A Family Vacation Is Good For All!
The kids wanted to return to TN for a family vacation this year. We went in 2009 and had a great time. We used our first vacation in a vacation package we had purchased a few years ago and found a nice 3 story cabin in Pigeon Forge that was great.
I’ve been so busy with my full time job that the thought of taking a vacation was actually stressing me out. I already had a position that hadn’t been filled under me that I was covering, and I knew that work would have to go onto someone else who already had a full plate. The awesome part about where I work is that everyone helps each other out. My team was awesome, telling me to go and relax and stay off line! (Which I didn’t totally do, but I only dealt with the big issues while I was on vacation – which was better than I thought it might be.)
Dave’s main objective was to take a few hikes in the Smoky Mountains and take the kids fishing for trout. He got to accomplish both of his goals. He took the kids on one hike that thankfully I backed out of. It took them 3 hours to hike up to Rainbow Falls. Evidently it was pretty much an incline hike with a very rocky path the whole way up and then took them only an hour to get back down.
I agreed to go to Clingman’s Dome. It was a mountain drive up (keep in mind, I hate twisty, curvy mountain roads… so I drove) and then a 1/2 mile steep hike up a path to see it. It was mid morning of a 90 degree day in TN when we left. The temp was mid 80’s before we started up the mountain. The kids were having fun watching the thermostat go down as we went up the mountain. We reached the top and it was 64 degrees and windy… but very, very foggy! We knew we weren’t going to see much of anything. The picture above was taken as we came back from Clingman’s Dome and there was a clearing in the fog. We could actually see the mountains! Everyone was running to get pictures.
This was what Clingman’s Dome looked like when we were finally getting to it. Even though 1/2 mile isn’t far to walk, because of the incline and because I’m still so out of shape… it was rough! I didn’t feel as bad since there were a lot of other people stopping frequently also to get their breath.
We had fun looking out at the white foggy mass, saying… “We made it to Clingman’s Dome and we CAN’T SEE A THING!” The area at the bottom of the 1/2 mile hike up (where you park your cars), the kids had fun climbing up on some big ol’ rocks.
Dave was thrilled to see part of the Appalachian Trail, as we were coming down from Clingman’s Dome. He made us walk in a little ways and then was educating the kids (and me) as to the marks on some of the trees, the signs to the next shelter areas, etc. We spent probably 15 minutes down on the trail while he taught his kids some of the history and stories about the trail. He would have made an awesome teacher!
One of the other things Dave really wanted the kids to experience was trout fishing in the Smoky Mountains. He had a few obstacles in the way. The first biggie was that the kids had never gone fly fishing. The next was that he didn’t want to take a mass of fishing gear if they were going to hike, in order to fish.
Ended up that we found a great public park that had fishing for kids 12 and younger. Perfect! The triplets are 12, even if Zach does look like he’s about 14. We joked that if a Game Warden did stop to ask the kids ages, they wouldn’t believe us… saying they were triplets and they were all 12.
Dave had prepared ahead of time. He got something called bubbles that he was able to rig up on regular fishing lines, rather than fly lines. With this bubble, they were still able to fish with the flies. They went two different times. Each of the kids did catch some trout. Alex caught several, Zach, I think caught two and Elise caught one… and a pregnant minnow, as she kept saying.
Another day we went horseback riding. It was a hour
ride walk up into the hills and back down. It was fun, the kids had a great time. They wouldn’t let you take any kind of cameras or phones on the horses though. ugh.. I wanted pictures!! The same location also had “gold mining” as part of the package we purchased. The kids get a bag with gems in it, and get to “pan” for them.
We went to see one of the dinner shows, the Lumber Jack Feud. The kids loved it. I had been to the Dixie Stampede when I was in Branson and really enjoyed the show. I thought the lumber jack one would be more enjoyable for the kids, and Dave. They had a great time.
We also spent time at the NASCAR Speed Park. Of course the kids loved that. Dave and I enjoyed the racing also.
It was a great vacation! Time to unplug and spend some quality time with the family. It was really good for me. I wasn’t sure if I was even going to do a post or not. Since none of our trip was sponsored in anyway, I certainly didn’t have to. I did want to share with you our trip!
Need something new to do with the kids this summer? Check out the Columbus Commons!
by Amy Trauntvein
Summer is here and the kids are out of school. The pool is fun and so is the park, but can’t think of anything NEW to do with the kids this summer that won’t cost a fortune? Check out the Columbus Commons! I have to admit, I didn’t even know this place existed before last weekend, but I’m totally happy that I know all about it now, for some fun in the sun with my kiddos! Our family received an invitation to come check out the Columbus Commons and discover everything they have to offer this summer and beyond. As you can see, my youngest loved the Carousel.
And the Reading Room…
And the Art Box…
My older kids and hubby liked the Ping Pong table and Corn Hole games…
And they ALL had a great time with the huge building blocks at the Imagination Playground!
And the best thing about all these activities? Most of them are FREE! (Carousel Rides are $1) The Columbus Commons is open every day (hours vary) with all these family friendly, fun things for you and your kids of any age. Check out the details of their Free Open Play Activities.
If you’re interested in even more fun stuff at the Columbus Commons, here is their full (printable) 2013 Family Friendly Programming Schedule which includes activities such as Commons for Kids every Friday from 10-2, Movies at the Commons in June and July, Mayor Coleman’s Neighborhood Pride Block Party in August, and Family Fun Day also in August to name just a few. And don’t forget, many of these are FREE! Free fun for the whole family? You can beat that!
The Columbus Commons is located in downtown Columbus right across the street from the convenient and affordable (only $2!) Columbus Commons Parking Garage located at 55 E Rich Street or 191 S Third Street.
I hope you’ll check out what the Columbus Commons has to offer for your family and maybe I’ll see you there! I know I will be heading to the Commons with my kids many times this summer and beyond!
Love To All! ~Amy
I have been married for 23 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep me young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening, yoga, walking and saving money! I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.