain wheel would have been a piece of cake, but we decided to forgo it for another day...

I loved when it turned green...so bright!

The fountains dancing to some music...

The fountains and the Ferris wheel - good times.

Easter decor at the Old Mill cafe, the first place we went looking for dessert.

A bit more decor...

Coffee - even decaf at 9:30 - is the best! 

Saturday was obviously exhausting...ha-ha. Maybe he won't kill me for posting this. :)
There you have it - day two. A day filled with shopping, sipping coffee and conquering a fear. Not bad, right?

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