Top 5 Things to do in Gatlinburg, TN

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Gatlinburg is a great destination for people that love city life and the outdoors. It’s the perfect spot for group trips because there is a little something for everyone. You can go on a walk and see mountain views and then drive for 20 minutes and take a tour of the city. In today’s post I’ll be summing up some of my favorite things to do in the Gatlinburg area.

1. Ripley’s Mirror Maze

There are two and one is way better than the other, so make sure you go to the right one. The one we like so much is inside of a candy shop. If you purchase tickets, you can go back as many times as you want that day. This is the perfect thing for families, but it can also be great for just adults… and let me tell you how. There are 3D glasses that you can buy for $3 extra that will distort the room. It is the main thing that brings this attraction from something for kids to something an adult will love. If you drink, go drop in on a few of the moonshine tastings around town and then go take another visit to the mirror maze with your glasses on…. good luck getting out!

2. Rowdy Bear Ridge Lazer Gun Coaster

Rowdy Bear Ridge is actually a whole adventure park, but it looked closed when we went… not sure it it was because of COVID or other reasons. I found the lazer gun coaster on Groupon originally, both my husband and his friend love lazer tag, and the tickets were under $20 (even without groupon)… so we went for it. When we got there we found out that the ticket price includes 2 rides on the coaster.

On the coaster, you sit beside someone you know and each of you get a gun. There are targets below the coaster that you have to shoot. Each color is worth a different amount of points, but if you max out the points on your gun, you get a free ride on the rowdy bear alpine coaster.

This is a great family activity because it can include and entertain all ages. It can also call for some friendly competition between family members. (If you are into that)

3. Sugarland Distillary

I will stand by my opinion that Sugarland is better than Ole Smokey. The atmosphere is amazing. The people just seem like they love their jobs and they are so helpful and friendly. If you stop at Sugarland you HAVE to do the moonshine tasting. You will pay $5, but it comes with a coupon for $5 off of your next purchase. (& you can combine them and collect them for a few days which is helpful if you go multiple times or want to split a jar with a friend or 2.) With the tasting you get to try 12 different flavors and a bonus cocktail made from 2 of the flavors you are tasting. Every day the flavors are rotated and changed, but I haven’t tried very many flavors that I didn’t like. (Hazelnut and apple pie are the best along with all of the sippin’ creams)

4. Ripley’s Aquarium

This is by far the best aquarium I have ever been to. There are so many different sections to see. There is a play area if you have young kids (it’s about halfway through so you can stop if you have so they don’t get tired of just walking around) . They also have a glass bottom boat tour over the shark aquarium. My favorite part was the Ripley memorial section. There is a short movie about his life and a room full of Ripley fun facts and things that he discovered from all over the world. This place is great for families or adults. All ages can have fun here.

5. Rowdy Bear Alpine Coaster

We have gone on a few alpine coasters when visiting Gatlinburg, but this one really stood out. You can pay extra to get the lazer tag feature and play lazer tag while riding the coaster. When you get on the ride there are Christmas lights everywhere, which gives the best experience on a night ride. (These may only be here because I went in December) Overall the riding experience was great. They also had different deals to get multiple rides on the coaster.

Gatlinburg is one of our favorite places and every time we go, we find more things to do. If you are planning a trip to this area any time soon, I hope these things helped you find great ways to spend your time.

5 Easy and Popular Party Foods

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I know I have been talking a lot about food lately, but it IS the holidays and good food is everywhere ! I just can’t help myself. I won’t be sharing any recipes today but I will be sharing some easy, fun foods that I love enjoying at any holiday party! I always have great ideas for parties and party foods, but when it comes down to it, I just procrastinate a little too long. These are some party foods that I can always turn to if I am running behind and looking for a treat that will be loved.

1.Pepper Jelly Dip.

My first pick is so easy, yet so good. Pepper Jelly Dip is perfect for when you are throwing together a quick party or forgot to make a dish for tonight’s Christmas party. All you need is a block of cream cheese, a jar of pepper jelly, and some crackers to dip in it. Go ahead and bring a serving knife or butter knife because cheap plastic knives and a cracker won’t cut through the cream cheese easily.

2. Bacon Wrapped Smokies

Need I say more? So easy & you can find the recipe online for cooking instructions. These take a little more time to prepare, but they don’t require a lot of ingredients and they are a crowd favorite at every party we serve them at. You just need bacon, a pack of smokey sausages, brown sugar, and tooth picks.

3. Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Cody’s mom always makes these around the holidays. They are great if you have a sweet tooth . I have made them for teachers as Christmas gifts and we have served them at parties. You just use chocolate chip cookie dough and a peanut butter cup and place them in a mini muffin pan & POOF!! You have a perfect sweet treat for any holiday event.

4. Deviled Eggs

Okay, so these are kind of hit or miss but my family and I love them. They are a staple at any family gathering. Once the eggs are boiled and peeled, the prepping process is so easy. They are a great finger food to have at any party.

5. Cake Balls

Homemade cakeballs are always a hit. Never fails. You almost can’t mess this one up. They have to be baked and frozen, but they are so simple. The hardest part is the chocolate coating, but even if they look bad they are still usually a hit because they taste so good.

I hope some of these holiday food ideas save you at this year’s holiday parties. We love these items at almost every party and they are usually the things that people gather around and clear out before the party ends. If something caught your eye and you do want me to make a recipe post, leave a comment. Happy holidays !

How to Plan a Last Minute Road Trip

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It’s no secret that Cody and I love to travel. We aim to go somewhere new each month. But, did you know that most of our trips are not long, thought-out trips? In fact, we usually leave within 2 weeks or deciding we want to go somewhere. Once a destination is in our brain, we are ready to hit the road that day. In today’s post, I’m going to go over what goes into planning a trip last minute.

The first step to taking any trip is to figure out your destination. We usually think of a state first and then start googling places to go in that state. I thoroughly do my research for each place. I look up things to do and I look up pictures of the location on instagram to see if it’s actually up our alley.

Once I have our final destination in mind, I usually look at the route to get there. If it’s going to be a long road trip, we usually try to make 1-2 stops along the way. I try to look into the places just as thoroughly . I find cities that we are going to be passing through and google things to do there, places to stay, and pictures on instagram. If the city looks good, I add it to the trip.

Next , I decide if we are going to be staying in hotels, Airbnbs, or camping . The weather plays a big part in the decision. If it gets over 80 degrees, we usually vote not to camp. If the weather is nice, we also have to look into campgrounds. Never assume camping is just available. We have stayed in some pretty sketchy campgrounds because we didn’t do our research. Call and check the prices (do you really want to pay more than a hotel to sleep in a tent?) , look at photos and ratings. Make sure it isn’t sketchy and it lives up to your standards. Tents aren’t that hard to break into, so a safe campground is the best option.

Next, is my favorite part…and most people’s least favorite:making lists. I make a list for what food we are going to eat. ( I don’t research restaurants until we are there so that we can actually look at cool places and get recommendations from locals) Then, I start my packing list. I try to list what we need besides clothes. (Including cooking gear, towels, bath bag supplies, and snacks) Before I list out my clothes I make a list of outfits for each day. This helps to keep me from over packing and forgetting stuff. I also usually add 1 or 2 more shirts incase an accident happens . (If you know me, you know this is necessary.)

The last thing to do is week-of prep: Cleaning the house, double checking the list, cleaning the car, making sure the car is in good condition (tires, oil,battery, etc.), and loading the car.

That’s it. That’s the trick. You are going to run into pot holes during you trip. It isn’t going to go perfect. Be prepared for the worst and find little ways to enjoy yourself.