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Old 07-01-2013, 05:26 PM   #1
Angelrose
Likes to dance in golden sun beams
Knows too many details about Gnarf, Fnarfle, Grotchy and Ronkle....yep, she needs help!! ;)
Drives me even crazier than I am
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Port Republic, New Jersey
Posts: 3,101

Surprise Trip To Dollywood

SURPRISE TRIP TO DOLLYWOOD



I have a wonderful son and daughter in law. They surprised me with an all expense paid trip to Dollywood with them this June. I have been so excited ever since they invited me. So I get to spend a whole week with my son Chuck, daughter in law Karen, grandson Jesse, 5 and granddaughter Zoey 2 Ĺ. Oh, I am Mary, otherwise known as Grandmom.

June 14, 2013

Its finally here. I woke up at 6, gave up trying to sleep, and just got up at 6:20. I didnt want to walk around in circles waiting for time to leave, so I got dressed and headed to IHOP for pancakes. Well, that wasted a whole hour. I loaded my bags in the car as soon it stopped raining. I watched tv for an hour and did some last minute chores.

9:40 - Its time, I can get dressed and head over to Chucks house. YIPPEE!

Chuck and Karen were doing some last minute packing and added my bags in the van.

Noon - We left to pick up the kids at daycare. Zoey ran right past Karen, right into my arms. Jesse was so excited to see me and to go on our vacation.

12:30 We are on our way.

I started reading my Kindle and enjoyed the ride.

5:40 Traffic was bad, but we finally reached our hotel. We check in and then had a wonderful dinner at an Italian restaurant walking distance away.

There was a small indoor pool in the hotel and we all had a very relaxing swim for about 2 hours.

Zoey learned how to jump in the water. That was something she had been afraid of at swimming lessons. There was also a Jacuzzi that felt really good for a short time, then I had to get back in the pool to cool off. The pool itself was pretty warm.

Around 8:30 we left the pool and went back to the room. Getting the kids to go to sleep was a trial. They both had to sleep on a pull out bed. At this rate it will be midnight, Chuck, Karen and I will be sound asleep and the kids will still be up.

Eventually all was quiet and we had a good nights sleep.
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:34 PM   #2
Angelrose
Likes to dance in golden sun beams
Knows too many details about Gnarf, Fnarfle, Grotchy and Ronkle....yep, she needs help!! ;)
Drives me even crazier than I am
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Port Republic, New Jersey
Posts: 3,101

Saturday, June 15, 2013

We woke up and had a breakfast at the hotel. Powdered, dry, rubbery eggs and OJ. The hot sauce was good though. Zoey had a blueberry muffin and some cereal. Then we went for a swim. Karen and Jesse came down later. Jesse had the same breakfast as Zoey and Karen had a muffin. The OJ was very good.

Chuck went up first to get his shower and then I went up. It was hard to leave the pool, but we had a picnic to go to.

The picnic was awesome. There were all kinds of jumpy things for the kids and slides. There were horseshoes and bean bag toss, a mechanical bull for the kids and adults. Jesse Had fun with the jumpy things and slides, but he wanted that pony ride. He had a smile as big as all outdoors on that pony. After he got off, he told me that he was a “real cowboy” now.

Jesse got his face painted as Spiderman. Zoey got a butterfly. OK I will admit that a certain Grandmom got her cheek painted with 3 pink roses, but I’m not going to mention any names.

Chuck and I tried the bean bag toss. He got one in and I ALMOST got one in. It skidded over the hole and over the side.

Then Chuck tried the big hammer to ring the bell. He not only rang the bell, I think it went off into orbit. I had to try it. I did it. No I didn’t ring the bell, I managed to actually pick up the hammer and an 8 ( sick duck) was all I could manage, but I was proud of that. Then it was Jesse’s turn. He got an 8 also. How DEPRESSING! I have the strength of a 5 year old.

What’s a picnic without food? First we got some shaved ice and popcorn. For lunch they had potato salad, cole slaw, mac and cheese and corn salad. The barbeque chicken was out of this world. I think the adults all had hot dogs too.

They had a fantastic balloon man. Jesse got a pirate hat and sword. Zoey got a butterfly. They had a woman who did hamster races and sowed us a little hedgehog. I got to pet it too. It was so cute.

We left around 1 and headed for our cabin in Gatlinburg. We made a few stops and got here right around 9. What a beautiful place. It’s a two story with a basement. I got the top floor bed and bath. Chuck and Karen got the master on the 1st floor and Jesse and Zoey got bunk beds and bath in the basement. It also had a projection tv down there.

After the car was all unloaded, we said out goodnights. I got a nice hot bath, wrote in my journal and lights out.
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:41 PM   #3
Angelrose
Likes to dance in golden sun beams
Knows too many details about Gnarf, Fnarfle, Grotchy and Ronkle....yep, she needs help!! ;)
Drives me even crazier than I am
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Port Republic, New Jersey
Posts: 3,101









I never grew up.



YAYYYYYYYY an 8



Jesse swinging the same







A Real Cowboy
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:50 PM   #4
Angelrose
Likes to dance in golden sun beams
Knows too many details about Gnarf, Fnarfle, Grotchy and Ronkle....yep, she needs help!! ;)
Drives me even crazier than I am
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Port Republic, New Jersey
Posts: 3,101

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Today is Fatherís Day. Itís also been 4 years since my wonderful husband passed. Iím glad that I will be busy all day today.

It was sunny and humid. I was waiting to meet a fellow DISer, chell, but she texted me that she couldnít make it. I hope we get to meet another time.

Chuck went out to do some shopping while Karen and I read and played with the kids. We ordered pizza for lunch and then we all went into Gatlinburg to look in the shops. They have two stores just for socks! Karen and I both LOVE socks. She got flamingo socks and I got little duckies, a pair with butterflies and a pair with a peacock. I also bought a pair with cats for a friend. Karen also found a Rhinestone flamingo pendant for her collection.

Iím glad I brought my cane. I havenít used it for about a year, but walking up and down those hills, I needed the extra support. We were all getting and hot and tired and thirsty, so we went back to the car and headed for the Dixie Stampede for our dinner reservations. We made a short roadside stop so Jesse could wet his feet in a stream with Chuck. It was quite steep so the rest of us stayed by the car.

We picked up our tickets and went into the preshow. We got dinks, we all really needed. Chuck and I got a fruit punch which was fabulous. Karen and the kids got an orange smoothie which tasted just like a creamsicle.

The preshow was a banjo, guitar and bass. They played and sang country, oldies, gospel and popular. It was a wonderful show.

As we left we got our pictures taken. Then we were ushered into the arena.

OMG What a wonderful show. They had trick riders, buffalo, a girl who rode two horses through fire! They had some comedy, singing and other surprises. We liked the picture and bought it.

Now to the food. You start out with a creamy vegetable soup and a biscuit. No other words than YUM. Next came a roasted chicken, a roasted Ĺ potato, corn on the cob and a slice of pork. No utensils allowed here. Your drink comes in a mason jar which they keep refilling through the whole show. We sat on the north side. There is a competition between the blue and the gray. This time the south won. It ends with a message from Dolly Parton and a patriotic song. Afterwards you can pet the horses and get a picture with the riders.

As we were leaving, there was a cowgirl saying goodby to us. I thanked her and Zoey said, ďthank you for riding the horse.Ē That got a giggle from the cowgirl and she said, ďyouíre welcomeí.

It was about 8:30 when we got back to the cabin. I wrote in my journal and got a nice hot bath to relax. Iím going to try and figure out the tv in my room with four remotes!



Our Cabin in the Mountains



The Bear holds the sign that says Blackjack. The name of our cabin



Front Porch



Back Porch



Living Room



Kitchen and dining area



Upstairs Pool table, outside my bedroom



My bedroom



Master bath



Master bedroom with Chuck



Basement sitting room



Jesse on his top bunk



Zoey on her bottom bunk bed
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:55 PM   #5
Angelrose
Likes to dance in golden sun beams
Knows too many details about Gnarf, Fnarfle, Grotchy and Ronkle....yep, she needs help!! ;)
Drives me even crazier than I am
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Port Republic, New Jersey
Posts: 3,101



Zoey at the preshow at Dixie Stampede





Inside the dinner show

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Old 07-01-2013, 05:58 PM   #6
Angelrose
Likes to dance in golden sun beams
Knows too many details about Gnarf, Fnarfle, Grotchy and Ronkle....yep, she needs help!! ;)
Drives me even crazier than I am
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Port Republic, New Jersey
Posts: 3,101

Monday, June 17, 2013

It was a rainy morning. We relaxed at the cabin and after everyone got ready. we headed to Dollywood around noon.

Our first stop was lunch. The adults all got sausage, onion and pepper sandwiches. This was perfection in a roll. We walked around and got the kids on some rrides. Zoey didnt want to ride at first, but eventually she got on a couple of rides. Chuck went on a coaster and then he and I went on this flying thing that went way up so you could see the whole park. It was kind of like the swings. There was a steering wheel that sent you side to side. We really enjoyed that. Karen, Jesse and Chuck went on a log flume. I stayed with Zoey.

After that we wanted dessert. They have a bakery that is beyond belief. I got a slice of Oreo Cream cake that was the size of a small mountain. No calories there. We walked some more and went in a few shops.

We saw a water playground for the kids and let them have fun getting soaked for half an hour. It was getting towards 5:30 so we went on one last ride called the Rapids. I should have known. Oh my goodness did I get soaked. Did I mention I was wearing white shorts? HMMMMMMM Zoey didnt like it, but the rest of us loved it. Chuck took Zoey off and Karen, Jesse and I went on again. I mean you can only get so wet. Since it was a kind of showery day, there were no lines anywhere. By the time I got off I was dripping and yeah, those white shorts. Use your imagination. But I had so much fun.

On our way out, we stopped in the gift shop and I got a pink hooded sweatshirt and a turquoise, lacy t shirt with a beaded butterfly on it. The butterfly is Dollys trademark. I got the kids each a stuffed animal and then it was time to drip on to the cabin. The park closes at 7, so we closed the place down.

We walked up and down hills alllll day and I didnt use my cane once! YAYYYYYYYYY me.

For dinner we had a loaf of their special cinnamon bread and apple butter dipping sauce.

This is the most amazing bread. Not anything like a cinnamon bun or a doughnut. This is light, fluffy bread covered on all sides with cinnamon sugar. You cant believe how delicious this is. If you are ever at Dollywood, you MUST stop at the Grist Mill and get a loaf of this bread.
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:03 PM   #7
Angelrose
Likes to dance in golden sun beams
Knows too many details about Gnarf, Fnarfle, Grotchy and Ronkle....yep, she needs help!! ;)
Drives me even crazier than I am
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Port Republic, New Jersey
Posts: 3,101





My goofy son trying to take a picture of us at the sign





Better picture of us



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Old 07-01-2013, 06:09 PM   #8
Angelrose
Likes to dance in golden sun beams
Knows too many details about Gnarf, Fnarfle, Grotchy and Ronkle....yep, she needs help!! ;)
Drives me even crazier than I am
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Port Republic, New Jersey
Posts: 3,101



Zoey stamping in puddles











Yummy cookies (and Oreo cream pie)





You MUST try this cinnamon bread
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:12 PM   #9
Angelrose
Likes to dance in golden sun beams
Knows too many details about Gnarf, Fnarfle, Grotchy and Ronkle....yep, she needs help!! ;)
Drives me even crazier than I am
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Port Republic, New Jersey
Posts: 3,101

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Today was another showery type day. I woke up at 6:30, heard the rain and went back to sleep. But not for long. The kids woke me up to play with them. That wasnít happening. I told them to go back downstairs and play. I woke up again around 7:45 and went downstairs. After all the walking I did yesterday, I still wasnít feeling human.

I tried to read, had cold pizza and OJ for breakfast and then went back upstairs. I distinctly remember turning on the Today show.

I woke up at 10:25! I have never done that. I guess that walking yesterday really tired me out.

We left around 11 to do some shopping at ďThe Christmas PlaceĒ. Oh my goodness, what a large store. It was kind of like WOD, just for Christmas. They had trees and lights, Dept 56, Snowbabies, Jim Shore and every ornament you could think of. I got two enamel ornaments. One was a butterfly and the other was a red Christmas mouse. Jesse got an Angry Birds and Zoey got a Hello Kitty. Karen got two flamingoes and Chuck got a jalapeno fairy.

It was still raining off and on, but we went to the water park anyway. They were open and we had a ball. Jesse went down a big slide and then we went to the lazy river.

OK I will admit it, grace is not one of my virtues. The handles on the tube were just a bit too far apart for my short arms. After Chuck and Karen got over the giggles, I finally grabbed it from behind me and plopped in. Iím sure the lifeguards had a story to tell their friends after that. She was laughing and Iím glad I was there to amuse someone other than my son and daughter in law.

OK, Iím in, aaaaaaaaaaaaaand not going anywhere. Chuck finally had to tow me out to the river like a barge. Yayyyyyyy, Iím in the river. I must have gotten a slow tube because everyone was passing me, even Jesse.
I eventually made it to the beginning. Oh yeah, now how in the bleep do I get out of this thing? Gracefully as ever, I turned over, got water up m nose, drank half the river, but, darn it, I got out of that tube.

I have discovered that my son and daughter in law have an evil side.

ďGo on Mom, itís an easy slideĒ. Gullible me said, OK. I got up 9,000 steps to the top. Again with the tube. I got in with just a bit of help and pushed off. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH First to the left side, then to the right side, IN THE DARK and one final turn and sploosh. My whole life flashed before my eyes. I staggered out and gave Karen a dirty look but she just laughed. So did the two lady lifeguards.

We were all starving so we had burgers.

Do you know what fun it is to sit under an umbrella that drips cold rain on your back as you eat? You know what? After a minute, it WAS fun.

Thankfully we went to a kiddie splash area next. The kids had fun with all the slides and waterfalls. We stayed there for an hour and then moved on to the wave pool. Now this was my favorite. I went out to the rollers and just floated up and down. I could have stayed there for hours. It had pretty much stopped raining by then.

The kids were getting chilly, and it was a bit too much for Zoey, so we found a family splash area. I was showing Jesse a little water cannon, when this water towers worth of water poured down on me. Chuck and Jesse were quite amused. I was W E T. Moving on. Jesse found a big slide there and went down it at least 50 times. They had a cute lifeguard at the bottom to catch the kids and get them over to where their feet can reach the bottom. Now Jesse can swim, but he wanted the lifeguard to catch him. The lifeguard told us Jesse was the happiest kid he had seen all day.

Jesse, bugged me to go down the slide with him. hmmmmm letís see, water slide? NOOO But Karen said, ďMom heís a cute lifeguard. He will catch you.Ē OK, Iíll go with Jesse. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH PLOP! He didnít catch me. RATS. Iím an adult who can reach the bottom. That Karen got me again.

Both kids were getting chilly again so we let them play a little longer in the first splash area. I just sat and watched. After a while, everyone was getting chilly, so we left to change and dry off.

Dinner time. We stopped at a place called Huck Finnís Catfish. They give you hush puppies, pickles, onions, beans and cole slaw free. If you want to just have that for dinner then you have to pay. I should have just had that, but I got grilled barbeque chicken and mashed potatoes with white gravy. Now I donít usually like gravy, but this was heaven. You got your drinks in a huge mason jar.

Zoey was falling asleep and Jesse wasnít far behind. He loves sleeping on the top bunk.

I couldnít wait to get a nice hot shower and write in my journal. A bit of tv to relax and rest up for our last day at Dollywood.
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:14 PM   #10
Angelrose
Likes to dance in golden sun beams
Knows too many details about Gnarf, Fnarfle, Grotchy and Ronkle....yep, she needs help!! ;)
Drives me even crazier than I am
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Port Republic, New Jersey
Posts: 3,101

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Finally a sunny day. We left the cabin around 10:30 and by the time we found a parking spot, walked in and found a place to eat, we were all hungry for lunch. We chose Aunt Grannyís Buffet. It was wonderful. Typical Southern cooking. They had collards. Oh I had a big helping of those. I have sorely missed my veggies this trip. I also had some mixed veggies, mashed potatoes and the best meatloaf I have ever tasted. Jesse had two helpings of pasta and some chicken. Zoey didnít want to eat her mashed potatoes. Mom and Dad kept telling her she had to eat or no dessert. She refused to eat until Jesse came back with chocolate cake. Dad cut it in half and put her half by her plate. She suddenly regained her appetite and ate every bit, so she could have that cake.

For my dessert I had this wonderful blueberry cream cake. Very small and light and delicious. I also had a small piece of coconut cake.

It was so crowded today. Chuck wanted to ride the new coaster. Karen, the kids and I walked up hill and down to find a restroom. Karen and Jesse went on a water splash ride, while I stayed with Zoey. She didnít want to get wet. I kept looking for Chuck. They went on a second time and then we headed over to the cars ride. There were long lines for everything. Jesse wanted to ride with me again. It was a fun ride. While we were waiting in line we found Chuck right outside. Since it was so hot and humid, we wanted to ride the rapids again. We got in a looong line. We inched out way up for an hour and a half. We finally are the next people to load. YIPPEE And then the ride stopped. It would be at least 35 minutes while they figured out what the problem was. We werenít going to wait that long. We got out of line and went back down telling people all along the way, that the ride had stopped and it was going to be at least 35 minutes at the top. Most people had over an hourís wait just to get to the top.

I stopped at the store and returned one t shirt for a larger size and got another sweatshirt.

We were all so hot and tired and it was 5:30. We stopped in a couple of stores and I got a couple more t shirts.

We got more cinnamon bread to bring home and those sausage sandwiches to bring back to the cabin for dinner.

We got back to the cabin and started packing for our trip home. We had our dinner watching a dvd.

I went upstairs and got a bath and got my feet up. My ankle was very swollen from the heat and all the walking. I was very proud of myself for not using my cane. But, I will be glad to rest all day tomorrow on the drive home. Itís a 12 hours drive so we want to be on the road by 7. That means getting up a 5:30, get dressed, pack the last minutes things, keep the kids occupied while Chuck and Karen load the van.

When we finally get home, I have to get all my stuff into my car and drive to my house. Thank goodness itís only 15 minutes away.

It was a wonderful trip, but I will be glad to sleep in my own bed.
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:16 PM   #11
Angelrose
Likes to dance in golden sun beams
Knows too many details about Gnarf, Fnarfle, Grotchy and Ronkle....yep, she needs help!! ;)
Drives me even crazier than I am
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Port Republic, New Jersey
Posts: 3,101

Thursday, June 20. 2013


I was up at 4am. I got ready and packed the last minutes things. Why is it that when I leave, everything fits very nicely in my carpet bag. But when I get ready to go home, my clothes magically expand, so that I can barely get it zipped? I did manage and got everything downstairs by the door.

Chuck, the packing expert, managed to get the luggage, stroller, ice chest and all our souvenirs in the van.

We were off by 7am and got breakfast at McD’s. It would take 12 hours with breaks every 3 or 4 hours.

We hit terrible traffic jams and some slow ups. We stopped at the Chesapeake House for dinner and ate at the Earl of Sandwich. It was good, but somehow, the one at DTD tastes better. We made it home around 9pm.

I left all my stuff for Chuck to empty the van when he got a chance and drove home.

It was so good to be home again. I have many hours of tv shows recorded to keep me occupied for a long time.

I had been worried about my pool since I couldn’t put in the chemicals or run the filter. Luckily the water was still clear.


Friday, June 21. 2013

I slept well last night in my own bed. I got the filter going and did some grocery shopping.

Tonight I will watch Jesse “graduate” from preschool at his old daycare. This grandmom is so excited for this milestone in his life.

I hope you all enjoyed my surprise vacation at Dollywood. I can’t thank my son and daughter in law for taking me along. I have memories that will last forever.
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:32 PM   #12
okeydokey
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Sounds like a great trip. We were in Pigeon Forge last week and went to Dixie Stampede, Dollywood and the Christmas place too.

The cinnamon bread was delicious. We bought a little tub of the frosting to spread on top. It was the best thing I ate all week.
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:45 PM   #13
Angelrose
Likes to dance in golden sun beams
Knows too many details about Gnarf, Fnarfle, Grotchy and Ronkle....yep, she needs help!! ;)
Drives me even crazier than I am
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Port Republic, New Jersey
Posts: 3,101

Thanks for reading okeydokey. I will be dreaming about that cinnamon bread.
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:14 PM   #14
okeydokey
Frosty the Snowman scared me as a child
It will always be beautiful no matter what it looks like naked
 
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The whole area was beautiful. We drove Cade's Cove and the Roaring Forks Motot Trail too. Saw bear, deer, woodchuck, turkey and even an elk. The streams were gorgeous. We are in N. FL and I love the beach, but it was so nice to be in the mountains.
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:22 PM   #15
Angelrose
Likes to dance in golden sun beams
Knows too many details about Gnarf, Fnarfle, Grotchy and Ronkle....yep, she needs help!! ;)
Drives me even crazier than I am
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Port Republic, New Jersey
Posts: 3,101

I'm in south Jersey and have never been to the Smokies. It was just beautiful. We didn't stray far from Dollywood and Gatlinburg, so we didn't see any wild animals. But I loved all the little stores.
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